The New York Botanical Garden’s annual Orchid Dinner, February 24, 2014, at the Mandarin Oriental’s Grand Ballroom. Photograph: New York Social Diary
I was delighted to be among the 25 designers asked to create a table for The New York Botanical Garden’s annual Orchid Dinner, which took place on Monday, February 24, 2014 at the Mandarin Oriental’s Grand Ballroom. Sponsored by Veranda magazine, it serves as a fundraising prelude to the annual Orchid Show and is one of the season’s most glamorous events. As always, the room looked fantastic. This year’s theme was “Key West Contemporary,” and I enlisted the help of bunch of first-rate vendors to collaborate with Laura Bohn Design Associates in creating a table setting with a gorgeous orchid centerpiece that expressed the evening’s tropical spirit.
Laura Bohn Design Associates’ table at the Orchid Dinner
The talented Loni Ludlow conjured the centerpiece with blooms fresh from Chelsea’s 28th Street flower market. The vases and atmospheric hurricane candles came from Seasons: A Floral Design Studio. Duralee supplied the tropical print fabric for the table cloth, Kenny Flam of K. Flam Associates did the custom upholstery, and DENY Designs provided the colorful coasters.
Loni Ludlow and Laura Bohn in front of their table at the Orchid Dinner. Photograph: New York Social Diary
The Breakers, Palm Beach, lighted for the holidays
For the past decade, my art dealer husband William Secord and I have spent Thanksgiving in London or Paris. Our families would ask, “Are you coming for the holidays?” but we would head overseas. This year we’ll be eating our turkey at the house of friends in Palm Beach, where we’ll be spending the break in our West Palm Beach apartment with Rocky, our Dandie Dinmont terrier.
Rocky, Bruce Bierman’s Dandie Dinmont terrier, takes it easy in West Palm Beach.
The apartment living room. Sargent Architectural Photography
As with all New Yorkers, our life in the city is incredibly hectic, and we plan to take it nice and easy down in Florida. But it won’t be all R&R. I actually have a client meeting at noon on Thanksgiving Day itself, as well as having three projects in Palm Beach that are all currently in the installation phase—a process that can be incredibly detailed, down to stocking the clients’ refrigerator (in some cases, even matching its content to that of the fridge in their New York apartment). The projects are located in two legendary Palm Beach resort properties: one is a penthouse in The Biltmore; the other two are in The Breakers, which I get an incredible view of from my 30th-floor apartment.
The view of Palm Beach and The Breakers from Bruce Bierman’s 30th-floor apartment in West Palm Beach.
But I have more than a strong visual relationship with The Breakers. I’ve actually designed six apartments (one of them twice) in the 40-apartment complex over the years. One client, who I’ve known for 30 years, is herself an interior designer but incredibly we did not disagree about anything!
At The Breakers, the library in a penthouse Bruce Bierman designed for a client who is herself an interior designer
In September, my husband, William Secord, and I spent a very Downton Abbey week in England touring some of the great country houses. Here are some highlights, beginning with Burghley House in Lincolnshire.
Burghley House, Lincolnshire
Generally considered the finest Elizabethan House in England, Burghley House was built in the 16th Century by William Cecil, the first Lord Burghley, Queen Elizabeth’s Lord High Treasurer. The main part of the house has 35 major rooms on the ground and first floors. There are more than 80 lesser rooms and numerous halls, corridors, bathrooms, and service areas. The lead roof extends to three quarters of an acre. The historic parkland was laid out by Capability Brown.
The bedroom in the suite known as the George Rooms at Burghley House.
Chatsworth House, North Derbyshire
Chatsworth is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family. Begun in 1553, the house architecture and collection have been evolving for five centuries. The house has over 30 rooms to explore, from the magnificent Painted Hall, to the family-used chapel, regal State Rooms, newly restored Sketch Galleries and beautiful Sculpture Gallery. Chatsworth has one of Europe’s most significant art collections, which is being continually added to.
The Painted Hall, Chatsworth House