The Last Czars


My mom recommended The Last Czars (on Netflix) to me because she knows I have a thing for Russian palaces. The first episode was spectacular so now I’m recommending it to you.

It’s unexpectedly part costume drama and part documentary, so you get all the eye candy while also learning something. It’s always a dance (picture pun!) with shows like this because you never know how far the writers bent history, so the documentary elements give it a trustworthiness that leaves you feeling very smart.

The show starts (and spends most of its time) in good old St Petersburg, land of palaces so wide you can’t fit them in the frame:

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Don’t worry, you also get to go inside the palaces.

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And you get a whole lot of beautiful nature shots when a guy named Rasputin decides to walk across the country.


Where is this place?

Happy New Year! I didn’t post as much in 2018, and no promises for 2019, but thought I would start the year off with a question. Where is this place?

The Rominoffs, Season 1, Episode 1

The Rominoffs, Season 1, Episode 1

In the first episode of The Rominoffs, set in a fancy part of Paris, a feeble snob takes her nurse to a park with a magical fantasy park. But where is this place? Bois de Boulogne? At the risk of sounding like a snob myself, I lived in Paris for a year and I have no clue.

Circles On The Point

The most hideous home in all of Los Angeles is situated at the most beautiful place in all of Los Angeles.  If you are eating or don't think you can handle extreme ugliness, please skip to the next post now.

The home, proudly named Circles On The Point, is at the top of Point Dume in Malibu.  It is completely painted prison-gray with architectural details like large-ass circles and ribbon winds, reminiscent of a 90's suburban business complex conveniently close to the highway.  

I intentionally used a hexogon because eff this house.

I intentionally used a hexogon because eff this house.

I'm bringing this monstrosity up now because it is heavily featured in the third episode of Glow, when the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling go to a Hollywood party at their douchy producer's house.  

It's decorated like the west coast crash pad of Tom Hanks' character from Big, which probably is putting its best foot forward because at least there is candy.  

If you are thinking, these images are good, but I want more Circles On The Point, then you are in luck!  Amazon is developing a show called Jean-Claude Van Johnson, all about the tristesse of Jean-Claude Van Damme, a man doomed to spend his days in the ugliest home of all time.  I think it's the house's best work.  

And if your itch has not been scratched, thank you 1badgmc on Tripadvisor for posting:

I’ve wanted to visit Point Dume for years after seeing the 1994 movie Color of Night starring Bruce Willis and Scott Bakula. The house called Circles on the Point located just north of Point Dume at the corner of Cliffside and Birdview is featured prominently in the film. There are also scenes with the two stars riding bikes on the trails of Point Dume. While I enjoy the movie itself, the house’s architecture has always captured me. After finding the location of the house years ago, I looked more into the area around it and just wanted to visit that much more.
The  trailer  is everything the 90s did right

The trailer is everything the 90s did right

The Dressmaker

Quick shout out to The Dressmaker (2015), a film that is all over the place and completely bonkers, but has moments of such perfection that I can forgive the unevenness. 

It's about a super classy woman, who has been working as a fancy clothing designer in Paris, but comes home to her small backwards Australian village to take care of her batty mother.  She starts making looks for the woman of the town, creating hilarious juxtaposition.  

The Dressmaker - "Oh don't mind us.  We're just doing our morning errands"

The Dressmaker - "Oh don't mind us.  We're just doing our morning errands"

Also wanted to give a shout out to this vintage shewing machine.  If I had one that looked so pretty, maybe I would learn how to use it. 

American Gods

I truly enjoyed all eight episodes of American Gods, but the cherry on top was the last episodes where the characters decend on this lovely country estate.  

When we pull up to the entrance, which is charmingly on the side of the house, I was surprised by the architectural detail.  I had anticipated traditional architecture, so the  unexpected ogee arch shaped roof let's you know that this place is going to be magical.   

Rattan's Moment

I have been a big fan of wicker/rattan/bentwood furniture for ages and wanted to give a shout out to Carol's bed in the third season of The Last Man On Earth.  

This type of furniture is hugely popular right now, and it makes sense because we, as a culture, have moved away from our 60's-Mad-Men-Mid-Century obsession and are squarely living in the age of 70's revival.  You know a trend has been fully embraced when even IKEA has made room for the style in their collection.  Here is a sampling of what is going on at IKEA right now:

Genius Synagogue

Quick tip of the hat to this gorgeous synagogue featured in the show Genius about the young Albert Einstein.  We typically think of synagogues as less decorative spaces, but this one clearly is inspired by eastern orthodox Byzantine architecture.  You can see how the shape of the arches mimic the domes on Russian churches.  

A [Not] Good Woman

I tried watching the film, A Good Woman (2004), because it is about rich people in 1930's Italy (as all the best movie are).....but it was horrendous.  It starts out with Helen Hunt reading about a rich man in an issue of Town & Country magazine and traveling to Italy to snare him.  

The fatal flaw is that Helen Hunt and Scarlett Johansson are fundamental modern actresses and don't really work in period film.

But seeing as everyone is rich, and it is Italy, the locations are amazing.  First Scarlett has to go villa shopping...

...and then cloths shopping.

Feud Round-up

Now that Feud, season 1, has come to and end, I'm going to give a shout out to my top three design moments, starting with Joan Crawford's foyer.  It is a space that so thoroughly owns its high gloss paint job, there can be no furniture in the way.

Next up is Olivia de Havilland's alps vacation home.  It's a set that used for one 30 second phone call.   

And finally, the most shocking of them all - Robert Aldridge's bedroom.

I know this image is dark, but you are looking at a traditional cowhide tryptic headboard juxtaposed with drab vintage wallpaper.  My eyes bleed! 

YSL's BOJA lamps......?

For many years IKEA has sold a bamboo rattan egg-shaped table lamp called BOJA.  It always seems a little askew and has the stink of IKEA on it, so I was surprised when it popped up in the sets of Yves Saint Laurent (2014). 

Yves Saint Laurent (2014) - The office off Pierre Bergé, co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent Couture House, life partner of Yves, and junk lamp aficionado.

Yves Saint Laurent (2014) - The office off Pierre Bergé, co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent Couture House, life partner of Yves, and junk lamp aficionado.

They're freakin' everywhere....

The movie isn't great, but outside of these lamps, the sets are pretty sumptuous.  So much so that I wondered if this was actually a classic lamp and IKEA just created a knock-off......but nothing on the internet corroborated that suspicion.

Lamps aside, shout out to this art nouveau restaurant:

Zuber et Cie

I am a great lover of classic murals and tromp l'oeil, so I am always taken with the walls of the White House Diplomatic Reception Room, commissioned by Jackie Kennedy in 1962.  You get a great sense of the space from Michelle Obama's Mannequin Challenge video.  


The other day I went down a wall mural clickhole and found myself on the website of Zuber, a french wall paper and fabric company established in 1797, only to discover that they created this one-of-a-kind room.   I think I'm in love. 


Girls: Season 6, Episode 3 - The study of a successful, sexually harassing novelist

Girls: Season 6, Episode 3 - The study of a successful, sexually harassing novelist

My new dream is to commission a painting of my favorite room and hang it in close proximity to that room, creating a multiplicative happiness effect.