Snow birds and design enthusiasts alike have descended upon Palm Beach this month and it’s not just for the fantastic weather. The 2nd annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House officially began hosting guests last Friday evening and has quickly garnered rave reviews.
Oh what a treat I have for you, dear readers! If you find winter as dreadful as I do, join me in saying sayonara to the cold and hello to Palm Beach. To put us in an island state of mind, gracious hostess Carol Jankowsky is dishing her best entertaining, decorating, and lifestyle tips. We’ll also enjoy a look at Mrs. Jankowsky’s Palm Beach abode, designed by Leta Austin Foster and most recently featured in the December issue of House Beautiful.
Carol is no stranger to a beautifully orchestrated event—she is adept at throwing many a soirée at her homes in Virginia and Palm Beach. Her hostessing prowess was honed early on in her marriage to a DC lobbyist as she learned to navigate a large gathering, meeting each guest. These days, Carol upholds the tradition of gracious entertaining to delight the pair’s colleagues, friends, and family.
Muffy: Carol, what a pleasure to profile you on Stuffy Muffy! Please do share with us how you prefer to set your table.
Carol: I adore using lots of Leta’s plates, plus I have a massive collection of inherited china, antique show finds, and plenty of Herend from Bluck’s in Bermuda. I use linen from all over—lots from my mother, mother-in-law, Leta and I also adore India Amory.
Muffy: As for flowers?
Carol: I usually prefer doing my own flowers. I’m not snobby about where they come from. I like Publix, Trader Joe’s, and Christopher Cope—a wonderful florist in the Palm Beach area that often supplies me with his gorgeous stems and always decks out my mantel in Palm Beach with his pretty hydrangeas. He gets the cream of the crop!
Muffy: Does your entertaining style in Palm Beach differ from your usual Virginia set-up?
Carol: The dining area in Palm Beach is more casual than in the DC area. I always mix everything up, nothing is ever too matchy. I think of it almost as a painting, being a former art major.
Muffy: Speaking of, what is your taste in art?
Carol: I love Contemporary art but not too “way out.” More Washington Color School, Diebenkorn, Gene Davis. Plein Air, Impressionist, Wolf Kahn. Very lucky to have acquired a few of these.
Muffy: Back to entertaining—are you cooking for guests and what do your menus look like?
Carol: I love to cook, I adore anything from Alex Hitz and Cathy Graham, very inspiring. I do keep things rather simple, nothing is too ornate. Like Ina, I am not afraid of filling in the menu with dessert from elsewhere! I feel if we make part of the menu, it’s just fine.
Muffy: What are you wearing?
Carol: I try to wear something that I am very comfortable wearing in order to freely move around. Nothing too precious that I have to be too careful in. Comfort is key. I must admit that I have a very generous and kind husband who loves seeing me wear pretty jewelry. I was lucky enough to inherit lots of nice things.
Muffy: Do you have a sort of Palm Beach “uniform” that you stick to?
Carol: I love wearing pretty tunics for dinners at either house. I love black pants, silk pants, velvet jackets that I’ve had made, and a black cocktail suit for many occasions. I once thought I had to wear Oscar de la Renta, which I still love, but I’m more into accessorizing simple clothes now. I love pearls and all the pretty things my thoughtful husband has bought me over the years. I remember Mom telling me to stand back, look in the mirror and take one thing off! I detest seeing overly done, too-much-at-a-time jewelry. I also love estate jewelry. I try to edit before going out!
Muffy: How do you set the tone for the evening?
Carol: Once the doorbell rings, I am a guest at my own party. All my worrying takes place earlier! I also have a little cocktail! Not too early!
Muffy: And your cocktail of choice?
Carol: I enjoy vodka on the rocks with a zillion olives or occasionally with a splash of grapefruit juice! I like a little wine at dinner when out. In the summer, vodka tonic, a rosé, and Bloody Mary’s at brunches! Always in moderation.
Muffy: What kind of ambience music do you have playing?
Carol: I love music from the 50s, Sinatra, Elton John, and my husband loves Jazz!
Muffy: Where do you like to have guests gather in your home?
Carol: We have a pretty loggia inspired by my idol, Billy Baldwin. We enter you there whenever the evening permits. I never want my guests to be uncomfortable so I always have a plan B. I put too much time and thought into all the details to have anyone be uncomfortable.
Muffy: A hostess has to have a night off once in awhile! What are your favorite Palm Beach restaurants?
Carol: I love Imoto, Chez Jean Pierre, Renato’s, and Cafe Flora for a fun, casual dining out evening. Pamela and Henry are a darling young couple who have built a very nice outdoor dining experience. I Love the Honor Bar and enjoy Sant Ambroeus for a festive night. I will try Todd English soon and I’m happy to see a new Chinese place, Hai House, in the Esplanade. The Peking Duck was yummy! Pizza al Fresco is another favorite restaurant—the best pizza in town and really fun for families and large groups.
Muffy: For your shopping fix, where do you wander to?
Carol: I love Peggy Daven and Seaman Schepps for jewelry. For decor, the treasure hunt down Dixie! Such fun and the house is filled with its treasures! Then there is Leta Austin Foster’s beautiful shop. Someone from Palm Beach years ago called it “the most beautiful shop in the world.” It is jam packed with everything you would possibly wish for! The most beautiful linens, embroidered in Europe, china, vintage cocktail napkins, and children’s clothes from Paris and London. Don’t forget the potpourri, lamps, and painted furniture. Everything for you and your home. Her workplace—the studio upstairs—is where all the magic happens! She has a great staff who are always there to help you and on call!
Muffy: I’m always on the hunt for lovely hostess gift ideas, what are some of your mainstays?
Carol: I will often take an orchid in Palm Beach—the gift that keeps on giving. Everyone hangs them on their trees later. I love to take the scented oils with the little sticks, not candles. Cocktails napkins if the hostess is a really close friend and wine if I don’t know them too well.
Muffy: I know we are honing in on your Palm Beach tastes, but I’d love to know more about your Virginia home too!
Carol: My wonderful decorator in DC, Lavinia Lemon, really got me started. I met her many years ago and she was considered the finest. She’s still busier than ever and I owe my beautiful home in Virginia to her! She taught me so much and she is a great friend. She also found some wonderful paintings for us!
Carol: Everyone loves the library, cobalt blue with a zig zag floor! She found Robert Jackson to do our painted floors and walls many years ago. They’re more beautiful after 30 years! Patina! Robert Jackson was the best. Mark Hampton, Mario Buatta, and probably Bunny Mellon used him.
Muffy: Any special interests in Virginia that you are involved in?
Carol: My husband sits on many nonprofit boards while my love is the National Children’s Hospital in Washington. I also love my ladies club downtown. We still dress for lunch and dinner, not easily found these days. Sadly, the dress code has seemingly disappeared, unless in a private club!
For more of Carol’s enchanting tastes, please do follow her on Instagram here. Details of her delightful Palm Beach home can be found in the December 2018 issue of House Beautiful.
P.S. I will be in Florida later this month to deliver a sneak peek of the spectacular Kips Bay Decorator Show House in Palm Beach. I can’t wait to share the goodness with you all! For show house information, admission, and tickets to the opening night preview party (hope to see you there!), please visit here.
House Beautiful images photographed by Francesco Lagnese and produced by Doretta Sperduto.
A decadent crab bisque is the way to anyone’s heart this holiday season! This recipe, a classic from my mother’s archives, is meant to inspire merriment and grateful palates amongst family and friends. It is rich enough to stand alone—we have always enjoyed it as a main course—but it also works brilliantly as a first or second course when served in petit portions.
Serves 4-6 as a main course, serves 6-8 as a soup course
- 3/4 cup of butter (1 1/2 sticks)
- 1 1/2 medium onions, minced
- 1 medium carrot, finely minced
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp seafood seasoning
- 1/4 tbsp celery salt
- 1/8 tbsp freshly ground white pepper
- 4 cups of milk, heated
- 3 tbsp white wine
- 1/2 lb lump crab meat
- salt to taste
- fresh mint for garnish
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add vegetables and sauté until soft. Reduce heat to medium and add flour, whisking constantly until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes, whisking frequently while stirring in parsley and seasonings. Gradually add heated milk, stirring constantly. Slowly add the wine, then crab, and salt to taste. Let simmer 15 to 20 minutes (do not boil!). Serve hot and garnish with lump crab and fresh mint. It pairs beautifully with a baguette!
Bon appetit dears, wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
‘Tis the season! Last week, I had the pleasure of touring the 10th annual Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse orchestrated by Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles and I’m thrilled to report that it is dreamy. The home, built by Harrison Design architects in partnership with Blackstone Custom Homes, is a brand new English country house nestled in Buckhead’s Chastain Park neighborhood. Inspired by 19th century architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, British features such as a sweeping roof, gables, and symmetrical design are masterfully incorporated. For the interiors, 18 local talents were selected to deck the halls with spectacular design. I hope these images will whet your appetite to visit as the Showhouse doors are officially open! Ready for a sneak peek?
Lovely Living Room
Designer Lauren DeLoach does it again! DeLoach always delivers feminine, layered spaces that feel sophisticated and classic. While wholeheartedly Southern, I find her designs to also have a timeless New England sensibility about them. The room, peppered with rich textiles, fine art and French antiques, is ensconced in curtains done in Peter Fasano, Ltd. fabric, lending a comfortable air to the first-floor area.
Dining Room Delight
Showhouse Honorary Chair Carole Weaks transformed the dining room into an emerald oasis. The painting, by Ukrainian artist Serhiy Hai, is so striking in person and the perfect piece to admire during dinner. Gathered around a glass top table are Frances Elkins chairs painted black just for the space. Everything feels intentional and effortless at the same time!
Decorator Susan Brady created the most delightful jewel box using my favorite color combination—pink and green. The paper, a Clarke & Clarke confection, climbs to the ceiling where it’s met with light green trim and a pink ceiling. Lovely touches like framed art and intaglios tie it all together for a formal welcome into the home.
Ravishing Laundry Room
When given a canvas of contemporary grey finishes, Lauren Lowe of Lauren Elaine Interiors knew just what would imbue her traditional aesthetic into the laundry room and butler’s pantry. She chose Schumacher’s iconic Hollyhock wallpaper in charcoal to dress up the space and spared no small details. Monogrammed towels, art, books, and a small bar set-up add charm in spades.
While the kitchen is a decidedly transitional space complete with a modern hood and grey cabinetry, it also feels quite classic thanks to designer Liz Godwin. Slipcovered barstools in a timeless fabric complete with tassel trim detail play beautifully off the large marble island perfect for today’s busy family. An heirloom quality is added with an equestrian painting and her mother’s china mixed with other beautiful porcelain pieces.
Jessica Bradley wanted to go the unexpected route with her master bedroom design and rightfully so. Contemporary accents like a velvet and nailhead bed are tempered with aged antiques. Dotting the Designers Guild wallpaper are framed botanicals and perfectly placed mirrors flanking the bed. The generous view into the backyard through double doors is complimented by flora and fauna adorned curtains.
Walking into Chris Socci’s master bath and closet design is like exhaling and leaving all the day’s stresses at the door. Inspired by nature, Socci kept all the incorporated elements organic, down to the mirror shapes and lily pad side table. Cole & Son Hummingbird in Viridian wallpaper and blue and green curtains mimicking watery ripples accentuate the serene scheme. In the master closet, chic ensembles by Danielle Rollins are ready to take off the hanger and wear.
No strangers to a Showhouse, the ladies of Gordon Dunning have created yet another delightful space. The thoughtful design starts in the mudroom that leads into a vibrant baker’s passage with an adjoining pantry and pool powder at the end. The hallway, covered in an ethereal blue and white Anna French fabric is pure magic. Sentimental elements such as vintage spoons hung in an arched doorway and framed recipes in the pantry hint at familial history.
Montgomery Gratch Interiors created a chic retreat any teenage girl would be happy to call hers. Their design, created for a young lady about to leave for college, is filled with unique elements such as tribal textures and antique furniture like the bedside chests. The pièce de résistance is a hand-painted wall by Kari Fisher Designs based off of a pillow pattern by the same artisan.
Breakfast Room Bliss
Designer Margaret Kirkland’s signature classic style is in every last detail of this charming dining alcove. Baskets, fine art and topiaries galore lend a collected flair while a bamboo lantern and chairs are teeming with timelessness. Verdant tones are carried throughout from the curtains to the rug and even the green stemmed wine glasses. With floor to ceiling windows overlooking the backyard pool, Kirkland paid special mind to making the room flow seamlessly with the superb view of nature.
I hope you enjoyed this sampling of some of the gorgeous design represented at the Showhouse, there are many more breathtaking rooms to see and admire! If you will be in Atlanta between now and December 9th, I encourage you to visit Home for the Holidays. In addition to regular tour hours and a marketplace, there is a stellar lineup of events with something for everyone—I will most likely be back on November 29th for an evening candlelight tour. Proceeds from the ticket sales will directly benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a very worthy cause and essential resource for families in the Southeast. Interested in purchasing the property? It is listed with Dorsey Altson realtors.
4540 Jett Road NW
Atlanta, GA 30327
Hours: Thursdays & Fridays: 10 AM – 4 PM, Saturdays & Sundays: 1-4 PM
PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT: DAVID CHRISTENSEN (except for the couple of badly lit iPhone images by moi!).