Sinatra: Love Him Or Hate Him, He Was Amazing

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I had been in love with Frank Sinatra since I danced to the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra at the Lake Worth Casino back in the early forties. Those were my high school years in Fort Worth, TX, and Sinatra was Dorsey’s vocalist. On those memorable nights when the band came through town, our boyfriends would grow livid when we looked over their shoulders longingly, failed to hear what they were saying, and edged ever closer to the bandstand. So far, so normal. I was just another of the budding bobby-soxers who wanted to scream when Sinatra sang. I didn’t, though. I Was determined not to be one of the crowd. I wanted Frank to recognize my sophistication and to understand my appreciation for his very great talent. I looked up at him, skinny and big-eared, standing before Tommy’s trombone, and sighed.

Then came the movie years when my friends and I would sit in the dark to our hearts’ content, memorizing his every look and action and inflection. I never sang a Sinatra song after that–even under my breath–without trying to employ Frank’s phrasing. My later appearances as an amateur singer with the Skitch Henderson Orchestra in New York City happened only because I was still imitating my idol. Skitch would say, “You know, Lizard, you can sing just like Sinatra. Too bad you don’t have any voice or range.”

The man at his very best.

The man at his very best.

So, my life went on, and I fell into journalism, writing and editing for magazines, and then becoming an entertainment columnist. By now we knew a lot more about Sinatra–what a leader he was, pal of presidents, chief of the Rat Pack, serious ladies’ man. We had devoured the drama of the Lana Turner and Ava Gardner years; now we devoured the stories about Juliet Prowse and Lauren Bacall. At this point, I was a relatively anonymous writer. But by 1975, I was a gossip columnist for the widely read New York Daily News, and a new responsibility devolved upon me. Certain things were a must if you had the byline. I learned I was expected to take sides, take stands, make enemies, be brave and fearless, take my knocks and raps, and never wince or cry aloud. As a devout coward, this was the hardest part of the job for me, but I tried.

Through the years I had learned about a different Sinatra from the one I had originally worshiped, about a tough-talking and tough-acting guy who called women “broads” and “hookers,” who hated the press in general, and who often meted out revenge.

My column was not very critical of celebrities. I tried to give everyone a break. But when a celebrity phenomenon rose on the horizon, a person with real power, I would occasionally tilt at windmills. What’s more, I had come to feel that the Federal government, the Pentagon, politicians, televangelists, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, and Frank Sinatra were all big enough not to be destroyed by my criticism. They seemed able to take care of themselves. And I began to be offended by Frank Sinatra’s chutzpah, his hubris, his attitude toward women, his laxity in regard to the Mob. His volatile temper reminded me of my own feisty little father, and it wasn’t something I liked being reminded of.

And so I defended Jonathan Schwartz when Sinatra had the deejay fired for criticizing his album Trilogy. I defended Barbara Howar, then a reporter for Entertainment Tonight, after she tried to ask him a simple, charming question at the Reagan inauguration, and he lashed out at her, saying, “You’re all dead, everyone of you.” Then, when he began maligning Barbara Walters, saying she should turn in her press card, I called him a “bully” in print and inquired why he so often put down women. Sinatra immediately began attacking me with great gusts of venom from concert stages, even from Carnegie Hall.

I was, in his words, “a dog; all you had to do was hang a pork chop out the window” and I’d chase it. I was invariably described by him as “fat, old, and ugly.” He said I preferred Debbie Reynolds to Burt Reynolds. I thought the Debbie/ Burr wisecrack was pretty funny. I did like pork chops. But I was hurt by “fat, old, and ugly.” I knew Frank was seven years my senior, and I didn’t figure I was any older, heavier, or uglier than he was. (Neither of us was in the raving-beauty class any longer.)

I knew lots of people who loved Sinatra. Arlene Francis and her husband, Martin Gabel, were forever urging him to “let up on Liz.” One night Martin stood with him in the wings at Carnegie Hall and coaxed him to give it up. “Frank, you are a gentleman, and you are making a big mistake. Liz is a wonderful girl. If you only knew her…” Sinatra went onstage with smoke coming out of his ears and did 15 minutes on me, until a lady in the audience yelled, “Shut up and sing!”

But it was my pal Sid Zion, the political columnist, who put the cherry on the sundae. He simply never let Sinatra alone about “the Liz biz.” He argued and cajoled. One day in the mid-eighties, Sid took me to Gallagher’s restaurant in Manhattan. As we examined the steaks hanging in the window like decorations, he said, “Liz, I think Sinatra’s softened up. He’s about to give in. He’s curious now. He can’t imagine how you can be as good as we all say you are, and he can’t believe he made a mistake in judgment.” I shrugged. By now, Sinatra was part of my fame. By becoming my sworn public enemy, he had made people interested in me, people who had never heard of me before.

I said to Sid, “Forget it. He’ll never like me. I worship his talent, but why would he care about that? It won’t happen.” Sid drew on his cigar and said, “Wanna bet?” Sure enough, three months later Sid called to say, “Sinatra’s coming to town. He wants a meeting with you.” I snorted. “No kidding,” said Sid. “He thinks maybe he done you wrong, and anyway, I think he admires you as a stand-up girl who wouldn’t be bullied or intimidated by him.”

The day came when Sid whispered into the phone, “Put on something pretty and be ready for me to pick you up at five-thirty. We’re going to Jimmy Weston’s to meet Frank.” I dressed seven times that afternoon. I threw my clothes around like a demented debutante. I was a gift on a first date. I didn’t know what to think. I was scared to death. Finally, I managed some demure outfit and climbed into the limo with Sid, who said, “You look nice. He’s going to love you!”

We stumbled into Jimmy Weston’s on East Fifty-fourth Street. It was a throw-back to the grand old crummy bars of the fifties when men were men and women were glad of it. It smelled of stale beer and fried food. It wasn’t a grand place; in fact, it was tawdry and rundown. The choice signaled Sinatra’s loyalty to Weston, the proprietor. We approached one of the “rooms”-a small banquette walled off for privacy-and out shot Sinatra with his hand extended. “I’m so glad to meet you. Thank you for coming!”

“I am so thrilled to meet you, Mr. Sinatra,” I said, stuttering. He turned around, taking my arm and guiding me into the banquette. “Francis,” he said empathetically. “Call me Francis.” Under my breath, I think, I muttered, “Thank you, Mr. Sinatra.” We sat and made small talk with Sid beaming.

I was face to face with Frank Sinatra, the man who had beaten up journalist Lee Mortimer, had been linked to assaults on comic Jackie Mason, had devastated columnist Dorothy Kilgallen by calling her “the chinless wonder,” and had made countless women cry with his cruelty. He just looked intensely at me with his soft blue eyes, ordered more gin and tonics, and began to ask me questions. I talked and talked. I told him of my lovestruck days when he was with Dorsey, how I had followed his career from afar, how much I loved him in movies, how he was the greatest singer of his time. I tried to stop myself, but couldn’t. Of course he was used to it; all his fans did it.

He’d nod and ask me a question. Where had I come from? Why had I become a gossip columnist? What was it like to grow up in Texas? I told him about reading Milton Mezzrow, the musician who wrote the first enlightening words I’d ever read about jazz and the life of a musician. He knew all about Mezz. He told me about the long phone conversations he still had on a regular basis with Irving Berlin. I told him that Mr. Berlin had sent me a note reading, “I see your column every day, kid. Keep up the good work!” We talked about Elizabeth Taylor and Lana Turner. We talked about Ava Gardner and how my then-aide St. Clair Pugh had known her back in Smithfield, NC. I told him of my adventure with the famous bandleader Attic Shaw, when he tried to take me to bed, but I couldn’t go because I was intimidated by the women in his past–Ava, Lana, and Kathleen Windsor. Sinatra loved that.

“Why, that old lech!” he exclaimed. He didn’t care for Artie Shaw. We talked about philosophy, history, art, books, and our dogs. I admired the Alexander the Great seal on his ring and asked, “No more worlds to conquer?” He liked that and launched into his view of history. We had another drink.

He said, shyly: “I’d like to help you with your charity for literacy. I am impressed by that work. Just call me anytime…and also, if anybody ever bothers you, just ask me and I’ll fix it for you.” For a moment, I had visions of sugarplums and literacy money dancing in my head before I snapped to and said, “Thanks, but…” He interrupted. I needn’t explain, he understood. I couldn’t take favors. But I wasn’t to consider anything a favor. He just liked to “fix” things for his pals. All of a sudden I was his “pa!.” I almost fainted.

I loved him. I had a feeling for what it would be like to be in his strong and capable arms. (He wasn’t frail and skinny anymore.) And he was the most immaculate man I’d ever seen–beautiful French cuffs, a fantastic silk tie, wonderful hands with clean strong nails and sexy wrists. (I’d always been a sucker for wrists.) I loved his smell, the scars on his face. I imagined a headline or two:

SINATRA ATTACKED BY OLD BROAD IN SALOON…SINATRA CHARGES GOSSIP MOLL WITH SEXUAL HARASSMENT.

After two hours we both knew we had to go. We ambled toward the door. On the street an old woman screamed and threw up her hands, yelling, “Frankie!” She moaned. He took her in his arms and kissed her. “Darling, you look wonderful!” he said. Then he had his chauffeur take me home while he chatted all the way. We kissed good-bye.

As he drove away, I realized I had thrown all judgment to the wind. I was Sinatra’s slave. Co-opted by a couple of gin and tonics. His tilt the rest of my life. And neither of us had even mentioned our past differences. We were too genteel for words.

The next day, as I swooned about my office in a kind of trance, the most beautiful Phalenopsis’ Moth orchids arrived with a handwritten note, signed “Francis Albert.” Then came a letter thanking me. I think that one was signed “Albert Francis.” In the years after, I received a number of fabulous notes from him, and occasionally, more orchids. I was invited to his seventy-fifth birthday party at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and seated only a stone’s throw from his old friend Claudette Colbert. I sent him stuff about his hobby, miniature trains. I sent his wife, Barbara, pins that read I AM MARRIED TO A TRAIN NUT. We became pen pals. Every day I prayed Frank Sinatra would never insult anybody else I loved or admired or do anything untoward that I would have to write about.

I was lucky, He didn’t. I saw one of his last concerts at Radio City Music Hall with four of the best seats in the house provided by him. I took his (lid enemy Barbara Walters. When I told him later, he just laughed and said, “That’s swell!”

So, I stopped being objective when it came to Frank Sinatra.

Love is funny that way.

Few Menu Ideas For Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

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fmifraFacing the fact that you have rheumatoid arthritis can be hard. But it is not good to focus on the problem itself but on solutions for the problem. Otherwise, you may become frustrated, sad and make your RA symptoms bad. There is a saying that describes how we can be healthy if we have a healthy spirit, so try to focus on solution as soon as possible. If you have not tried yet, make a plan to follow a diet for rheumatoid arthritis to ease your pain in joints. Studies have shown that certain food may help you. For instance, omega-3 fatty acids are proven to get good results, so include fish and fish oil into your diet. That is one of the ideas, and here comes more menu ideas for rheumatoid arthritis patients.

For breakfast, you can eat quinoa with cherries because they contain antioxidant which will help you to remove the inflammation. For lunch, you may eat pumpkin. Try making a pumpkin soup with ginger, or a pumpkin pie. To eat a lot of greens is very important when having rheumatoid arthritis, so include a bit of broccoli, Brussels sprouts and a lot of salad. Lettuce is excellent for health and tasty as well.

Natural Ways Of Treating The Rheumatoid Arthritis

It is not known what causes some diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of such diseases. Doctors and scientists try to find the cause, but at the same time, they are trying to find the cure. Some say that changing the diet may help. Eating a lot of veggies full of good nutrients can be of great help of RA patients. But are there any treatments for rheumatoid arthritis that can give almost immediate results?

People who like alternative medicine will tell you that you should try natural ways of treating the rheumatoid arthritis. Water is well known for ages as a method that can cure many diseases. Maybe you should try with hydrotherapy as well. Swimming and having a massage can do your body good. The feeling you can get while laying in a warm bath or when swimming in a pool can affect your mood in a positive way, and it is very important when having RA. If you are focused on your pain only, you may become depressed and frustrated, so water therapy may help you to feel better and to focus on good things in your life. You may combine the massage with hydrotherapy. Ask a doctor about it.

Deep Breathing As One Of The Relaxation Techniques For Anxiety

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Deep breathing is only one of the relaxation techniques for anxiety; but the importance of it is highly underestimated. When people tell you to calm down, what they are actually saying is to take a deep breath. That should tell you something! One of the first things that happens when you feel the old anxiety surfacing is accelerated heartbeat and shortness of breath. This is why deep breathing exercises are helpful.

Deep breathing involves complete focus on your every breath. The reason it is one of the relaxation techniques for anxiety is because when you focus on your breath your mind is turned away from the actual incident that caused the anxiety in the first place. As your breath settles in and your mind is distanced from the incident, you will gain a calmer perspective and be better equipped to handle whatever situation forced you into the anxious state. There is great advantage when you use this exercise as one of the relaxation techniques for anxiety because you do not need any external tool. You can do this wherever you are and whatever the situation is. Once armed with this technique you are free to travel anywhere without added baggage. It is firmly in your own hands and in your mind.

How To Get Rid Of Panic Attacks By Increasing Endorphin Levels

Reducing the levels of hormones that usually accelerate your stress levels ought to be one of the ways you can cure yourself of panic attacks. In fact, doctors recommend this to know how to get rid of panic attacks. This involves changing your lifestyle to some extent. It could include a healthier diet and regular exercise. Keeping your blood pumping with exercise could give you a greater measure of control.

In any case exercising regularly is going to help you sleep better. That will in turn make sure your days are energetic and you are operating on a high level of efficiency. There would no chance for panic attacks to make an appearance. Exercises can produce endorphins and that alone is enough to reduce stress and thereby counter the problem of how to get rid of panic attacks. In the end, it is a matter of will power and a desire to make a change. You have to want to know how to get rid of panic attacks. There would be no point in wanting to be cured if you do not do that spade work. You have to commit to practicing the techniques that are taught to you. You have to make them a part of your daily routine. Eventually, it will work well enough that you do not ever have to fear panic attacks.

Repair Hard Drive Crash Online

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rhdcoIf you are having a hard time finding someone to repair a hard drive crash, try to go online. You can find a lot of computer repair shops in the internet. By keeping a record on their contact details, you can contact them and invite them to see your computer hard drive. Finding a technician online is very convenient because you do not have to make an effort asking your loved ones for recommendations. However, there are several scams and fake technicians advertising their services in the internet. To filter out the fake from authentic technicians, you can read reviews from forum sites. Through the opinions and feedback given by previous customers, you will be directed with the right person to repair hard drive crash.

It is also important to test the services that a company provides. You can ask for a warranty in case there are damages found while repairing. Make sure that the terms and conditions of the services are clear to you so that you will not have a hard time fixing your concern. Trust the technician who has years of experience in the industry. If the company cannot provide a well experienced professional, then try to seek another person to do the repair hard drive crash.

How To Prevent Damage On A Hard Drive

To many computer owners it is not strange the situation when the computer simply stops working. You may be surfing the web or listening to the music on YouTube and suddenly your PC stops working and all you can see is a blank screen. Often, that happens because a hard drive is damaged, but are there any advices that can prevent the damage so you do not have to bother about how to fix broken hard drive? Well, there are few useful tips.

This can be a major nightmare if it happens to a server or major RAID configuration, on the other hand. A personal PC issue is one thing, but when your RAID array has failed, getting help is absolutely necessary.

First, you should protect your computer from water and take care about the humidity in your home. Humidity can affect the hard drive on your computer, so if a room is too humid, consider purchasing a dehumidifier. The second thing is to protect it from surges, so purchasing a surge protector would be a good idea. If there are storms in your area, the PC can be damaged and the next step will be how to fix broken hard drive, but it is better to prevent damages. Then, make sure your computer has good ventilation. The back of your computer should be free so your hard drive can receive air for working. Sometimes it seems computers are like people – they cannot work without air.

How Do You Find The Right Snoring Pillow?

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rsprThere are quite a few reviews written on a variety of products. One such is the Snoreless pillow review. Usually, reviews are supposed to be objective. They are supposed to be written by a person who has undertaken hours of research and study. In this case, the writer would have had to experiment with different types of head rest that are supposed to help people with their snoring. The writer would have to talk to people and find out what they have to say about these pillows. However, this does not always happen. A review can be written from a subjective point of view as well. All the writer needs to do is purchase one such pillow and try it out personally. Depending on how the night passed and how much of the snoring was controlled, the writer may then decide to send a review to the manufacturer.

Now, it is up to the manufacturer to read the review and draw his or her conclusions. The smart thing would be to take the initial review seriously enough to make any changes that may be necessary before the product is launched into the market. While the fundamental reason for review may be only to augment the advertising of the product, a smart manufacturer would use it as an aid for the research and development team.

Can You Write A Snoreless Pillow Review?

It is pretty easy to write a Snoreless pillow review if you know what you are talking about. Most reviews are written after the products hit the market. Once sufficient consumers have started using the pillows, getting some of them to write an unbiased review should not be a problem. You might have seen how certain quotes get added to the product description. It is just like a book review. These quotes are almost always a part of the reviews written by the public.

Invariably, you will find that generic reviews are mostly positive. The reviewer will list out the positive aspects of the product and most often skip the negative factors. The same is true of pillow review. You have to dig much deeper to find out if the review is unbiased or if it is from one of those people who have found the stop snoring pillows particularly beneficial. Naturally, there will be those critics who are only too happy to find flaws in something. If you have read enough reviews of a particular product, you will also know that those harsh critics need not necessarily be accurate in their assessments. Therefore, like any other, a snoreless pillow review must also be read with some objectivity. Remember also that while these pillows do work, it is particularly the stop snoring mouthpieces that provide the kind of success stories that most people believe in. Lots of really good reviews can be read at http://www.stopsnoringmouthpiecereviews.org/.

Getting Over Fears Starts Here

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gofshDon’t panic: An array of treatments can make your claustrophobia a thing of the past.

Claustrophobia is among the most common of the life-limiting psychological disorders known as phobias. An estimated five million Americans, two thirds of them women, suffer from this anxiety disorder, which is characterized by a fear of confined and crowded spaces–of feeling “trapped.”

A claustrophobe feels uncontrollable panic at the thought of taking an elevator, flying in an airplane or sitting in a crowded theater. These fears aren’t totally baseless: people do get injured in airplanes or crowds or elevators. But the claustrophobe feels an unreasoning fear that far exceeds the real risks–and develops symptoms to match: shortness of breath, constriction of the chest, palpitations, trembling, nausea, a feeling of impending doom. So terrible is the dread that some claustrophobes severely limit their activities to avoid any possibility of encountering the things they fear. Faced with the prospect of attending a crowded ball or riding an elevator to their high-rise office, they might decline the invitation and climb the stairs to work –or quit the job. Needless to say, this can create huge quality-of-life problems for claustrophobes and their significant others. “What usually brings a patient to treatment is a job that forces him to fly or ride in elevators, or a spouse who says, `I just can’t live with this anymore,’” says Stephen Josephson, Ph.D., a psychologist at Cornell Medical School in New York.

Surprisingly, only a small percentage of phobics ever seek treatment–a pity, because effective treatments do exist. Cognitive/ behavioral therapy is perhaps the best known, its premise being that though you may not be able to unlearn a fear, you can learn new responses to it. “It’s quick and it’s effective” says Jerilyn Ross, M.A., LICSW, director of the Ross Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders in Washington, D.C. (www.rosscenter.com; 202-363-1010). “We see results in as few as ten to twenty sessions.” The therapist desensitizes the phobic to what she fears by taking her back, slowly and in incremental steps, onto airplanes or into elevators. For example, with an airplane-shy claustrophobe, the treatment may begin with a few trips to the airport. Next, therapist and patient will sit in an airplane on the ground, and finally they will fly, the claustrophobe armed with strategies to control panic if it hits.

plAirplanes are especially tricky, because you really are trapped” says Jim Wilson, L.P.C., director of Dallas’ Phobia & Anxiety Center of the Southwest (972-3866681). “If panic sets in, sometimes prescribed medications such as Xanax can be used. Under the tongue, it works in about five minutes. If you swallow it, it takes longer” But often exercises that slow the rate of breathing suffice. “The recovery rate, if the patient is diligent, can reach 80 to 90 percent,” says Mark Pfeffer, M.S., director of the Panic/Anxiety/Recovery Center of Chicago and writer of the website http://panicattacktreatments.biz.

If your symptoms are very severe, antidepressants–especially SSRIs such as Prozac and Zoloft–can be used to provide relief. Studies show that in some cases maximal results can be achieved using cognitive/behavioral therapy in conjunction with medication.

Other treatments lie on the horizon: new research using high-tech imaging techniques has begun to illuminate exactly how fear alters the brain and to suggest startling new avenues for diagnosing and treating disorders like claustrophobia. “Using PET scans and functional MRIs, we can see the fear reaction in the brain” says Jack Gorman, M.D., professor of psychiatry at Columbia University’s College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York. “There’s a characteristic difference in the way phobics respond to certain conditions. Probably because of a genetic predisposition, these patients are more fearful and their fears more indelible. Since these fears seem to follow different pathways through the circuitry of the brain, they may be operating through different brain chemicals. It’s entirely possible that eventually we will be able to treat phobias with drugs specifically designed for each disorder.”

Pharmaceutical companies are already working to develop such drugs. Meanwhile, those who suffer from claustrophobia can avail themselves of some tried-and-true remedies–and remind themselves that they’ve nothing to fear but fear itself.

Packing For High-End Destinations

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What to know–and pack–if you’re invited to one of this summer’s best destinations.

IT’S OFFICIAL. A RECENT, informal survey of the warm-weather hopes of our readers has revealed six places to which an invitation would be most appreciated. Herewith, their choices and our recommendations–including places to stay if you decide to go on your own.

pcASPEN Must bring: During the day, you’ll want to spend practically every waking moment in the glorious outdoors, so bring heavy sunblock, a lightweight waterproof jacket for summer showers, and great hiking boots. Accessorize with a large bottle of mineral water, necessary because of the high altitude (8,000 feet). At night, pile on the sweaters. Must not bring: High heels or an attitude (though both are sometimes worn by outsiders who assume that this mountain playground is just an extension of L.A.). Must bring back: CDs of all the musicians who perform at the Aspen Music Festival and the jazz festival at nearby Snowmass. Where to get the look: For clothes, the outdoors shops P.E. 101 and Mountains & Streams. For the body you’ll need to show them off to full advantage: The Aspen Club, workout venue of choice. Where to see the look: Afternoons, on the hiking and biking paths that surround town or on the rivers and streams that run beside them. Evenings, at the private Caribou Club, headquarters for the social and celebrity set, or outside town at the Woody Creek Tavern, for a taste of down home hospitality. Where to stay if you’re not a houseguest: The Little Nell (for the status-conscious, it’s “the Nell” or nothing, especially in winter). Runners-up: The Hotel Jerome; the St. Regis (formerly the Ritz-Carlton); the Sardy House. Local ritual: Every day: Waiting in line for muffins and coffee at the Main Street Bakery. Every Sunday: 4 P.M. concerts at the Music Festival’s tent. Holiday: The annual Fourth of July parade, featuring children on foot, Labrador retrievers on leashes, bikers on Harleys and smiles on thousands of spectators’ faces. Most sought-after invitation: Chicago’s Crown family, which owns majority control of the ski mountain, hosts a fireworks party on July 4th night at the Nell, which they also own–and ideally, they’re friends of yours.

CAPRI Must bring: Oversize sunglasses and self-tanner–it’s the only way you can hope to compete with the Italian tan. Must not bring: Stiletto heels, unless you’re entertaining at home–the cobbled streets will turn them into matchsticks. Must bring back: A bottle of the local limoncello–it’s high octane and becoming the rage in bars across Europe. Where to get the look: La Campanina-Alberto e Lina for big jewelry; Da Costanzo for subtle and well-crafted thong sandals a la Jackie O. Where to see the look: The mare square and the front terrace of the Quisisana e Grand Hotel. Where to stay if you’re not a houseguest: The Quisisana or its two sister hotels, La Scalinatella and Casa Morgano. Quisisana is the grande dame, with beautiful pools and restaurants, and is near the best shopping. Scalinatella’s sunny rooms are located in an exclusive residential neighborhood, making the hotel wonderfully serene. Casa Morgano is the least distinctive, but is spacious and spare, with gorgeous bathrooms and balconies. All have exceptional views and service. Resort rituals: Coffee or granita in the main square; grilled lobster at Add’o Riccio; a sunset walk up to Roman ruin Villa Jovis. Most sought-after invitations: To the home of jet-setting Princess Mafalda von Hessen, a member of Italy’s former ruling family, or onto the megayachts of frequent visitors Giorgio Armani and Valentino.

NEWPORT Must bring: This is still the land of yachtsmen and Vanderbilts, so preppy and sporty define the style. Essential elements: Tortoiseshell sunglasses, a straw hat, a pareo, a little black dress and sandals (for men, linen pants, khakis and a blue blazer), and, of course, your tennis whites and a bicycle–the only way to get around. Must not bring: Overstated jewelry or clothing, a cell phone or a dislike of the ocean. Must bring back: A Lilo straw hat handmade by Lisa Stubbs (by appointment; 401-842-0745), Dotterer’s Mustard, and an invitation to return. Where to get the look: Michael Hayes for all your casual and formal necessities; Angela Moore for the best beach bags, pareos and swimsuits; the pro shop at Bailey’s Beach Club for tennis attire and equipment. Where to see the look: Bailey’s Beach Club (officially S.R.B.A.), where the luncheon scene has been the same for more than a century; the Black Pearl or Clarke Cooke House–the two most popular restaurants in town. Where to stay if you’re not a houseguest: Vanderbilt Hall, built for the family but now a hotel in the historic district; the New York Yacht Club-Harbour Court (for members or guests of members only). Local rituals: Picking up fabulous croissants and coffee at Boulangerie Obelix; enjoying cocktails on the patio at Harbour Court at sunset, where you can watch the boats roll in from the day’s race; and, as always, dinner and dancing in the Sky Bar at Clarke Cooke House. Most sought-after invitations: To ride in a horse and carriage during August’s Coaching Weekend or to attend the Coaching Ball; box seats at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (part of Newport Tennis Week); a sail and luncheon aboard one of America’s Cup Charter’s 12-meter racing yachts; the annual Boys & Girls Club Ball at Rosecliff, one of the town’s most famous historic mansions.

SANTA FE Must bring: A wardrobe that combines your best gallery-hopping and nature-walking looks: overall, think chic, sporty and something that shows you’re a little spiritual (an exotic patterned scarf, a cross-shaped necklace). Most important, come with an open mind. Blessed with an extraordinary landscape, stunning architecture and a stirring mix of Native American, Mexican and Anglo culture, Santa Fe is a great place for getting away from it all and for getting to know yourself. Not for nothing do those who’ve struck it rich elsewhere head to Santa Fe when they decide to get a more enlightened life. Must not bring: Anything to do with the stereotypical “Santa Fe look,” circa 1989. Fiesta skirts, turquoise jewelry (turquoise-colored anything, in fact), cowboy hats and boots –if you don’t wear these things at home, please don’t try them here. Must bring back: On the low end, postcards from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum for your bulletin board and clay sun faces from Jackalope for your garden wall. On the (very) high end: Indian baskets, a blanket from Kania-Ferrin Gallery or a painting by one of the Taos Artists from Nedra Matteucci Galleries. Where to get the look: See “Must Not Bring” above, but if you promise to buy in moderation, try Santa Fe Dry Goods for jeans (worn tight) and basics; Western Warehouse for Stetsons, boots, big-buckle belts and jeans worn even tighter; and Origins for one-of-a-kind women’s clothing and accessories. Where to see the look: Every morning, Native Americans-the original locals here–gather on one side of the plaza to sell jewelry. More recently arrived locals can be seen at mealtime all over town: breakfasting at Cafe Pasqual’s, lunching at the Pink Adobe or dining at one of the town’s fancier restaurants–Santacafe, Coyote Cafe, Gerommo, Ristra. Where to stay if you’re not a houseguest: The Eldorado Hotel, for Ritz-style accommodations and service; for Santa Fe flavor, the Inn of the Anasazi. Reopening June 25 after renovations: La Posada. Local ritual: Reading the out-of-town newspapers over morning coffee at Downtown Subscription; indulging in a massage and a soak at Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese-style spa in the hills. Most sought-after invitation: To Nancy Zeckendorf’s opening-night gala benefiting the Santa Fe Opera, a sellout every season.

ST.-TROPEZ Must bring: A black-and-white string bikini (Calvin Klein’s were in last summer); a day-cruiser boat to escape the traffic on the corniches and the crowded beaches. Must not bring: Your little lap dog or a cigarette-type speedboat–both are very passe. Must bring back: An embroidered pareo. Where to get the local look: For chic and simple: the private beach club boutiques. For designer clothing: the place des Lices. Where to see the look: The beaches. For the real St.-Trop show-biz types, pretty girls and lots of cigar-puffing moguls, head to Club 55, but don’t go without your Ferrari. La Voile Rouge attracts wealthy Champagne-sipping Parisians dripping with jewelry. Where to stay if you’re not a houseguest: Chateau de la Messardiere, a converted chateau that’s now a luxurious hotel with a bustling pool area; the legendary Hotel Byblos right in town. Resort ritual: Cocktail hour at La Brasserie des Arts on the place des Lices, or at the portside Cafe Senequier–the place to be seen. Most sought-after invitation: To English millionaire Tony Murray’s annual party (the last Saturday in July). He invites 500 to 600 guests–from royals and tycoons to celebrities (Prince Albert and Johnny Hallyday attended last summer)–to a seated dinner at his house, one of Parcs de St.-Tropez’s most beautiful.

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS Must bring: Whether you’re in Perthshire or farther north, in the Highlands, days are for outdoor pursuits, which means an assortment of water- and thornproof clothing in dull green and dun, your fishing gear and gun, and midge repellent; nights, if you’re in Perthshire, are for the ball circuit, which requires a long dress and tiara (women) and black or white tie (men). Must not bring: An indifference to fresh air. Must bring back: Tales of trekking through boundless acres of heather in search of reclusive local bird life. Where to get the look: If what you need is unavailable on loan from the nearest hallway (the one outside the men’s loo, where the dog baskets and the gun cupboard are), head for Campbell & Company in Beauley, the Highland haberdashery now in its fourth generation. Take a good long look in the mirror, however, before investing in plus fours or tartan trews (that’s plaid trousers). Where to see the look: Inverness train station, when the Royal Scotsman gets in from London. Labradors howling, Range Rovers belching, piercing English accents among the Scots burrs. Where to stay if you’re not a houseguest: Kinnaird in Perthshire; Skibo Castle (the Carnegie Club) in the Highlands, which has two golf courses and shooting; Inverlochy Castle near Fort William. All still feel like the aristocratic sporting residences they were built to be. Resort rituals: Standing in a cold stream or walking through wet heather all day, then bathing in five inches of peat-stained water; drinking seriously good wine and whiskey in generous measure; dancing reels all night, then breakfasting on porridge and kippers at three in the morning; matchmaking. Most sought-after invitations: To shoot with the Farquharsons at Invercauld; to stay at Blair Castle during the Perth Ball.

Restoring Items Is Not Always Easy

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YOU HAVE SCORED THE WINNING BID at Sotheby’s and acquired a splendid 18th-century John Goddard highboy, mellow with the patina of two centuries. You ship it to a restorer, who disassembles it into kindling, sands and buffs every scrap, rebuilds it with the latest alloy fasteners and space-age glues, and coats it with polyurethane that shines like a thousand mirrors.

You move into Fallingwater and call a vinyl-siding and modular-windows outfit to stop by and update Frank Lloyd Wright’s leaky old pile.

You buy a Vermeer painting and have the frame sandblasted, the crazed paint recoated and the whole canvas flushed so clean it gleams like a Kodachrome.

Well, of course you don’t.

Yet much the same thing has been happening in the world of vintage and classic automobiles, now that what was once a harmless hobby for gearheads has become, in the words of Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance judge Gordon Apkar, “the new sport of kings” The wealthiest classic-car owners compete to win the top prizes at the country’s most prestigious concours–which, besides the premier event at Pebble Beach, include Meadow Brook Hall (Michigan, in August), the Vuitton-sponsored event at Rockefeller Center in New York (late September or early October) and Amelia Island (Florida, in March). And this means showing cars that have been restored to perfection and beyond, sometimes at a cost of $500,000 in labor and materials, not counting the cost of the car.

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“We’ve created a monster” says Ken Gross, director of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. “We’ve raised the level of restoration to something unrealistic.” To the restoration traditionalist, realism is an old car restored to factory-new condition-no more, no less. Or, even better, an untouched old car still in nearly new shape, a time traveler that demonstrates the state of automobile-manufacturing technology in, say, 1930. To the more competitive–and often vastly richer–collector, realism is a glittering mass of rolling metal and paint, fabric and leather transformed into jewelry.

His car’s every surface is polished or painted–often polished and then painted –including everything under the car, inside the wheel wells and deep into what is usually the invisible greasy bits. Casting marks are ground off cylinder blocks, and suspension parts are chrome-plated, fire walls damascened and broadcloth interiors replaced with lizard skin. Pieces that were mass-manufactured are hand-polished to the luster of new pewter, and there isn’t a square inch of Isotta Fraschini–or Duesenberg, Marmon or Stutz–that would sully a white-gloved fingertip.

Not long ago, it was only the upper-crust exotics from the prewar years that got the major makeovers–Hispano-Suizas, Packards, Rollses and the like–but with the appreciation in value of virtually all unusual automobiles, today even American muscle cars of the 1960s such as Chevy Camaros with the LT1 engine and Hemiengine Plymouth Superbirds, are acquiring iconic status. “I’ve seen collector muscle cars whose inner fender walls have been color-sanded and rubbed down” gripes Craig Jackson, of Barrett-Jackson Auctions in Scottsdale, Arizona. “Back when GM and Chrysler built ‘em, they just sprayed a chassis black and–pssschtt–out the door. Some of these cars, I look at them and think, `You’ve got too much time on your hands. Or too much money’” he says, laughing.

Some collector-car clubs have reacted to the current fascination with overrestoration by stressing authenticity rather than perfection. Ford Model T and Model A judges have long prized accurate re-creations of the painted-with-a-broom look, and might award demerits to cars with perfectly stitched upholstery. “The Corvette guys have picked up on that and want restored cars as crooked and badly painted as they originally were” says former restorer Michael Duffey, a monthly columnist for Sports Car Market, a leading collector-car guide. “They have seminars on which way the paint dripped and ran in different years. They say, ‘It’s the way they were, not the way we wish they were.’ And that’s the dividing line between restoration and overrestoration.”

Why go to extremes in restoration? “The standard rationale is that the car could have been done that way if somebody had ordered such an interior or such detailing, since the coach-built cars were all custom jobs” Petersen Museum director Ken Gross points out. Indeed, those who think there’s no such thing as overrestoration point to the great one-off show cars of the prewar years as prototypes for pretty much anything your collector’s heart desires. Gordon Apkar, the collector who is also a classic-car judge, owns a Murphy-bodied Duesenberg that has chromed brake lines. “It was shown in the Waldorf-Astoria in 1928″ he explains, “and they wanted that thing to be as enticing as possible” The aim back then was to woo the wealthy into ordering a manufacturer’s finest rolling chassis and then a custom coach builder’s most spectacular bodywork. Seeing such a car nowadays causes some people to think, Yeah, I’ll do my car that way.

“[Complaining about] overrestoration is more like envy” says Don Sommer, the creator of the Meadow Brook Hall Concours d’Elegance. “The folks who have a lot of money, they’ll have a car restored nice. As I see it, you can’t overrestore one of these high-end cars. The amateur restorer who does his own work and maybe farms out some of the harder stuff, he gets all upset if he has to compete against a car that somebody has had a professional restorer do right. A car that a guy’s got $50,000 in can’t compete with the identical car someone else spent $300,000 on”

To Sommer and others, a concours is a grand event–not an excuse for nerds in overalls to stand around discussing Winfield carburetors, porcelain license plates and pot-metal-plating techniques. Certainly, opulent affairs such as Meadow Brook and Pebble Beach support his enthusiasm. “To the general public–people who don’t know a thing about overrestoration–the better the cars are, the more they enjoy them,” So “tamer explains. “You get the right mix of exciting cars and exciting people and get the public involved, and then everybody has a good time.” Don’t forget, he continues, “The pizazzy car is what’s going to win at the big shows.” And a big win is, for the bottom line of both a car owner and his restoration shop, the bankable equivalent of a Super Bowl ring, a Best Actor Oscar, a Whitney retrospective.

“There’s a battle of checkbooks going on,” says Pebble Beach regular Michael Duffey. “Heavier players who’ve gone to a shop and dropped $250,000 on a resto, they have a team of guys in tennis sweaters at shows constantly wiping off the car and cleaning the inside of the exhaust pipe with Q-Tips, as though it’s some kind of operating room.”

Unfortunately, this excludes and even repels collectors of lesser means but perhaps greater taste. “Some prime enthusiasts who have really neat old cars don’t want to participate in that,” says restorer Paul Russell. Russell’s Essex, Massachusetts, shop is one of the most admired of the top-end restoration facilities and the source of two Pebble Beach best-of-show winners–including Ralph Lauren’s magnificent Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic coupe. Russell’s forte is research. He goes to extraordinary lengths to determine how a car was originally built and finished, and then he restores to match. To stuff the seats of a Mercedes, he once got a bale of horsehair that came from the same kind of horses in the same region of Germany where Mercedes-Benz had originally gotten its horsehair. While directing his most recent major restoration, a 1949 Ferrari 166 Barchetta two-seat roadster, Russell traveled to Italy to visit the then-84-year-old designer of the car’s touring body, and came back with priceless advice and half-century-old photos of the car on the day of its original delivery. “To me, overrestoring is when you change the essential character of the car;’ Russell says quietly. “We don’t clean up untidy welds or forming marks on chassis rails. If something is aluminum, we don’t sand and polish it because it would look snazzy all shiny; we’ll refinish it and leave it as cast.”

Once any machine is “restored” it’s useless as an artifact. No longer can a chip of its paint reveal anything about 1920s nitrocellulose-lacquer technology; no more can its cylinder block speak of sandcasting methods. There is a mantra among conservators that says, “A car can be restored many times, but it can be original only once.”

“We lose most of our original cars to people who want them shinier,” gripes Robert Turnquist, who for fifty-one years has run Classic Cars Inc., and since 1962 has also run Hibernia Auto Restorations, a widely respected shop in Hibernia, New Jersey. “I have a ’64 Ford Galaxy convertible that went directly from the factory to a museum. Hardly ever been driven. Yet if I showed it today, I wouldn’t get many points for the chrome, which is standard quality, factory-flash chrome. When I bought a new Rolls-Royce, I couldn’t take it to a meet, because it wasn’t up to show standards. I think that’s wrong. A car should be shown the way a factory brought it out.”

So why overrestore? “This is a game of egos, and people with big egos don’t always bounce their ideas off others to see if their thinking is sound” Apkar muses. “Taste is a big factor, and taste doesn’t always accompany money. There’s one well-known car out there that was a fine, original, widely admired example, but a new owner decided to restore it. He tore out the gorgeous interior and replaced it with a 50/50 blended mohair and polyester, which didn’t even exist in the ’30s, when the car was manufactured, and it has an unmistakable sheen to it. The car looks … tarty, now. They spent a lot of money, but we all feel that here’s this once-elegant car that’s been lost.”

The collector-car market is maturing, and increasingly, originality in fittings and finish is increasing the value of the most lovingly restored–or better yet, unrestored-automobiles. Collector cars were trading for insane amounts in the late 1980s, sometimes among speculators who couldn’t pronounce Porsche, much less Figoni and Falaschi. Admittedly; the results weren’t all negative. “A lot of cars were restored that otherwise never would have been” says Amelia Island Concours judge Miles Morris, vice-president of the auction firm Christie’s International Motorcars. “People pulled the old XK Jag off’ the rusty pile and put money into it because they knew that they would get their money back. It’s always nice to save a car and put it back on the road, isn’t it?”

Modern Architecture Collectors Run The Show

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Peter_PalumboAS THE TOUR GROUP ENDS ITS GUIDED visit to the Farnsworth House, the sleek glass-and-steel structure designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe on the banks of the Fox River in Plano, IL, a few stragglers get into conversation with a small, quiet-spoken, dapper Englishman standing by the entrance. He describes how the house was recently restored after water from the swollen river engulfed it a few years ago, sweeping through the house like a giant broom and leaving a messy calling card of mud and silt on the travertine floor. Eventually a woman asks how he happens to know so much about the place. “Well, I own it,” Peter Palumbo replies.

Palumbo doesn’t actually live in the Farnsworth House. His real home is in London, and his country estate is in Newbury, in south central England. A member of the House of Lords, former chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain, multimillionaire real estate developer and serious collector of modern art, he bought the Mies house–thought by many to be the finest expression of minimalist architecture in existence–twenty-seven years ago because he’s also a sucker for a modern architectural icon. Show him a house by one of the great architects of the 20th century with a “for sale” sign on it and he has a hard time not reaching for his checkbook.

Lord Palumbo, 64, joined his father’s property-development company after graduating from Eton and Oxford University. Some interest in architecture went with the job, but in Palumbo’s case, it’s been a lifelong passion. As early as 1948, he recalls, the pictures he took with his Brownie camera were all of buildings and monuments–not a trace of a human figure in sight. The London Times once called him “a modernist in spirit,” and his collection of art and houses justifies that description.

It was his longstanding friendship with Mies himself–famous as the designer of the Seagram Building in New York and other landmark commercial projects–that led to the acquisition of the Farnsworth House, the first of a trio of “signature” houses he has bought so far. Lord Palumbo was in Chicago in 1968 visiting the architect when he discovered that the only Mies-built house in America was for sale by its owner, Dr. Edith Farnsworth, a prominent nephrologist.

Farnsworth was a motivated seller, as they say in the real estate business. She had lost a long and bitter lawsuit against Mies, purportedly a former lover, claiming that he had overcharged her for the house, and she was ready to get rid of it. But she was also, Lord Palumbo recalls, “a ferocious woman who took potshots with a rifle at people who got too close to the house. Mies warned me, `Good luck with that woman’ but I went to Piano and crept under the fence to look at the house and decided then and there to make her an offer. So I approached the house, dodging from bush to bush, and rang the doorbell. I essentially bought it that afternoon, but she was a difficult lady, and we didn’t really complete the sale until 1972.” Price: $150,000.

Mies’ glass-walled pavilion was completed in 1951. Eight structural steel columns hold it, as if by magnetic force, six feet clear of the ground, so that being inside it feels like floating on a platform among the trees. Bathrooms, utilities and a fireplace are enclosed in a long, rectangular service core in the center of the structure. On three occasions–in 1954 and twice more some forty years later–six feet was not high enough to keep the house clear of river flooding. Each time the damage was extensive, and renovation following the 1996 inundation was only recently completed.

In 1984, Lord Palumbo took his daughter by his first marriage–then an art-history student–to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright house known as Fallingwater, a masterwork of American architecture cantilevered over a waterfall in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands. As Palumbo tells the story, “After we toured Fallingwater, it was mentioned that Frank Lloyd Wright’s only other house in Pennsylvania was a few miles down the road, and we were asked if we’d like to see it. It had been on the market for three years but was too remote, sitting on top of a mountain, and people were discouraged.”

Father and daughter drove the seven miles to the house, Kentuck Knob, its broad, low timber-and-stone mass crouching on the brow of a hill. The views were magnificent. “I hadn’t thought of owning a Wright house,” Palumbo says, “but I fell in love with it from the outside. I thought, If it’s as lovely inside as it is out, I’ll buy it.” A few weeks later he met the owners and bought the place for $650,000.

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Palumbo calls Kentuck Knob “a quintessential American house” that has “a timeless quality.” Wright designed it in 1954, near the end of his long career. Like a number of his other late houses, it is based on a hexagonal modular grid; and like the Farnsworth House, the main level has an open floor plan, with a large fieldstone fireplace defining the different living areas. The walls are built of boulders found on the site, and the tidewater red cypress ceiling extends over the ample outside terrace. So many people come to see the h0use that Lord Palumbo recently asked another renowned American architect, Frank Gehry, to design a visitors center, a country inn and a restaurant on the property.

Lord Palumbo’s third major acquisition came in 1988, when he bought Les Maisons Jaoul, a famous pair of adjoining houses by Le Corbusier in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine. “Corbu” was commissioned to build the two brick-and-concrete structures, with a common garage and cellar belowground, by businessman Andre Jaoul–one house for himself and his wife, and the other for their son Michel. Andre died before the project was completed in 1956, but his widow lived there for thirty-five years. “Friends told me about the houses, and I went to have a look and liked them very much,” is Lord Palumbo’s account of the purchase (for around $2.8 million). Though not originally acquired as investments, the houses by Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright are now worth many times what he paid for them. The Le Corbusiers have not appreciated much because Paris real estate is in a slump.

In a recent interview in the historic splendor of the House of Lords, Palumbo said he bought the houses because he felt he had to–as simple as that. He, his second wife and their children spend most of their time in traditional houses in England that Palumbo’s father bequeathed him: “We drop in on the modernist houses for days at a time to enjoy them. Basically, we go there on the children’s school holidays.” The houses are open to the public, he says, “because I think people ought to be given the opportunity to see great architecture.

He was hoping to bring great architecture to London when he commissioned Mies in the early ’60s to design a 290-foot-tall office building next to Mansion House, in the City, the financial center of the metropolis. But the dream, postponed by British bureaucrats, collapsed after Prince Charles, a vocal champion of more traditional styles, dismissed it as “a giant glass stump more suited to downtown Chicago”; Palumbo was refused a building permit. (A year ago, the tower was completed based on an alternative design by the eminent, late Scottish architect Sir James stirling.) Palumbo shrugs off Prince Charles’ criticism of Mies; he knows that architecture stirs strong emotions.

Designers Go Here

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High-quality sophisticated design and excellent service characterize the select group of manufacturers, suppliers and dealers that premier designers anal knowledgeable collectors rely on for all their needs.

dProler Oeggerli Garden Antiques is the preeminent resource for antique, carved Vicenza stone and marble garden ornaments and statuary in the United States. The infinitely knowledgeable, Swiss-born Urs Oeggerli purchases directly from estates and country gardens in Europe and Great Britain. Such top landscape architects and designers as Ben Page in Nashville and Jorge Sanchez in Palm Beach depend upon Oeggerli for elegant Vicenza stone garden ornaments to incorporate into their landscape designs.

Darius, adjacent to the D&D Building, on Third Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets, is a designer’s dream of an antique rug and carpet store. With five floors of sumptuous carpets, tapestries, needlepoint textiles and pillows, Darius has it all–from the monumental to the discreet, from choice antique and decorative pieces to those of innovative modern design. Among the most sophisticated carpets now available are large 19th-century Sultanabad rugs with intricate organic patterns expressed in deep tones of burgundy, navy, beige, brown and gold.

One of the leading jewelry-buying companies in the United States, MHR was founded and is still operated by professional gemologists with an interest in antique and estate jewelry. MHR assures the highest rates for your bejeweled treasures of bygone eras. Notable for its exceptionally high standards, MHR works with only the finest, most reputable retail jewelers. MHR is a firm to trust.

A specialist in 17th- through 19th-century botanical, architectural and natural history prints, Janis Aldridge, Inc. also boasts a wonderful selection of contemporary paintings as well as 18th- and 19th-century English furniture, paintings and decorative accessories. With a seasonal summer shop on Nantucket Island, a gallery in Washington, D.C., and trunk shows in Manhattan three times a year, Janis Aldridge offers convenience, choice and impeccable service.

Since 1690, Towle Silversmiths has provided discriminating Americans–from private citizens to presidents–with fine silver tableware and home accents. Today Towle offers a variety of sterling, stainless and silver-plated flatware, hollowware and giftware. An opulent complement to any table or bookcase is Towle’s new line of exquisite silver frames. Visit your local department store or specialty boutique to peruse the full range of Towle products.

Those with discriminating taste in carpets crave unusual colors and patterns. Century Antique Rugs of Atlanta is driven to meet even the most obscure of such challenges. An intimate gallery specializing in highly decorative antique rugs from around the world, Century employs a purchasing agent, Mandana Sohrabain, who has “absolutely the best eyes for colors and design in the industry.” Expert restoration services are also available.

Beauty is in the small details. Leviton Decora Lighting Controls features a delightful selection of elegant lighting controls that make a striking difference to any interior space. These sleek, stylish light switches, dimmers, outlets and more come in a variety of colors to complement any decor.