Posts Tagged: Veranda


IMG_5730I am thrilled to head back to my hometown this month to attend the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market as a part of the #StyleYourSeason project sponsored by Americas Mart. I look forward to sharing my finds and scouting for trends for Spring 2016 along with some of my other favorite design bloggers and taste makers.

In addition to orchestrating an amazing gift and design show, AmericasMart coordinates an extraordinary program of educational and highly entertaining programming during the week of market. A major highlight will be the PANTONE Color of the Year vignette exhibition, the PANTONEVIEW Home + Interiors color forecast, and the Launch Party celebrating “Rose Quartz” and “Serendipity” as the 2016 Colors of the Year. Click here to read my previous post on my fascination with these colors.

For all design addicts coming to town, you will NOT want to miss this fabulous lineup…


Southern Style Panel: A Conversation with the Region’s Most Beloved Interior Designers
Building 1, Floor 15, Designer Workspace

January 14 at 3:00 PM

Moderated by Robert Leleux, Author of Southern Style Now | Featuring Gerrie Bremermann, Michelle Nussbaumer, Shaun Smith, Beth Webb and Brian Patrick Flynn | These acclaimed taste makers embody the “Spirit of the South” while also making their mark on the national design scene. They collectively represent extraordinary talent as well as the humor and humility required to educate, nurture and enlighten clients and fans across generations. In this entertaining panel discussion, five of the region’s most prolific interior designers will share the defining moments that helped shape their careers, salient advice for designers developing their own unique brand, and the importance of finding a mentor in an industry that’s always changing but where collaboration is universal.


The Colors and Trends Driving Design in 2016
B1, F 14, Vignette Gallery, Space 14-D-9

January 15 at  10:00 AM

Presented by Laurie Pressman, VP, Pantone Color Institute | With tastes consistently evolving, the old color rules have changed. Color stories for 2016 highlight a more spontaneous approach with new harmonies in both color and design. Join Laurie Pressman, VP of the Pantone Color Institute, as she reveals the key color trends for 2016 and enjoy an inside glimpse into the selection of Pantone’s 2016 Colors of the Year. Plus, see these trends realized firsthand while in the Pantone® Design Exhibition––featuring curated vignettes from top designers all showcasing the latest colors from the PANTONEVIEW® home + interiors 2016 color forecast.


Behind the Design: Business Insights from Today’s Brightest Talents
Building 1, Floor 15, Designer Workspace

January 15 at 2:00 PM

Moderated by Arlyn Hernandez, Executive Editor of Luxe Interiors + Design | Featuring Barclay Butera, Young Huh, Krista Nye Schwartz and Tami Ramsay | Fresh faces are changing the game in the design field. They pull together amazing interiors that manage to check all of our dream-design boxes. These designers are defining themselves by their malleable approach to decorating that adapts personal instincts to individual projects. This same philosophy holds true in how they run their businesses. Behind the bright spotlight are the behind-the-scenes challenges of growing their own firm, handling today’s savvy clients, and navigating the demanding media and publishing landscape. Join an insightful conversation that will inspire designers with new ways to think about their business behind the design


Pantone Colors of the Year Party
B1, Floor 14, Vignette Gallery, 14-D-9

January 15  7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Join us in the Pantone® Vignette Gallery as we celebrate the launch of Pantone® Colors of the Year and toast our participating vignette designers. Presented by AmericasMart Atlanta, REstyleSOURCE, VERANDA and Rue Magazine. Sponsored by Pantone Color Institute, CODARUS, Currey & Co, Up Country, Castelle and Vietri.


Stacey Bewkes, Robert Couturier, Susanna Salk

At Home with Susanna Salk & Stacey Bewkes of Quintessence
Building 1, Floor 15, Designer Workspace

January 16 at 11:00 AM

Stacey Bewkes is the voice behind Quintessence design blog, a trusted source for original lifestyle content ranging from interiors, fashion, art, architecture and more. Susanna Salk is a popular design author and stylist, and host of the At Home With video series. This dynamic design duo has been guests at some of the most extraordinary homes of design icons, rising A-listers and international tastemakers as part of their popular program, At Home With. They’ll share how their video series took off, and take us with them on an adventure through the gorgeous places and spaces they’ve visited around the world—from Lake Como to Brooklyn to Los Angeles to Paris. Journey through the lifestyles of the world’s most celebrated designers, their process, and their most cherished pieces at home. You will leave inspired and have notes on how these magnificent design moments can be translated into your business.



Meet Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kochar, Authors of Modern Mix
Building 1, Floor 15, Designer Workspace

January 16 at 1:30 PM

Meet the authors of Modern Mix, Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kochar, and get your signed copy of the year’s most sought-after design book. In this richly illustrated style guide from an unabashed hoarder of all things beautiful, design editor and entertaining expert Eddie Ross reveals his insider secrets to creating exciting interiors, table settings and parties with chic and accessible finds that celebrate who you are and what you love.

For more design inspiration, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and subscribe to Bespoke Banter.  Thanks for reading!



I fell under the spell of Greystone Mansion seeing it in the pages of Veranda magazine as their showhouse in 2009. Designed by favorite talents Mary McDonald and Nathan Turner, the courtyard was transformed into a chinoiserie themed backdrop in crisp apple green and white for the opening gala. (Gala images via Veranda Magazine)






I finally had the chance to see the house and gardens with a group of fellow designers and was not only mesmerized by its beauty, but captivated by the story behind this grand estate filled with murder, mystery and intrigue. Special thanks to Tricia Jacobs and Leslie Newsom Rascoe for sharing their articles and stories about this incredible work of architectural history. Rumor has it that the ghost of Ned Doheney occasionally reveals himself…only to guests who appreciate the beauty of Greystone.



HISTORY (via website)

Greystone Mansion, and the surrounding grounds it shares its magnificent beauty with, are rich in California history. Edward Laurence Doheny, the original proprietor of the Greystone land, was born in 1856 in the small Midwestern town of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. By the time he was a young teen, Doheny’s adventuresome spirit and love of the wilderness led him to prospecting for gold and soon thereafter, oil. In 1892, Doheny and his friend Charles A. Canfield, were the first to strike oil in Los Angeles. They later discovered large oil deposits in Mexico which, combined with their Los Angeles holdings, made them the largest producers of oil in the world at that time.




Edward Doheny and his wife Carrie Louella Wilkins had two children. Their first, a daughter Eileen, passed away when she was just seven years old. On November 6, 1893, their only son, Edward “Ned” Laurence Doheny, Jr., was born and grew up as heir to one of the world’s great financial empires. Ned went on to marry Lucy Smith of Pasadena and in 1926 Edward Laurence Doheny Sr. gave his son as a wedding gift a premium parcel of land consisting of 12.58 acres with sweeping citywide views.

Construction of the palatial manor home began February 15, 1927 and although Ned, his wife Lucy, and their five children moved into the residence in September 1928, the estate took three years to complete at a cost of over $3 million, an almost unimaginable sum in real estate at the time.
The original cost to construct Greystone’s entire estate was $3,166,578.12, the Mansion alone cost $1,238,378.76. The extraordinary result became known as Greystone for its abundant use of stone construction and its rather somber gray appearance. In addition to the Mansion, originally located on the grounds were stables and kennels, tennis courts, a fire station, gatehouse, swimming pool and pavilion, a greenhouse, a lake, babbling brooks and cascading waterfalls.

But on the night of February 16, 1929, only five months after the family had moved in, Ned Doheny was found shot to death inside the home, at the age of 36 and the victim of an apparent murder-suicide perpetrated by his longtime personal friend and aid Hugh Plunket. Lucy continued living at Greystone until 1955, after which she and her second husband Leigh M. Battson sold the majority of the original land to the Paul Trousdale Corporation, developers of Beverly Hills’ prestigious “Trousdale Estate” homes. The following year Lucy and her husband sold for approximately $1.5 million the remaining 18.3 acre parcel, including Greystone Mansion, to Henry Crown of Chicago-based Park Grey Corporation. Mr. Crown, however, never formally occupied the site but instead leased it out as a popular filming location, a legacy Greystone still maintains today.

The City of Beverly Hills purchased the property from Mr. Crown in 1965 for approximately $1.3 million with plans to install a 19-million gallon water tank on the property as its hilltop site provided tremendous natural water pressure. This site continues to serve as the City of Beverly Hills’ largest reservoir. On September 16, 1971, the entire 18.3 acre site, including its centerpiece Greystone Mansion, was formally dedicated as a public park by the City of Beverly Hills. Five years later, on April 23, 1976, Greystone Estate was officially recognized as a historic landmark and was entered into the Registry of Historic Places.


Greystone Mansion was designed by the renowned Southern Californian architect Gordon B. Kaufmann and was constructed by the P.J. Walker Company. The landscape architect was Paul G. Thiene who used a potpourri of Gothic and neoclassic architectural styles.

The structure of Greystone Mansion was built of steel reinforced concrete, faced with Indiana limestone and is roofed of Welsh slate. Upon entering the Mansion, the hand railings and arch-framed stairway typify both the opulence and craftsmanship of the era and of the entire Greystone property. All of the oak banisters, balustrades and rafters were hand carved, while each of the seven chimneys was designed and crafted by a different artist. The floors of the grand hall showcased black and white inlaid marble and an elaborate living room held a balcony where musicians often performed on special occasions. The kitchen featured a pantry built to secure a large adjoining wall safe that was used to store the family’s silver and gold services. The Mansion was built with a servant’s quarters which occupied two floors of the east wing and accommodated a live-in staff of fifteen.

There are fifty-five livable rooms within the 46,054 square feet of living space in the Mansion. While the Mansion’s bedrooms were spread throughout the second floor, the master bedroom suite was located in the west wing and featured an accompanying sitting room, two baths, a dressing room and a massage room. All the rooms with southern exposure offered a panoramic view of the Los Angeles Basin, from downtown to the beaches of Santa Monica Bay. In the north wing where the two oldest boy’s bedrooms were located, a circular staircase led into an adjacent recreation wing that contained a movie theater room, an original Brunswick bowling alley, billiard room and a hidden bar.












00019602-thumb-600x478-78193Greystone, ca. 1928 | Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Los Angeles Public Library

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again… or was it Wuthering Heights, or Henry James’ Bly House, home of the ghostly children of “Turn of the Screw?” No, it was not a fictional English country estate, filled with regrets and windswept gardens. And it was not a dream. It was Greystone, the awe-inspiring, grey-green estate built by the oil rich Doheny clan in the 1920s. Looking down on Beverly Hills, with its bright blue sky and terra cotta Mediterranean mammoths, this stone-faced Tudor mansion looms above a field of honeysuckle. This capitalist dream is now a public park, and the grounds are open year round, although the mansion’s interiors are rarely subjected to mere plebeians, most probably for reasons of economy.

00019617-thumb-600x473-78195‘Cyprus Lane’ at Greystone, ca. 1928 | Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Los Angeles Public Library

As if by design, the day I visited Greystone was one of those rare days of lovely Los Angeles gloom. It was drizzling and warm as I made my way up the winding hillside. I stepped into the rain, and into another world. Beautiful terraced gardens, more akin to the palaces of Europe than L.A., were filled with outstanding views, trickling fountains, towering trees and overgrown paths leading to cozy nooks. The house itself was silent, its grey walls of Indiana slate glimmering like an exotic pearl, slightly darker than the overcast sky. I peered into the windows of the mansion, trying to imagine which ground floor room was the guest bedroom where, on February 16, 1929, Ned Doheny and his best friend Hugh Plunkett died — each man killed by a single bullet to the head.

00019615-thumb-600x477-78189Greystone, ca. 1928 | Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Los Angeles Public Library

But I was snapped out of my gothic reveries by the sound of children belting out the lyrics to the musical “Grease.” A quick walk to the mansion’s large circular driveway and further up to the filled-in Gatsby-esque Grecian pool revealed gaggles of children, the enthusiastic members of a local summer camp. They were practicing with the unfocused ease of children, shrieking and dancing, unaware and unafraid of their macabre surroundings. Life goes on even at Greystone, a palace of dreamlike beauty borne out of the deadly dealings of corrupt commerce.

Give Them Everything

00075969-thumb-250x325-78232He had developed the Midas touch. Gold flowed out of the grounds at his command.- The New York Times 1

Ned said to me at the dinner table, “Mama we could be awfully happy if we were poor couldn’t we?” I asked him “Dear, dear little tot, why?” He said “Because Papa wouldn’t go away so often.”– Letter from Estelle Doheny to E.L. Doheny 2

The story of Edward Laurence Doheny is one of Wild West legend. The son of poor Irish immigrants, clever Doheny spent his early adulthood kicking around the rough and tumble mining towns of the West, searching for gold and other precious metals. By 1892, he was in his late 30s, broke, with a troubled wife, and a sickly daughter who would die that same year. But sadness over his personal life was matched by sudden professional success. That fall he struck liquid gold, when on a hunch he dug his first oil well in the sticky tar fields of Los Angeles. He was further overjoyed when on November 6, 1893, his wife Carrie gave birth to a son, E.L Doheny Jr., known to the family as Ned. Doheny viewed Ned as his second chance, “swearing that he would achieve great wealth to provide a secure life for the boy.” 3

He made good on his oath. Over the next two decades, Doheny would become wealthy beyond his wildest dreams. In addition to virtually controlling the oil markets in California, he would make even more money at Tampico in Mexico, where he drilled some of the most productive oil wells in the world. Tampico was practically his own fiefdom, and he developed close and (according to many critics) questionable ties with the Mexican government. To his great sorrow, he lived apart from Carrie and Ned, who resided in San Francisco. The couple was divorced in 1899. E.L. soon married Estelle Betzold, a telephone operator whom he had fallen in love with over the phone lines. Carrie, always fragile, killed herself by ingesting battery acid, and Ned came to live with E.L. and Estelle. Estelle took the job of raising Ned seriously, and the pudgy boy was soon very attached to her. The two became close, playing games in their big mansion on Chester Place while E.L. was often away, overseeing his kingdom of oil.

Ned was educated at private Catholic schools, and spent a year at Stanford before graduating from USC. He grew into a spoiled, easygoing, funny and handsome man with a “heart of gold,” who idolized his father and adored his step-mother. In 1913, while courting his future wife, Lucy Smith, he met a working-class young man named Theodore “Hugh” Plunkett. Hugh worked at the Smith family’s gas station near Chester Place. They became great friends, and soon Hugh became one of the Dohenys’ many servants, acting as chauffeur for the entire Doheny family. Both men served in the Great War. When they returned from service, Hugh acted as Ned’s personal secretary, often traveling with him as he became more involved with his father’s businesses. But according to Attorney Fredrick R. Kellogg, although Hugh acted as secretary to Ned, “their relationship was more than that of friends.” Another associate, Dr. E.C. Fishbaugh, put it more succinctly — “They were like brothers.” 4

But, they were “brothers” with wildly different bank accounts. Upon their marriage, Ned and Lucy were presented with a mansion adjacent to the elder Doheny’s Chester Place castle, while Hugh and his wife, Harriet, lived in modest accommodations. The younger Dohenys were L.A.’s elite darlings. Their exploits were often the lead story on society pages, whether sailing on the family yacht, Casiana, or attending a dinner at a table that “glowed with a handsome mound of Richmond roses.” 5 They lived a life of refined excess, bankrolled by the Doheny millions. In 1919, even a car Ned purchased for Lucy was newsworthy. It was described as “the classiest creation of the year,” custom made by Earl Automobile Works:

A silver engraved monogram inlaid in red enamel is mounted on each door. On the panel between the door over the little extra fender [there are] specially designed coach lamps; these lamps were designed and constructed by the Tiffany Company in New York City. These lamps give the car a very foreign touch. The car is upholstered in bright long-grain red leather, which forms a great contrast with the body and wheels which are painted Willey’s battleship gray, with a satin finish.

mrmrsneddoheny-thumb-250x504-78234Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Doheny, Jr., in Fancy-Ball Costume | Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1929

But life for Ned Doheny was not all play and no work. In November 1921, Ned and Hugh checked into a suite at the Plaza Hotel. On the 30th, Ned walked into the New York banking house of Blair and Company. He withdrew $100,000 from a banking account he shared with his wife, and put the bills in a small black bag. He and Hugh then traveled to Washington D.C. where they met with Albert Fall, the Secretary of the Interior for the Harding administration, at the Wardman Park Hotel. Ned handed over the money to Fall, a friend of his father from the rough and tumble mining days. Fall handed Ned a promissory note. Within a month, Doheny Sr. had deposited $100,000 back into Ned and Lucy’s account.

This simple transaction would turn Ned and Hugh’s world upside down. E.L. Doheny was soon awarded the contract for the Elks Hill Naval Petroleum Reserve in Kern County, California. The exchange of money, which Doheny would call a loan to an old friend, and numerous government officials would call a bribe, was part of the infamous Teapot Dome scandal, which would consume the rest of the 1920s. In 1924, Albert Fall, fellow oil man Harry F .Sinclair, and E.L. were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. At a grand jury hearing in D.C. in May, Ned refused to answer questions regarding his role in the delivery, although he testified that neither he nor his father had done anything wrong. E.L. was acquitted in December 1926, with Estelle, Ned, and Lucy by his side. However, due to endless political duels in Washington, E.L. was soon charged again, this time with bribery.

In the midst of this chaos, doting (and perhaps grateful) E.L. decided to present Ned, Lucy and their five children with an extraordinary gift. Built on 429-acres overlooking the still sleepy village of Beverly Hills, Greystone was designed by Gordon Kaufmann, a prominent architect whose work included the Hoover Dam and the Los Angeles Times building. Begun in 1927, the 55-room mansion included a bowling alley with a hidden bar, walls made of leaded glass, a main hall of checkered Carrara marble, a personal switchboard, secret passageways, and grand rooms filled with European antiques. The exquisite grounds, including an 80-foot waterfall which could be turned on with a switch, stables, riding trails, a swimming pool, kennel, and the still awe-inspiring Renaissance inspired “Cyprus Lane,” were designed by landscape architect Paul Thiene. According to Thiene’s main designer Emile Kuehl: “The sky was the limit. I would ask Mr. Thiene what the client might want. ‘Give them everything, was the reply.'” 7

Bitter Death

We know so little about another. Not a ninetieth part. In a moment of fever and excitement, this man was not himself and his moment came. We leave him in God’s keeping.
— Eulogy of Hugh Plunkett 8
But to have to say goodbye to one in the full flush of manhood, to have to stand at the grave of one in the full bloom of life-this, in sober truth, is bitter death!
— Eulogy of Ned Doheny 9
It was to be Ned and Lucy’s home, but it was Hugh who oversaw the construction of Greystone. Ned was frequently in Washington supporting his father through the Teapot Dome scandal. According to another family retainer, “Hugh often signed checks for Mr. Doheny totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. He attended to most of the details of the new home and actually paid the contractors bills with checks made out in Mr. Doheny’s name.” 10

In the fall of 1928, with the house nearing completion, the Doheny faithful claimed that the once quiet, even tempered Hugh was starting to unravel. Some blamed trouble with his teeth, others a dependence on sleeping pills, the breakdown of his eleven year marriage, and other “unknown problems.” What no one, including the Los Angeles Times, mentioned was that Ned and Hugh had been called to testify in the upcoming bribery trials of Albert Fall and E.L. Doheny. And although Ned had been assured immunity, Hugh had not.

Against this tense backdrop, the Doheny clan moved into Greystone before Thanksgiving. Ned and Lucy celebrated their first holiday season at Greystone with a thirty-foot Christmas tree adorned with piles of presents. They hosted a party featuring one hundred couples dancing to Christmas songs played by an orchestra sitting in a special gallery above the mansion ballroom. On Christmas Eve, Hugh supposedly suffered a complete “nervous breakdown,” and was put in the care of the family doctor, Dr. Ernest Clyde Fishbaugh.

By February, the Doheny circle claimed Hugh was completely unhinged. According to Dr. Fishbaugh, on the afternoon of February 16, he, Ned, and Lucy confronted Hugh at Greystone. They urged him to take a “rest” at a sanitarium. Was this to get him mental help, or to exempt him from testifying at Fall’s upcoming trial? Or both? We will never know. Whatever the case, the doctor claimed that “Hugh refused. He simply sat there. Almost shaking at times. Hands clenched. Jaw set at times. He said he would come out of it all right. I could see it was no use to push him further and so I left.” 11

nedeldoheny-thumb-600x420-78237Ned Doheny with his mother and father | L.A. Times, February 18, 1929

According to the “official story,” in the early evening of February 16, Ned and Lucy went to visit Hugh at his apartment, again urging him to get help. During this visit, Ned uttered some “impulsive remarks” that upset Hugh. Ned and Lucy left Hugh, and went to the theater. They returned to Greystone. As they were getting ready for bed, Hugh called. 12 He was at the garage at the gates of Greystone, and said he wanted to come to the mansion. Lucy implored him not to. A little while later, Hugh let himself into the main house with his pass key. Ned found him in the guest bedroom he often slept in, and sat down to talk with his troubled friend. An hour or so passed, and the two men had drinks and smoked cigarettes. Lucy was in another part of the house. According to Doctor Fishbaugh:

I received a call at the Hollywood Playhouse from my maid at 10:30p.m. and was told to go to the Doheny home immediately. Upon my arrival there, one of the watchmen, whose name I do not know, let me in the house … As I entered, Mrs. Doheny was standing in the middle hallway approximately eight feet back from the door and greeted me. She said her husband was in a guestroom on the first floor, to the left of the hall leading from the front entrance. Both Mrs. Doheny and I started down the hall, side by side. A door, which partitions the hall, was slightly ajar, and I saw Plunkett walking toward it. ‘You stay out of here,’ he shouted at me and slammed the door shut. I then heard a shot. ‘You go back,’ I told Mrs. Doheny, and she returned to the living room, which was about 75 feet away from the guest room. I pushed the door open and saw Plunkett lying on his face opposite the door to the bedroom where I later found Mr. Doheny. Plunkett, to the best of my recollection, was fully clothed. The door to the bedroom was open, and when I looked in I saw Mr. Doheny lying on his back, a chair overturned between him and the bed. 13
Both men had been shot in the head and were dead. Frantic calls went out to Lucy’s brothers-in-law, to D.A. Fitts, and to the Beverly Hills police. Old E.L. Doheny was awoken at his home at Chester Place, and rushed to the scene. 14 Doheny arrived at Greystone and refused to heed the advice of family members to not go to Ned’s body:

“No, I must see Ned,” he said with a bowed head as he walked down the hall that leads from the front entrance to the chamber where his son’s body lay. “Yes, it is Ned after all. I had hoped against hope there was some mistake. “He staggered slightly, and then with a slow tread passed close to the head of his son’s murderer, who lay in the hall close to the door of the chamber and walked into the room. He gazed at his son’s body for a moment and then knelt beside it. He shook with emotion as he reached down and took young Doheny’s right hand. “Ned, my Ned,” he sobbed as he was half carried from the room. 15

00074554-thumb-600x410-78197Original caption reads: ‘Photo-diagram below illustrates police officers’ theory of the dual tragedy in which Theodore Plunkett killed his employer, Edward L. Doheny, Jr. and then committed suicide. According to the police theory, Plunkett held the gun at his waist and shot Doheny seated in a chair.’ | Herald-Examiner Collection, Los Angeles Public Library

The ensuing, if brief, media storm cast Ned as a hero who had “died the finest kind of death,” trying to help a troubled friend. Many in law enforcement, including forensic investigator Leslie White, doubted the pat story of murder-suicide. 16 While photographing and processing the scene, White found a smoldering cigarette in Hugh’s fingertips, a curious thing for a man who had just killed his best friend in a fit of madness and was about to kill himself. The gun used in the murder lay under Plunkett’s body, very warm, as if someone had heated it in the oven. Dr. Fishbaugh — the main mouthpiece for the Doheny family — was caught in several lies, including withholding the fact that Ned had been alive when the doctor burst into the room, breathing although already unconscious. White also observed that it appeared that Ned had been shot at very close range, while it seemed that Hugh had not.

The city of Los Angeles was titillated by this tragedy of titans. E.L.’s private security detail guarded Greystone, determined to keep lookey-loos away. Ned’s funeral at St. Vincent’s, the beautiful church funded by E.L. and Estelle, was filled to capacity. Hundreds stood outside the Catholic Church, held back by a special detail of traffic officers. Ned was buried at Forest Lawn in the magnificent temple of Santa Sabina, which once contained the bones of an Italian Saint of the second century. A day later, Hugh was buried only a 100 feet away from Ned on Sunrise Slope. Both his brother and sister collapsed at the graveside. Lucy Doheny sent a huge floral arrangement to Plunkett’s funeral, and two of her brothers served as pallbearers.

After the huge explosion of coverage in the local papers, all reporting on the murder ceased within three days. And after promising a “sweeping investigation”, District Attorney Buron Fitts proclaimed there would be “no inquest” and officially closed the investigation. Old E.L. was eventually acquitted of his bribery charge, but his heart had been broken. Rumors of a love affair between the two men, of a cover-up and bribes, linger to this day. A reporter at the Los Angeles Times summed up the whole saga within 48-hours of the tragedy, aware that this was a story already forever muddled by power and pride:

What transpired in the bedroom of that long, rambling mansion in its woodland setting, halfway up the side of the Beverly Hills mountainside, may never be known. Both Doheny and Plunkett are dead. 17

Diagram retraces the events that led to the deaths | Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1929

A Pleasant Kind of Palace

“I never got stuck,” declared Tim Doheny. “But I dreaded it, really did. Nobody would hear you, and you would be a skeleton by the time you were found.”
— Los Angeles Times, 1985 Lucy stayed at Greystone with her five children, and life began again. She married investment dealer Leigh Battson in 1932, in front of the living room fireplace at Greystone.

Spring blossoms and American beauty roses decorated the room in which the wedding took place, and at the wedding breakfast which followed it ,the brides table was laden with white flowers, orchids, gardenias and lilies of the valley … Her gown was simply made and it was set off by a single piece of jewelry, a baguette diamond and jade pin which was a gift from the bridegroom…While the wedding breakfast was in progress, Mr. C.C .Moseley, a family friend, flew low [in a plane] over the home and dropped a bouquet from himself and Mrs. Moseley upon the spacious lawn. 18
Despite its horrific beginnings, Greystone became a happy place, filled with opulent parties, and children scurrying across the expansive grounds or spraying away with a fire extinguisher in the attic gymnasium. Lucy and Leigh were regulars on the social scene, dancing at jet set balls, and hosting real European aristocracy at Greystone. Lucy was also heavily involved with charity work, and her daughter Lucy Estelle, called “Dicky Dell,” was one of the “loveliest and most popular debutantes” of the 1930s. Her engagement, during a dinner party at Greystone in 1936, was straight out of a Noel Coward play:

Guests were informed of the betrothal when each was served a decorated plate on which was an oyster shell containing a large pearl. Under the shell was a gold card with the engraving- “The pearls of wisdom within these shells predict for Van and Dicky wedding bells.” The bride to be found in her shell a solitaire diamond engagement ring… An orchestra played for dancing, and gaiety continued until late, with other amusements afforded guests. 19
After the children were grown, Lucy and Leigh found the giant estate burdensome and too large. Lucy sold it in 1955. In 1965, Greystone was bought by the city of Beverly Hills. It became an increasingly popular filming location, so it was fitting when AFI leased it from the city from 1969 to 1982. It is now a public park, and used for private functions. It continues to be a popular filming location, and numerous movies have shot scenes there. These include “The Holiday,” “The Bodyguard,” “The Witches of Eastwick,” and fittingly, “There Will Be Blood,” based on Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel “Oil!,” which many say was inspired by the elder Doheny’s rise to power. Greystone is indeed a place of dreams and illusions — the sublime, the sophisticated and the just plain sad.

1 Richard Rayner, “A Bright and Guilty Place”
2 Margaret Leslie Davis, “The Dark Side of Fortune”
3 Ibid.
4 “Doctor asserts madness caused double death” Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1929
5 “Luncheon Party” Los Angeles Times, September 18, 1914
6 “Some class to this body” Los Angeles Times, May 11, 1919
7 “Mansion’s history rich, tragic” Los Angeles Times, August 25, 1985
8 “Brother and sister collapse at Doheny’s aide’s grave” Los Angeles Times, February 21, 1929
9 “Final tributes paid to Doheny” Los Angeles Times, February 20, 1929
10 “Plunkett rose from tire job” Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1929
11 “Doctor asserts madness caused double death” Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1929
12 “Doheny murder inquiry discloses controversy” Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1929
13 Ibid.
14 Ibid.
15 “No inquest on Doheny” Los Angeles Times, February 19, 1929
16 “Doheny lauded for friend aid” Los Angeles Times February 18, 1929
17 “Doheny murder inquiry discloses controversy” Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1929
18 “Mrs E.L. Doheny Jr., reweds” Los Angeles Times, February 19, 1932
19 “Spinsters engagement announced” Los Angeles Times, December 17, 1936

For more of my design inspiration, please follow along on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and subscribe to Bespoke Banter.  Thanks for reading and please come visit again!


“The life of a designer is a life of fight: fight against the ugliness.” – Massimo Vignelli


The final day of LCDQ certainly inspired all of us to keep the fight going….I was looking forward to some of my favorite showrooms hosting events and taking in all the incredible sources that LCDQ has to offer. The new showroom of Hollywood at Home is a feast for the eyes. Peter Dunham’s gorgeous space makes shopping an absolute delight. We were greeted by the new fabric collaboration of adorable Amy Meier and Peter Fasano. The first lecture of the day included LA designers Jamie Bush, Nickey/Kehoe, Amy Meier and Christos Prevezanos discussing creating custom fabrics for their projects with particular reference to Peter Fasano.  The always entertaining Robert Leleux, editor in chief of Domino, led a lively conversation with his usual panache.


The front of the showroom houses fabrics lines organized by designer and the back contains one of the chicest special event spaces I have ever seen.


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One of the most highly anticipated keynotes was “The Art of Authenticity” sponsored by Milieu at the sublime showroom McKinnon and Harris. Interiors editor Leslie Newsom Rascoe and renowned interior designers Nicky Haslam and Nathan Turner discussed the definition of enduring interiors in the context of short lived nature of decorating and why some spaces transcend time.

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The boisterous banter between these three was highly entertaining. Leslie cleverly dubbed the presentation “The Nick and Nate Show” and the two designers shared their advice and even entertaining tips with the group. Nathan compared the role of a designer as that of a captain and the importance of maintaining control of the ship.  Nicky elaborated to never compromise your own design aesthetic because that is why the clients hire you in the first place. He also gave his secret to a great party, “Too much to drink and chocolate pudding.”


Equally as entertaining was Nathan’s precious chocolate lab Nacho, who he referred to as an “attention hound.” Nacho charmed the crowd with his personality and even had the last bark at the end of the presentation.

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Next, a picnic lunch at Woven Accents complete with Moroccan rugs in lieu of picnic blankets and dueling DJs to entertain the crowd.

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Ginna Christensen, Denise McGaha, Tami Ramsay, Jennifer Mehitidash

After lunch, the next keynote was “Entertaining:The Home as a Social Stage” sponsored by California Homes at the Janet Yonaty showroom. Susan McFadden, editor of California Homes led a panel with Kathryn Ireland, Lulu Powers and Russ Diamond and how contemporary entertaining styles have changed including the extinction or comeback of the formal dining room, chef inspired kitchens and indoor outdoor entertaining.

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That afternoon, a flurry of book signings took place along Melrose and La Cienega. Windsor Smith, the Brentwood based design powerhouse, hosted a meet and greet to unveil her new collection at Arteriors.

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Mecox Gardens hosted a group signing including design icon Charlotte Moss (Garden Inspirations), Jane Scott Hodges (Linens for Every Room and Occasion), Justina Blakeney (The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes) and Anthony Iannaci (Design in the Hamptons)

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The final keynote of the day featured some of my all time favorite design talents. Hosted by the Claremont showroom, “Chasing the Muse” featured designers Celerie Kemble, Schuyler Samperton and Hutton Wilkinson and was brilliantly moderated by Stylebeat founder Marisa Marcontonio. Using the 2015 LEGENDS theme of “Where Muses Dwell,” the designers discussed where they go to find find inspiration and if modern day muses still exist.

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Lindsay Fleege, Holly Phillips, Julia Buckingham, Me. Elle Toler, Rafi and Josh of Form LA, Tami Ramsay at Harbinger

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Joe Lucas of Harbinger certainly knows how to throw a party especially when he combines forces with Moore & Giles and the Hearst Design Group. Harbinger is another LCDQ favorite.  The showroom is always beautifully designed showcasing the latest and greatest from many bespoke fabric and furnishing lines. We always need to stop by at least twice…once to shop and once to socialize.





Holland and Sherry Rugs


Thomas Callaway Fabrics

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Hearst Design Group, Harbinger and Moore & Giles Teams in front of the celebrate Moore & Giles Airstream


California Homes sponsored the Finale Party at the loft like Marc Phillips showroom.It is amazing everyone was still on their feet and showing no signs of slowing down!

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Jennifer of The Proper Poppy, Danielle Rollins, Paloma Contreras


The last stop on the whirlwind LEGENDS LCDQ tour was attending an intimate dinner at the home of Kathryn Ireland.  This was certainly a “pinch me” moment because I have long admired her Santa Monica home and hilarious personality. Every single space from the outdoor seating areas to the guest house to the cozy nooks in the main house made you want to linger all night. Chateau Domingue hosted a stunning alfresco evening complete with craft margaritas, a mariachi band, and an amazing Mexican feast.




And to cap off a perfect night, we had a the chance to meet a favorite character from Million Dollar Decorators, Jacqueline, Kathryn Ireland’s chic confidante and right hand!


For more of my design inspiration, be sure to follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook Twitter and subscribe to Bespoke Banter.  Thanks for reading and please come back again!

Photography by JL Photography unless otherwise noted.


The Mint Museum Auxiliary is hosting its 4th annual Fall EnrichMINT Forum next week featuring Inspirational Icon India Hicks. She will share stories from her fascinating life as a designer, model, photographer, entrepreneur, author, marathon runner, thrill seeker, world traveler, wife, mother to 5 beautiful children, daughter of legendary designer David Hicks, and god-daughter of the Prince of Wales. Just a few seats remain…for more information, please click here.



In her own words, here are are a few facts about India from her gorgeous new website and blog…

I was born in London, England.

My father was famed interior decorator David Hicks, and my mother is Pamela Hicks, daughter to the Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma.

My grandfather was the last Viceroy of India, hence my name.

The Prince of Wales is my Godfather. A wonderful one. But as a tom boy it was hard to forgive being asked to wear that frilly dress as a bridesmaid at his wedding to Lady Diana.

Following school I backpacked around the world for a year. I returned to London, took a foundation course in art, before moving to Boston, to take a degree in photography, graduating unexpectedly with honors.

A fashion magazine featured me in an issue of ‘New Beauties’, which Ralph Lauren saw and subsequently booked me for my first modeling job. A career on the other side of the camera was born.

I now live on a small island in the Bahamas, with David Flint Wood and our five children: Felix, Amory, Conrad, Domino and Wesley, our fostered Bahamian son. We have built and restored 4 houses and a hotel on the island.

I am a passionate horse rider. I also scuba dive, bungee jump, parachute and hand glide, snow ski, water ski and wakeboard. I have climbed into the Grand Canyon, run three 26.2 mile marathon’s and have completed four 100 mile bike rides in aid of charity.

I have published two books ‘Island Life’ and ‘Island Beauty’ and have a third ‘Island Style’ due for launch in the spring of 2015. Part of the proceeds from these books have been donated to a small non-profit community school in The Bahamas.

After a successful career designing collections of bath & beauty products, bedding and jewelry in partnership with others the time for change has arrived……

India is in the process of building a new business which will be revealed in the near future. In the interim, she has started a blog which is the foundation for where her new business venture will be headed.  She hosts a mini series of interviews called “Extraordinary Lives” with people who made life work for them in unexpected ways. See below for a glimpse into her magical interiors and island lifestyle on Harbor Island…






Courtesy of Garden & Gun








india hicks in boat

Enchanted by this idyllic island lifestyle? See the selection of available villas for rent designed by India and David Flint Wood, by clicking here.


For more of my design inspiration, please follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter  and subscribe to Bespoke Banter….Thanks for reading!


“And here fantastic fishes duskly float/ Using the calm for waters, while their fires/ Throb out quick rhythms along the shallow air.”

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning, A Drama of Exile

I had such fun designing for Aquarius that I wanted to design a space for my own birth sign this month. To all of my dear Piscean pals, this post is dedicated to you!


“Imaginative, intuitive and sensitive, Pisces is a chameleon who isn’t afraid to mix up different styles. She needs space to meditate and express her creativity. Watery hues like blue and green serve as a backdrop for her dreamy space that opens to the outdoors. Pisces hate feeling trapped in a space, so they need a lot of natural light. Always surrounded by pretty things, Pisces instinctively knows where each piece should be displayed. Works of art fulfill her artistic side.”-

Before I could start scheming, I had to envision the perfect backdrop for my Piscean Pool Pavillion. This architectural beauty was designed by Richard Hallberg and featured in Veranda.

I always begin with the art.  This work by Michelle Armas captured the Piscean spirit perfectly.  Michelle describes her work ,I paint what I want to look at while building layers, texture and pattern. Graffiti and ethnic woven textiles inspire my work. When I paint I think about what it’s like to move around the canvas, and lately a lot of the names for my paintings are song lyrics.” She is represented by Gregg Irby Fine Art. A stylized fabric from Katie Ridder complemented the painting beautifully. The next find was this Karl Springer console from 1st Dibs that brought out the citrine from the painting and the fabric. Scrolling through 1st Dibs also revealed these fabulous curved back mid century brass chairs upholstered in aquamarine leather. White high back wicker chairs from Palecek and a sculptural dining table from Janus et Cie balance out the blues and greens of the pavilion.


“It’s a pair of Fish that represents Pisces, a symbol that prompts others to suggest that these people ‘go with the flow’ and ‘don’t make waves.’ Both of these labels are true, since Pisces are fluid and easy-going, in keeping with the Mutable Quality assigned to this sign. The fact that two fish (as opposed to one) represent the members of this sign also speaks to the duality of Pisces, their yin and yang sensibility. Pisces alternate between reality and non-reality in keeping with their introspective natures; their voyage between consciousness and an unconscious dream state says much about their intuitive, almost psychic natures. For this reason, Pisces can be hard to pin down, prompting some to call them the chameleons of the zodiac. The Fish are happy to be considered hazy, since there’s a certain sense of safety in that self-proclaimed netherworld. That said, they won’t stay away for long, since one of their primary goals is to help others. Pisces are compassionate, charitable and will quickly put the needs of others ahead of their own. The flip side to their giving natures is that the oft-timid Fish are likely to be taken advantage of by less well-meaning souls.  

Pisces is ruled by Jupiter and Neptune. In ancient Roman mythology, Jupiter (the original ruler of Pisces) was the king of the gods, while Neptune was the ruler of the seas. Those born under this sign are spiritually oriented and charitable. They are compassionate, easily feeling another’s pain. At times, however, Pisceans can have difficulty distinguishing fact from fantasy; they tend to get caught up in their dreams and views of how things should be. To say they wear rose-colored glasses isn’t much of a stretch. Many Pisces also immerse themselves in the arts and other creative pursuits as a centering mechanism, and they are quite talented in these areas.  

The Element associated with Pisces is Water. Those born under this sign easily relate to the emotional and unpredictable nature of this liquid gold. Pisces feel a great deal, and they also feel misunderstood much of the time. They’re not quite pushovers, but they’re certainly sensitive. Yes, they could cry you a river if the circumstances were right. Even so, they revel in their compassionate and imaginative natures and love to cater to others. They can also be quite romantic, dreaming up delicious treats for their lover. Hopefully, any kindness will be reciprocated, because the Fish can certainly turn blue if they’re not. Pisces are generally gentle, easy-going folk, who are on the shy and reticent side. They are modest to the point of impracticality, often stepping up only to show their talents in painting or music. Easiest for the Fish (and still great fun) is living in their lush dream world.

More relaxation for the Fish comes in the way of sports, specifically water sports. Pisces loves to swim, and it’s this easy glide in a pool or the sea that serves to alleviate much of their stress. 

The great strength of the Pisces-born is their compassionate and charitable nature. These folks love to help others and do so in the most imaginative of ways. It’s their feeling sensibility that wins people over.” –



Two months ago, the design world lost one of their most beloved legends, Albert Hadley.  Much has been written about his legacy over the past several weeks and the impact he had on the design community.  He was known most of all for being a gentleman and a scholar. Mr. Hadley had an immense knowledge of design history which he graciously shared with all of his clients and colleagues. Despite being a classicist, he was also a bold risk taker and not afraid to mix modern and innovative materials and designs. This brave and original creativity elevated him to saint like status and will forever be known for his unprecedented contribution to 20th century design.

The most delightful attributes of Mr. Hadley were his sincere modesty, kindness and generosity. He was constantly encouraging young designers, sharing his wisdom with them and making sure they were being recognized for their talent and participation in his client’s projects. Many celebrated designers began their careers with Mr. Hadley such as Bunny Williams, Thomas Jayne, Mariette Himes Gomez, David Easton, David Klienburg, and Brian McCarthy. He was known for telling them, “Kiddo, give them what they never knew they wanted.” 
This past week, I had the privilege of seeing the Kip’s Bay Show House where Mr. Hadley’s proteges, Bunny Williams,  David Kleinberg and Brian J. McCarthy dedicated their room to “ALBERT HADLEY: Our mentor, our teacher, and our dear friend.” Below you can see some of his most famous rooms and quotes. Next you can see how these brilliant designers created a room in his honor.
Photgraphy by Fernando Bengoechea
Mr. Hadley in His Living Room
Domino Magazine
Inspiration Board
Veranda Magazine
Mr. Hadley’s Apartment
Mr. Hadley’s Modern and Spare Bedroom
Photography by Fernando Bengoechea
A Fine Romance: Mr. Hadley and Ms. Parish
Courtesy of Albert Hadley Archives
Residence of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Druckman
Sutton Place, New York City
Photography by Fernandoe Bengoechea
Residence of Frederic R. Courdet III
Courtesy of Albert Hadley Archives
Residence of Nancy “Princess” Pyne
New Jersey
Courtesy of Albert Hadley Archives
Mrs. Astor’s Famous Library
New York City
Courtesy of Albert Hadley Archives
Photo via Habitually Chic

Architectural Digest sponsored the kick off party for Blogfest 2012 at the Kip’s Bay Show House.The  Great Room was designed by Bunny Williams, David Kleinburg and Brian McCarthy in honor of Mr. Hadley.  Their blend of modern art, clean lines and a few red touches with have made their mentor very proud. The Corbusier tapestry from Jane Khan Gallery was the focal point for the room. The other artwork was from Gerald Bland. You can see one of Mr. Haley’s trademark zebra hooked rugs in the foreground of the image. The rug along with the kuba cloth and vintage ikat pillows belonged to Bunny Williams to add an ethnic vibe to the space.

Please note that the images of the show house are from  Heather Clawson of Habitually Chic.  You can see her blog on the space by clicking on the link above.

The two images above show a few of Mr. Hadley’s favorite things. He apparently lived on gin and cigarettes and could care less about fine wine and food according to his old client, Siri Mortimer mentioned in Veranda’s tribute to Mr. Hadley. His “DON”T FORGET” pads where always on his desk.  All party guests received an identical pad in our bag of swag as we left the party.

Another highlight was meeting Margaret Russell from Architectural Digest. She was kind enough to let a few Charlotte designers take our picture with her.  Here, Holly Hollingsworth Phillips of The English Room, Beth Keim of Lucy and Company and myself learn a few tips on how to pose for a picture. You can also check out their blogs to read about our NYC adventures this past week.

When I arrived back in Charlotte, I had a lovely surprise waiting on my my front stoop.  The interior drawings I had purchased from the Albert Hadley sale on One King’s Lane had arrived! I am thrilled to have these historic mementos from such an amazing man. Happy Memorial Day to ALL!


Our second day of Blogfest begins with breakfast at the stunning Hearst Tower…

High up the the 44th floor, we will hear Veranda‘s elegant Editor in Chief Dara Caponigro discuss the evolution of the May/June issue.

Two of my favorite (I know there are many!) designers, Timothy Whealon and Darryl Carter, will review how their projects came to life on the pages of this issue.

We then get another dose of extraordinary talent from House Beautiful. The charismatic Editor in Chief Newell Turner will share his insights onto what it takes to get published.  House Beautiful’s Next Wave Designers, Jon Call, Jill Goldberg and Michael Harold will reveal their secrets on how to take an interior design career to the next level.

After our inspirational morning, we will head to the Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House to meet with the dashing Editor in Chief Michael Boodroo.

The show house is being held at the Dillon in one of their nine townhouses. Eight international designers have created original contemporary spaces in conjunction with modern furniture, fabric and accessory lines.

Next we are off to the D&D building to the Lee Jofa showroom for lunch with Macrae furniture designer Robert Brown and Keith Granet, author of Business of Design.  After lunch, we will join Traditional Home Editor in Chief Anne Maine at the Kravet showroom for an interview with the charming and talented Alexa Hampton.

The ladies will define and discuss what the term “traditional” means today and how the design industry has acclimated to keep up with the new “traditional.”

If that were not enough for one day of design, we then head to see a sneak preview of the new Baccarat showroom to meet designer extraordinaire Vincent Wolf.

The topic of Mr. Wolf’s lecture is “Finding New Direction: How People Want to Live in the Contemporary World.”

Finally our day concludes with a private cocktail party at the incredible GE Monogram Design Center. Executive Chef  Tagere Southwell will work his magic in the luxury open kitchen, showing off all of the latest and greatest appliances.

Thank goodness there is no After Party tonight! Stay tuned for Day 3 tomorrow…