Jan Tishman: A Tribute to A Great Lady

The Art of Fine Living is normally focused on beauty, travel, design, and the arts, but today I wish to share a deeply personal story. This past Sunday, March 19, 2017, Jan Tishman, my second mother and one of the most remarkable women I've ever known, said her goodbyes to this world. Over the past year she had slipped from our lives as she fought dementia with nobility and grace. Her life was so inspiring to those of us who knew and loved her, that our lives will never again feel quite as magical.

Jan's vibrant personality, her ability to transfix an audience with the stories of her travels, the great parties she hosted and attended, the "Golden Age" of New York Society, her Vermont "country summers", and the privileged lifestyle she had been fortunate to live at the epicenter of the real estate world, were always humorous, and never ever dull! But Jan was never just a society wife, rather she was a fierce advocate for children working with the Citizens Committee for Children to create opportunities for under-privileged youth and chairing programs that truly impacted the community. She was a passionate member of the founders committee for the New York Pops, never missing a concert, and was ever the gracious hostess to visiting artists who joined us in the family box at center mezzanine at Carnegie Hall. An avid equestrian, an amateur pilot, a fashion devotee, a woman who could dance the night away, and still host the perfect brunch the following morning.

For the past 30 years I have had the great honor of being her son by marriage and truly enjoyed the thousands of hours we spent together. Whether dining at the best restaurants in New York, attending the opera or ballet at Lincoln Center, shopping Madison and Fifth Avenues, decorating her pre-war apartment in a grand fashion for Christmas (in spite of the Jewish heritage of the family) or simply watching a movie together in the study while dining on Chinese takeout on her Spode Fox Hunt china. Even during the most casual of times there was always an element of charm and style.

Jan Tishman was a beautiful woman who radiated joy and love and an endless passion for life. I learned so much from her. We will never forget you our dear mother. May you find joy in the next world, but please know that your legacy will live on in each of our hearts forever.

No mother ever loved her daughter more than Jan Tishman and her beloved daughter, Leslie. Shown here in a photo for the New York Times featuring their exquisite mid-century modern apartment on Park Avenue. They would remain fierce friends for 59 years.

No mother ever loved her daughter more than Jan Tishman and her beloved daughter, Leslie. Shown here in a photo for the New York Times featuring their exquisite mid-century modern apartment on Park Avenue. They would remain fierce friends for 59 years.

Jan's fascination with Fashion began early! One of my favorite stories Jan shared was her first meeting with Givenchy. While in Spain she wired the couturier and requested a fitting for a gown when she arrived in Paris. As destiny would have it she was in his atelier when the staff rushed to the windows to watch Jackie and John Kennedy passing through the streets of Paris. She recalled a great sense of pride at being an America at that moment in history.

Jan's fascination with Fashion began early! One of my favorite stories Jan shared was her first meeting with Givenchy. While in Spain she wired the couturier and requested a fitting for a gown when she arrived in Paris. As destiny would have it she was in his atelier when the staff rushed to the windows to watch Jackie and John Kennedy passing through the streets of Paris. She recalled a great sense of pride at being an America at that moment in history.

One of my favorite images of Jan, looking elegant and so beautiful aboard the SS United States en route to Africa.

One of my favorite images of Jan, looking elegant and so beautiful aboard the SS United States en route to Africa.

Jan was a fashion plate when party bells rang, but she was also an adventurous sportswoman, playing tennis, flying planes, skiing, and always pursuing her love of all things equestrian. Shown here with her husband of 70 years, Edward Tishman.

Jan was a fashion plate when party bells rang, but she was also an adventurous sportswoman, playing tennis, flying planes, skiing, and always pursuing her love of all things equestrian. Shown here with her husband of 70 years, Edward Tishman.

Even a concussion does not stop the party! Shown here in a humorous moment with her dear friend, Skitch Henderson, conductor of the New York Pops. Both are sporting Tishman hardhats for a company sponsored event.

Even a concussion does not stop the party! Shown here in a humorous moment with her dear friend, Skitch Henderson, conductor of the New York Pops. Both are sporting Tishman hardhats for a company sponsored event.

Jan found her wanderlust early in life and traveled the world from Africa to Europe, Russia, South America, Japan, and most of the United States. Shown here, third from the left, she and Edward are on their way to Europe.

Jan found her wanderlust early in life and traveled the world from Africa to Europe, Russia, South America, Japan, and most of the United States. Shown here, third from the left, she and Edward are on their way to Europe.

A picture that truly says it all! Mother and daughter, a bond that will never be broken.

A picture that truly says it all! Mother and daughter, a bond that will never be broken.

Jeanette "Jan" Napp Tishman, 1928 - 2017, A Phenomenal Woman!

Jeanette "Jan" Napp Tishman, 1928 - 2017, A Phenomenal Woman!

And The Winner Is........

Watching the Academy Awards tonight and as always some acceptance speeches are very inspiring while others are.....well a train wreck. In their defense it has to be daunting when millions of viewers are watching you during a very moving and powerful moment in your career. Even for a trained actor this can be unnerving. Several months ago I had my "Oscar" moment when I received the Elevate Award as Top Luxury Hospitality Designer in America. I hope my acceptance speech was eloquent, it was certainly from the heart, but I do recall that being on stage in front of my peers, felt a bit surreal. Hopefully, I'll have many more chances to perfect the art of the gracious acceptance.  

Embracing Classicism

Classicism is often dismissed as a viable design option for the present day, but throughout my career I've had the pleasure of working on a number of important historic buildings. Sometimes the best design solution is a traditional solution. The Miller Center of Public Affairs was just such a case. The impressive architecture of this historic home required a respectful interior that felt contextual and also met the needs of the team using this building as a venue for lectures by some of the world's great political minds. If you're a fan of C-Span then you know this beautiful building from the series of televised speeches filmed here. I had the pleasure of being the Principal Designer on three phases of design for this client during my time with Glave & Holmes Architecture, a small regional firm based in Richmond, Virginia. Photography is by Ansel Olson.

The historic Faulkner House, now The Miller Center of Public Affairs at The University of Virginia.

The historic Faulkner House, now The Miller Center of Public Affairs at The University of Virginia.

A difficult space to make into a reception area while maintaining a residential sensibility. I love the Cole & Sons wallpaper and the Audubon pink flamingo.

A difficult space to make into a reception area while maintaining a residential sensibility. I love the Cole & Sons wallpaper and the Audubon pink flamingo.

View of the main dining room, which now serves as a meeting space. Mr. Jefferson presides over all meetings.

View of the main dining room, which now serves as a meeting space. Mr. Jefferson presides over all meetings.

A corner of the dining room.

A corner of the dining room.

A hyphen which serves as a reading room for the adjacent library at the Miller Center.

A hyphen which serves as a reading room for the adjacent library at the Miller Center.

I enjoyed interpreting this reading room as a classic Virginia hyphen room, a connector between the main edifice and the secondary wings. With windows from crown to base on both the north and the south elevations, this room is flooded with light throughout the day. Working with Stark Carpets, Hickory Chair, F. Schumacher, and others I aspired to create a timeless Virginia room.

I enjoyed interpreting this reading room as a classic Virginia hyphen room, a connector between the main edifice and the secondary wings. With windows from crown to base on both the north and the south elevations, this room is flooded with light throughout the day. Working with Stark Carpets, Hickory Chair, F. Schumacher, and others I aspired to create a timeless Virginia room.

Pre-function space in the wing designed by internationally acclaimed architect, Alan Greenberg.  

Pre-function space in the wing designed by internationally acclaimed architect, Alan Greenberg.  

The Axminster wool carpet is inspired by a mid-19th century painting, "The Tea Party" and was made by Brintons Carpets. The "fancy" chairs are based on designs by the famed Baltimore Federal period designers, the Finlay Brothers and we crafted by Kindel Furniture, a company I admire greatly. Carver's Guild provided the mirror. 

The Axminster wool carpet is inspired by a mid-19th century painting, "The Tea Party" and was made by Brintons Carpets. The "fancy" chairs are based on designs by the famed Baltimore Federal period designers, the Finlay Brothers and we crafted by Kindel Furniture, a company I admire greatly. Carver's Guild provided the mirror. 

The Sheraton settee is covered in a vibrant cobalt blue, reproduction of a horsehair fabric by Brunschwig et Fils. The traditional window treatment is in a Scalamandre silk.

The Sheraton settee is covered in a vibrant cobalt blue, reproduction of a horsehair fabric by Brunschwig et Fils. The traditional window treatment is in a Scalamandre silk.

Silk fabric and tassel by Scalamandre Fabrics, one of the great fabric houses for more than a century. 

Silk fabric and tassel by Scalamandre Fabrics, one of the great fabric houses for more than a century. 

Blue Apron, The Joy of Cooking Arrives at Your Door

Dear Readers, I rarely endorse a particular product on The Art of Fine Living, rather my focus is to share lifestyle ideas with you. Recently our son visited and was so excited about a culinary service called, Blue Apron, that I felt I had to investigate. I'm sure many of you have heard similar stories from friends about the ease and "joy of cooking" this service brings to them. Often I avoid preparing what feels like a more complicated meal because of the time involved, time not just in preparing the meal, but in locating all the ingredients. I'm not a fan of shopping three markets in order to find the ingredients for one culinary adventure! Most of us simply don't have the luxury for such an inefficient use of our time.

Blue Apron, eliminates that problem. Three days each week, for a surprisingly affordable price just under sixty dollars for three two-person meals, you and your partner can expand your cooking skills while preparing healthy, creative, and delicious meals. Our son, David, was able to send us a complimentary week and after the first meal we're hooked!! We'll definitely take advantage of this clever solution to the conundrum of  time verses home-cooking. Here are a few insights into the product that may entice you to give it a try. Bon Appetite!

A lovely gift to yourself or a dear friend.

A lovely gift to yourself or a dear friend.

Everything is carefully labeled and packaged in a sturdy, chilled box.

Everything is carefully labeled and packaged in a sturdy, chilled box.

The beautifully fresh and well chosen foods when unpacked. Meals for Two in your own Kitchen.

The beautifully fresh and well chosen foods when unpacked. Meals for Two in your own Kitchen.

The Blue Apron recipe cards are incredibly easy to follow, and the combination of visuals and text avoid any misinterpretations. Julia Child would have loved what this is doing for inexperienced American cooks.

The Blue Apron recipe cards are incredibly easy to follow, and the combination of visuals and text avoid any misinterpretations. Julia Child would have loved what this is doing for inexperienced American cooks.

The glistening carrots and beets reminded me of jewels and the pleasure of cooking one's own meal can't be over-estimated.

The glistening carrots and beets reminded me of jewels and the pleasure of cooking one's own meal can't be over-estimated.

Beets, carrots, almonds, and fresh Arugula provided the perfect counter-balance of textures, colors, and flavors.

Beets, carrots, almonds, and fresh Arugula provided the perfect counter-balance of textures, colors, and flavors.

A beautiful and savory meal prepared in less than 30 minutes. The aroma of the Egyptian spices was heavenly!

A beautiful and savory meal prepared in less than 30 minutes. The aroma of the Egyptian spices was heavenly!