Monday, December 15, 2014


NEW BOOK


Room by Leta Austin Foster
Photograph by Edward Addeo

Well, I just sent in a possible preface to the author, Brian Coleman, of a book that is being written about our firm, Leta Austin Foster and Associates.  I don’t know if I have mentioned it before, but Gibbs Smith, the publisher of Brian’s best-selling book, Farrow and Ball, the Art of Color, and also his other books, including one of Fortuny, one of my favourite sources, is publishing this book, with beautiful photographs by Erik Kralsvik.  I was very honoured to be asked to have this book about us.  It is a wonderful thing for both me and my daughters, who work with me and of whom I am so proud.  A fabulous and loyal client, Carole Jankowsky, has always wanted there to be a book on our work.  I hope this next book makes her very happy.









Since I am neither writing it or shooting the pictures or publishing it , I blithely assumed it would require nothing from me.  How foolish I was.  Every picture in it has, apparently, to tell a story, and they all need factual identification, such as what fabric here? Who painted this? Who designed this cornice?  Made the curtains?  And, of course, I want all this known, since all these sources are what allow me to do what I do.

So, since I can’t show the new pictures until the book comes out—next fall, a year from now, just in time for your Christmas shopping, I think I’ll show you some of the wonderful pictures from the former book in which we were presented before, the Farrow and Ball book.




Room by Leta Austin Foster
Photograph by Edward Addeo




Room by Leta Austin Foster
Photograph by Edward Addeo



Room by Leta Austin Foster
Photograph by Edward Addeo



Room by Leta Austin Foster
Photograph by Edward Addeo




Room by Sallie Giordano
Leta Austin Foster & Associates



Room by Sallie Giordano
Leta Austin Foster & Associates



Room by Sallie Giordano
Leta Austin Foster & Associates



We loved doing all of those houses—just as we loved doing the houses—and clubs and apartment lobbies—in the new book.  Hope you enjoyed that book—which you can still buy at Amazon.com—and will equally enjoy the next one.  We are very excited about it.

XOXOXOXOX 
LETA

Saturday, December 13, 2014

CHOCOLATE

We love chocolate...dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate with nuts, chocolate-covered salted caramels, chocolae ganache....well, you get the picture.

Since chocolate is a whole food (I'm not sure whether this is fact or fiction, but I choose to believe it) we should feel virtuous in a daily indulgence.  Dark chocolate in fact, is good for our heart !

Every year, in addition to stocking up on our old favorites like Maison Bouche, I try to introduce a new chocolate company in my shop.  Most often it is one of the "top 10" chocolates of the year as touted by the New York Times.

This year's introduction is the famed New Orleans chocolate company, Sucré.  The confections, which melt in your mouth, have such names as Avery Caramel Chocolate Ganache, Meunière Brown Butter Chocolate Ganache, Wedding Cake Toasted Almond White Chocolate Ganache, Hazelnut Cream Semi-sweet Chocolate Ganache, Rhum Bittersweet Ganache with Spiced and Dark Rum and Sicillian Pistachio and White Chocolate Ganache.

These fabulous yummies are nestled in chic boxes perfect for hostess presents.





In addition to the boxed chocolates, we are also carrying 3 sizes of adorable pink paper purses that hold delicious dark chocolate squares.




We have been selling a lot of them as an extra goodie to tie on the outside of a present.





They are also popular as favors for luncheons and we can have them drop-shipped to your door no matter where you live !

Sucré's Master Chocolatier also creates the most delectable macarons. The flavors in their sampler box are devine: Chocolate, Hazelnut, Almond, Pistachio, Bananas Foster, Strawberry, Pecan and Salted Caramel.




Since macarons have a short shelf life, we only have a sample box in our candy counter and we order them for your special event. You can order mixed flavors or all one flavor. Specialty macarons are created for each holiday as well.




Our shelves are stocked for the season (for now, at least). Living above the store does have its advantages !




XOXOXOX
LETA



Wednesday, November 19, 2014


VIA MIZNER—BEST LITTLE VIA IN THE WORLD


I love my via—it’s so charming, a little bit of Italy or the South of France, and with such nice stores.







C. J. LAING

A really wonderful boutique with pretty, affordable and fresh resort clothing and accessories.  Come on in, sit down and enjoy spending time with Allie or Jack,





while they show you their tunics and djellabas in all kinds of bright colours and soft, breezy fabrics.






JENNIFER MILLER

Great semi-costume, semi-precious jewelry in a building listed, as is all of the Via, on the National Register of Historic Buildings.






A wonderful Christmas present this year are these dangle earrings of gold plate over sterling silver.
Geometric Dangle Earrings

She also has tres chic wraps and tunics.  Palm Beach is a tunic town—white pants, a tunic, sandals, and you’re off!



THOMAS MAIER

Wander upstairs over the Eastern courtyard of the Via to get to Tomas Maier and see their collection of gently used and new books about Money, Cire Trudon candles, cashmere sweaters and mens’ bedroom slippers. 





The manager is Jenny who is such a nice,nice girl, friendly and full of help.



D. DREAM ATELIER

Again, wonderful costume jewelry, and, as an added inducement, they stay open late, so if, while you’re wandering on your
nightly perambulations, you suddenly have a need for something for somebody, or, even better, yourself, here is the place to
go.  Really cute tunics too.




D DREAM ATELIER DSC00427










BARZINA

Globe-trotting Gretchen has a quirky and mysterious shop filled with souvenirs of her travels and a large selection of books, mainly
wonderful cookbooks, travel and decoration subjects, cookies for the seasons, and at Christmas, a huge pot of faux pearly necklaces which you can wear singly or in masses or even use them to tie up a present.








DIANE FIRSTEN

Fit, quality and classic modern styling are the hallmarks of Diane's clothing collection. Her brand encompasses the true "Town and Country" look. You can find great business attire as well as resort wear from New York and European designers.









TRINITY COLLECTION

This tiny little shop has quite an extensive selection of fine estate and contemporary jewelry. You can find one-of-a-kind pieces there or you can have an exclusive design created for you.








VILEBREQUIN

Tucked in the corner of the courtyard that houses Tomas Maier and C.J. Laing, is the famed Vilebrequin shop. Here you will find colorful and original swim shorts inspired by the Saint Tropez lifestyle of the 1970's. This fun shop also carries Resort Wear and accessories to make your day at the beach C'est Magnifique !








BABALÚ

This little corner space houses a large collection of perfumes, lotions and home fragrances. While you are waiting for dinner, pop in and sample a few whiffs.







POMPONNER

You will find simply adorable tunics, fun dresses, great costume jewelry and fabulous, fun purses at Lynn's shop. Don't forget to check for bargains and hidden treasures upstairs !








LETA AUSTIN FOSTER BOUTIQUE

Well, I bet you were wondering when I would get to this little jewel of a shop. Actually, our shop is quite large and our selection varied. We gather a unique, refined and cultured collection of home interior products and children's clothing from wonderful places like Venice and Florence in Italy, Paris, London and Madiera. Our shelves are filled with the finest bedlinens, the jolliest china and the most illuminating lamps and candles. Come and treat yourself to a stroll around our shop and pick up some D. Porthault Bedlinens, some Mrs. John L. Strong stationery, a box of Santa Maria Novella potpourri........well, you get the picture ! If we don't carry what your little heart desires, we will do our best to find or make it for you. We love to see you smile !










Hope you come visit us all soon ......you'll be so glad you did !

XOXOXOXO ,
LETA



Sunday, November 9, 2014


ANOTHER POST ON A WONDERFUL TALENT









The wonderful people from Soane in London came to see us two weeks ago.  I love Soane.  They have such beautiful things.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve used the Petal Wall Light.








As usual, I found so many good things for jobs on which I am working.  Just as they were leaving, they mentioned to me that they were taking a week in Barbados before going back to England.  I love, love, love Barbados. 

 I used to go there to stay with a wonderful couple (Mr. and Mrs. Miles Warner whom I called Madame Queen and The Kingpin—believe me, their names fit!!!) and their beautiful daughter, Jane, and her equally beautiful Norwegian husband, Axel.  We stayed in a fabulous house they had built called “Jane’s Harbor”.  It was an Oliver Messel house, and it had a wonderful, mysterious, almost shabby quality, with old faded slipcovers and vines creeping into the always open-to-the-air rooms, and lots of little lizards scampering around.  Oh, I loved it.  The house was built in a giant Square C around a lovely garden with roses and petrea hanging from the stone arches.  All of our meals were served in the long, also open-to-the-air dining room with white garden furniture and bouganvilla blossoms scattered on the table tops along with all the beautiful old porcelain plates and crystal glasses—masses of them for all the wines we drank!—and lovely old burnished silver. We played tennis on the court that Miles had built, sat on the wonderful Sandy Lane beaches (Jane’s Harbor was built on land, some of which was sold to make the Sandy Lane Hotel), and stayed up and talked late into the night because we knew we could sleep-in the next day. 

Sadly, the house has changed hands, and today you can go stay in it for $7,500. a night, and I suppose it s very nice, but the mysterious charm is gone.  Like so much of what is done to suit the New World Travelers, charm leaves to usher in very clean, stark rooms with oversized new rattan and bedrooms where you better take lots of your own photographs and accessories to make it look a little more “inhabited”.  It doesn’t look anything like Oliver Messel anymore and there is a huge pool in the middle of the old garden surrounded by hideous dark chaises and umbrellas.  Oh my!  Oh my!



During the day, Madame Queen and I would go visiting.  We went to Heron Bay...




The home of Sir Ronald Tree and my (far-removed) cousin, Nancy Lancaster ,which was not an Oliver Messel house, but rather was designed by Sir Geoffrey Jellico, but which has so many of the wonderful, casual but unbelievably dressy details that went with life in the resort homes of the 60’s and 70’s and early 80’s.  The interior below shows what the rooms were like—all over Barbados—you will notice a certain almost cluttered look of smaller furniture and white slipcovers mixed all in with wonderful antiques and bibilots. 





We went to Fustic House, now, sadly, redecorated (although nicely), but still with the Oliver Messel details of woodwork in Messel Green, a lavish use of coral stone, open air doorways and windows and tropical flowers and foliage everywhere.





One of the things Oliver Messel did was to have winding verandas and little not-quite-secret spaces.






We went to Maddux House—Madame Queen knew everyone—one of the great coral stone houses with classical proportions and glorious tall rooms and creeping-in tropical foliage everywhere.


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Oliver Messel was obviously a genius, as is his nephew, Thomas Messel, whose furniture and lighting fixtures are perfect in these Palladian influenced buildings—or your own Palladian villa—as in this sea life chandeliere which we used in a classical house on the ocean.






And you can see the fine sense of symmetry and attention to detail, surely inherited from his uncle, in this lac de chine console/cupboard made for a client’s collection of English porcelain.






The wonderful people from Soane, Lulu Lytle and her six-year old son, sent pictures back to me from Barbados.  In the first, you can see that “old” quality in this romantic arrangement against a coral stone wall, and in the second, just revel in the natural beauty of this loveliest of Caribbean isles.








There are several companies in America who either represent or produce Oliver Messel “products”.  You could use Farrow and Ball “Breakfast Room Green” for you trim colour on trelliage and railings.  It looks a little yellow-y in my computer, but it is not.







You could use Price Glover in New York City to make you wonderful brass chandeliere such as Oliver Messel loved.






 You could even use the beautiful, beautiful Veranda  lamps from Soane.







And you could get some of Bennison’s “faded” linens—make sure you specify that they are to be the faded version.  Good choices might be “petite fleur” or “Liliana” in the faded versions.  You will need to go to one of their showrooms to see them, because all of the images on the web are in the non-faded version, but you definitely will feel that the trip was worth your while.

XOXOXOX  LETA






Thursday, October 30, 2014

Talley Ho, Ho, Ho... the perfect Christmas presents !

Many, many years ago we found this charming little company that made all the beautiful satin lingerie bags that our mothers (and we) used. This company, Galante Studios, was located in a little Kentucky town and employed many of the local women to apply their very talented sewing skills to the creation of these bags. As time went by, more items were added to their repertoire, until they had an entire book of cosmetic bags, travel bags, organizers, baby bibs, quilts etc.





Sadly, about 7 years ago, the factory burned to the ground. We were all devastated, not only for the workers who lost their livelihood, but for ourselves at the loss of a time-honored tradition. Happily, a Phoenix rose from the ashes (I know, I'm getting a bit nutty with the comparison) and Talley Ho was born. A new factory opened and hired all the ex-employees of Galante ! Slowly, they have been reintroducing all the products that were offered by Galante for years.




Some of the best items they make (other than the beautiful lingerie bags) are Trinket Trays. These little collapsible and thus packable trays can be vinyl covered to make them virtually impervious to dirt. They are perfect to keep next to your bed for earrings, watch, eyeglasses etc. This is a must when traveling to prevent knocking your pearls on the floor or leaving your gorgeous Van Cleef and Arpel necklace behind in your hotel room because it blended in with the nightstand wood......Not that I would know anything about that.....Sob :(




The best part of ordering from Talley Ho, is that you can create one-of-a-kind fabric combinations for all their items. We have an absolutely fabulous ring of fabric swatches for you to choose from....both for the main fabric and for the trim and monogram.




Well, my goodness, I forgot to mention that all these treats can be monogrammed ! The wait for a custom order is about 5 weeks, so you'll have to plan accordingly if you are thinking of buying for a present.  As a matter of fact, the cut-off date for ordering for Christmas presents is November 11th, so don't delay !




If you are like me and wait until the last minute, please don't despair. We have ordered lots of adorable items (no monogram of course) ready to wrap and roll ! This year we sent some of our own fabrics from China Seas, Sister Parish and Liberty of London and had special travel collections made for you. So cute and so unique !!




Like to see the full collection, but can't make it in to the shop ? Just email Betty (betty@lafinpb.com) and she will email you pictures of what is in stock in the Boutique.
She will be happy to gift wrap and ship for you too. 

XOXOXO
LETA