Spotlight on Sister Parish Design

In honor of our new collaboration with Sister Parish Design, we had the pleasure of interviewing its President and Co-Founder, Susan Crater. We learned about her decorating style, inspirations, and the lasting influence of her grandmother, legendary Designer Sister Parish.

We are thrilled to bring the Parish-Hadley design legacy to paper with the launch of our Desmond and Serendipity correspondence card sets!

What inspired you to revive your Grandmother’s work and start Sister Parish Design in 2000? Did you always know that you wanted to work in the design field?

The truth is that I did not always know that I wanted to work in the design field. I did always know that I appreciated a beautifully decorated room, and especially appreciated and loved the rooms that my grandmother and Albert [Hadley] designed. It is these rooms that inspired me to create this collection.

Many of your patterns are from the Parish-Hadley archives, though you have also launched new patterns along with a home accessories collection. How do you find a balance between honoring the Parish-Hadley tradition while continuing to update your offerings?

We look to the rooms that Parish-Hadley decorated and we look to the rooms that inspired Parish-Hadley to guide us in building our collection. How are textiles being used and what types of textiles are being used in these rooms?  Will decorators today want to use these textiles in the same way or will they want to use them differently? These are the types of questions we ask ourselves in order to build a collection that will continue to honor the Parish-Hadley legacy.

What is your favorite piece of decorating advice that you like to share with friends and clients?

“Innovation is often the ability to reach into the past and bring back what is good, what is beautiful, what is useful, what is lasting.”  -Sister Parish

Photo: Horst P. Horst/Condé Nast Archive

Sister Parish, 1974

What do you think that everyone should avoid when decorating a home? Do you have any design-related pet peeves?

One thing my grandmother taught me was the importance of scale. Overly large and overstuffed furniture will ruin a room.

 You have a gorgeous house up in Bedford, New York!  How would you compare your personal design aesthetic to that of your Grandmother’s? Do you have any favorite pieces of hers that you have out in your home (furniture, decorative pieces, etc)?

I’ve always wanted to create the same comfortable and beautiful rooms for my family that my mother and grandmother created for theirs.  I’m particularly in love with a green velvet Lawson style sofa designed by Billy Baldwin. Baldwin was small in physical stature and would use the Lawson sofa as his bed in his studio apartment. The same green velvet has been on the sofa since the 1980’s and it has only gotten better with time!

We’d love to hear a bit more about the Desmond and Serendipity patterns that are featured as part of our collaboration. How did you end up choosing these particular designs?

Both Desmond and the Serendipity are small all over prints that make a big impact. They are tried and true patterns that have added depth and sophistication to many rooms over the years. We knew they would have the same effect on stationery as they’ve had on rooms.

You have priceless handwritten letters from First Lady Jackie Kennedy to your grandmother in your archives—a perfect tie-in with our partnership. Why do you think that handwritten correspondence is still important in 2018?

A beautifully handwritten letter is like a beautifully decorated room. If properly cared for, it will last forever!

Where is your ideal place to sit down and write a letter?

My porch in Maine.

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Susan and her daughter, Eliza, at the Dempsey & Carroll office during the photo shoot for our collaboration

Many thanks to Susan for taking the time to speak with us. Be sure to shop our collaboration on our site here!

24 Hours in Los Angeles with FORM Design Studio

image009Based in Los Angeles, Josh and Rafi of FORM Design Studio are at the forefront of modern, sustainable living, but still take time to appreciate the allure of the Old Hollywood glamour in their city. Don’t forget to check out our collaboration with FORM after you read about their go-to spots in LA!

 

 

 

 

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Where to Stay

  • Favorite Hotel: Château Marmont, because classic is always “in.”  The Château, as it is called, offers a taste of Hollywood at its finest.  For locals, this is a picturesque and quiet spot to meet friends for a drink, a meal, or some people watching.

 

Where to Eat and Drink

  • Casual Dining: This is a toss-up between Din Tai Fung in Arcadia and Mozza in Hollywood.
  • Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese dumpling house.  We must confess, it is a chain, but the dumplings are made in-house and by hand (you can watch from the huge window that looks into the kitchen).  There is something so clean about this food; you can taste every ingredient in each dumpling.  The simplicity is what makes it so special.  It’s now become a phenomenon, so line up early!

 

  • At another end of the culinary spectrum, there is the marvel that is Pizzeria Mozza, the brainchild of partners Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich.  This place is the distillation of the best parts of each of the owners’ talents. If you are in Los Angeles and you want to challenge the wisdom that the best pizza in America is in New York, give it a shot.  Neither of us eats dairy or wheat, but we eat pizza at Mozza.

 

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Orsa & Winston delicacies

  • Fine Dining: Our favorite upscale restaurant is a small spot that has recently wriggled its way into our hearts: Orsa & Winston.  The degustation menu is ever-changing depending on the available fresh ingredients (and in Los Angeles, the parameters are as broad as they come). The food is magnificently conceived and deftly offered and the service is impeccable. The wine pairing is “just so,” working seamlessly and symbiotically with the chef’s creations. This is a great date spot.

 

 

 

  • Favorite Bar: This is an easy one: Augustine Wine Bar.  This gem is in Sherman image005Oaks and it has become our go-to for all things celebratory.  Not only is the food spectacular (you can expect anything from a simple plate of artisanal charcuterie, to a beautifully charred octopus or a perfect duck confit), but the wine offerings are remarkable. What these guys are doing is offering really wonderful, vintage wines by the glass in a super sexy setting to a wide variety of wine enthusiasts. We have had warm, intimate evenings together there as well as raucous nights, meeting some real characters at the bar.  The staff is knowledgeable, kind (we’ve made good friends), and always ready to chat about the more esoteric experiences one can find in the bottle.

Augustine Wine Bar

 

What to See

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The Getty Center

  • Our favorite museum in LA is The Getty Center.  The never-ending parade of world class exhibits that move through The Getty are not to be missed, but the permanent collection is of extraordinary merit itself.  The grounds are breathtaking along with the structures themselves, which were designed by Richard Meier.  The museum is, purportedly, the world’s largest installation of travertine.  With its fountains, sculptures, and gardens, The Getty offers visitors more than one could absorb in a day. The restaurant there is one of the most civilized locations in all of Los Angeles, drawing much more of NY crowd than anything else and the view at sunset is something to write home about.
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Huntington Gardens

  • We would say that in the “attraction” category, there is no better place than the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena.  Being there is like slipping into Alice’s Wonderland!  If you weren’t a botanophile (we are having some debate as to whether or not that is a word) before visiting, you certainly will be afterwards.

 

Thank you for sharing your Los Angeles favorites with us, Josh and Rafi!

Where are your favorite destinations to visit in Los Angeles or other cities around the world? Discover our Jet Set Collection to inspire your next trip and use the #DestinationDempsey hashtag on social media to share your travels. 

Spotlight on FORM

Dempsey & Carroll’s Benjamin Manno sat down with the team from Form to talk about design and what inspires them. 

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BM: FORM taking function. How important is this concept to you when you begin working with a client? Have you ever had requests so “out of left field” that you had to sacrifice one for the other?

FL: The dance between form and function is never-ending. Frequently, at the outset of a project, one will take the dominant role according to the client, the scope of the project, or the voice of the space, itself. We believe that if you really listen, the “best” balance for a project can be achieved. We once had a client who had spent a lot of time dreaming of the ultimate shower for personal grooming—one that included a sink and full-length mirror. After communicating that a shower is essentially a temperature regulated water source with a drain, and that a sink would be redundant, he acquiesced. In terms of the mirror we were able to talk him down from full-length to something more modest that played well with the large format tile. Mirror is always tricky in a shower, as it will degrade over time due, to the moisture. We also had a client who had her heart set on the largest possible opening between her first floor and her back yard so she could maximize the family’s indoor / outdoor living experience. In the end, the door solution she could afford—while maintain the largest possible opening—was going to take up so much depth that the living room fireplace would be displaced from center. We made our case and lost. Somehow this didn’t seem to bother her.

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BM: Who do you admire? What is it about them that inspires you?

FL: In design and artistically we are often inspired by Tony Duquette. A true original, Tony Duquette designed boldly and fearlessly, creating iconic lighting, sculpture, textiles and spaces that live on today. Hutton Wilkinson, Tony’s business partner who now carries the Duquette design legacy says, “If it’s not fabulous, it’s meaningless” and we tend to agree.

It is people who have lived, and do live, with this kind of honest abandon whom we admire most.

We are also absurdly fond of Mexican architect Luis Barrágan’s; his maniacal use of restraint in color, scale and proportion, creates some of the loudest minimal environments and prove that, in fact, editing is everything.

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BM: West Coast vs. East Coast? The ultimate throw down. Who has the most brilliantly challenging spaces to create?

FL: We are in no way looking to be the Switzerland of design, however, we approach each project—regardless of location—from a unique perspective, such that brilliant challenges are ever present. Having said that, most Manhattan projects do present a specific set of parameters from the get-go and make scale and installation critically important to the conceptualization process.

BM: Where does sustainability and environmental consciousness swirl in to your work? How do you go green?

FL: We recently shared a flight with an owner of some of the world’s most prestigious caviar farms. When I [Josh] asked about his “farming” practices, in terms of the holistic quality of his caviar, he answered with the following; “We value the life of our fish first, the environment second, and the quality of our product third. Ultimately, we believe that if we are abiding by the first and second values, the third takes care of itself.” Not that it is a direct correlation, but we practice design much in that same way.

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BM: Dempsey & Carroll was honored to support your efforts for the 2015 Red and White Ball that raised relief funds for the Red Cross. What was the inspiration behind your stunning table design?

FL: Thank you so much. Dempsey & Carroll’s participation in our Red Cross 2015 Red and White Ball table design was truly the béarnaise on our filet. We were giddy when you said “yes” and the design process was absolute heaven (insert tongue-out wink emoji). The inspiration for our table design stemmed from this year’s gala theme of “hope.” As we pondered the Red Cross and the impact they make on our planet, we thought about how, at the simplest level, they represent people working together to create second chances. We translated this into our design with a centerpiece comprised of three wire frame red sculptures that we joined by a single headdress of monarch butterflies. The butterflies are the “hope” in our design and they played beautifully together throughout the various elements of the table design, including the stunning custom “Thank You” cards that Dempsey & Carroll created and so graciously donated.

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F. Schumacher’s 125th Anniversary

For 125 years F. Schumacher and Co. has delighted our senses with stunning interpretations of nature and architecture through what are now their icon wall coverings and fabrics. We remain honored to carry their inspiring tradition of design into their papers. Below is a reminder of just how impactful their work has been as featured in Architectural Digest – we know you’ll enjoy the piece as much as we did.

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