Archive : March 2011

31 Mar 2011
avatar Author: Colette Van Den Thillart
Creative Director

Somewhat recently my uncle made a delightful genealogical discovery on the maternal side of my family.  My French Canadian great great grandfather, scandalously at the time, married a native Huron Indian and thus I am a not too distant descendent of their marriage.  My dear friend Tom, upon learning of this, has had more laughs at my expense…so I send him this smoke signal…

Dear Tom,

How you have made me laugh….can we just agree that you obviously never got over Cher circa 1973 in her Half Breed video??  Anyway she’s half Cherokee not Huron all-right?

Your palpable jealousy is perfectly understandable…Nicky also dabbled in these dreams before turning to the gypsies for inspiration…

…and this talisman you’ve made…which I treasure…and the fact you took the trouble to superimpose my face on it…really got me thinking about this (that and your relentless laughing).  I really SUIT this style, and you know my hair was quite like this for a while in the 80’s before we knew each other.

Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images

 …and what IF my tribe comes to claim me like Audrey Hepburn in ‘The Unforgiven’…. (my favorite western by the way)

 …you WON’T BELIEVE how beautiful it’ll be…


 First of all my wardrobe…hot…


 …REALLY hot…

 …the Wigwam will be divine…all bark covered…you can sleep in the teepee when you visit.

I can still bring some NH fabrics into the mix, they look great with this pinecone fabric and bark covered chest of drawers…It’s going to be great Tom. Tom Tom…(get it?!)

29 Mar 2011
avatar Author: Colette Van Den Thillart
Creative Director

As a self confessed closet ‘Schwitter-er’….ie collage crazy….I was fascinated by Ximena Garrido-Lecca’s current installation at the Saatchi Gallery. No this is not a collage as we know it but 3 dimensional ‘collages’, or what the artist calls ‘a hotel of still lives’.

In Cuzco, Peru the tradition persists of placing the dead in raised vertical concrete structures called nichos.

They are each fronted by a space full of photo’s, flowers and idiosyncratic offerings carefully arranged by the deceased’s family and loved ones.

One finds Baroque, pre-Colonial, Catholic and Pagan influences among the personal touches.

Garrido-Lecca has faithfully reproduced these often joyful still lives.  I’d quite like a mirror lined ‘nichos‘ when the time comes… just for the record! Make mine very camp please.

26 Mar 2011
avatar Author: Colette Van Den Thillart
Creative Director

What a pleasure to be awarded the Stylish Blogger award from Claudia Juestel at Adeeni Design Blog!  Thank you so much Claudia.  We are having such fun making new friends in cyberspace and we’re learning a lot too.  Now, apparently we are to share 7 things….so just to be contrary I thought instead of doing the stylish thing…I would share some cheeky behind the scenes moments with you!

1.  Although I blogged on pistachio, I didn’t mention at the time that Nicky writes all his business emails in pistachio text….regardless of content…its pistachio all the way.

2.   Nicky frequently leaves notes on my desk to make me laugh….like this one which reads…’Who’d have thought Ozzie was a closet Dorothy?’

3.   Now you may know that Nicky LOVES to sing…like this night at the Savoy…

But can I tell you how hard it is to get your hands on the microphone when he’s around???  He must really love Suzie to have given her this ‘moment’….

4.  He Christmas’s in Palm Beach with his dear friend Terry Kramer.  I love this pic of him and his friend Fritz von Westenholz…

5.  Nicky is famous for hosting, decorating, and attending the worlds most glamorous parties…but you may be amused to discover that he once decorated and hosted a party (baby shower no less) in a moving van (!) for his long time star of a PA, Flora Connell. 

6.  When we first visited a client’s house in Ireland, where I took this sweet pic, we spent two days on site discovering the house.

….I heard my name being shouted and shouted, …I found Nicky in this little music room…’wait for it!’ he said smiling…and then threw his hands up in the air, out of which flew the little butterflies he’d been collecting  in the window wells.

7.  He may kill me for this pic…but we are both Pastrami worshipers and never miss a chance to indulge when in New York!

And lastly, we are to pass on the kindness, and therefore, first, as the young can be so inspiring….we nominate two beautiful bright young things who write at  - pass it on Frances!!

And, since we are ever inspired by history…we MUST nominate this blog that our friend Dr Melanie Doderer-Winkler has just turned us on to…..National Trust no less! Beware, you may be lost for days….


24 Mar 2011
avatar Author: Colette Van Den Thillart
Creative Director

In my hometown of Toronto, there survives a little jewelbox theatre; remnant of the Edwardian era, and the last surviving stacked theatre in the world.  The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres were THE place to go for vaudeville until its demise in the late 20′s. 

The Winter Garden theatre is above the Elgin, accessed via a very grand Edwardian staircase designed by Thomas Lamb, and if one is lucky enough to go as a child its something you never forget.  Hand painted trellis walls and verdant green velvet curtains, illuminated by lanterns hung, set the stage.  Indoor winter gardens were a veritable lifestyle in Edwardian England, so many now sadly extinct in the countryside.

THE thing though….is the ceiling.  If you sit in the ‘cheap seats’ you find yourself nestled in a forest of dried leaves (real and fake)…all much more spellbinding in evening light than these photos can convey.

Cecil Beaton would have adored this!

Put it on your ‘to do’ list….is yours as long as mine?

21 Mar 2011
avatar Author: Colette Van Den Thillart
Creative Director

Following on from Nicky’s post…I have a long and tender relationship with Strawberry Hill, I knew if before its restoration and have attended masked balls there etc.  It really gets under you skin. There is another side to it’s charm, which is the little gothic follies and chocolate boxes that are dotted all over England.  Early readers of our blog may remember a certain teensy pink one that got away from me, which I have still not recovered from…

folly from Radnor House (bombed) which Horace called 'Mabland'

Should you find yourself headed Twickenham way, very close to Strawberry Hill there used to stand Radnor House (bombed in the war) to which these two follies belong. Horace used to refer to it as ‘Mabland’.

the remains of Radnor House

Poor little folly! Not being too well looked after but I imagine more than a few teenage dalliances have taken place here – sort of wonderful place for a first kiss.

On your way, if you take the 316, you’ll pass several suburban districts and on your right see this idiosyncratic charmer.  Quite sweet no?

Greenbank house in Liverpool is basically a coral pink box but (landscaping aside – oh dear!) the ironwork confection is delicious.

Shobdon Church is the next World Monuments Fund Britain project and sports SUCH a pretty gothic interior – it’s on my ‘must visit’ list.

I just found this on google but why aren’t we doing more gothic cottages??

And this interior of a house in Phoenix Arizona may make you go yuck, but with an open mind lets just admit that the floor is terrific (I think it’s the strangely wide grout!), the shade of verdant green is right up my alley, and those gothic windows are my idea of heaven.  I have used this shape a lot in fact, including my own house!