My Slow Luxe Life, Unplugged and Recharged

I just spent a week unplugged.  Not wireless, but totally unplugged.  Off the grid.  As in no iPad, iPhone, MacBook, iPod or other devices.

First, my husband and I spent a few days in Texas with my parents and my 99 year-old Grandma Lola.  Fortunately, there was not enough time for a Scrabble game because she still beats me every time.  It must be all that practice doing the New York Times crossword puzzle….

After that, we headed to my parents’ cabin in Ruidoso, in the mountains of southern New Mexico.  We loved being in the cabin and in the pine forest, hanging out on the porch with my folks and starting the day together with a long hike.

The deer and elk, by the way, live on the river facing their cabin and they come right up to the house every morning.
As always, I was inspired by my mother’s design sense.  While my parents’ home in Texas is edited and sophisticated and the cabin in Ruidoso is full of unusual collections and it’s a bit intentionally rough around the edges, both homes have a distinctive narrative.  They tell the stories of their city life and their country life, their family and friends and they tell the stories of artisans and craftsmen who have contributed to them.

The cabin is full of art done by local artists (friends of my parents), books, family photos, quirky collections like my mother’s paint-by-numbers, embroidered testers, Western bronzes, bears in trees and the menus she collected when we lived in Paris.  In anyone else’s hands, it would be a horrifying hodge podge, but Phyllis May’s curatorial eye organizes all this into something so wonderful you don’t ever want to leave.

Moving on, we spent the last few days of our vacation in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, with my brother and sister-in-law and our cute, cute nieces, Tessa and Samantha.  Hiking through the mountains in the morning is awe-inspiring.  It reminded me of something I was told years ago and try to remember:

All of your design problems are solved in nature.

What do you think of that?  Is Mother Nature ever “off”?  How are you inspired by nature in your own design?

Happy to be back and feeling quite energized by my technology break!  Have a great week…..


My Mid-Week Made-in-America Slow Luxe Design Series: Leontine Linens

Welcome to the first article in my new Mid-Week Made-In America Slow Luxe Series!  I can’t tell you how excited I am to share this with you every week.  Sourcing luxurious locally and domestically handcrafted items for the home is so key to my Slow Luxe Design philosophy that I really want to let you in on some interesting Made In America stories.

Well, there are few Made in America companies that epitomize the luxury of local hand craftsmanship more than New Orleans’ Leontine Linens.  So here’s their wonderful story:

While preparing for her wedding, Leontine Linens’ founder, Jane Scott Hodges, came across her grandmother’s trousseau in the cellar of her parents’ 1780s Kentucky farmhouse. Inspired by her discovery, she began seeking for her own bridal trousseau emblazoned with her new monogram. After scouring the New Orleans shops and boutiques where she and her soon-to-be husband lived, Hodges was surprised and disappointed by the lack of custom fine linens, identifying a need in the marketplace. Shortly after, she discovered the Kentucky-based Eleanor Beard studio, an historic all-female company that, since 1921, has hand-created linens known the world over for their superb quality.

Jane Scott began Leontine Linens in 1996 to showcase the artisinal work of the Eleanor Beard Studio.  In 2002, Leontine Linens acquired the historic Kentucky-based studio and to this day carries on its tradition of guiding clients through the selection process and crafting each piece of couture linen entirely by hand.

And, by the way, it is a swoon-worthy selection process!  In addition to all of the exquisite monogram styles Leontine Linens is known for, there are so many elegant border treatments, edge trims, accessories, fabric choices, and of course, there are beautiful quilts, table linens, sheets, towels, blanket covers, nursery accessories……  So many completely delicious choices!

So back to the Eleanor Beard Studio:  Everything Leontine Linens creates is tailor made to order by one of the 25 specialized artisans in the original Eleanor Beard Studio workroom in the tiny town of Hardinsburg, Kentucky.  The Studio’s first product and main focus for the first years of business was the hand-quilted comforter.  A special form of quilting called Trapunto was revived by the studio and is still done today.

I absolutely love receiving an order from Leontine:  Each piece comes with a beautiful card signed by every one of the artisans who created the piece.

Leontine’s flagship store on Magazine Street in Uptown New Orleans, opened in the late summer of 2005, was inspired by the Eleanor Beard boutiques of the 1950s.  This serene and airy space, designed by local New Orleans architect Brian Bockman, serves as a refuge from the typical retail experience and recreates the “salon” atmosphere that Eleanor Beard herself pioneered in her couture linen stores.

I could possibly go on all day about Leontine Linens, but here are a few things I haven’t mentioned.  First, what Leontine Linens has brought to heirloom linens is a youthful, fresh approach.  It works as well in traditional settings as it does in modern settings.  It goes places no monogram has gone before.  It just plays well with others.  In the room with the punchy yellow monogram (that’s Alcott), I paired it up with Kelly Wearstler for Groundworks Lee Jofa prints on the window and bed drapery and Studio Bon for Schumacher on the bench.  That hardly says “Meemaw”.  In the more classic blue and white room, I used the Trey monogram with an Oscar de la Renta chevron ribbon silk drapery backdrop.  It’s timeless.

Now, here’s the most fantastic thing about Leontine Linens’ couture products: They are meant to be used and enjoyed every day. And that’s the ultimate luxury. Speaking of which, enjoy your day–and the rest of your week! Back Monday…..