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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

MoS Travels: Aiken, SC

Ahhh….Aiken! Home to live oaks and camellias, foxhunters and polo ponies, and favorite stomping ground of the Winter Colonists since the late 1800s.

At the heart of Aiken is the Hitchcock Woods, one of the largest urban forests in the U.S., with over 70 miles of sandy trail…perfect for long hacks and dog walks, and home to the Aiken Hounds, one of the oldest drag hunts in this country. A long-standing tradition in Aiken is the Blessing of the Hounds on Thanksgiving Day at Memorial Gate, one of the entrances to the Woods.

Polo abounds, with over 40 polo fields attracting a slew of high-goal professionals. Sunday afternoon finds most of Aiken tailgating at the Whitney Polo Field, cheering on their favorite local ponies and players.

Come spring, the crowds gather at the Aiken Training Track for the Aiken Trials, first leg of the Aiken Triple Crown, where 2 year olds test their mettle before heading off to Kentucky.

But don’t put your hat away yet…the next week is Spring Steeplechase where crowds gather in the tens of thousands to watch this thrilling sport.

Another Spring tradition…Aiken Horse Show in the Woods, where foxhunters come out in full regalia to compete in the show ring.

Boyd and Silva Martin are Aiken’s newest celebrities…Boyd and his horse Neville are sure to be Olympic-bound eventers and Silva continues to leave crowds speechless in the dressage arena.

If horses are the heart of Aiken, history is its soul…Winston Churchill, President Roosevelt, Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Harold Vanderbilt, Elizabeth Arden all enjoyed the pleasure of a night at the lovely Willcox Hotel.

Stanford White of McKim, Mead, and White designed several of Aiken’s best…including the Palmetto Golf Club clubhouse and this private residence, Sandhurst (currently on the market- check it out here!)

Even the Hope Diamond resided in Aiken as part of the collection of Evalyn Walsh McLean!

Speaking of Palmetto Golf Club…Augusta National is just minutes away from Aiken and remains hallowed ground for golfers everywhere!

They say in Aiken it is not a good day unless you’ve played three sports.

But some of my less sporty friends have changed that to “…unless you’ve changed clothes three times!”

All true…I return to Manhattan to rest!! The social scene is relentless and full of southern hospitality (translation…stiff drinks and pimento cheese :). All the more reason to visit!

And when you do, come see us at Folly, one of Aiken’s newest additions, located at 116 Laurens Street, SW.

Can’t wait? Check out our website:


A huge thank you to Jane for her guest blog post about Aiken!  Aren't the pictures of her store, Folly, to die for?!  We can't get there fast enough!

We love sharing these world-class-but-off-the-beaten-path destinations with our readers.  If you have a chic locale you would like to share for our MoS Travels series, email us at!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Needlepoint Belt Project

At a friend's Christmas soiree, I had the good fortune of being introduced to Susan Battle, the owner of DC's fabulous needlepoint shop, The Point of it All. I admitted to my new acquaintance [whilst hanging my head in shame] that I love needlepoint but I have never actually finished any of the projects I've started. So my friend and I decided that once the holidays died down we were going to take a trip to the Point of it All and have Susan get us started on a new that I'd actually finish and could have proper instruction for.

So on Saturday we ventured up to Susan's jewel box of a store in Friendship Heights. If you love needlepointing (or just want to learn) this is the place to be- I felt like I'd walked into a neighborhood hangout where everyone knows each other's name. The store is so fun and fresh, full of bright colors and alluring canvases- definitely not your grandmother's needlepoint store! I decided on something I'd wanted to do for years and years- a belt. Susan measured the belt I brought so she'd know the canvas size, finished size, etc. 

And then the fun began- we chatted about what would be going on the belt so that she can send instructions to her canvas painter. It's a bit daunting to sum up your life in 8 symbols or less.

I started off with a few easy ones- my monogram and my cats. I've got to represent my Florida heritage, so I'm also thinking either a flamingo or the outline of the state.

A mix tape because I go to shows. A lot.


A chippendale chair to represent blogging and design.

And since I always seem to have one of these in my hand...

If you had to sum up your background/interests in 8 [easily recognizable] symbols or less, what would they be?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Vignette

I can't stop thinking about this fabulous coral James Mont lamp in the California home of Marlien Rentmeester.  Boring drum shades, be gone- the shade is what makes this lamp!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Quick Chair Makeover

I finally got around to painting my dining chairs black and I think they look so much better than the retro ivory color they were before.

But of course, once I did that, I realized the fabric on them was better suited for a light chair. There was just too much contrast.

After looking around for a fabric that was a little darker, I found this Robert Allen for Dwell Studio Snake Chain fabric. From afar, it looks like your usual large trellis pattern.

But up close you realize the trellis is made out of snakes. It's not for everyone, but I think it's pretty cool.

Recovering chair cushions like this is technically "easy" but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of work involved. Most of you can probably do this type of thing in your sleep, but I figured I'd walk through it as a refresher. First you need to remove the old fabric from the cushion. Of course, I was cursing myself for using so many staples! 

I used a flathead screwdriver (for prying up the staples) and some pliers (for pulling them out).

Finally, I got all four cushions stripped down.

Next, cut out your new fabric to the shape of the cushion. Make sure that if you have a pattern, it's centered!

Next, get out the trusty staple gun. Secure one side, then the side directly opposite. Then, work on the other sides that face each other.

When you get to the corners, staple in close on each side, but then take that extra fabric and fold it in, sort of like wrapping a present.

Here's a finished one.

Pop it on the chair, and there you have it! I think the gray goes so much better with the darker chair, and ties in with the marble top on the Saarinen.

I'm also having drapes made in this fabric, so I'll share more of the finished result once I get those up! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

APB: A Proper Pair of Benches

I'm on the hunt!  I am searching for a pair of benches to go under my living room console table.  I do have a couple of leads.

I have been told about a pair of brown x-benches that would look chic and provide a nice contrast against the lighter console table.  My only concern is that since I have x-benches (pictured above) in my bedroom, I don't want to go x-bench overboard.  Maybe a different style would be better.

I spotted this pair of Moroccan benches last week but am likely  using them for a client.  Clients come first, of course.  They have fab Moroccan detailing that you can't really see in this picture.  But they are amazing.  I'm thinking something along these lines might be nice.

I always love a good lucite waterfall.  But since I have a waterfall console table, I probably need a contrasting shape.

We could really up the ante in the glam department with a pair of gold Platner stools
Or perhaps I should take the chinoiserie route, since I don't really have any of it in my living room.

If only my ship would come in, then a pair of these (not in satin of course) would do the trick.

I have a weakness for MCM and have always been surprised at the comfort of a Barcelona chair.  Maybe a pair of Barcelona benches in ivory could work.
Barcelona® Stool - Volo Leather

You can't go wrong with vintage x-benches.  This pair from Circa Who is amazing.  But the pattern is too busy.
Pair of Vintage Hollywood Regency Upholstered X Benches

Wood legs could provide nice contrast against the fully upholstered console table.

1st Dibs (I KNOW I can't afford them if 1st Dibs won't tell me the price!)

I never tire of the ming shape.  But are they too similar to the form of the waterfall table?

1st Dibs (but I am certain I can find these elsewhere).

Have you seen any amazing benches lately?  Please spill the beans!
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