Category Archives: Michael S. Smith

Winter Gardens

L’esprit du jardin d’hiver is in the air, a quest for a life-affirming sanctuary in colder climes. Russian royalty dedicated palaces to Winter, as with the sixteen-hundred room Winter Palace of the Romanov’s in St. Petersberg. Emperor Nikolai I decreed that Russian artist Eduard Gau create watercolor renderings of the Winter Palace’s interior, the Russian Empire’s […]

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Mallorcan Magic

The moment we touched down on Mallorca a few weeks past, with the spare and rugged landscape coming into view like an Impressionist painting, a very special Mallorcan property came to mind. It, for me, represents the soul of this ancient island steeped in the convergence of Muslim and Catholic history, bringing together the patina […]

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Puttin’ On the Ritz

 Now if you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to, why don’t you go where fashion sits? Puttin’ on the Ritz Puttin’ on the Ritz, a turn of phrase coined by Irving Berlin in 1929 for the song of the same name, was a slang expression to indicate “dressing stylishly”, inspired by London’s […]

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Traditional American Comfort

When I think of American traditions and our ideas of comfort I cannot separate those ideals from those of our country’s forefathers, the British. Invariably, English style decor figures into the dreamscape of our collective imagination when we design and build our traditional edifices, whether they be Georgian-style manors, British Colonial-style plantations, Regency-style townhouses or […]

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Loggia Living: My Top Three Picks

Today’s post is the second in a series of posts on outdoor rooms, the first of which was Great Outdoor Rooms: Plein-Air Living.  My original intention was to jump right in by sharing photos of all my favorite verandas and loggias but, in the process, took pause to consider three of my all-time favorite outdoor […]

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Great Outdoor Rooms: Plein-Air Living

Summertime has nearly arrived and there’s no better time than now to put the finishing touches on your outdoor living spaces. As a native Californian living in Houston I miss my home state’s indoor-outdoor quality of living – to be able to throw open the windows and doors and blur the lines between inside and […]

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Hunt Country Style

The time-honored tradition of the hunt is in full swing, beginning as early as September, despite a 2004 law forbidding the actual killing of foxes in the UK, where it originated in the 16th-century. For true hunt masters and their servants (fellow huntsman, not personal attendants or wait staff) it is the thrill of the […]

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California Tuscan

Posted November 1, 2013. Filed in Mediterranean Style, Michael S. Smith, Tuscan Style

Michael S. Smith is a designer who captures the essence of a particular place and time with insouciant, albeit studied, ease. For the interiors of a Tuscan-style vineyard estate in the Santa Ynez mountains in California Smith conceived the look and feel of an old Italian country house.  Its owners, Francine and Neil Afromsky, owners […]

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Under The Tuscan Sun

From the Etruscans’ who left behind many roads that are still traveled today, to the expansive power of the Roman Empire and the Medici family, who financed  much of the Renaissance, Tuscany is rich in history, romantic ancient villages, rustic farmhouses and elegant villas, distinctive regional cuisine, and soft rolling hills for as far and […]

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