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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

John Stefanidis Fabric 'Josephine' - available in 2 colours

Josephine in Red/Gold                                 Josephine in Mink/Peach

Simply Fabulous.
Josephine in Red/Gold
(chosen by
Oprah Winfrey for her sitting room)

Available from:

London:          Tissus d'Helene, Chelsea HarbourLondonSW10 0XF
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7352 9977

Miami:            Monica James, 40 NE 40th StreetMiamiFL  33137
Phone: + 1 305-576-6222

Los Angeles:   Harbinger, Almont Yard, 636-A North Almont DriveCA 90069
                        Phone: +1 310 858 6884

John Stefanidis Fabrics Website:

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Venetian Navigators: The Voyages of the Zen Brothers to the Far North

Thanks to some excellent books we know so much more about exploration and journeys across the continents in past centuries.

One of the latest is Venetian Navigators: The Voyages of the Zen Brothers to the Far North, by Andrea di Robilant [author of A Venetian Affair]

Might the Zen brothers have reached the New World a Century before Columbus?

Thursday, 25 August 2011



Above and left: From Roomscapes, the Decorative Architecture of Renzo Mongiardino-- always a source of inspiration.    
Trompe l'Oeil used to great effect on a landing for a house
 I designed in the American Mid West. 

A wall painted to look like lace in a bedroom in Florida
 - taken from my book Stefanidis Designs  
A hallway floor in a New York apartment
Painted to look like marble -- very durable! 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011



Thousands gathered at the poet Palamas’ funeral in Athens in February 1943.  Among them was Katsimbalis [George Katsimbalis, a literary figure in Greece inspired the Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller] who burst into a tirade of abuse against the German representative who was laying a wreath on Palamas’ tomb and then, though it was forbidden on pain of death, broke into the Greek national anthem.  The immense crowd of mourners stood in terrified silence as a trembling Katsimbalis finished the first verse alone.  The Germans fixed him with a glowering stare; a terrible hush hung over the crowd but still Katsimbalis sang.  Part way through the second verse, Katsimbalis was joined by a friend and they finished the verse together.  Then suddenly and with a mighty roar, the anthem was taken up by the crowd, and with tears running down their thousands of faces they buried Palamas and sang for Greece – Lawrence Durrell

[based on an account given to him by George Seferis, whose sister attended the funeral].        

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Dormition

August 15 is a important day in the Christian calendar for the both the Orthodox and Catholic church:
The Dormition falls on the same day as the Catholic Church's Feast of the Assumption.  The difference between the Assumption and the Dormition is subtle: the Assumption, according to Catholic doctrine, marks the day Mary's body and soul were assumed into Heaven, whereas the Orthodox teach that Mary remained in repose for three days after her soul was received by Christ before the translation of her sacred body to Heaven. [Courtesy of Harry Bucknall] 

Friday, 12 August 2011

DESIGN: Stone Masons in India

FINE INLAY WORK FROM MASTER STONE CRAFTSMEN Frozen Music in Jaipur, India who were commissioned to make these mammoth marble balls – two with mosaic spirals, one ringed with circles – and sit on top of a massive, double-height fireplace in a grand entrance hall.

A Jaipur street scene, a view from the Amber Fort,  elephants ready to transport sightseers and another example of fine craftsmanship from Frozen Music

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

BOOKS: David Gilmour’s the ‘Pursuit of Italy

Any visitor to Italy this summer, or autumn or winter for that matter should take with them David Gilmour’s the Pursuit of Italy A History of a Land: Its regions and Their Peoples’ – it fills a lot of gaps and puts the Risorgimento in perspective. 

Gilmour is never dull, his book is brilliantly researched and funny. He chastises Isaiah Berlin [for decades a venerable, unassailable icon if ever there was one] for being inaccurate.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

John Stefanidis Fabric 'Abigail' - available in 2 colours


                      Abigail in Green/Red & Indigo/Rose

Abigail fabric [Indigo/Rose] in a guest bedroom in the 
American Mid-West  
Available from:

London:          Tissus d'Helene, Chelsea Harbour, London, SW10 0XF
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7352 9977

Miami:            Monica James, 40 NE 40th Street, Miami, FL  33137
Phone: + 1 305-576-6222

Los Angeles:   Harbinger, Almont Yard, 636-A North Almont Drive, CA 90069
                        Phone: +1 310 858 6884

John Stefanidis Fabrics Website:

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Books: Eva Trout by Elizabeth Bowen

Elizabeth Bowen, distinguished, celebrated, gifted, is a novelist perhaps now out of fashion?  I started to read ‘Eva Trout’ [published in 1969] and found the style and punctuation, almost archaic, but I was drawn into a remarkably crafted story with characters emerging and revealing themselves as the story unravels, culminating in a party on a platform at Victoria Station to wish newly-weds well before they depart on a luxury train – how times have changed! 

There is an excellent account of her life Elizabeth Bowen: Portrait of a Writer’ by the renowned and acclaimed Victoria Glendinning, also the biographer of ‘Trollope—great—‘Rebecca West: A Life’ and ‘Leonard Woolf’, etc. No-one does it better!

Monday, 1 August 2011

RECIPES: Cooling in hot weather

Cold Tea
Given to me by Mary Henderson, who wrote a wonderful cookery book, the Paris Embassy Cook Book, and was married to the diplomat Sir Nicholas Henderson [Ambassador to Paris and Washington].

  • 1 litre of strong tea
  • juice of 4-6 lemons
  • rind of 1 lemon
  • rind of 1 orange
  • 1 cucumber sliced and peeled
  • large sprig of mint
  • 115 grams sugar
  • 750 ml ginger beer

This is the ultimate luxury iced tea: Earl Grey is the best tea to use.
Put the lemon juice, lemon rind, orange rind, cucumber, mint and sugar in a jug. Pour over the hot tea and stir. When cold, add the ginger beer refrigerate.  Serve in iced glasses.


Cold Lemon Soup with Mint [serves 6]

  • 1 litre of chicken stock
  • 3 egg yolks
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and cayenne pepper to taste
  • 250ml of heavy cream
  • table spoons of chopped, fresh mint
In a nonreactive soup kettle, bring the chicken stock to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks.  Add the zest, lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper.  Whisk in the cream and slowly add to ladles of hot chicken stock to the egg mixture, a little at a time, whisking continuously.
Reverse the process and add the egg mixture to the remaining stock, a little at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon for a few minutes over a low heat until the mixture coats the spoon.
Transfer the soup into a large bowl and chill over ice, stirring from time to time to prevent a crust from forming.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Serve in chilled, soup plates and sprinkle each portion with chopped mint.