While on a recent working trip to NYC I was lucky enough to stay at the Gansevoort Park Avenue. I often find myself leaning toward the pre-war architecture of some of Manhattan’s smaller boutique hotels, but the Gansevoort has opened my eyes to a different NYC experience. Located at 29th and Park Avenue, this newly built 249-room hotel is a short walk to one my favourite food meccas in the city, Eataly.
The lobby of the Gansevoort Park Avenue really sets the tone for the entire experience. Bold, energetic, clever and glamorous really really sum it up. Like most hotel lobbies, this three-story space is a hub of activity, but also an incredibly chic place to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi!
I have to admit, this lobby is ‘a whole lot of look’ but I think the fact that they really went for it makes it work. Hot pink, tufted upholstery, and bold, black and white chevron floors altogether — why not? It’s certainly memorable!
The guest rooms carry the same aesthetic as the lobby but in a more peaceful and relaxing way, using bold hues as accents to a more neutral backdrop. I really love the intense sapphire blue and fuchsia pink together and how they give this room so much life. Would I hang hot pink drapes in my own bedroom? No. But it’s a total rock-star move to hang them in a hotel room where guests won't tire of them so quickly.
My favourite thing about this room has to be the size of its window. I’ve never stayed in a NYC hotel room with this much natural light, and of course it offers a great view of this incredible city.
1-4. Joel Bray
Some of the most striking homes we've featured in House & Home are the ones where the owners have defied convention and simply created a space they love. This striking SoHo loft — available for just $11 million — is one such home. It's been the residence and studio of Edwina Sandys, an artist and Winston Churchill's granddaughter, since 1995. Edwina and her architect husband created this wildly colourful space that's packed with art. Let's peek inside.
Looking at one of two great rooms from above makes it pretty obvious why the couple, both in their golden years, are moving out: it's an enormous space. It feels pretty cavernous, too, thanks to 17-foot ceilings and 11-foot windows. Vaulted brick ceilings are worth craning your neck for; apparently Sandys's husband only discovered them after deciding to punch through an existing ceiling.
The apartment is divided over two floors, though much of the second storey is open to the first. It's a bit of an architectural mishmash, with columns and Carrara marble floors running into more industrial elements like exposed pipes and vents. The five-bedroom, five-bath property, which takes up an entire floor, is being sold as one 6,500-square-foot unit, but 1,000 square feet of that could eventually be split off into a separate second apartment.
The space's lofty, gallery feel is certainly put to good use as a showcase for art. The listing boasts that when you walk in, there's a "Prince Street-sized art gallery," which is 15' x 30', according to the floor plan. For large or unwieldy installations, make use of the two freight-sized elevators.
I hope that when I'm in my seventies, I'll be daring enough to soak a hallway in red. (And while I'm at it, I hope to also be selling my apartment for $11 million to fund my retirement to Palm Beach.) Though the building itself dates from 1860, there's nothing dated, let alone pre-war, about this gorgeous hue.
Could you see yourself living and creating in this massive space?
For another striking red and white space, check out Colomba Fuller's loft
1–4: Douglas Elliman
We gave a sneak peek of Tiffany's glittering new Art Nouveau store on Bloor Street in Toronto in our November 2013 issue, but I was lucky enough to attend the opening on September 18.
The new design made me feel like I had just walked into a jewelry box. Just inside the front doors is a stunning installation hanging from the ceiling that resembles floating leaves by Japanese artist Nami Sawada.
Here I am wearing a favourite Tiffany necklace with fine jewelry sales manager Liz St. Louis (left photo), and Chrissie Rejman, supervising producer of CityLine.
This model is adorned with some gorgeous rocks, but I was equally impressed by the stair runner — the Art Nouveau-style magnolia motif runs throughout the store, and obviously extends to the food presentation. A tray of white macarons are almost too pretty to eat.
It's hard not to be impressed by the double-height foyer's 25-foot ceilings and carved stone walls. The metal balustrade resembles wheatsheaves, another recurring Tiffany motif, symbolizing golden fields and the harvest.
A striking hand-forged chandelier by New York-based artist Michelle Oka Doner dominates the salon, which is enveloped by powder-blue lacquer walls.
It's no surprise that Tiffany blue plays a starring role in this private area used for selecting wedding rings. Fully-leafed glass panels by John Opella act as a backdrop for the consultation desk.
And of course, I love what comes inside a blue Tiffany box, too. Some of my favourite designs include my Elsa Peretti Sevillana ring in sterling silver. I am obsessed with the graphic look of circles.
See? Obsessed. Ditto for the Elsa Peretti Padova teaspoon.
I was given Breakfast at Tiffany's sunglasses as a gift and think they are so glamorous, you feel like Audrey wearing them.
Here's another classic: the Elsa Peretti Bone cuff is one of my go-to pieces of jewelry.
The contrast of the silver bean with the rustic leather on this Peretti Bean keychain is so chic.
And the Thumbprint bowl by Peretti is just as sculptural as her jewellery.
Here's stack of Tiffany invites I keep as beautifully designed mementos.
As a young line cook in the '90s, I mashed my fair share of potatoes. Whether it was amped up with roasted garlic or left unadulterated, back then mash was served with just about everything. When I was an apprentice at a small French bistro, I made them every night, right before service, and heated each portion to order so it was hot, fluffy and perfect.
Despite being a four-ingredient recipe, there are many variables involved: often the simplest dishes are the hardest to get right. To help you make the Horseradish Whipped Potatoes in our holiday menu in the November 2013 issue. Here is a breakdown of the art and science of mashed potatoes.
Pick The Right Potato
For mash, you need a starchy potato that will absorb plenty of milk and butter. The two best options are russet (aka baking) potatoes or Yukon Golds. Russets are starchier, so they will take on more liquid and yield richer results. I prefer Yukon Golds for their sweet flavour and golden hue.
The Boiling Point
Mashed potato purists will roast potatoes in their skins so they will be as dry as possible, but when you're preparing a big holiday feast, it's much preferable to do them on the stovetop as the oven is usually booked up for the day with desserts, roasts, etc. Peel the potatoes, cut into large, even chunks and simmer in aggressively salted water until just done — they will be just starting to disintegrate at the edges and a pairing knife inserted into the centre will meet with little resistance. Keep a close eye on them, as over-boiled potatoes will absorb too much water, leaving less room for milk and butter.
Once the potatoes have drained in a colander, return them to the pot they were cooked in, off the burner, and allow the residual heat of the pot to remove some of the excess moisture. Again, the less water in the potatoes, the more milk and butter they can take in.
I prefer smooth mashed potatoes, and to achieve this you need one of two tools. A food mill purees and strains the potatoes by forcing them through small holes. A ricer, which looks like giant garlic press, essentially does the same thing. I prefer a food mill, as you can set it over a pot or bowl. If you don't mind a few lumps, a potato masher does the trick.
While the potatoes are cooking, heat the milk (homogenized) and butter (unsalted) in a saucepan. My basic ratio is 2 lb. of unpeeled potatoes to ¾ cup milk and ¼ cup butter. It is essential that the potatoes and liquid are both hot when they meet, so they emulsify properly and yield fluffy mash. If either one is cold the end result will be unappetizingly gluey. (The first and only time I did this, the chef dumped them into garbage without comment.) Add the hot milk and butter in stages, and mix it in with a heatproof silicone spatula. This will produce fluffy mash without splattering up the counter.
I only season mashed potatoes with salt, either fine sea or kosher. Never pepper, especially, God forbid, white pepper. Some old school European chefs use white pepper in mash, but I find it's bizarre flavour so dominant that even a pinch will yield white pepper flavoured mashed potatoes. Not on my watch.
The beauty of mashed potatoes is that they can be made a few hours before dinner, left to cool at room temperature, then slowly reheated over a low flame until hot and fluffy.
1. Eric Vellend
I recently tried my hand at a DIY chalkboard as my girlfriend was having a hard time finding one within her budget. While looking for tips online, I came across some other fun ways to use chalkboard paint. It was amazing to see how creative people got, especially when it came to their walls.
We know wall-to-wall chalkboards are a great way to keep kids entertained (it sure beats monthly paint touch ups) and baristas do a lovely job with daily menus at our local cafés, but check out how some people took this chalkboard fad to a whole new level and turned the versatile canvas into art.
Would you consider an entire wall in your home coated in chalkboard paint?
Flooring can play a major part in defining the ambience or mood of a room. But how do you decide on a style to suit your specific space and personality?
Preverco is a family-run business that has been making hardwood floors for 25 years. Their interactive website can help you define your style—from country to contemporary — plus, you can learn more about flooring textures, species and plank width. (This blog is sponsored by Preverco.)
Here are some of our favorite ways to create ambience with your floors throughout your home.
Create a classic hotel-look in a bedroom
Wide-plank white oak floors in a light stain help to create the feeling of relaxed luxury. The soft, neutral tone allows statement furniture pieces like this ornate bed to take centre stage.
Warm up a kitchen with country-style floors
Achieve a timeless country look in a kitchen with a dark stain (such as Sumatra, pictured above) that emphasizes the strong grain of the red oak and allows your cabinets and island to pop. Red undertones in the floor warm up the room.
Go sleek and contemporary with loft-like floors
The dark stained of this floor brings out the wood’s natural details. The combination of high, modern baseboards and sleek steel elements like this streamlined railing make this a great choice for those who prefer a cool and contemporary look.
Bring energy and interest to a living room
This rich ash floor features a dark and prominent grain that contrasts beautifully with the contemporary décor, enabling the bright, eclectic upholstery to stand out.
For more information about Preverco floors and how they can help create the perfect ambience in your home, visit preverco.com