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  • A Peek Inside Meg Braff’s Newly Renovated Locust Valley Home

    Known for her exuberant take on traditional design, over the last three decades Meg Braff has been creating livable spaces imbued with playful glamour and a modern perspective. Her keen sense for color and a skilled hand at mixing antiques from different periods and styles has earned her a string of devoted clients throughout America and the Caribbean. Her former Locust Valley home was featured in House Beautiful back in 2006 and started my admiration for her work. Married with four grown sons, Braff and her husband decided a few years ago to sell their home of 18 years and move to a larger property, only two miles away. With their four sons getting older, they were looking for more space and a start to a “next chapter,” as Braff said in her interview with Veranda. A ’60s-era ranch with an ideal location caught their eye largely because of the way it was sited on a generous lot with numerous grown trees. “It backs up to the golf course, which we thought would be fun for the boys, three of whom are serious squash players. They can zip over to the clubhouse to play squash or paddle”, Braff said to Veranda. But the house needed a complete renovation and for the past two years the Braffs have been carefully redesigning the home’s footprint and interiors. With help from architect Laura Casale, a new story was added and ceilings were raised wherever possible. Mantels and antiques found at auctions add new layers of depth and history to the space.“We loved the scale of the original library and replicated its windows and French doors throughout the first floor,” says Braff. “We wanted it to feel like a house built in the early 1930s, like it had always been here.”

    LIVING ROOM
    A vintage sofa in the living room is trimmed in an ebullient 4-inch fringe by Houlès. Upholstery fabric, Zoffany. Coromandel is a form of 17th-century Chinese lacquerware. Braff found this gem at a local estate once designed by Mario Buatta.
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    Q&A with Tessa Foley of Nine and Sixteen Home

    Note: Due to a few technical glitches behind the scenes, a number of past Café Design posts have been lost. Unfortunately, the Q&A post with Tessa Foley of Nine & Sixteen was among them and since I know that that one had been one of reader’s favorite last year, I have retrieved the interview with updated images and inspiration.?Enjoy!


    A few months ago we started a blog series of interviews with inspiring women entrepreneurs, talented ladies whom I’ve connected with through social media and who run their own creative businesses. The goal with these interviews was to celebrate & inspire fellow creatives to follow their passion and launch enterprises that reflect their true calling, be it baking, decorating or gardening… We started with Alison Carabasi, co-founder of Hillbrook Collections – a mother-and-daughter company that brings to life the most whimsical garden houses you’ll ever see. Next, we sat down to chat with the lovely Heather Strommen, designer, writer and founder of  The Vignette Box, a carefully curated selection of items you’ll love decorating with time and time again. Today, I am delighted to welcome Tessa Foley, the talented writer and decorator behind the blog Nine and Sixteen.  

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    Under the Tuscan Sun

    Tuscany is one of Italy’s most breathtaking regions and a worldwide fulcrum for Renaissance art and architecture. Its diverse natural landscape encompasses rugged mountains, rolling hills covered in silvery olive groves and fragrant vineyards, a sunny coastline and several islands, including Elba. A place of many charms, Tuscany is also home to beautifully maintained farmhouses that dot the land, some of them dating back to the time of Michelangelo and DaVinci, many before that. Today I’d like to take you on a tour of one particular farmhouse I’ve recently come across and fell in love with. Some of you may know it already as it was featured in Veranda in one of their 2013 issues but it could just as easily have been published today or ten years from now. Its rustic simplicity and relaxed elegance are timeless, the result of the collaborative efforts of its owners, watercolorist Mita Corsini Bland, specializing in interiors – known for her illustrations for Sister Parish Design: On Decorating, and her fine-arts dealer husband, Gerald Bland. The farmhouse, L’Ulivetto, sits in the Tuscan seafront town of Porto Ercole and has been in Mita Corsini’s family for centuries, purchased by her ancestors from the Medici’s in the 1800s. One of more than four dozens farmhouses spread across Corsini’s family estate, L’Ulivetto was left to her by her aristocratic father, Marchese Cino Corsini, at his passing in 2001.

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    Q&A with Lynn Morgan

    I have been an admirer of Lynn Morgan’s work ever since I first laid eyes on a project she had published in House Beautiful magazine, in their April 2009 issue. I have studied her portfolio countless times since and over the years a lot has been written about her fabulous rooms. Today we will explore some of her iconic interiors as well as more recent projects from her portfolio. In addition, I am delighted to welcome Lynn for a Q&A! 

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    This’n That

    It’s Wednesday already and we’ve been having some glorious spring weather these past couple of days… just kidding, it’s back to winter coats and hats around here and part of me can’t help feeling bored and anxious about spending all this time indoors. This exceptionally cold weather has also given me the perfect excuse to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen. (After all, some of my best culinary creations have been the result of boredom ?? ) Soups and pasta are a favorite at our house and over the weekend I’ve been playing with ingredients, tweaking some old recipes, coming up with some new ones… I’m all for easy and fresh in the kitchen, and as I am not a very skilled cook, I know my limitations and try to stay away from elaborate recipes that need too much focus and know-how. In fact, I am not very big on following recipes, period, except when I’m baking. (Very, very bad, I know!) The way it works for me is that I have a general idea of what I’d love to prepare, survey the fridge and invent something on the spot. As you can imagine, this is all very risky business. I’ve made some pretty bad choices and combinations in the past but risk has its rewards and recently, during an unexpected playdate I came up with what is now our favorite pasta recipe. Red onions, garlic and halved grape tomatoes  sauted in olive oil, goat cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper, and voila!, a super easy/healthy spaghetti sauce. We also cook impromptu veggie cream soups, variations of fresh, raw gazpachos… that sort of thing. And it works…or at least it does most of the time. I can see that I’m rambling, and it’s because I have been so busy lately and am lacking a proper design post ??

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