Sunday, May 25, 2014


My love of dots spills over into choices I make when selecting merchandise for my boutique.  My shop is filled with dots…from guest towels…

Terrycloth Guest Towel by Noël of Paris $65.

Hand-embroidered Linen Guest Towel by Lin de Château $220.

to dotty frames covered in Liberty of London fabrics.

Liberty of London Frames
4 x 6 $84. 5 x 7 $90.

Our wonderful Italian embroidery house, Baroni, makes the most adorable designs with dots.  I showed you their dotty bedlinen designs in the last Dot Post, but they also make dotty towels ! This is just one of the dot designs, and you can custom-colour it any way you like.

Baroni Polka Dot Towels
Bath $306. Hand $154. Wash $128. Mat $440.

Our china department is also feeling polka dotty these days. We have carried the French flatware line, Sabre, for many years and their dot-handled knives, forks and spoons are always in demand. The best news is that they make every conceivable service piece to go with your set and in so many colours!

Sabre 5-piece Flatware set $99.

Sabre Handle Colors

New for us last season was Terrafirma Ceramics' pottery, which is designed and produced in New York. Their textural designs come in 9 colorways and have such names as Dot, Rain, Bubble and Luna, which are all variations on a Polka Dot theme.

Terrafirma's "Mini Dot" Dinner Plate $53.

Dots will always be alive at Leta Austin Foster Boutique because, like Polka Dot, we are obsessed with them.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Polka Dots in décor?  Yow!

When my Elizabeth was 10 years old or so, she loved certain comics, Little Lotta (a fat little girl) and Little Dot (a girl who loved polka dots to obsession) were her favourites.  Well, why not?  We all love to eat and everyone should love polka dots or else they’re just strange!!!

Look at the price !! Can you buy anything today--non-edible--for 15 cents?

Well, the things I love don’t look like the comics, but dotty they are.  Such as polka dots embroidered in any colour in the rainbow on the scalloped edges of sheets and pillowcases—or for that matter, on the edges of blanket covers or towels.

Embroidered Linens by Baroni

Or dotted wallpapers and fabrics.  No one was more of a lover of dots that the late great Albert Hadley who was able to take the joy and charm of Sister Parish’s wonderful décor and minimize it without losing any of the same joy and charm.  Look at these three examples of “dotted" rooms....

"Van" wallpaper by Hinson

This is “Van" wallpaper, still available, with much frustration and waiting around, from Hinson.  Hinson is having problems, but REMEMBER, it’s always worth it to wait for something wonderful.  I am using it on the walls of a bedroom here in Palm Beach along with white piqué and red and white seersucker from Holland and Sherry.  It will be adorable when it is finished.

Room by Albert Hadley
The chairs pictured above sport a spotted fabric in a room by Albert Hadley, tres chic and very, very fresh.

"Spatter" wallpaper from Hinson
Bed and Bath by Albert Hadley

And these wall, a spotted wallpaper, used in both the bedroom and the adjoining bath.  The pattern is “Spatter,” also from Hinson.  

Speaking of Sister Parish, her wonderful grand daughters have used her fabrics and come up with fabulous accessories such as desk blotters and pencil cups and pillows and ice buckets, and so on and so on forever, in all kinds of fabrics including dotted ones such as “Chou Chou” shown below.

Chou Chou dots and other assorted Sister Parish Designs fabrics

You can buy Chou Chou in fabric,

Chairs covered in Chou Chou fabric by Sister Parish Design

Or wallpaper, too.

Chou Chou Wallpaper by Sister Parish Designs

Of course, Sister Parish Designs have lots and lots of things – all of which we sell—with many, many designs, and any of them could be in Chou Chou—even the dog bed and leash below

Dog Collar and Leash by Sister Parish Designs


Sunday, May 18, 2014


Supposedly, you know you are getting older when you don’t know the celebrities anymore, and maybe that is so, since I certainly don’t understand people like the Kardashians, but neither, apparently, do my young friends, all the way down to my teenage grandchildren, who just say, “Yuck!  We’re not interested.”   But I always thought that there were certain things that just wouldn’t change, at least, not for a downward trend.  But this morning, as I sat out on my terrace and read the morning’s New York Times, I was actually horrified to see the ad for the children’s clothes in Bergdorf Goodman’s ad.  

I love Bergdorf’s.  It has always been my favourite store (besides my own, of course).  I buy my clothes there; I buy my daughters’ Christmas presents there.  If I have nothing else to do when I am in New York (this doesn’t happen often), or if I finish up working early, I wander over to Bergdorf’s just to see what’s what.

But the clothes in this ad—and from some really good brands—are just awful!—the Burberry dress looks as though they didn’t have enough fabric to lay the dress out correctly during the cutting; the Stella McCartney dress is just shapeless and dour; the Dolce & Gabbana might have been designed for the said Kardashians, and what is this new trend that all boys’ clothing is shown with the shirttails out?  I just can’t understand it—Bergdorf’s had the most beautiful children’s department in the world under Mary Lowey back in the early 70’s and 80’s, and even in our own times, they chose Best & Company (such beautiful clothes) from Greenwich, Connecticut, to run their department.  What a departure from those!  Are they trying to say that now the young people of New York have just terrible taste and will buy anything if it has a name brand? That’s certainly what it looks like.

I just got a picture from one of the customers of my boutique with the caption: “I love my shoes”.  Well, who wouldn’t?  Perfect little pink leather ankle straps from Pèpè in Milan, which we carry in the boutique in pink and white and gold for the summer. 

I love little girls in pretty shoes—and in pretty sweaters (that one is an adorable little cardigan from Baroni in Florence) and in pretty dresses such as this lovely pink cotton damask from La Stupenderia in Milan…..

La Stupenderia Damask Dress $300.

This dress is so beautifully cut that it looks like a miniature Balenciaga.

And as for boys, I notice that Prince William’s son does not wear jeans and a scruffy tee when he makes his formal appearances.  

While we all want—and need—casual clothes such as jeans and shorts, there is a time and a place for everything.  I’m sorry—that’s the way it is.  Just as you still need to stand up for people older than yourself, open and hold doors for anyone, and write thank you notes, you also need to dress yourselves and your children appropriately. 

I went to a very pretty wedding on Saturday where everybody looked so nice, except one little boy who walked down the aisle in jeans and a shirt—with the shirttails out yet!--and who looked ridiculous.  Maybe a proper little sailor’s suit is not for you,

sailor boy's outfit
Giacomo Sailor Suit by Anichini $260.

then get a nice set of trousers and a blazer

"Gary" Blazer by Anichini $405., Pants $162.
Otello shirt $120.

Or maybe even a white suit for summer wear.

Armando boy's 
"Andy" suit by Anichini $565.

And children love to look pretty! We sold the dress below, even though it was very expensive, almost completely out in one week.  The little girls helped choose them.

La Stupenderia's striped party dress $475.

As for babies—you only have them little for such a short time—enjoy it. 

Baby Boy's Linen/Honeycomb Cotton Set $225.

Baby Girl's Linen/Honeycomb Cotton Set $200.



P.S. Sorry it was such a rant—I did tell you that I am getting old.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Remember the stupid jokes you loved when you were ten—like “What is black and white and red all over?  An embarassed zebra.”  Yuck!  Yuck!

Well, what’s black and white and red all over in my world are the wonderful rooms done in this most sophisticated of colour schemes.  I did a beautiful bedroom once for some people who had bought a lovely old John Volk house on the ocean here in Palm Beach.  We used a black and white toile de jouy for the walls and the furniture upholstery and red linen velvet curtains at the windows, with the ocean showing in between.  It was superb—I wish I had pictures of it, but the owners were terribly photo-shy, and now the house has been sold.  So I am going to show you the same colour schemes by some of the great masters—much better than I am anyway.

Bedroom by David Easton

The above is a bedroom by David Easton, absolutely one of the masters of the game.  See how skillfully he plays out the colours, never letting the red over-power the room.  

Room by Mark Hampton

I think maybe the red does overpower the room a bit in the apartment above, done by Mark Hampton for his wife and himself, but he was still new in the game, and he did get much more subtle.  Still, it is an interesting room.  

Bedroom by David Kleinberg

This is just an amazing room.  David Kleinberg, another graduate of Parish-Hadley Designs, is in top form here, where he skillfully softens the very powerful black images of the car and the sharp, and the equally powerful, red leather bed by painting the room, walls and woodwork, white.  White is such a wonderful background—always, always, always.  Don’t be afraid of it.  Use it.

Bedroom by Libby Cameron

In the absolute opposite vein, by another of the old Parish-Hadley firm, is this charming little bedroom by Libby Cameron.  Absolutely the antithesis of the David Kleinberg room, she follows in Mrs. Parish’s footsteps with the little white iron bed, the quilt, etc., etc., etc.

Room by Charlotte Dungeon

Because I live in a hot climate, I am drawn to rooms with lots of white (as I said above), and here the white is used wonderfully by Charlotte Dunagen to offset what might have been too powerful a use of black and red here in the tropics.  Instead, the combination is cool and inviting.

Room by Renzo Mongiardino

I am ending today with one of my favourite rooms, a beautiful salon in Valentino’s villa, done by one of my favourite decorators, Renzo Mongiardino.  Although most of us won’t ever have a room like this, it is always worth studying the greats, and Mongiardino is definitely one of the greats.  The absolute perfection of balance; the juxtaposition of that one line of green “marbre” at the top of the room; the use of checks (always my favourite!) mixed with tapestry and great paintings……Wow!  That’s all I can say.  Just, Wow!


Thursday, May 1, 2014


This, frankly, is an article about my store, Leta Austin Foster Boutique, because I have to tell you that my store is just such an integral part of me.

Why do I have it?  Well, it started because of waste paper baskets.  I just couldn’t finish my jobs, because I couldn’t I couldn’t find proper waste paper baskets.  Are they so important?  Absolutely yes.  I spot the bad ones at 500 paces—and I also spot when people put little white plastic garbage bags in them, folding them over the tops of the baskets.  Ugh!

Hearts and Stripes Waste Paper Basket...$295.

Anyway, that’s why I started the store, and it just grew like Topsy.  And now, it is my relaxation and my refreshment.  I go down there often at night and play around, arranging and rearranging.  And I choose different things I love.

One of these things is hearts.  I love pink hearts.  And blue hearts.  All kinds of hearts.  I love them on writing paper...

<p style="text-align: center; "><a target="_blank" href="!/iprintery"><img width="20" height="20" alt="" src="/users/BillMiller5924/twitterbuttonblack40.png" /></a>    <a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="/users/BillMiller5924/Pinterest_20.png" /></a>    <a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="/users/BillMiller5924/instagram20.png" style="width: 20px; height: 20px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; " /></a></p>© 2013 The Printery
Heart Notecards by The Printery..$55./set of 10

I love them on place cards...

<p style="text-align: center; "><a target="_blank" href="!/iprintery"><img width="20" height="20" alt="" src="/users/BillMiller5924/twitterbuttonblack40.png" /></a>    <a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="/users/BillMiller5924/Pinterest_20.png" /></a>    <a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="/users/BillMiller5924/instagram20.png" style="width: 20px; height: 20px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; " /></a></p>© 2013 The Printery
Heart Place Cards by The Printery..$15./set 10

I love them on gift tags...

Classic Slate Heart Tag Single
Slate Heart Gift Tag by Dempsey & Carroll..$25./pack of 5

And key chains...


Heart shaped key ring - white/light blue
Leather Heart Keyring by Pineider..$70.

I love them on guest towels and hand towels and towels of all shapes and sizes...

D. Porthault Pink Coeurs Towels
Bath..$345. Hand..$145. Wash..$90. Mat $395.


And on all the linens for your bed,

  D. Porthault Pink Coeurs and Double Coeurs Bed Linens
  Queen set..$2050.  King set..$2350.           

Especially baby pillows.

D. Porthault Boudoir Shams .. $275.00

I love the shape of hearts—as in this dear little candy dish from one of our Austrian 
suppliers, but which I would probably use as a soap dish.

Stag dish by Gmundner Keramik..$35.

And I love it when they are used as décor on china.

Emma Bridgewater Ceramics...$28. to $150.

I love them embroidered on things such as this “Coeurs des Fougère” pattern on pillow shams and wonderful lavender-filled sachets.

Noël of Paris "Coeurs des Fougère" Pillow Shams..$180.

Noël of Paris "Coeurs des Fougère" Lavender-filled Sachet..$60.

I love picture frames of hearts,


Heart Picture Frame by Catherine Kulesh..$119.

And of course, I love babies wearing hearts.

Baroni dress with Heart Smocking on pockets..$220.

Baroni embroidered Heart Blouse..$95.

Hearts say I Love You all year long—and I love them.