The last few months have been filled with eye-popping amounts of activity. The biggest outcome of which is Coléoptère, a fine jewelry concern I co-founded and launched in November of last year.




good advice


moravola — medieval modernism

While I admit to an unhealthy fascination with hotels in general ( a la distance), and hotel bars in particular (in close proximity), there are very occasionally a few hotels that break through my hazy, pro-hotel glow and beg me to book a flight and a room. Moravola is one of those hotels.

Architect Christopher Chong and his wife, designer Seonaid Mackenzie bought the 9th century Torre di Moravola in 1999 — after it had been abandoned for 50 years.


Before the restoration


The torre is obviously lovingly restored in a sort of  “medieval modernism”. The website for the hotel has, unexpectedly, a charming  overview of the design process, and shows the work that was required to reconstruct ceilings, add stairs, and smooth walls; an intimate, behind-the-scenes touch that seems to presage an equally intimate stay. It’s only open seasonally, but honestly, did you really want to go to Umbria in February?

Some images to wet your whistle:

2 3 4 5 6 7  9 10 11 12 13  Torre-di-Moravola-03-1-Kind-Design-600x400 Torre-di-Moravola-04-1-Kind-Design-600x400 Torre-di-Moravola-12-1-Kind-Design-600x400 Torre-di-Moravola-26-1-Kind-Design-600x400 Torre-di-Moravola-30-1-Kind-Design-600x369 Torre-di-Moravola-33-1-Kind-Design-600x369

mallarme’s cat


Mallarme’s cat by Edouard Manet

On a cold, rainy February night in New York, I remember a story Andre Malraux used to tell — and which, at some remove, was told to me — about Mallarme’s cat, whose name, almost needless to say, was Blanche.

On a cold, rainy February night in Paris, a thin and bedraggled alley cat, wandering the streets, looks in the window of Mallarme’s house and sees a white, fat and fluffy cat dozing in an overstuffed chair by a blazing fire. He taps on the window:

“Comrade cat, how can you live in luxury and sleep so peacefully when your brothers are here in the streets starving?”

 “Have no fear, comrade,” Blanche replies. “I’m only pretending to be Mallarme’s cat.”

— From “Anecdotal Evidence,” by Eliot Weinberger, in the Fall 2003 issue of Conjunctions. [reprinted in Harper’s Magazine, June 2004]

rue magazine: lisa baird

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My friend and business partner, the inveterate adventurer Lisa Baird, recently had her home featured in the latest issue of the always beautiful Rue Magazine.  The spreads were art directed by Maia McDonald of Design Conundrum fame, and photographed by frequent Rue contributor and SF-based talent Cooper Carras.

Lisa lives in a neo-gothic historic building in downtown Oakland, abundant in fantastic architectural detail. Couple that with Lisa’s playful and confident style with her interiors ….well…is it any wonder we hijacked the two flagpoles on her terrace and turned the whole gorgeous confection into the Coléoptère international headquarters?

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Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 9.19.49 AM LISA BAIRD BEDROOM Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 9.20.43 AM

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“the man of taste always knows how to reduce need to a minimum.” — Balzac