Saturday, March 5, 2011

Stylish Aspirations

Style. A common enough word, but what does it really mean? The dictionary has many definitions, but is most commonly described as A particular, distinctive, or characteristic mode of action or manner of acting: They do these things in a grand style. Certainly style is subjective, but most people can recognize style, and may think of it as something “special” that lacks description.

We would like to thank and pay tribute to our friend and local blogger extraordinaire Kendra Boutell. Anyone who hasn’t experienced her lovely blog “Porcelains & Peacocks” should visit there post-haste! Her posts manage to educate, while dazzling her readers with unique imagery and subjects. A few weeks back Kendra nominated us for a Stylish Blogger award, to which we thank her!

We thought we would take this opportunity to share some of what we hold as sacred and stylish. Here are our two takes on style and inspiration (hence the name Design Squared)…


I think Jackie Kennedy said it best with “Style is not a function of how rich you are, or even who you are…style is a habit of mind that puts quality before quantity, noble struggle before mere achievement, honor before opulence. It’s what you are. It’s your essential self. It’s what makes you” And I wholeheartedly agree.

As for inspiration, I think I’m most inspired by people who live life on their own terms. I take inspiration fromforeign travels, ensconcing myself in the local culture as much as possible, taking in design, cuisine, art and architecture and watching the locals go about their daily lives. I am inspired at the Farmers Market by beautiful fresh produce and flowers, especially the colors and the smells. And last but not least, rummaging through old issues of House & Garden and Gourmet, neverknowing when something will hit me for a current project.

My style Icons are:

1) Madeleine Castaing for following her own drummer and without knowing it created her own “Castaing Style” that is timeless.

2) The Dutchess of Devonshire for her elegance and her chickens!

3) Diane Von Furstenberg for her enduring style, sophistication, success, and dedication to family.


My sense of what I consider stylish stems primarily from the fantasies of an only child who was captivated by a range of imagery from old Hollywood to exotic far away places. It’s difficult to put style into words, but it’s something you know is right, but defies definition. Three people I would choose to epitomize style would be:

1) Gene Kelly – A masculine archetype who was debonair and always dressed with a timeless dash.

2) Nina Simone – She was someone who had an ultimate command of her craft, amazing verve, but couldn’t be defined by categories.

3) Daphne Guinness – Heir to the Guinness fortune, she is the ultimate fashioinista, who truly loves fashion and the people who create it.

Today we pass the torch as we award our choices for Stylish Blogger Award to:

Claudia Juestel of Adeeni Design Blog

Denny Holland of Denny Holland Studio and

Diane Dorrans Saeks of The Style Saloniste.

Barbara Ashfield & David Hansen

Photos from top:

1) The Duchess of Devonshire from

2) Daphne Guinness from

3) Diane Von Furstenberg from

4) The Duchess of Devonshire as a young woman.

5) Madeleine Castaing from

6) The Duchess of Devonshire with her chickens.

7) Diane Von Furstenberg by photographer Frazer Harrison.

8) Gene Kelly from

9) Gene Kelly from

10) Nina Simone from

11) Nina Simone from

12) Daphne Guinness from L’Uomo Vogue February 2010.


Claudia Juestel said...

What excellent choices representing style! I must agree with all of them.

And thank you Barbara and David so much for including me in the "Stylish Blogger Award", especially considering such esteemed company. I am honored.



DennyHollandStudio said...

Thank you David and Barb for nominating my blog too, I am touched. Love you guys, let's have lunch soon.

Christine said...

Your choices are just great, you illustrated perfectly the style concept.

As I was looking Nina Simone's photos I remembered this lamp:

It's my stylish aspirations for my living room :)

Leonard Greco said...

Quite a good selection of stylish folks, most particularly the chicken loving Dutchess and of course Miss Guinness.
No surprise Kendra would be fond of your blog, most thank her for the intro.

Brillante Interiors said...

I love and follow Claudia and Diane and I will discover Denny Holland and also your interesting blog. Great post and fun to see the awards evolving.

Ashfield Hansen Design Inc. said...

Thank you all for your kind words.
@Leonard @Brillante we are happy to have learned of your blogs and have added them to our blog roll list.

Thank you
Barbara & David

The Devoted Classicist said...

I always feel particularly sad when we lose a style icon. Greatfully there is some solace in the great inspiration they have provided.

Design Elements said...


Ashfield Hansen Design Inc. said...

Thank you all for your input!

Barbara & David