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Travel Spotlight on: Abu Dhabi

Today  I am taking our followers back to my trip to Abu Dhabi, and specifically to the extraordinary Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Commissioned by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan, the late president of the UAE- it was built to unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic world with the historical and modern values of architecture and art. Designed by Syrian architect Yousef Abdelky, the building  magnificently rises to such an occasion, drawing on Persian, Mughal, Egyptian, Indo-Islamic, and Moorish elements to tell the story of Islam and Art. Accommodating more than 41,000 worshippers on grounds spanning 30 acres, it is nothing less than extraordinary.

 

Its construction was truly global at scale. More than 3,000 workers took part in its construction, with artisans and materials coming from India, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Morocco, Pakistan, Malaysia, Iran, China, the UK, New Zealand, Macedonia and the UAE. The structure is predominantly composed of natural materials like marble, stone, goldsemi-precious stonescrystals and ceramics due to their longevity. Its courtyard, pictured above, measures about 180,000 square feet and is considered to be largest example of a marble mosaic in the world.

 

The Mosque, unsurprisingly, features a number of special and unique elements. The carpet in the main prayer hall, pictured below, is considered to be the world’s largest carpet, made by Iran’s Carpet Company and designed by Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi. It measures 60,570 square feet and it took 1,200-1,300 carpet knotters to complete. It weighs 35 tons and features 2.2 million knots!

The mosque also features seven chandeliers from Germany company Faustig, incorporating millions of Swarovski crystals. Surrounding these are walls inscribed with the 99 names of God in traditional Kufic calligraphy, designed by the prominent UAE calligrapher Mohammed Mandi Al Tamimi. Three calligraphy styles are used throughout the mosque and were works by Mohammed Mandi al Tamimi of the UAE, Farouk Haddad of Syria, and Mohammed Allam of Jordan.

 

The initial entrance to the mosque features this stunning floral inlay that gives the appearance of vines growing out of the floors and up the walls. It is extraordinary!

 

Finally, one of the most beautiful parts of this glorious place is the hall of columns in prayer hall. These 96 columns are clad in marble and inlayed with mother of pearl. The pools alongside them serve to reflect these elegant structures, imparting a breathtaking and quiet calm to this extraordinary space.

As Diana Vreeland so famously noted, the eye has to travel. And there are few places I have been that provide such a feast for both the eyes and spirit. The craftsmanship on display here is without comparison. It is truly one of the beautiful sites of the Arab and Muslim worlds, and I wish more people could see it in person, particularly to counterbalance misconceptions about that part of the world. To experience a beautiful space such as this one brings the glory of humanity’s creation and God’s together in a single space- and that in itself is a wonderful thing.

 

With love,

Miss Sheiky

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SpotLight on Schumacher: Current Favorites

F. Schumacher & Co. is a privately held company based in New York City offering stunning fabrics, wallpapers, trimmings, furnishings and floor coverings under two brands: Schumacher, and Patterson, Flynn & Martin. Any lover of design is likely a fan of Schumacher’s broad range of beautiful and luxurious offerings, and I am no exception! What I love about their offerings is that dependent on your mood, or the nature of your project, you can always find beautiful fabrics and wall coverings that are both subtly beautiful and yet so stunning. Every time I go through their selection, I am taken by just how many of their fabrics I obsess over! I love having this creative space to share my favorites of everything with you, so I wanted to share my top selections for my current projects/ state of mind!

For a modern understated living room

How spectacular are these for a chic New York living room? I love these small repetitive patterns that render bold patterns both imminently usable and gorgeously detailed. They keep the focus on the (hopefully spectacular) view while drawing you in in equal measure.

 

Clockwise from Left: Sullivan in Blue, Sprinkle in Aqua, Mini Leopard in Cloud, and Nakuru Linen Velvet in Mineral.

For a beautiful Bedroom

I love a soothing bedroom done in neutral tones for the ultimate in rest and relaxation.

Tangier Embroidery in Silver

   Piero Stripe Embroidery in Pearl

 

       

Corallina in Grey and Brushstroke in Mineral.

For a Touch of summer

These fabrics are so lovely for a summer house project or any room in which you want to channel the glory days of summer! I can’t wait to build an inspiration board around these – the possibilities are endless.

 

Clockwise from Left: Folly in Orpington Blue, Abstract Leaf in Taupe, Wellfleet Ticking in Ocean, and Temple Garden in Beaches.

For a feminine dressing room

Blooming Branch in Blue and Blush- need I say more? I am LOVING these for a gorgeous settee with pale green silk pillows and plush carpet underfoot. 

Which are your favorites?

For more inspiration, you can visit Schumacher’s Design Blog HERE

 

xoxoxo

Miss Sheiky

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Friday Five

CULTURE

 

Famous People Dancing Like Nobody’s Watching

via Messy Nessy Chic

A beautiful compilation exactly as described- famous people dancing like nobody’s watching.  I especially loved this image of Prince Charles dancing with R&B group the The Degrees in 1978.

 

DECOR

 

Urchin Leather Chandelier

by Ngala Trading Company, via Dering Hall

How insanely fabulous is this leather chandelier by Ngala Trading Company? I am so very obsessed with it.

 

FOOD

 

No Bake Chocolate Mousse Bars 

via NYT Cooking

I’m not saying you are having guests over to watch the Royal Wedding this weekend, but I’m not saying you’re not, either. (I personally just want to see THE DRESS). Whichever way your interests lie, I think we can all agree that they go well with chocolate mousse bars. We have my sister in town this weekend, and I’m dying to make these decadent little things so that we can hate ourselves after eating them 😉

 

 

TRAVEL

 

The Getty Villa

Last week, we were in Los Angeles filling our days with rides down the PCH, fish tacos, long walks in Palisades park, and other incredible things. One highlight was the Palmyra exhibit at the Getty Villa in Malibu (if you haven’t been, this is a must see. Reserve tickets in advance and prepare to spend an incredible morning there before the crowds descend). This is one of my favorite places on earth.

 

 

LIVING

 

Finally, a note to all of you. I officially launched my Interior Design business this week after months (years!) of laying the foundation, and I couldn’t be more THRILLED. Thank you all so much for your unwavering support; I couldn’t be more thrilled to embark on this adventure.

With all my love and gratitude,

Miss Sheiky.

 

 

 

 

 

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WELCOME!

For those of you finding Maison Sheik for the first time, a hearty welcome to this little corner of the internet! Feel free to browse around using the tabs at top for posts on Culture, Decor, Food, Living and Travel. Settle in and get cosy. We are so happy to have you!

All my best,

Miss Sheiky

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Goodbyes & New Beginnings

Our beloved baby nurse left us this morning, after a 3 month stay (that started as a 6 week stay, which we kept extending, and extending, and extending). It was really heartbreaking for us to say goodbye to her because the baby just adores her so much, and she makes us laugh, and because this really represents the end of the newborn phase for us. Last night, she was giving the baby a bath, and the baby couldn’t stop smiling and cooing at her, and it was such a sweet scene that my heart broke into a million pieces. I couldn’t watch it any longer so I went downstairs to help my husband prepare a special dinner for her (Ribeyes from Dellapietras, roasted potatoes, and cake from Mia’s Bakery). Then we gave her gifts and toasted what we’ve built here and it just was a very special way to honor someone who has done so much for us.

Our baby is growing up. And now we are her primary caregivers, and we shape the majority of how she eats, how she sleeps, how she interacts with the world. It is a major responsibility, and also the most immense blessing someone could bestow on us. I pray that we do right by this child and by God everyday. I hope we are able to build on the foundations our lovely nurse provided and continue to nourish her and ensure she gets adequate rest, that she is always clean and warm and comfortable. I pray that we give her the space for her character to flourish, because the character she already has is so beautiful. She is a loving and kind and compassionate baby, who loves her family, loves flattery, loves being spoken to, loves music and dancing and kisses and hugs. She is a “very particular baby” as June would say, “and we know who she gets that from,” she would joke, implying me. I admire that she is particular, that she knows how she wants to sit, how to be fed, when to rest. But she is also so open to the world. We took her on a recent flight to Chicago, and she thought the airport was just the coolest place she had ever seen; she was mesmerized at the people, the overhead announcements, all of it. And that look of wonder in her eyes broke my heart right open again, it was so unbelievably sweet. It allowed me to see something I had become so accustomed to through bright new eyes. I reckon she is going to show me a lot more of the world through her eyes. I can’t wait to experience it with her. I try not to think about how much I might miss.

I am hopeful about this new beginning, i know it will bring a lot of transition, that it is representative of the 2nd phase of my leave: training the nanny, training her to sleep, getting ready to leave her. It puts a massive lump in my throat. But first, her dad and I are taking her to Los Angeles for 2 weeks, for a new dose of experiences. Mine and her father’s undivided attention for 2 weeks. Her feet in the sand. Watching the sunset from the park where we got engaged. We are trading cherry blossoms for palm trees, concrete for swimming pools, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

So we are closing a beautiful chapter of newborn bliss in our little cocoon, but emerging out into the world as a threesome. And so far, I’m loving it very much.

xo

Miss Sheiky

 

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Greige is my favorite color

Or at least, now it is. I am currently designing a Midtown Manhattan Apartment and in the paint selection part of the process and have found SO many beautiful neutrals to choose from. We are going for a soothing skyscraper aerie….cool grays in the living areas to go with the GORGEOUS marble kitchens and bathrooms, and smooth whispers of beige to inspire sweet dreams in the bedroom. These are the ones I am narrowing in on:

 

For the Living Room

I. Classic Gray

This color is part of the Classic Color Collection and I just keep coming back to it. It is timeless and elegant and the perfect grey for the clients’ bright south facing living room. Isn’t it just divine? I am told this has the slightest hint of lavender in it which would really be the only thing that would force me to put the kibosh on it for this particular project. But I’m holding out hope once we test it on the walls.

II. Athena 858

What is the difference between this color and the classic grey, you might ask? Good question. I’ll test this one and report back.

 

III. Pale Oak

Pale oak definitely has more beige in it and I am here for that. It’s so velvety and lush! This would free us up to use more taupe and warm woods in the decor too, (5 million swatches currently in consideration).

 

IV. Halo

Halo is part of the Off White color collection, and feels sophisticated and serene. I am not a massive fan of midcentury decor but this living room is really nailing it in my opinion. I could live in this beautiful room for sure!

For the Bedrooms

I. Edgecomb Grey

Edgecomb grey is a modern, organic neutral that is much beloved by designers. This one is really dependent on the light in the room as it can go more grey (see Image I below) or more beige (see Image II). For the bedrooms we are leaning toward more of a beige so we will have to test this one out, as the Master has south facing windows and the guest room has north facing ones.

 

II. Baby FAwn

Baby Fawn is another beautiful shade that really plays tricks on my eyes, as a number of images show it looking near identical to Edgecomb grey. I am told, however, that it has slightly warmer undertones that make it lean more beige, as in the below image.

III. Moonlight White

This color is part of the Off-White Color collection, offering subtle nuances of whites that suit tranquil, serene environments as well as creates color-enhancing accents for dynamic spaces. How stunning is this bedroom? I really, really love this color.

 

IV. Ashwood

This is described as a pale grey but see a lot more warmth in it. Here it is pictured in two different bedrooms.

V. Soft Chamois

This one is described as lying somewhere between gold and grey, and it exudes warmth and serenity. Definitely the cosiest of the bunch. I am really loving it displayed in the bedroom below with the ivory headboard and neutral rug.

 

There you have it, the finalists. These were narrowed down from a selection of hundreds,  so I feel pretty good about where we have landed. Next step is test mode! Can’t wait to see where we land. Which are your favorites?

xoxo

Miss Sheiky

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Spotlight on: Pierre Fray

Today I’d like to share a glimpse of my favorite upholstery company. Like most of my fondest obsessions, I discovered Maison Pierre Fray on Instagram. The French House creates and manufactures fabrics, wallpapers, and custom made carpets and rugs that are wildly inventive and beautiful- drawing inspiration from sources as varied as the French 18th century, contemporary art, and various ethnic groups and traditions. Put simply, their upholstery is divine.

Today I’m  sharing my fave five from their beautiful selection. You can scan the rest of their offerings- and fall down the subsequent decorating rabbit hole- Here

 

Le Couple

(Print on Linen)

There is a scene in the film “What Dreams May Come” where Robin William’s character goes into the depths of hell to track down his wife and finds it full of drowning, writhing bodies. This print reminds me of that scene. You would think that would be a turnoff- but I like it. I’m imagining this on the ottoman in the dressing room of a repressed tech executive.

 

Street Dyptique

(Print on Cotton)

This design reproduces the work of young French artist Charles Pringuay, whose highly energetic artworks blend classical technique with street art. This print is just so ALIVE.  I’m loving it for Louis XV dining chairs gathered around a massive stone dining table in the soho loft of an Italian renaissance man. Or a single bergere in a room otherwise tastefully filled with various solids in light blues, whites, creams, and pops of red.

 

 

Soleil Noir

(Print on Linen & Cotton)

Doesn’t this one remind you of Maman, the sculpture by Louise Bourgeois? (See below)

 

I’m seeing it on the walls in the bedroom of an especially daring, bachelor of a certain age with a massive steel 4 poster bed and sumptuous Pratesi sheets. Handcuffs not included.

 

Garden Party

(Print on Linen & cotton)

This one is a little more bucolic and features cats and monkeys, living in harmony- which we know is fantastical because cats don’t live in harmony with anyone. At any rate I’m loving this for the window seat of a little girl’s room, framed in pink curtains tied back with green silk tassels.

 

La Smala

(embroidery)

Finally, we arrive at La Smala, a collaboration with the students of the School of Decorative Arts in Paris. La Smala portrays Native American characters in their own headdresses and clothing, with embroidery expertly deployed to emphasize certain components and bring the images into 3 dimensions. I am loving this for the Brooklyn brownstone foyer of a particularly woke couple (cough cough), so no one gets the wrong idea. Or for a midcentury daybed paired with camel leather sofa in the Flatiron loft of someone who implicitly trusts my sense of whimsy and promises to love it. Either or.

 

There is so much more to love from this truly exceptional house, I can’t wait to bring one of these fabrics to life. As ever – thank you for following along with what inspires and delights me.

xoxox

Miss Sheiky

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Love & Marriage

Winston and Clementine Churchill

 

A friend of mine recently shared a 2014 article from the Atlantic,  How to Save Marriage in America, that I really enjoyed and promptly shared with my husband and a few others. The premise of the article is that college educated women are the most important drivers of the new model of marriage- one that has morphed from its reliance on traditional ideals (as they state it: he brings home the bacon and she cooks it) to a more equitable partnership built on family. “Unlike their European counterparts, increasingly ambivalent about marriage,”author Richard Reeves notes, “college graduates in the United States are reinventing marriage as a child-rearing machine for a post-feminist society and a knowledge economy. It’s working, too: Their marriages offer more satisfaction, last longer, and produce more successful children.” The crux of the article is that well educated Americans are waiting longer to get married, make more thoughtful decisions on their partners, are wealthier when they enter into said union,  experience romantic love with one another to boot, and then take the final step to become parents. “Money, Marriage, Maternity: in that order.” 

It is a fascinating look at the dissolution of a traditional marriage mold that doesn’t suit the demands of our increasingly demanding economy. Both parents bring home the bacon and share a value system that puts family first. These are couples who gladly spend the weekend at children’s activities as a departure from their office lives and a way to spend quality time with their most prized relations. But what perhaps goes unmentioned is the strength of the traditional marriage construct in these post-feminist marriages. Unrelated to the act of child rearing, many couples continue to divide the minutiae of marriage along traditional party lines, with a twist. I cook, he does the dishes. I do the laundry, he takes out the trash. I coordinate child care, he ensures those bills are paid, and promptly. The New York Times, rather humorously, touches on this in another (newer) article, titled “Taking Out the Trash? That’s Still a Man’s Job, Even for the Liberal Coastal Elite.”   But it’s a division of responsibility I hear time and again from fellow professional married women, And it seems to work well, or as well as it can, under the circumstances.

In the end, the negotiation of where time is devoted between a couple (your value system quote unquote), is one that continues to evolve. I am reminded of this 1970’s New York Magazine cover, which begs the question: “He Works, She Works, But How Does the House Work?” This might seem like a hilariously retro question, but it is a central one. Keeping the house might seem frivolous but where else are family lives built? 

In the end, marriage as a construct might be evolving but the benefits a good marriage confers on its participants, and especially their children, appears undeniable. And with that – I am reminded of Sir Winston’s reflection that“My ability to persuade my wife to marry me was quite my most brilliant achievement…” Churchill was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first person of eight to be made an honorary citizen of the United States. And yet despite his myriad achievements, however, his 56 year relationship with his wife Clementine, one that bore 5 children, was his most revered.

In a letter that Winston penned to Clementine in 1935, twenty-seven years into their marriage, he said this:

“Time passes swiftly, but is it not joyous to see how great and growing is the treasure we have gathered together, amid the storms and stresses of so many eventful and to millions tragic and terrible years?”

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Back on the Wagon

Mmmm breakast.

The weather is getting warmer, I am rapidly approaching the end of what is a socially acceptable amount of time spent in hibernation from society, and we happen to have a number of social events coming up that I am too vain to look awful for- so it’s time I joined the land of the (healthy) living again . On the same token, I’m not a masochist. Healthy living to me means a lot of long walks, a few short runs, and the addition of green smoothies to my repertoire.

On the latter point, I’ve been looking to expand my repertoire of green smoothie recipes. Our tried and true recipe is this one:

1 bag spinach

1 half container Vanilla greek yoghurt

2 bananas

1 very healthy spoonful of peanut butter

1 equally healthy spoonful of coconut oil

A splash of almond or soy milk

And we love it! But it tastes almost too good to be good for you. So I’m looking to try some recipes that taste a little bit worse. Hahah. In all seriousness, I feel like variety is important here. So I rounded up a few additional recipes that looked delicious!

Spinach & Orange Smoothie

Via . I often crave orange juice in the morning so this would be a super refreshing antidote to that. Plus it’s super simple! I also love that this recipe came from a website called Sassy Moms. I rest my case.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 navel orange, peeled
  • 1/2 banana, peeled
  • 1 cup tightly packed organic spinach
  • 1/4 cup coconut water, adjusted as desired
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds, optional
  • Ice

Spinach Detox

Via.  This one is full of Vitamin C and anti-inflammatories, plus an additional dose of caffeine which is always welcome in the old system.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup green tea, chilled
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro
  • 1 cup loosely packed organic baby kale (or another baby green)
  • 1 cup cucumber
  • 1 cup pineapple
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 avocado

Kale Pina colada

Finally, this kale pina colada recipe really spoke to me. It sounds  delushous and nutrushous.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 large hand-fulls (~50 g) kale ~the leaves of about 8 stalks
  • 1/3 c (~80 g) pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 (~50 g) ripe avocado
  • 1 scoop protein powder (i used vanilla)
  • 1 c ice cubes

I’ll report back when my clothes are falling off of me and/or I get my modeling contract. In the meantime, try these out and let me know what you think! xoxo

Miss Sheiky

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Design Spotlight: Cathy Kincaid

Today I wanted to share the gorgeous work of my favorite Interior Designer, Cathy Kincaid.

Kincaid is a Dallas based designer with unmatched elegance, and a talent for executing traditional style that channels a sense of the fresh and exotic. Her dexterous use of color is another hallmark, in a style that manages both abundance and restraint in equal measure.

This home in the Highland Park area of Dallas is breathtaking. The Gracie Wallpaper is beyond stunning and I have a special fondness for the sofa as we have the same one in our own living room! This room is layered with beautiful objects but the overall effect remains clear and bright.

 

Don’t you just die?

 

Moving onto a dining space. Look at the incredible Zuber wallpaper below. It’s like eating dinner in the middle of a very chic forest, where only chic animals live. Ha.

 

This bedroom below, from the same Highland Park property referenced above is also divine. Though her signature colors veer toward blues and whites, I love her use of natural cream and green hues in this room. Twin beds can still be incredibly chic!

 

I filed away the below image because of the exquisite grey on the walls. It is such a beautiful shade, isn’t it?

 

The abundant trellises in the sitting room below again play with the concept of bringing the outdoors in, to stunning effect. The detailed moldings on the ceilings and the gorgeous paned doors and door frames elevate the room to another height entirely.

 

I’ve had the below image also bookmarked for ages. I love the interplay of pattern on the ground and bright white spaces as the room gains height, as well as the subtle pops of red in the largely blue and white interior. We have a similar rug in our living room and I absolutely adore it.

 

Below, the insanely gorgeous orangerie she designed at a client’s home in Highland Park. The space, by Dallas architect J. Wilson Fuqua, was based on the 17th century orangeries on the grounds of Versailles. Cathy’s interior is crisp and classic, injecting the space with comfort while maintaining focus on the lush greenery beckoning from outside.

 

“I love the value of ‘the mix,’ Cathy says of her interiors.  “It is the one aspect of design that I adhere to—the old with the new, the ornate with the simple, the refined with the rustic. This approach expresses the personality of the client and charms their guests.” And with that, I leave you with my favorite room, possibly of all time. A Turkish inspired dining room that perfectly bridges the Middle East (faded oriental rugs, Mother-of-pearl bone inlay mirrors), the far east (in its abundance use of Chinoiserie), and western design (in the shapely chairs and crisp linens).

 

Cathy’s work is the ultimate study in contrasts – formal and comfortable, pattern and monochrome, crisp and lush. You can see more of her portfolio here if you’d like to explore more. All images above via Veranda and House Beautiful.

May your Mondays be filled with beauty, wherever the eye lands.

xoxox

Miss Sheiky