Anouska Hempel by Marcus Binney: A Brilliant Foray Into the Mind of a Design Genius

I have been a fan of Anouska Hempel for over 20 years so I was thrilled to discover the new book Anouska Hempel by Marcus Binney, Rizzoli New York 2015. I could not help pouring through the beautiful pages of the first book to look in-depth at Hempel’s body of work – which spans across architecture, furniture, landscape and graphics to products and fashion.
Anouska Hempel cover-2

Anouska Hempel is one of the world’s most celebrated designers but she is perhaps most well-known for her three groundbreaking boutique hotels – Blakes London, Blakes Amsterdam, and The Hempel.


I first stayed at her hotel, Blakes London, which was the origin of the high style, chic boutique hotel movement that is so prevalent around the world today. I can still vividly remember the decadence of its rich black and gold interiors. It all began when Anouska purchased a row of townhouses and created a wonderfully kooky hotel that was all the rage for wealthy entertainment folk and people of means who did not want the ‘tired’ grand hotel experience.



Anouska Hempel, written by architecture critic and author Marcus Binney, is also the first book to explore the sources of her inspiration while showcasing her opulent yet idiosyncratic aesthetic.


The gorgeous images allow the reader to step into the luxurious spaces that she creates and see first-hand her signature style that combines magnificence with comfort and livability. One can begin to truly understand her startling range of inspiration, which includes austere Zen temples, a fancy for visual games, a love of the color red (which I can very much appreciate).

The book is a stunning visual tour and a must read for design lovers.

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Bill Stubbs | Spring in Action

Spring has certainly been up in the air. I have had many wonderful opportunities to travel including a trip to beautiful Buenos Aires for The Leaders of Design Conference as well as events close to home including Preservation Houston’s inaugural Good Brick tour. Please enjoy some snapshots from my travels this spring.


The exquisite private island, Isla El Descanso Delta-Tigre, in Argentina. A constant evolution of art can be found throughout the lush gardens and beautiful home on the island, created by Claudio Stamato and Felipe Duran. A once in a lifetime experience.


Dinner with the talented, warm and engaging interior designer Timothy Corrigan. Pick up his fabulous new book An Invitation Chateau du Grand-Luce: Decorating a Great French Country House.


Round Top and Corona del Mar were two of the many markets I scoured this spring.


During our stay in Buenos Aires we had a beautiful picnic at an exquisite hunting lodge, Estancia Villa Maria, outside the city.


A wonderful evening with the charming Dara Caponigro, Creative Director of Schumacher.


Preservation Houston’s inaugural Good Brick Tour was a huge success. I was honored to be a Co-Chair.


A lovely afternoon at the New York Historical Society with family.


Until next time!



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My Best Advice for Graduates: Never Give Up!


I was honored to speak at the Art Institute of Houston graduation ceremony. My best piece of advice for the students, a spin on the classic Never Give Up.

I decided I was going to be in Architectural Digest. I couldn’t imagine how I was ever going to make that happen, at the time I was still selling vacuum cleaners door to door (a great lesson in rejection). I decided the best place to start was at the top. I was going to meet Paige Rense, then Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Digest. I wrote her letters and called her office asking for a meeting whenever I was in New York City. On my 14th phone call, the one I thought about not making, her secretary said why don’t you come over. Our conversation was short but memorable:

PR: “Did you bring something to show me?”

BS: “No I just wanted to meet you.”

PR: “Well bring something to show me next time.”

BS: “There’s going to be a next time?”

I never gave up and eventually found my way onto the AD 100




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Catch A Moment of Luxury: How to Create A Classic Christmas Table

We recently uncovered some ‘lost’ never before seen Moment of Luxury footage. I thought Christmas would be the perfect time to begin sharing these videos with you. In this particular video I offer some ideas on how to decorate your holiday table:

Helpful Hints:

1) Heighten the Drama

2) Commit to a color scheme

3) Shop for expensive-looking but wallet friendly buys throughout the year

For more tabletop decorating tips click here!

Wishing you a very Merry and Classic Christmas and a Happy New Year!

– Bill

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The Art of the Written Word Gets Trendy

There are so many ways to say things these days – email, Twitter, text, Facebook, Instagram. But at the end of the day there is nothing more meaningful than finding a handwritten note in your mailbox. It represents how thoughtful someone was to sit down and write a personal note to you. I have received handwritten notes from clients, friends, and even a President of the United States – and I save them all because they are so special. Thankfully in this digital age, stationary and paper products have never been more in style and there’s something for everyone’s taste – traditional to quirky. Here are some of my favorites including some decorating ideas using paper products!



Mrs. John L. Strong has been a classic choice since 1929. Handcrafted perfection. I also often jot down notes on Crane & Co. stationary. There is nothing like receiving a handwritten note. Women still tend to write notes from time to time which is wonderful. But when I receive a note from a man it becomes really memorable because it happens so rarely. My friend, Jack Blanton, attends lots of events. He sits down the next day and writes handwritten notes to everyone. My British friends still write notes with fountain pens. How wonderfully old-fashioned! If you can, take the time to write a note personally.

TIP: I find it helpful to type out my notes in Microsoft Word first and then handwrite them to take full advantage of spell check.



A handwritten note from President George Bush (41).



A handwritten note from former First Lady Barbara Bush.



My son Chad used an App called Ink Cards to send me a note for Father’s Day. The service allows you to use a personal photo, add a personal message, and it will mail it for you with a custom stamp. The picture and personal message added a sweet touch and of course I saved it!



Finally, Paperless Post still has a sense of texture to it. The envelope with your name on it actually opens for you, revealing the invitation or note inside. If you’re low on time this is a good option.



Fraser & Parsley offers stylish ways to incorporate paper products into your dinner parties. These special touches can make all the difference.



My friend Melinda Jones’ company Read Between the Lines creates paper products that inject fun and flair into a room.



Locally, Kuhl-Linscomb has a nice selection of chic, fun cards for any occasion – birthdays, engagements, or even just to say hello. Happy Writing!

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Bill On the Go

The past few weeks have flown by quite literally. I’ve spent a great deal of time up in the air, flying between job sites and exciting design events in New York, Los Angeles, and Houston. Last week alone was 6 cities in 6 days! (San Antonio, Houston, Newport Beach, Nice, Frankfort, and topped off by a quick trip to Moscow.) What an amazing time we live in where this is possible! Below enjoy some wonderful snapshots from my travels.

Sherle Wagner — Inbox

Celebrating with Mrs. Sherle Wagner in Los Angeles.


A dripping chandelier at ICFF.

Liz Smith and I at Sardi_s tonight — Inbox

Dining (and gossip) with Liz Smith in New York. Later we watched Tommy Tune perform some of his greatest hits on Broadway.

Decadent Russian breakfast — Inbox

Decadent Russian breakfast.

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Eye on Design: Bill in the News

The month of April was a good one to say the least – packed with magazine covers, speaking engagements, and awards. I have a gorgeous cover on this month’s Luxe Magazine. I was also the honored recipient of Decorative Center Houston’s Stars of Design Lifetime Achievement Award. Enjoy some pictures from April’s event as well as the best sound bites from our stellar panel discussion. All in all quite a month! – Bill


This month’s Luxe Magazine cover, Houston addition.

Decorative Center Houston: Build Your Brand Panel Discussion

The panel was filled with Bigger than Bravo personalties, a textile king, and a wealth of success, talent, and experience. Mary McDonald, John Robshaw, and Charles Pavarini III joined me for a panel discussion on how to build your brand. The morning brought solid advice wrapped in humor for the audience of young and aspiring interior designers.


Our panelists: John Robshaw, Charles Pavarini III, Mary McDonald, and myself.

On social media…

“With social media pick what you like to do. I like photography so I use Instagram.” – John Robshaw

“So many magazines have folded, it’s where media is going. I’ve been published way more on blogs.” – Charles Pavarini III

“Now you can publish things online, through social media first. If your photos are compelling enough, they catch on. If you’re not doing it, get over it. I just had to surrender.” – Bill Stubbs

On documenting your work…

“When you do a job, get it photographed right away before the PB&J is on the wall! – Mary McDonald

“I started archiving everything. It’s a great creative process, you understand you own story. It’s like a big therapy.” – John Robshaw

On getting published…

“The cardinal rule of PR. Don’t submit it to a publication you’ve never read. You really need to read the publications to understand where they’re going.” – Bill Stubbs

“Pitching, you’ll be surprised.” – John Robshaw

“You’ve got to submit, they’re not going to come and get you in the morning.” – Bill Stubbs

“Notice what works for you and what you keep getting noticed for. It kind of finds you, so listen.” – Mary McDonald

“It’s easier to get the less expensive jobs published. A lot of budget jobs are more photogenic.” – Bill Stubbs

Just plain funny…

Mary McDonald on her first cover, “I got the cover of House and Garden, accidentally.”

“I also went to art school, so I’m a hoarder.” – Mary McDonald

“It’s weird to speak about yourself in the 3rd person. Is this a John Robshaw product?” – John Robshaw

“What would John Robshaw do?” McDonald chimed in.

On rejection…

“I sold vacuum cleaners door to door. I can take rejection, it doesn’t exist to me. People telling me no just doesn’t register.” – Bill Stubbs

“I’ve had my feelings hurt a million times. Just get back up. Ask you mom if she’ll print it.” – Mary McDonald


And finally here I am receiving my Stars of Design Lifetime Achievement Award from Charles Cohen.

*Photo courtesy of Luxe Magazine

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