June 12, 2011


Growing up down south, my mom relied on coffee table design books from the local bookstore and hand-me-down copies of Architectural Digest, Country Living and Domino from her sisters in the US. Those books and magazines not only gained my mom some free time from her shop but also influenced my mind-set at a very young age – what could possibly be better than that?

For most, however, good taste is rarely as easy as that perfect wicker couch at our cozy lanai or that antique Chinese medicine cabinet turned into a huge display of art from mom and dad’s trips abroad. While there’s no formula for success, I have noticed in the hundreds of homes I have visited that dazzling design scheme never fail to catch my eye, but it is the spaces that are actually lovely to be in resonate and are truly memorable.

(Andy and Kate Spade's beautiful home.)

I am a big fan of two of my mother’s sister’s homes. The Lopez-Vito sisters need not to announce the beauty of their homes. Lacquered in white that makes every wall and ceiling glow, huge canvas and ikat print-slip covered throw-pillows, blissful bed linens and a collection of traditional antiques married with orientalia, and a striking collection of art from local artists and myself. For me, it’s pure perfection!

I am currently on the state of repainting my flat again from white to eggplant (deep purple or whatever you want to call it) and I believe in most successful spaces, you don’t see everything at once. The more time you spend in them, the more you discover.

Like my friend Alfonso’s newly lived-in 1970’s modernist home, it exemplifies what the French call bien dans sap eau – at ease in its skin. It’s just that he isn’t French, he’s Italian. A variety of local plants vie to outgrow one another surrounding his tiled pool and three undressed antique wooden saints atop a wooden consul table, a thrift find from flea market. His coral wall with crawling ivy and a massive canvas couch from Rome.

Perhaps that’s the secret recipe for effortless elegance; a carefree sense of confidence, a lack of pretension, and a mindful appreciation for comfort and care.

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