Friday, April 29, 2011

Of Wardrobes that Double as Portals

This Moorish folly of a wardrobe intrigues Nero no end. Part of me wants to ensconce my babouches into a perfectly apportioned nook and prop my feet on the comely mohair beckoning from that built-in banquette. And yet another inner voice longs to inadvertently brush up against a hidden button, nestled perhaps behind a blouse, which would reveal a secret door when pushed -- a portal to another place in time.

Fascinated, I'm Sure

Oh Dear...

 Now that's a little more like it.

Of Friday's Fantasy and a Tyrrhenian Mind-Trip

The weekend's on its way fairest Nerophytes and not a moment to soon. So for those of us with little on the immediate travel agenda, how about a serving of Saubadian solace down Italy way. What Nero wouldn't give to make like a lizard in an Eres swimsuit, toga-style sarong and the perfect pair of strappy sandals, on a stretched-out escapade to Villa Volpi. Andiamo, shall we?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Of House Tours and A Tour de Force

Fair Readers, one of Houston's most anticipated home-on-display fundraising events, The West University Home Tour, comes to life for four fleeting hours this Sunday, May 1st from 1-5 pm. Like butterflies emerging from constricting chrysalises, seven houses will stretch their wings and fling open their doors to welcome what is sure to be the well-heeled equivalent of a design-savvy cattle stampede. Nero will be one of the drooling docents greeting guests at designer Sally Wheat's stunning home, so do pop by. For those who followed Joni's rip-roarious accounts of Stalking the Wheats, you'll be in for a jaw-dropping surprise when you discover that Sally has entirely revamped her house from top to toe -- but don't alert the authorities quite yet, her kitchen o' dreams remains intact and the  new look is nothing short of delicious. 

And the Bedroom Gods Smiled

Today rowdy Raina of Lampshade fame gave readers a raucous rundown (no this is not a tongue twister) of the Kips Bay Decorator Show House, and this lip-smacking bedroom designed by Amanda Nisbet had Nero positively tongue-tied. Old World paneling, a new age chandelier, hot pink graffiti wallpaper and a Marilyn Minter en tête. Forget pill-popping fairest Nerophytes, this fiercely au courant space is a natural stimulant.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Of Through the Looking Glass...Again

Revisiting the Ruffin Costello kitchen yesterday made Nero itch for a more substantial scratch. And so organically, as if by osmosis, the rest of the family's stunning home materialized. These images stem from the former real estate listing, and in them the master bedroom is still a cheery cherry blossom bower that just won't quit. Oh to sleep amid the blooms. Walk with me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Of Blogger Blues and a Flashback

This evening Nero's in the mood for waxing nostalgic -- got a touch of the blogger blues -- a jones for familiar, favorite spaces. Sara Ruffin Costello's former kitchen still gets me at hello. It's a timeless room, classically substantial yet whimsical, with a pinch of that trademark haute boho vibe folded in. Wonder if Sara was sad to leave it behind when she moved -- surely lots of warm memories cooked up in there. 

Of Welcoming Spring or Ab Ovo Usque Ad Piscis

The ancient Egyptians marked the vernal equinox and celebrated the rites of spring with offerings of fish and freshly harvested vegetables to the gods. Over the centuries, this ritual dovetailed with the Coptic Easter and morphed into a non-denominational national holiday dubbed Sham el-Nessim or "the smelling of the Zephyr," which is celebrated throughout Egypt on the Monday following Easter. Typically Egyptians of all faiths gather to picnic by the Nile, at sporting clubs or in the open, grassy plazas that punctuate that sprawling desert land. Salted mullet (fisikh) and shallots are still staples of the event, which is a delight for fishmongers and largely traumatic for those children (and adults!) who can't stomach the smell of pickled fish. This year a Sham el-Nessim celebration was hosted in Houston by a group of friends whose children happily blew bubbles, hunted for colored eggs and gingerly avoided the fisikh like the plague. Nero didn't capture many images, but below our little dark-haired guy joined in the fun 'n games clad in green gingham. 

 Bubbles and plastic eggs make for a rather muddy but festive affair.

Treetop meditating over a basket of rainbow-hued loot

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's a Twins Thing

Textile designer Lulu deKwiatowski's NYC apartment is a legendary slice of Big Apple chicka-boom-boom and as fate would have it, it's about to change hands. LDK and her family have decamped to L.A. and are contemplating a move to Rome to fully Italianize their children, as per her husband's request. Speaking of the bambini, let us feast our eyes on this soon-to-be-former nursery, for 'tis the stuff of lullabies and sweet, sweet dreams. 

Of Summertime and Easy Livin'

The Windy City's spoken, articulate, loud and clear. It's time for Putt-Putt, bikes and barbecues. Folks, Chicago Home + Garden has declared summer here. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Of Jewel Box Houses and Keshi Pearls

Houston-based jewelry designer and artist Joannie Herring is clearly of a creative bend and a non-conformist to boot. Her fanciful pieces commingle the remnants of vintage finds with modern South Sea pearls, just as her home contains a soothing but unorthodox melange of antique and modern furniture, evocative of an iridescent sway-in-the-tides coral reef. To delve further into the tale of how this well-traveled daughter of an interior designer moved her soft and sparkling treasures into a galvanized steel and cement-floored house in Texas, dip your toes into this month's PaperCity.


Urban flâneuse, armchair observer, absent-minded scribbler, occasional epicure and carpool line cultural attaché, my nom de plume is Nero. Join me as I catalog a compilation of earthly delights and stuff that I dig. Alcira Molina-Ali



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