Monday, May 31, 2010

Create mystery...hide the rest

We hung these beautiful, but inexpensive, paper parasols at Nest, because the high ceilings and fluorescent fixtures made it impossible to achieve the intimate, mysterious atmosphere we were going for. So, we veiled the harsh lighting with the warm glow of parchment and chocolate brown. The parasols, hung overlapping and at different heights, created the cozy ambiance we wanted.

I got the idea for this years ago, when I moved into my first apartment. It was in an old house that had been divided up into one-room studios. My room had rotted wood floors, high ceilings with horrible, brown water spots, and a light fixture that consisted of an electrical cord hanging down about two feet, with an exposed light bulb at the end. But, it was mine!

I painted the walls a soft shade of lavender, and the yucky wood floors, glossy black. I had a hand-me-down dresser that I painted black, as well. I took off the ugly drawer pulls, and replaced them with elaborate antique ones. My bed floated in the middle of the room. There was no headboard, so I draped a huge, white spread over it, and piled on a bunch of pillows in all sizes and shapes. On my dresser, I placed a white alabaster lamp with a red silk shade, a bowl of exotic bangle bracelets, and a vase of red flowers.

But, what to do with that ceiling? I went to World Bazaar...remember World Bazaar? I bought twenty paper parasols. (In 1974, they were about a dollar each :) Mine were white with black borders, and each one had a red cherry blossom branch on it. I hung them from the ceiling at varying heights, so they would hide the water spots and mask the light bulb. Voila! The parasols took the room from exotic and mysterious!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Did Harry and Sally live happily ever after?

When Harry Met Sally is one of my favorite romantic comedies of all time. Made in the late 80's, it's still the gold standard for demonstrating that men and women just don't think alike. Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal are hilarious as idealistic, perfectionist Sally, and cynical, commitment-phobic Harry.

Over a period of twelve years, they argue about friendship, love, and sex, only to realize in the end, that they are best friends who are in love...with each other. The scene in Katz's Deli when Sally fakes an orgasm is classic. (The woman who says, "I'll have what she's having," is director Rob Reiner's mother.) Harry and Sally show us that, in spite of our inability to agree on, well, anything, love can eventually conquer all.

The movie ends with the newlyweds discussing their recent wedding. They seem happy, but, my question is, did it last? I've never known a man and woman who think alike, but Harry and Sally are particularly "polar" in their belief systems. However, does that automatically doom a relationship?

Did they still find their differences quirky and charming after a few years of marriage? Or, did Harry get tired of Sally's OCD small-talk and turn to one of his numerous old girlfriends for a night of hot-monkey sex? Did Sally grow weary of Harry's dark side, and leave him for a more sensitive, communicative type?

I'd always hoped that one day they would make a sequel, so we could find out what happened to Harry and Sally. Did the magic last? Did they move to the suburbs? Have children? Or did they fight over the books that they didn't put their names in and go through a nasty divorce?

Did Harry and Sally live happily ever after?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Santo (from the Spanish word meaning "saint") is a traditional New Mexican genre of religious sculpture. The word "santo" is also used to refer to individual works in this genre. Santos are carvings, either in wood or ivory, that depict saints, angels, or other religious figures.

This beautiful Santo is from the Eric Cortina Collection. Artists in the Phillipines start with Eric's original design and hand carve each figure piece out of mahogany. A different carver then creates the head and hands using softer wood. Every piece is unique and has it's own personality which is displayed in the carving of the face and glass eyes.

After each piece is carved, it is entirely covered in gesso which provides a surface for the various layers of paint used in Eric's finishing process. They are then packed, crated and shipped to the Cortina studio, where they are stained, painted, sanded and hand distressed to make each piece unique.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sweet dreams...from Belgium to Atlanta

This Belgian-style beauty of a bedroom belongs to Atlanta interior designer, Kay Douglas, who owns one of my favorite home furnishings stores, South of Market.

The bedroom's quiet elegance and European charm are so fresh and appealing. I love the two comfortable chairs and the primitive wooden stool at the foot of the bed, the rustic, but sophisticated paneled headboard, the clean lines of the chest and mirror, and the touches of orange for contrast with the soft ivories, beiges and grays. The use of various textures creates interest, but the lack of clutter and the neutral color palette provide a sanctuary of calm to relax in at the end of a hectic day. All it needs is a Belgian chocolate on the pillow...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The most adorable child on the planet...

I know everyone thinks that their grandchild is the cutest kid in the world. But really, you have to admit, this IS the most adorable child on the planet! He's my grandson, Jameson. Good genes just run in the family..:)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Dream Home...

I want a warehouse...not to store stuff live in. I adore rafters, pipes and ductwork, crusty exposed brick, gigantic metal and glass windows that crank open, creaky old wood floors, and feet and yards of raw space with no interior walls to dictate how that space should be used. I prefer a place that hasn't been renovated to death. And most warehouses used to be something else...a workroom or a factory...which gives them a sense of history and timelessness that I find irresistible. I've been in some of the most beautiful houses on the planet, but my dream home is an urban warehouse loft, in the heart of a city, with quirky boutiques, multi-ethnic restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, museums, galleries, and all kinds of interesting, wacky people just outside my door...

Minimal, elegant, or just easier?

In an interview, the artist Georgia O'Keeffe was once asked why she always wore black. In a time when the mode of dress for women was petticoats, corsets, elaborate hairstyles and lots of powder and rouge, Ms. O'Keeffe was an oddity, with her very plain minimal black wardrobe, no makeup, and long hair pulled back into a severe bun.

She replied that if she wore color, she would have to live up to it. She went on to explain that color greatly affected her mood and that she needed a neutral, non-agitating wardrobe so her clothing wouldn't compete with the colors she put on her canvases. Her answer was probably true, however, I'm sure she was also aware that her unique, un-fussy demeanor set her apart.

The infamous designer, Coco Chanel spent much of her childhood in a convent, and claimed that the nuns, in their strict, black habits, and the no frills school uniform that she wore daily, greatly influenced her tailored design style. She became famous for her use of somber colors with little or no pattern, menswear fabrics, unstructured silhouettes, and of course, for creating the perfectly timeless, little black dress.

Diana Vreeland, the noted tastmaker and flamboyant fashion magazine editor, once wrote, "elegance is refusal." When I first read her comment, back in the 70's, I had no idea what she meant. Refusal? At the time, my concept of elegance was indulgence and extravagance...something like, "if one flashy necklace is good, then adding the matching bracelets and a pair of dangly earrings is clearly better!" Also, since Mrs. Vreeland herself was a little over the top, I wasn't really sure where her observation was coming from. Why would a woman who wore kabuki makeup and whose signature color was fire-engine red say such a thing?

But, over the years, I've come to appreciate the beauty of minimal. I understand the allure of editing one's options...of limiting oneself to one color...or rather, sticking to the absence of all color...which is black. Black is my friend. It goes with everything, even itself. And I detest fooling with ruffles and extraneous frou-frou. Dry cleaning? No need. Linen? I don't even own an iron. Hairstyle? I roll down the car windows so my hair can blow dry on the way to work. I put on chapstick at red lights.

If indeed, elegance is refusal, then I truly must be one of the most elegant gals on the planet. Is that possible? Am I following in the footsteps of two of the most innovative, fashion forward women of the twentieth century? Am I an artist who doesn't want to compete with my work? Or am I just lazy?

I'll have to get back with you on this one. Right now, I'm going shopping for a simple pair of washable, no-iron, black pants that don't make my butt look big...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cinema Kitchen Magic...

I love this kitchen featured in the movie, It's Complicated. Meryl Streep's character, a bakery owner/caterer, obviously knows her way around a kitchen. And, what a sublime kitchen it is!

Belgium inspired, cozy without being cutesy, sophisticated without being sterile, it's comfortable, well equipped, and functional. Crisp white dishes and sparkling glassware are displayed on open shelves. Stainless steel and copper cookware hangs conveniently over the double range/oven. And potted herbs and bowls of fruit are casually placed within reach on the iron and marble free standing work counter.

Just looking at this kitchen makes me crave a plate of fabulous pasta, with roasted garlic, pesto, sundried tomatoes, a sprinkling of cracked pepper, and some shaved parmesan. Throw in some crusty bread with an herb-infused olive oil for dipping, and an espresso with a tangy-sweet lemon tart for dessert, and I'll be there at eight with a couple of bottles of wine!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Planet Carol's Summer "Wanna-Reads"

You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up...A Love Story
by Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn

Writer Kahn (Curb Your Enthusiasm) won an Emmy for scripting The Ben Stiller Show. Actress Gurwitch (Seinfeld) produced a documentary adapted from her 2006 book Fired! Tales of the Canned, Cancelled, Downsized and Dismissed. Married for 13 years, they look back with laughter at the highs, the lows, and their different marital needs. Reviews are good, it sounds hysterical, and I need a laugh...

Hellhound On His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin
by Hampton Sides

I experienced the assassination of Dr. King closeup and personal growing up in Memphis in the 60's, and fellow native Memphian Hampton Side's book sounds fascinating...

The Carrie Diaries
by Candace Bushnell

The coming of age story of a small-town Carrie Bradshaw, pre-Sex and the City. I make no apologies...I loved Sex and the City, and I want to know how and why Carrie became a writer, and what brought her to her beloved New York City...

Thanks, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine!

For putting Nest Interiors on your list of the best home furnishings boutiques in Nashville!

Home Furnishings - Nest Interiors
Discover highest quality furniture, home wares and decorative accessories, including hand-fired pottery, blown glassware and one-of-a-kind serving trays, all with a seductive elegance. With an artful balance of vintage, traditional and modern styles, we're always excited about what's new at this Parisian-inspired boutique. 1200 Villa Place, (615) 383-1511,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Montes Doggett ceramics and pottery...

I love this exquisite collection of tabletop ceramics and pottery from Montes Doggett. Each hand-crafted piece is made from clay of the highest quality from the Andes Mountains of Peru. All pieces are lead-free and microwave, dishwasher and oven safe.

Montes Doggett believes in fair trade, respects indigenous artisans, and celebrates the inherent beauty and craftsmanship of pottery made by loving hands.

It's beautiful, well-made, and there's something about simple, white tableware that just makes food look more appealing. It's crisp, classic and modern...and it will still be crisp, classic and modern twenty years from now...

Planet Carol's travel tips....

I've been places...a lot of places. And I've discovered that there are ways to make traveling easier, safer, and more enjoyable. Here are Planet Carol's quick five best travel tips...

Pack as if you're going to be the one schlepping your bags around. Because you probably are. Don't take an outfit for every occasion that could possibly arise. I promise you're going to end up wearing the same pair of great fitting jeans, a cute top, and the same comfortable shoes almost every day. Add a jacket that pulls everything together. Wear a pair of inexpensive silver hoop earrings and leave the expensive jewelry at home. Roll up a stretchy little black dress, a few more tops with various sleeve lengths, a pair of cargo pants with lots of pockets, a skirt, and a pair of sandals that can pinch hit for dress up shoes, and you're ready to go. Don't forget your undies!

Take your toiletries in small, travel sized bottles and containers. There really is no need to have a 16 oz. bottle of shampoo...most other cities and countries have drugstores. And just for this trip, could you please skip some of the stuff you use on your face? Take moisturizer and sunscreen...leave the exfoliating scrub, the wrinkle cream, the cool minty skin freshener, the eye gel, and the envigorating kiwi mask at home. Carry toiletries and makeup in ziplock bags. Sometimes airport security requires it, but even if they don't it keeps lotions and potions from leaking all over your freshly packed clothing.

Keep your money, credit cards, passport, etc. in a money belt close to your body, under your clothing. A fanny pack screams, "I'm a tourist, I have money, please rob me!" And a big purse or bag is just a bitch to drag around all day.

Be polite! Don't be the loudmouth American clunking around in some amazing cathedral during a service, snapping photos with the flash on, screaming "Hey Sidney, come look at the freaking fabulous stained glass window!" And learn the rules of etiquette and dress before visiting an exotic locale.

Don't assume that everyone in a foreign country speaks English. And don't get snippy with them if they don't. Get a dictionary that translates the language for you. Sometimes it only takes a word or two to get your point across, and usually the attempt to speak their language is appreciated. I'm not saying they won't laugh at you though...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Just tweet and eat...

According to the Intelligeneer/Posts in New York Magazine, the newest craze in our "Twitterized age of banal, self-chronicling" is taking photographs of our food and tweeting about what we ate. Really? That's what Martha Stewart did recently at the new restaurant, the Mark. "It's kind of flattering," says Richie Notar, a partner in the Nobu chain. "But please, no flash!" However, Ian Medwin, General Manager of The Mark, finds it a little distracting. "It's gone way beyond flash. They come in with Hasselblads and these big contraptions...I've seen other customers go over and ask them to stop."

I'll admit, there've been times when I've swooned over a beautifully prepared meal at a hip, trendy restaurant and wanted to photograph it for the world to see. But I found the idea of displaying my dinner for the admiration of others a bit, well, self indulgent. So I've resisted the urge.

No wait! I did discreetly snap a picture of this slice of coconut cream pie at The Log Cabin Restaurant, off of I-40 at Exit 143. It was a work of art, and it tasted as good as it looked. So, I present to you now, a photo of a slice of the best coconut cream pie on the planet! I am, after all, a hip and trendy kind of girl. :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

A spring table with a French twist...

Nest Interiors recently created a concept table for the bridal show hosted by Eye Candy Salon, one of our fabulous neighbors in Edgehill Village. We decided this would be the perfect time to introduce our new bridal and gift registry. Our table needed to be fresh, sophisticated, mostly neutral with punches of color...and our budget was very tight.

For most projects, we usually find a thing or two that we love, and then build from there. This one started with lemons. We are enamoured with the color yellow this spring! We added limes and tangerines, fresh flowers loosely arranged in clear glass beakers and lots of tiny glass bud vases, sparkling glass tealight votives, crisp white dishes with saucy black polka dotted borders, and a long piece of loosely woven burlap for a table runner. The French twist? White ceramic numbered mugs planted with lavender, chic little black bordered dessert plates, and numbered wine tumblers from Paris. We topped it off with a "bride and groom"....two large ceramic eggs with whimsical legs and chicken feet. The bride wore a simple wreath of flowers created for her by Elle, of Elle's Marche des Fleurs, another talented neighbor here at the Village.

The fruit, flowers and burlap used on a reclaimed wood table, provided a natural, organic feel. However, the numbered French mugs, plates and wine tumblers, beakers, vases, votives, and the fashionably dressed bride elevated our table from primitive to polished. It was a perfect marriage of French country and sophisticated Parisian...and it didn't break the bank. Try this look at your next brunch...I promise it will be a hit! Bonjour!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Planet Carol recommends...

My top 10 movie picks from the late 60's-early 70's

If you haven't seen any of these films in a while, you need to watch them again. They're entertaining, campy, hysterical, horrifying, and amazing. And if you're too young to know what I'm talking about, you don't know what you're missing. Check them out...pronto. All are available on DVD.

Blowup, 1966

The Graduate, 1967

Midnight Cowboy, 1969
(NYC...before Giuliani)

Easy Rider, 1969
(Jack Nicholson's bit is a hoot)

M.A.S.H., 1970
(not the tv series...the movie, with Donald Sutherland, Elliot Gould, and Sally Kellerman)

Harold and Maude, 1971
(quirky suicidal teenager falls for quirky octogenarian concentration camp survivor...hysterical!)

Carnal Knowledge, 1971
(again, Jack is amazing)

A Clockwork Orange, 1971
(...just singing in the rain...)

Deliverance, 1972
(I still get ptss sweats when I hear the phrase, "squeal like a pig")

Slaughterhouse Five, 1972

Saturday, May 15, 2010

ABC Kitchen, NYC

I just read a review in New York Magazine’s May 10th issue of the new restaurant located in ABC Carpet and Home in NYC. According to reviewer, Adam Platt, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s latest endeavor, appropriately named ABC Kitchen, “takes local and seasonal dining to a higher plane.” Critique was favorable….and the décor looks fabulous! And it's in of the greatest furniture and home furnishing emporiums on the planet! How could it not be amazing!

Put it on your calendar...

Don't miss the Edgehill Village Artisan Fair next Saturday, May 22.
Come early and stay all day. There'll be lots of great art, music, food, and much more!
A fabulous time will be had by all. See you there!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Paula Deen, eat your heart out!

I recently read an article in Garden and Gun Magazine about the Southern, home cooking style restaurant rage that has invaded NYC. All I have to say is, “it’s about time!” How they’ve managed this long without fried chicken, country ham with red eye gravy, collard greens, fried green tomatoes, homemade biscuits, grits, banana pudding and sweet tea is beyond me.

I grew up in the South. My grandparents had a farm in Mississippi, where I spent my summers riding horses, fishing, making pets out of farm animals, watching the sunset over the pond with my grandfather, and helping my grandmother cook up some of the most amazing food on the planet. She NEVER used a recipe or a measuring cup…it was always just “a handful of this and a pinch of that.” She knew everything about anything that sprang from the earth. Her garden produced plump, beautiful vegetables that we picked just minutes before she cooked them. She made preserves and jams out of fruit from the orchard. We gathered fresh eggs for breakfast every morning. A chicken was “sacrificed” weekly for Sunday dinner. (I was never really happy about that, but her fried chicken and chicken n’ dumplings were the best.)

Mamaw always seemed to be covered with flour. She made hot, flaky biscuits everyday to accompany the eggs, the buttery grits, and crunchy, salty, country ham from the smokehouse. Lunch was usually either fried chicken, fried pork chops, fried catfish, (do you see a pattern?) or chicken and dumplings, with collard greens, fried green tomatoes, creamy white beans with ham hocks, black-eyed peas, mashed potatoes, and sweet creamed corn. All of this was served with freshly churned butter and my personal addiction, sweet tea, or as I like to call it, “the table wine of the South.” And if that wasn’t enough to clog your arteries, there was dessert…banana pudding, steaming blackberry cobbler, or buttery apple or peach pie with melting homemade vanilla ice cream on top. OMG… I’m so hungry!

Memories of our favorite comfort foods are one of life’s great pleasures. Regardless of where a person is from, it’s always fun to watch their eyes light up and glaze over when remembering their favorite childhood meal.

So yippee, New Yorkers….have a plate of biscuits and a big, sweet iced tea for me…and go watch the sunset!

Nest Interiors

Come check out the shop I live in!:)

Day 1

Today is the day,...I am attempting to place my first post...EEK!

If you are reading this, the attempt was a success!