July 16, 2016

Baroque Pearls For Your Inner Goddess

baroque pearls from maison k 2016

mediteranean baroque pearlsI’ve been fascinated with Greek and Roman art and antiquity my entire life – I’m quite sure a very early visit to Ludington Court at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art started it all.  I have fond childhood memories of the museum where my mother was a docent for many years. Years later, I even met my husband there!  As a lapsed Art History student, I am still enchanted by museums of all sorts; that said the MET remains the ne plus ultra – especially with the addition of the MET Breuer. This makes for the perfect trio between the MET on 5th and The Cloisters. Pictured here is a bronze sculpture in the largest of the Greek and Roman galleries, standing on a finely tessellated floor surrounded by grand columns – very much evoking an ancient villa – quite a transformation from what was once a restaurant!

May 7, 2016

Be Jeweled!

byzantine turkish jewelry



byzantine turkish jewelry at maison k

This is the lovely Nuruosmaniye Mosque in Istanbul. It fairly glows, it’s white marble walls punctuated with paned windows, allowing sunlight into the sanctuary. Nuruosmaniye means “the light of Osman”, named so after the sultan who completed the building in 1755. This 18th century mosque is considered a masterpiece of Baroque Ottoman architecture. The “mother” and architectural inspiration for many mosques like this, is Hagia Sophia, built in the 6th century as a Christian Greek Orthodox Basilica. Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul has a long and fascinating history being at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, a nexus of commercial, cultural, artistic, diplomatic and religious systems.

April 2, 2016

Baroque Pearls – Jewels of The Sea

jewels of the sea baroque pearls



jewels of the sea baroque pearls at maison k

There is something beguiling about an empty stairwell; an invitation, an air of intrigue – what’s beyond that corner, who is up in those rooms above? Glancing at these stairs I can’t help but imagine a 17th century contessa, draped in silk, lace and baroque pearls climbing the stairs to the “primo piano” to hear a new form of music, opera; this was the era it was created. This image was taken at the beyond-exquisite Palazzo Lomellino in Genoa – with very limited access I only saw the atrium, courtyard, and nyphaeum, so next time would plan an entire trip around their open day – the first Saturday of each month. Meanwhile their beautiful website and virtual tours must suffice – a glimpse into another time and space.

December 3, 2015

Timeless Gifts: Diamonds and Cashmere

Luxurious Gifts________________________________


timeless christmas momentsI’ve long wanted to be at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the lighting of their Baroque Neapolitan Christmas Tree . The grand tree, festooned with flying angles and gorgeous creche figurines, is backed by an 18th century Spanish wrought iron choir screen, and located in the Medieval Sculpture Gallery.  Throughout the gallery, numerous renderings of Mary and Christ are displayed and no matter the material; wood, stone, ivory and pictured here, terra cotta – they are all precious renderings of a mother and child, and the very reason we celebrate Christmas. That said, their timeless appeal is universal regardless of belief as everyone recognizes the devotion and sacredness of motherhood.  The relief here, Virgin and Child, was created around 1475 by Andrea della Robbia, nephew of Luca who mastered the technique of a ceramic glaze that made such art and decoration suitable for both interior and exterior decoration.  The mood of this piece is serene and knowing. I always love to see the rendering of angels, their wings can be simple and pure like these perhaps white gull wings, some other favorite angels with fabulous wings are at Sainte Chapelle – there, with peacock and parrot wings.

November 17, 2015

Baroque Pearls From Italy

baroque pearls from italy at maison k



Shell Ceiling FlorenceCordoned off from the burgeoning crowds of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, is the octagonal Tribuna; a “treasure house” designed by Bernardo Buontalenti in1584 at the bequest of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Francesco1de’Medici. Considered the first museum of Europe, it was created to house the precious jewels, paintings, furniturnishings and ancient sculptures of the Medici.  The four elements are represented in the design by an intricately inlaid marble floor, symbolizing Earth, the walls upholstered in red velvet for Fire, the “rose of the wind” (compass) on the top of the lantern for Air and last but not least the huge nacre dome, pictured, created with 6000 mother of pearl shells – symbolizing Water. This “Room of Wonders” enchanted and inspired the great thinkers, leaders and artists of the Renaissance and now delights the throngs of us today.

June 26, 2015

Baroque Majesty From Italy

Baroque majesty baroque pearls from italy



baroque majesty at maison kPearls are often considered the “Queen of Gems” and have been prized for thousands of years; the first historical mention is from China, some 2,300 years ago. Speaking of China, I just got to see “Through the Looking Glass,” a show-stopping exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The show is the culmination of a collaboration between The Costume Institute and The Department of Asian Art. Gorgeous gowns from many eras inspired by the designers’ fascination and inspiration of China’s artistic heritage. The clothing is beautifully displayed in the Asian Art Galleries alongside Chinese art and architecture. Shown above, a silk brocade dress by Alexander McQueen Autumn/Winter 2006-2007.

June 13, 2015

Feather And Fern Necklaces

feather and fern necklaces



FEATHER AND FERN NECKLACESFor me, charcoal or slate, is the new black.  I love it in clothing as a softer alternative to black, as well as in jewelry, such as the rich antiqued silver and diamond feather and fern necklaces above.  It’s also fabulous on homes and buildings. Shown left is the gorgeous Maison de Lucie where we recently stayed in Honfleur, on the Normandy Coast.  A number of the buildings in this fascinating and scenic seaside town are a slate color.  At first, I thought the buildings were painted, but upon closer inspection realized the facades are actually tiled in slate! It’s a unique architectural treatment I’ve never seen before. Prior to our visit to Honfleur while still in Paris, I was trying on some shoes and chatting with the salesmen, mentioning we were off to Honfleur the next day.  His eyes lit up as he said “I was born in Honfleur!  You must have dinner at Restaurant Le Bréard, it’s where my family celebrates birthdays and special occasions.”  As promised, it was a divine meal and an incredible value.  Next time, I want to eat every dinner there!

April 10, 2015

Going For Gold

going for gold at maisonk



going for gold pavilionThis is an image of the Iftaree Pavilion, situated on the Marble Terrace of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Though petite, this golden canopied pavilion is commanding in it’s beauty and situation, overlooking the Golden Horn. Built in the 17th century, it was created to “break fast” at sunset during Ramadan. During summer months, it was considered the “Moonlit Seat.”  With summer on it’s way, I love the idea of creating an outdoor pavilion – one needn’t have a palace, just a small plot of earth, four posts and a roof. It can be very simple, or very complex whatever your fancy.  There are many possibilities with different names: Pavilion, Gazebo and Ramada. All of them are going for gold!

February 20, 2015

Treasures of Byzantium in Montecito

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byzantine jewelry at maison kLike a sorbet serves as a palate cleanser between courses at a long feast, a trip to the serene and exquisite Chora Church in Istanbul was just what my senses needed after the heady and mind boggling assortment and sounds of a buying trip in Istanbul. Considered one of the most beautiful examples of Byzantine architecture in the world, it’s a true gem. Istanbul’s phenomenal geographic position between East and West, and the myriad of influences over the centuries from different cultures and traditions, makes for a spectacular amalgamation and experience today. This Christian Church founded in the 5th century became a mosque in the 15th century. It’s now being painstankingly restored to reveal the soul stirring images created in fresco and mosaic eons ago.

January 31, 2015

Take Flight With Posh Plumage

feather jewelery at maison k_______________________________


FEATHER JEWELRY A new pair of binoculars inspired a winter outing to the “Bird Forest,” so nicknamed by my granddaughter Amelia. Known to most as “The Ramble,” in New York’s Central Park, the area is a 36-acre forest located on the Atlantic Flyway – the bi-annual bird migration path. Over 230 species have been spotted here in passing, while 40 are year-round tenants.  I love the winter months when you get to see the beautiful architecture of the trees, their trunks and branches fully exposed – and it’s so much easier to spot birds! The cardinals are particularly enchanting given we don’t see them in California.  This wild forest garden is a welcome delight in the middle of this cacophonous city.