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See what Vietri’s products are made of…

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There is a long history of ceramic art in Italy, dating all the way back to the 13th century when red clays were dug from local river beds to create Italian maiolica, earthenware with an opaque glaze and colorful decorations. Although many of the techniques used to paint and mold these ancient forms still exist [...]

Design Lessons from Saint James Paris

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From the outside, the Saint James Paris looks like a traditional Neoclassical chateau in a quiet residential neighborhood. But thanks to a recent makeover by designer Bambi Sloan, however, the interiors tell an entirely different story. With leopard print carpets, pattern on pattern, and bold color galore, Sloan has given hotel’s interiors a wonderfully theatrical update.While there are a few rooms here and there, that are more on the traditional side, most are fun and fearless. Sloan definitely had a blast re-imagining the hotel and it shows. It’s a reminder not to take decorating too seriously. Why waste time agonizing over fabric swatches and rug samples? Let loose, go bold, and enjoy the unique results. Design is a creative expression after all. Plenty of bold ideas here to inspire your own rooms:

Need Architectural Details? Paint Them On: Why waste money replacing a perfectly fine standard flat door?  Painting the panels on with loose brushstrokes is quirky and cool.

Scenic Wallpaper Enlivens Any Space: Especially in a hallway or foyer, scenic wallpaper adds color, dimension, and lots of personality to a space.

All Colors Work Together: Take a cue from nature and pair a variety of colors together without worrying too much about coordinating. Here light blue, purple, lime green and navy share space with a vibrant wallpaper. The magic is that it works. Not everything has to go together in the traditional sense.

Red Always Adds Drama:  Want to create a dramatic, theatrical space in an instant? Layer on the red and add in the gilt. It is totally dramatic and hey, maybe just a bit like a bordello, but it definitely creates a mood.

Sneak a Peak: In a small space, doors can just take up much needed square footage and well, they are so…expected. Curtains separating one room from the next add some flair to a space. They also beautifully frame the adjoining room. Bonus if you can center a fabulous headboard in the middle.

Leopard Prints + Red = Fabulous: I’ve seen this combo in libraries and dens before and I always love it. It’s sophisticated while not taking itself too seriously. The perfect backdrop for multiple martinis.

One is the Loneliest Number: There is power in multiples. A dozen or so starburst mirrors make a gorgeous graphic statement along one wall.

All images courtesy Saint James Paris

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Meet VIETRI Artisan Alessandro Taddei

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Meet the man behind VIETRI favorites, Old St. Nick and Blu Bianco Tableware… A ceramicist for 30 years, Alessandro Taddei studied at the Montelupo School for Ceramics, but he got his finest training by working beside some of the best ceramics maestros in the world, catching their many secrets essential for mastering the art of [...]

The growing of Belgian flax

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Click to view slideshow.

In Ingelmunster a little village nearby our company, in the heart of Flanders, there are plenty of nice flax fields at this period of the year. We have the intention to take on a regular basis a picture of the same field so that you can really “see” this Belgian flax growing. The growing cycle of the flax plant is short : only 100 days between sowing and harvesting. As climatic conditions in Belgium are perfect for growing flax, we hope that we can show you a nice blooming field within a couple of weeks.

The farmer of the field that we will ‘follow’, has sowed the flax seeds in April.
Our first pictures dates from early May when the plant just started growing. At this stage you cannot really see that it is a flax plant. You do can see that the flax plant grows in nice lines. This is the beginning of the growth of an exceptional plant with very valuable characteristics.

On the pictures of early June we already see the stalk of the flax plant which has the unique flax fibers inside. A flax plant of a nice quality has a height of +/- 1,2 metre. So this is just the beginning, the plant still has a long way to go !

When we were at the field we saw a white sign at the border of the pasture which we definitely want to share with you : the farmer makes in his own particular way publicity for linen ! The text on the sign says in Dutch : “Ladies en gentlemen, the more linen in your clothing, the more you will be appreciated !” It’s a very simple but strong way to communicate the value of Belgian linen to passers-by.

Keep an eye on our blog if you’re interested to see the continuation of the growth of this flax plant. More images soon !

Libeco Home: The making of a collection

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Our collections are typically inspired by a few simple ideas or images and then the ideas build and grow and typically we end up with more product than we can run for the season. When we start to work on a collection, we lay out the hundreds of yarn colors we have and then we begin to realize the fabric possibilities… it never ceases to blow me away, it’s truly incredible.

The color that you get with dyed linen is unlike with any other natural fiber. And the way linen colors fade over time is just like great jeans- they get better and better every year!

I design the fabric and finished product collections, and oversee the photo shoots here at Libeco. I am joined for the design work by Jamie Welstead and the photo styling by Corinne Stuckens. I love what I do and am inspired every day by the beauty of linen.

Our latest collection was my favorite collection to date. I love everything about it. I love the products, the photos, Charlotte the model, and I loved creation process, it flowed so easily, we never got stuck and thought, umm is this right or not, it all came together with such ease.  It started with the old Dutch boats pictured below with sails of “madder red”. We instantly named the collection OLD RED and we never looked back.

Because this image had such a nautical feeling to it, the next logical place to go was blue, and so TRUE BLUE was born.  They of course found their way together mixing and matching in glorious ways -TRUE BLUE MEETS OLD RED.

The second bit of inspiration was this image of kayaks – hanging on an old stone wall- probably somewhere in the South of France – colors that have been perfectly aged by the sun and the sea water.

These colors invoked such a sense of freedom and joy.  We developed the stripes and added coordinating solids and finally got to photograph on a beautiful Indian summer day.  And when we saw the photographs, these two lovely, gap toothy wonders smiling back at us- it was written all over their faces, THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT.

When all the design work is done and we finally get samples and say this is a go, we can do a shoot of the products.  It isn’t really as simple as it sounds, it takes lots of searching (for locations and accessories and models) and it takes lots of preparation, but the shoot is a wonder in and of itself, it brings all the ideas together, everything comes full circle, it all makes sense. So, here it is a glimpse of our work done for the Tahoe and Antibes collections. Enjoy- Amy Click to view slideshow.

California Chefs to Wield Their Spatulas in Fight Over Foie Gras Ban

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Thomas Keller, of the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., is among the chefs opposed to the state's coming ban on foie gras. By JESSE McKINLEY Published: April 30, 2012 NEW YORK TIMES A collection of some of California's best-known chefs, including four-star celebrities like Thomas Keller, began a full-course press on the state's legislators on Monday, hoping to prevent a long-simmering ban on foie gras from taking effect on July 1. The group, which calls itself the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards, delivered a charter statement to lawmakers in Sacramento, advocating a wide variety of new animal-friendly commitments, including cage-free birds and hand feeding, to replace the current law, which would effectively bar foie gras from the state's menus. "We want to create a humane market," said Rob Black, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, a member of the coalition. "Not a black market." The ban would prohibit the production and sale of any product derived from force feeding birds to enlarge their livers beyond normal size -- the only way to mass produce the fatty French-inflected delicacy. The law was passed in 2004 but had a seven-and-a-half-year grace period. It is the nation's first such law to pass. Nate Ballard, a spokesman for the coalition, said that members planned to follow the statement with personal visits to legislators this week, taking them to supper, if they are interested. "The chefs are going to invite lawmakers to foie gras dinner in their districts, all over the state," Mr. Ballard said. Regardless of one's tastes in food, supporters of the ban have long argued that it is necessary to prevent cruelty to ducks and geese. They say the animals suffer physical and emotional damage from force feeding, a process known as gavage. "It's not about foie gras," said John Burton, a former California legislator who wrote the law. "It's about inhumane treatment of those birds." Of course, California is no stranger to food fights. In 2008, voters approved a ban on restrictive cages for veal cattle, pigs and hens, and last year Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that forbade the sale or possession of shark fins, an Asian delicacy. The foie gras ban, signed by Mr. Brown's predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has seemed to signal the end for Sonoma-Artisan Foie Gras, the state's only producer, whose owner, Guillermo Gonzalez, said he would shut down on June 30. In the months leading up to the ban, restaurateurs have been increasingly vocal about their opposition. Greg Daniels, who runs Haven Gastropub in Pasadena, Calif., said he feared it could result in the diminishment of the state's reputation as an adventurous and first-rate place to eat. "I think the culinary landscape of California will change much more than anybody is realizing," Mr. Daniels said. That reputation is carried by the likes of Mr. Keller, whose flagship restaurant, the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., is on the bucket list of many of the food obsessed. Last month, Mr. Keller issued a statement saying simply that his restaurant group would abide by the law when it took effect. But on Monday, Mr. Keller's name was also among the more than 100 other chefs signing on to a raft of new promises regarding the production of foie gras, including a commitment to feeding methods that do not "harm the animal in any way." All this seemed disingenuous to animal rights activists like Bryan Pease, a lawyer and founder of the Animal Protection and Rescue League, in San Diego, which has been protesting in front of restaurants where foie gras is still served, something he said was necessary to educate the public about the ban. "We want people to know it's not this weird thing about banning duck liver," he said. "It's the force feeding that's being targeted." Click Here For Article

The Top 50 Best Restaurants

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Organised by Restaurant magazine, The World's 50 Best Restaurants list is an annual snapshot of the opinions and experiences of over 800 international restaurant industry experts. What constitutes "best" is left to the judgment of these trusted and well-travelled gourmets. The results are a simple computation of votes. Given that this well-constructed list is based on personal experiences it can never be definitive, but we believe it is a honourable survey of current tastes and a credible indicator of the best places to eat around the globe. Click Here

Denmark’s Noma Wins World’s Best Restaurant Third Time

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Click Here Danish restaurant Noma was crowned the world's best restaurant for the third year in a row in an annual list, beating out top eateries in Spain, Brazil, Italy, the United States and elsewhere. The S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna World's 50 Best Restaurants, produced by Britain's Restaurant Magazine, were unveiled in London after voting by a panel of more than 800 chefs, restaurateurs, journalists and food experts who rated chef Rene Redzepi's Noma as the "standard-bearer for the new Nordic movement." Redzepi said he was delighted to win the award for the third time and added that his main philosophy was to create delicious food using locally sourced produce. "It's something about the zeitgeist. It's about nature, people growing food, being close to food. Connecting with organic farmers, working hard to maintain a healthy ecology, the utmost deliciousness ties in with this," he said. But he added that despite Noma's green credentials it still managed to cast off the northern European philosophy that fine food was a bit of a sinful self indulgence. "Sustainability is not a clear goal, we are a temple of deliciousness and we celebrate it, there's nothing wrong with it. But in our part of the world, if you say you are in love with delicious food and what it does to you, you're supposed to feel remorse. It's a Protestant thing, the Catholics don't have that." Nationally, Spain and the United States tied with three restaurants each in the top 10, though Spain's El Celler de Can Roca in Girona came second and Mugaritz in San Sebastian placed third. In all, the United States had eight eateries in the top 50 and Spain had five. The Chefs' Choice award, voted for by the World's 50 Best chefs, was presented to Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz, which was devastated by a fire two years ago. Spanish winners also included Arzak at no. 8, whose joint Head Chef Elena Arzak was awarded the Veuve Clicquot World's Best Female Chef award. Eight U.S. restaurants made the top 50 list this year, the highest of which was New York based Per Se, owned by chef Thomas Keller, who was rewarded the Best Restaurant in North America and the S.Pellegrino Lifetime Achievement accolade after spending each of the past 10 years of the awards on the list under one guise or another. Redzepi serves a new kind of Nordic cuisine such as musk ox and smoked marrow, sea urchin and dill or beef cheek and pear. The 34-year-old chef is an ambassador for the New Nordic Food program set up by the Nordic Council of Ministers and has headed the restaurant since its 2003 opening. The Noma approach to cooking is concentrated on obtaining the best raw materials from the Nordic region such as Icelandic skyr curd, halibut, Greenland musk ox and berries. The two Michelin star restaurant does its own smoking, salting, pickling, drying, grilling and baking, prepares its own vinegars and concocts its own distilled spirits such as its own eaux de vies. Noma makes systematic use of beers and ales, fruit juices and fruit-based vinegars for its sauces and soups rather than wine, and allows vegetables, herbs, spices and wild plants in season to play a prominent role in its cooking. Located on the ground floor of a renovated listed 18th Century warehouse in the old Christianshavn district of Copenhagen, the restaurant's fittings and furnishings also embrace the Nordic spirit and atmosphere with smoked oak, stone, leather, water, glass and light. With six restaurants on the list, Asia has secured its position on the gastronomic map. The event organizer announced the launch of the new Asia's 50 Best Restaurants awards at the ceremony, which will be held in Singapore in February 2013. The awards, which are also sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, are welcomed by top chefs from the continent including Ignatius Chan from Iggy's in Singapore, who took the Best Restaurant in Asia title at No. 26. "Asia has a long culinary history and we offer a deep, diverse and rich gastronomic landscape," he said. "Asia's 50 Best Restaurants is a fantastic platform to educate and showcase some of the greatest Asian restaurants to the world." South America confirmed its standing on the list with four restaurants spanning Mexico, Peru and Brazil, whose São Paulo eatery D.O.M, run by ex-DJ Alex Atala, rose three places to No. 4 and claimed the Best Restaurant in South America title. (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012.

Mildew & Mold…we can help!

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From a damaging leak to your daily routine - moisture can be added to the air in your home encouraging biological toxins, such as mold and mildew, to grow.  We always recommend paying special attention to moisture prone areas such as bathrooms, basements, closets and attics.
In the wake of a mold catastrophe, we’ve pulled together some of our best tips and tricks to salvage and prevent mold from leaving a “black cloud” over your head…and wardrobe.


First and foremost, when you are treating mold - time is of the essence!  The longer mold is left untreated, the more damage it will cause... literally eating holes through your textiles.

• Brush any loose mold off the garment using the Stain Brush.
• Apply Stain Solution and mix All Purpose Bleach Alternative, gently scrubbing into the molded areas with the Stain Brush. (Do not use Bleach Alternative on Delicates/Woolens- instead sprinkle vinegar directly on to the area).
• Make a bath with vinegar and allow the item to soak, the longer the better.  Change out dirty water as necessary!  Vinegar will also act as an excellent odor remover.
• Repeat this process until satisfied - remember PATIENCE is a virtue!
• Please note that silk must be treated in 30 minute increments, rinsing thoroughly and allow to dry.
*When treating a garment/textile with a lining- it may be best to have the lining removed and replaced.

Water Temperature:
Use normal/hot water settings for cotton, linen and some synthetics. Use delicate cycle/cold water when washing delicate items such as silk or wool. 

Machine Washing:
• Launder according to item using the appropriate detergent.
• Delicates and woolens should always be washed in a Mesh Bag.

• NEVER put an item that still has staining into the dryer- this will only “bake” them in.
• Cotton and linen can hang dry in the sun for energy efficiency and that fresh line experience…or use the dryer.
• Delicates must line dry while woolens/knits should lay flat. Never put these items in the dryer!

Tips and Tricks:
• Reduce indoor humidity with vents and de-humidifiers.
• Always use the exhaust fan when cooking and cleaning.
• Immediately find and fix the source of a leak or water problem.
• Always remove mold from any hard surface with detergent and dry completely.

For more information on mold, please visit
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