A La Carte

My Picks in Print for the Holidays

November 20, 2019

Devoted Kindler I am but some pages need to be touched and turned.

 

These are my top 10 books for gifting this season:

 

1. Jon Klassen’s Hatbox Actions have consequences, something best learnt early by this talented illustrator and storyteller.

(Photo by: thehattrilogy.com)

2. Tanya Marcuse Fallen /Fruitless/ Woven Turning seasonal transformations of growth and decay into art is an art.

(Photo by: tanyamarcuse.com)

3. Book IV Jacobsen Architecture: Twelve Houses Hugh and Simon Jacobsen 2007-2019 Iconic Georgetown modernists' latest work.

(Photo by: jacobsenarchitecture.com)

4. Patrick Sutton Storied Interiors Timeless luxury for our best spaces.

(Photo by: patricksutton.com)

5. Face It Debbie Harry Rocking The Anthem turned her into my spirit animal.

(Photo by: harpercollins.com)

6. The Wine Table Vickie Reh Chef, sommelier and local authority on great pairings.

(Photo by: skyhorsepublishing.com)

7. The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images Our hidden dimensions of meaning explored.

(Photo by: amazon.com)

8. Steve McCurry Animals Great photographer capturing the magic between species.

(Photo by: taschen.com)

9. The REACH: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Steven Holl Architects  Brilliant design now accessible in our own backyard.

(Photo by: rizzoliusa.com)

10. The Photographs of Joan Leigh Fermor Artist and Lover by Ian Collins  How I want to fall in love with Greece.

(Photo by: hauspublishing.com)


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DIGEST DESIGN IX: Solis Betancourt & Sherrill in Georgetown

November 17, 2019

Jose Solis Betancourt, Dana Rooney and Paul Sherrill (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jose Solis Betancourt, Dana Rooney and Paul Sherrill

Jose Solís Betancourt and Paul Sherrill, partners of DC-based Solís Betancourt & Sherrill, have an international following, with clients seeking them out for their luxurious, timeless and understated style. 

With every project, they first gain a complete understanding of how their client will live in and enjoy a given space, with attention to detail that transforms the home into an ever-evolving reflection of the owner's life.

I had a chance to sit down recently with Jose to learn more about one of the firm's stunning Georgetown projects. 

 

DISH: Your understated approach to luxury embraces color but with a subdued palette, mixing antiques with modern elements. How has your aesthetic evolved over the years?

 

JSB: Our approach hasn’t really changed.  We’ve continued to seek an elegant, timeless mix. But what has changed, and dramatically, is technology. The technology, especially in lighting devices is changing the way we illuminate our projects. Compared to 20 years ago, we have so many more different sources, sizes and temperatures of light which we can fine-tune to create the right ambiance for any time of day.

Bathroom before (Photo by: Marcos Galvany) Bathroom before

A ceiling fixture by Chameleon Fine Lighting accents the master bath, which is outfitted with a mirrored vanity. (Photo by: Marcos Galvany) A ceiling fixture by Chameleon Fine Lighting accents the master bath, which is outfitted with a mirrored vanity.

DISH:  Tell us more about this Georgetown project.

 

JSB: Our clients, an elegant couple, were looking to us to create a totally white house, to transform a dated apartment into an interesting residence in the sky. We painted the ceilings with high-gloss finish and the floors, specially made, and then highly polished. The sheer window treatments act as a diffuser, filtering light back into the apartment. 

 

To maximize the sense of height, we didn’t use any down lighting, only table lamps, up lighting from tables and inside book cases.

 

We also turned a spare bedroom into a library.

This bedroom was converted into a library. (Photo by: Marcos Galvany) This bedroom was converted into a library.

A view into the library, where a Bartolomeu Cid dos Santos stone relief is displayed above the sofa. (Photo by: Marcos Galvany) A view into the library, where a Bartolomeu Cid dos Santos stone relief is displayed above the sofa.

DISH: In Essential Elegance you wrote that your interiors offer a moment of transcendence, sanctuaries of protection, tranquility and beauty. Your current thinking on how to achieve that?

Dining room before (Photo by: Marcos Galvany) Dining room before

Gracie wallpaper on the ceiling, and mirrored panels conceal storage for tableware; Solís Betancourt & Sherrill designed the table and chairs. (Photo by: Marcos Galvany) Gracie wallpaper on the ceiling, and mirrored panels conceal storage for tableware; Solís Betancourt & Sherrill designed the table and chairs.
 

JSB: The act of entertaining is always important to our clients and therefore our spaces. But we don’t believe the function of each room has to be so rigid.  We’ve been looking toward spaces where there is seating for multiple uses. For example, a table with club chairs for gathering, playing cards, and serving drinks, but that can also be easily converted for traditional seated dining. More natural, more cozy. We’ve done this subtle dining room table set-up in a library and the results were spectacular and conducive to good conversation.   

Seguso lamps from Lobel Modern flank the master suite’s bed; Rubelli fabrics for the coverlet, love seat from Paul Marra Design, and Patterson Flynn Martin carpet. (Photo by: Marcos Galvany) Seguso lamps from Lobel Modern flank the master suite’s bed; Rubelli fabrics for the coverlet, love seat from Paul Marra Design, and Patterson Flynn Martin carpet.

 

DISH: How does your approach differ from and complement Paul’s? 

 

JSB: Paul is more traditional, a little more in the classical European style. With my architectural background, I tend to be more modern. But everything we’ve done over the last 30 years has been through a collaborative process, and we respect each others’ approaches. Our clients often ask each of us separately to solve a problem, and are surprised when we come up with the same solution.

 

DISH: What part of the design process is the most rewarding? 

 

JSB: While it’s always a thrill to see clients delighted during the final walk through, it’s completing the initial concept with the client. That’s when I know it’s all going to work. We’ve done the whole full service design process for so many years now, and, while sometimes logistically complex, we know how to get it all done. So at this point, the most rewarding part is coming up with the design.

Old house in Majorca (Photo by: Solis Betancourt & Sherrill) Old house in Majorca

DISH: What are you working on now? 

 

JSB: We're remodeling an old residence in Palma de Mallorca. It will be in the traditional Palma style with a contemporary minimalist approach.


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From Fired to Fabulous: A Conversation with Beth Solomon

November 11, 2019

“How many of you have ever been fired from a job?” she asked an overflow crowd of Washington Network Group (WNG) guests last week, during a conversation over cocktails at the 18th Street Lounge. Quite a few hands went up. “How many of you have been fired more than 10 times?” Laughter. No hands up. So began a delightful presentation by Beth Solomon, author of the upcoming book, Fired to Fabulous!

 

We know her foremost as Founder of The Georgetown DishThank you, Beth! 

 

Too modest to tell WNG, but here's what she's been doing:

(Photo by: Neshan Naltchayan)

With journalism in her genes — her mother was a society reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Chicago Tribune; her aunt was Nina Hyde, the Washington Post Fashion Editor — Beth began her career as a radio reporter in East Africa for the Voice of America, Radio France, and Deutsche Welle. As a freelance producer for ABC News, she covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the first democratic elections in Eastern Europe after the breakup of the Soviet Union. 

 

When her parents asked Beth to come home to get a “real job,” she was somewhat  offended, but soon returned to Washington and begged for a job as a receptionist at the Atlanta Constitution’s national bureau in D.C. There, she began writing op-ed columns on politics. Her writing led to a role as a speechwriter for U.S. Senator Sam Nunn (D-Georgia), serving on the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Always interested in communications and politics, Beth later co-founded Planet Vox, producing documentaries and media for public interest campaigns. This led to senior strategic communications roles at the National Association of Manufacturers, the International Franchise Association and the National Restaurant Association

(Photo by: Neshan Naltchayan)

Along the way, Beth was recruited to be an executive headhunter with global search firm CTPartners, where she served for four years, and worked in Hollywood at talent agency William Morris Endeavor helping represent Stan Lee, Chuck Norris, Michael Moore and others. While in Los Angeles, she wrote a weekly column for the Santa Monica Daily Press

 

Eventually missing her hometown of Washington, she headed east and founded The Georgetown Dish before being recruited to be CEO of the National Association of Development Companies, representing commercial real estate lenders. From there she was hired as Vice President of the Government Practice by U.S. Bank, the nation’s fifth-largest commercial bank. She is now Managing Director of Strategic Initiatives & Development at CARE International, the global humanitarian and development organization focused on women and girls.

 

With self-effacing humor, Beth described a few forks in her rocky but enlightening road. On one occasion, she was going into a meeting, proud of her recent accomplishments, poised to ask for a promotion, when it turned into please close the door- we're going in a different direction- pack up your desk- your staff has left the building - leave now kind of morning.

 

For the record, she wasn’t fired from every job, but enough to fill a book. We know it all ends well.


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