Monthly Archives

December 2014

Paying Home-age

Interview with Tracey Belfatto

Tracey is a dear friend and fellow stylist/creator. When I see Tracey I automatically imagine that we’re in a pre-Raphaelite painting and I’m instantly home. Colors are richer, gardens greener, flowers more fragrant, naughtiness is always a possibility and beauty is painfully endless…I paid a visit and homage to Tracey and Rik’s (Tracey’s partner) Upstate NY house, studio, greenhouse and 61 acres. These two have always been a huge inspiration and partners in crime. I am forever grateful for their knowledge, talent and contributions.

TSF: How would you describe your style?
Tracey:  Well traveled, textured, natural, eclectic, modern, warm, earthy , rusty. Everything  has a story, and a long life. Sentimental essence, timeless .

TSF: What are your favorite styles or designs?
Tracey:  Simplicity, elegance, natural or unique proportion,comfort, craftsmanship, a melding of the modern and arcane.

TSF: I see you have little collections throughout your house, how do you decide what becomes a collection for you?
Tracey:  I love well worn things and  the feel and warmth of old wooden spoons, bowls, the history of cutting boards and old mortars and pestles. It’s a connection one might feel for an old cashmere sweater, a possession that’s existed forever.

TSF: What inspires you? Motivates you in design.
Tracey: History ,nature, light, giving new meaning to discarded or saved objects. I hate when things break. I create daily arrangements with things I find on my long walks . I blend, build and shuffle them so they keep going and changing flavor, like a soup one keeps on the stove and adds to making it richer.

TSF: You and Rik have done a lot work to your upstate house, what were your visions when you bought this place?
Tracey:  The place was so tiny and cozy, it was all about the outdoor space. We wanted to add a bright, glass room, where we would could cook and entertain more expansively.  We proceeded to build two-thirds more house onto the cabin, pretty much cache as cache can. We bought things, found most and revamped quite a bit of materials so progress was slow.  It was truly a hand-built process. We had the sliding glass doors before the room and designed around them. We are still searching for handles to fit them. We found thermal windows on the street in Harlem. Friends would spot things, mention it and we’d pick them up. All the butcher block was found on NYC streets. They were used in our NYC loft and reused again up here. Rik’s work studio and mine are both built with old sets and materials from our design business.  We  made a teepee in the woods, our old backdrops sewn together as its cover. When constructing the new room, we moved the back deck around to the guest bedroom side for a lovely private porch. Sounds easy but it took all summer. Renting the place for a few days here and there provided a bit of cash to continue.

TSF: You’re not afraid of color how do you decide what colors to use in your rooms?
Tracey:  I love to feel the sun in every room, seems all my NYC apts. were dark, so I always compensated with color and warmth. Being a painter and designer, it is constantly changing.

TSF: I love the DIY fireplace mantel headboard, how did that come about?
Tracey:  I have been dragging that mantle around forever. It came from an old brownstone in Murray hill. They knocked down the building and I salvaged  it. It has had many incarnations, and  will have many more. Almost any object d’ art is capable of infinite placements . Loss of possibility is a bit sad when things are set in stone, cemented.



Magical Shroom Queen


Free Swinging

Free Swinging

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Parties, Delectables & Pretty Things

Yo Break Bread – No Knead Bread aka Sullivan Street Bakery Bread

New Yorkers are serious about A LOT of things but one thing for sure is their bread! And there’s nothing better then this bread and it’s easy to make yourself. When I made my paying homage visit to Tracey’s (read about that in the paying homage section) Tracey had this bread fresh out of the oven it looked gorgous, smelled divine and and was still warm! We gobbled it up with some olive oil and olives that I had brought with me and of course a nice glass of Pinot Noir!

The owner of this famous bakery decided to generously hand over the recipe! Click NY Times link for it. The best thing is that you can easily customized your loaf my adding whatever fresh herbs you love, olives, fruit … Happy Baking!

NY Times

Serious Eats


Courtesy of new york serious eats



Style Sanctuary

How to Reclaim Your Space & Self After a Break Up

Let’s face it breaking up sucks! It’s change and it’s unsettling, nerve wracking, paralyzing at times but you’ve got to clear out old vibes! Welcome new clearer space = clear head & heart. It’s a loss – grieve and clear the ways!

First admit however much the pain hurts (and it sucks I know), so does picking up dirty socks, tripping over randomly thrown shoes and baffling mass breeding whisker hairs in the bathroom! You have just freed up time and energy to do what you want when you want. Invite whomever you like whenever! Wear whatever you want, buy whatever you want, BE whatever you want. No matter what it seems we sacrifice and recalibrate ourselves especially when we want so much for it to work out.

First remove all of your ex’s belongings. Don’t play the “what if” game… if I keep this here, if I don’t move this at all maybe…. NO! What was didn’t work and you don’t want that same thing always. Pack that shit up stat! Do your best to lovingly remove your ex’s remains. The more love and less detachment the better.

Clean out old vibes! Blast your favorite music, burn a white cleansing candle and sage (or my new fav Palo Santo/Holy wood, thanks to my sista Shari!) and do a major deep cleaning (especially in the bedroom). Remove any items or decor that have always bothered you. Replace with stuff that makes you happy or make the space more bare, peaceful. You will in time find your new prefect things to blend in. Enjoy the deep breath of cleansing and owning your “new” space.

Find and bring home new friends – crystals! My top favorite pals for this party are-rose quartz, garnets, Pink Lemurian Seed, Pink Manganocalcite, Rhodonite, emeralds…

I find it’s best to pick whatever stones you’re drawn to. Try to relax and use your intuition. I suggest creating a collection and placing them in a beautiful bowl on your nightstand. You can also put some in a pouch and sleep with them under your pillow or bed. Make sure to purify your new stones before using them and at every full moon. To do this you can burn sage and allow the smoke to touch the stones then to rejuvenate them place the stones in the sun or moon light.

More to come on this awkward uncomfortable crappy process!

Here’s a couple of great links with info:

Crystal Vaults

Hibiscus Moon Crystal Academy

Sacred Wood Essence

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Gypsy Travels

Glamorous Camping = Glamping!

So boho chic. This gypsy has been wanting to try it out for the past couple of years. Finally I had the opportunity to do so in August. I picked glamping @ River Ranch Lake Wales Florida. River Ranch also has another love of mine – horses!

Our almost 400 sq ft tent had AC, a fan, a fridge, it’s own outdoor grill and picnic table. Our canvas oasis had a separate screened in porch in the front to keep bugs out. This is where every morning our breakfast magically appeared! Pot of coffee, danishes and fruit just silently showed up, kind of creepy and fabulous all in one. Definitely luxury in the great outdoors. In the middle of the glamping tents there’s a communal fire-pit that also magically ignites every night at dusk, perfect setting for your complimentary smores kit.

But what I loved most about this ranch and experience was the southern hospitality, history and simplicity that’s
lost in most areas today. This area of Florida is home to America’s first cowboys – a combination of Seminole Indians. Spanish colonists and American Settlers. There’s a real sense of freedom – American freedom that sadly seems lost today. At this ranch you can learn how to line dance, go to a real rodeo, drink at the saloon, go for a ride (on a horse), ride an airboat through the everglades or fly your plane in. Soon you’ll be able to fly your plane and land right next to your cabin or glamping tent.

My favorite thing about this excursion was the people who work the ranch – a definite reality show subculture. I had the honor of meeting Mr. Ray Duncan who runs the ranch, is the rodeo announcer and the preacher @ the “ranch chapel”. Mr. Ray and I had to have words cause I complained about the insanely loud plane that was hovering over our tent around 6am. I was fresh off my plane the night before and ironically my industrial street in Brooklyn is quieter then that! Mr. Ray was very sympathetic and generously hooked us up! He came by on his golf cart everyday with his dog, Cowboy, and found us. All to check in and make sure we were ok and having fun. It was truly amazing! And we laughed when he told me that the loud plane culprit was a photographer capturing early morning light for his photo shoot! Even in glamping and nature one can not escape one’s roots!

I must also tip my hat to Ms Chelsea whom we lovingly refer to as “Ms Chelsea Mam” she is the talented female trick rider in the rodeo and was our trial ride leader every morning. Chelsea had impressive knowledge of all the local vegetation, animal tracks and a deep respect for the land. She’s a bad ass and a beauty too! She made our trip so much more lush and alive.

glamping tent

glamping wg-river-ranch-glamping-sleeping-area-v1-737

rr tent

Glamping area

rr campfire

Fire at night.

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My cousin Sarah asked me to help her out with creating an easy simple & organic aisle decor for her outdoor wedding at a State Park. I decided and she agreed that I make terrariums in lanterns. The lanterns would hang on a shepherd hook to create the wise pathway. Here are easy step by step instructions on how to make them! You can check out the wedding in the Parties, Delicables & Pretty Things section here.

Buy your materials-
• Lanterns with nice clear glass sides.
• Rocks – I used river rocks
• Preserved Moss or fresh moss from outside
• Reindeer Moss
• Spanish Moss
• Succulents
• Shepherd Hooks
• Burlap Ribbon
• Water Spray Bottle
• Scissors
• Thongs
• Knife
• Stick or Long screwdriver

photo 2

photo 5

photo 3

Put a thin layer of your rocks in the bottom of the lantern.

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