Monday, July 29, 2013

Thank You for Four Wonderful Years!


This month, THE STYLE SALONISTE is celebrating four vivid and fast-moving years. 

Thank you to my fantastic readers. I send you a million thanks for your loyalty, wit, enthusiasm and encouragement. I appreciate every one of you.

We are read in more than 129 countries around the world (my analytics say 146…). I’ve been fortunate to travel to many of them.

I am so honored to have the best and most talented members and subscribers and followers. THE STYLE SALONISTE has an international retinue of pals—as well as thousands of Facebook friends and Pinterest pinners and Instagram senders, along with Tweeters and emailers, and message-writers and readers all over the world.  
I’m sending love and thanks and warmest wishes to my fabulous readers. 

Hundreds of thousands of unique visitors each month! Most exciting. This is a niche blog, very specialized and focused, and my goal is to delight, inspire, inform, entertain, and tickle my readers each week.

After four years, THE STYLE SALONISTE has a worldwide audience of curious, passionate, stylish, talented, philanthropic, creative and excited readers. Cheers and cheers. I send my gratitude.

This week I've selected highlights of some of my favorite images from this last year's travels.

Included among the pictures are wonderfully vivid school children in a remote corner of Cambodia (above) and young nuns waiting for their bus in Mandalay, Burma (below).

You'll see village ladies in Rajasthan, and sisters at the holy pagoda in Yangon.

I've chosen images you've commented on and liked...temples of Angkor and remote temples in Cambodia.

And in India, a visit to a village school, and girls carrying goats, on their way to a temple in Rajasthan.

I hope you enjoy these brief glimpses of encounters and experiences. There will be many more in the coming years.

I loved Burma and its many days of discovery. People I met were happy, content, spiritually engaged, and remarkably friendly and open to chatting.
One favorite shot, taken last August, was the group of young novice nuns (above) wearing their distinctive pink robes, waiting for their bus after a day of collecting alms in Mandalay.
Temples in Bagan, village markets, the pretty young woman with kale leaves on her head, and the sisters selling their vegetables--were all charming and unexpected meetings.

On a trip along the Irrawaddy River on 'The Road to Mandalay', we stopped several times early in the morning to see village markets. The handful of passengers and I and our guides were the only non-Burmese people. Pure discovery.

Design and interiors, architecture and designers and artists and creators—are my major focus on THE STYLE SALONISTE. And I continue to travel to conduct research, and cross oceans to write books, and venture into the unknown to learn and experience and meet brilliant people, and to excite my brain and senses.

It’s lovely that my travel posts—India, Paris, lounging at La Mamounia in Morocco, the Kasbah in Tangier, chasing Picasso in Provence, finding old temples in Cambodia, heading far up the river in Burma—have been among my most popular stories over these four years. 

Oh, George Orwell. I am now an expert. Did you know that in 1927 he was an Imperial Police Officer in Katha, Northern Burma! I was traveling into remote northern Burma on 'The Road to Mandalay', the fantastic Orient Express river cruiser. I did a lot of research on George Orwell in Burma--and discovered the his trail is rather faint at this point and Burmese are not creating shrines. Almost a century has passed, and it was very difficult to get solid information, but I knew we would visit Katha, and I would quickly find an authority on Orwell. In a jungly corner outside the town, I found Orwell's house, now lived in by a local government manager and his family. I snapped some shots, and got permission to enter. I quickly styled it a bit (the hat, the bouquet on the floor) and moved an old bicycle. It's all there, the house Orwell wrote about. I reported about this find, and wrote about it on THE STYLE SALONISTE last fall. I reported on my research and the books I'd read.
Imagine my surprise when, March 23, the New York Times published the Jane Perlez feature on Orwell's house in Katha--with images very similar to mine (only I have the interiors...). She noted that there is a strong movement now in Katha to renovate Orwell's house. If you go to SEARCH on the NYT site, and add Myanmar house of George Orwell it will come up. Fascinating. I love getting the news before The New York Times. (Often happens.)

I love reader comments and feedback.

I’m always particularly touched by readers who tell me, “I did not even have India on my list, and now it’s on the top of my list’ and “You have inspired me to travel alone,” and “My husband does not care to travel. I long to travel. You’ve shown me how to do it.” When you tell me ‘I’m packing my bags now to go to Yangon thanks to you’ and ‘We’re heading to Bangkok and The Siam hotel, and thank you for recommending it’ and ‘I love the Chez Vous apartment you recommended in Paris’. Wonderful.

And I send you off to buy books (Mr. Jain's bookshop at the Rambagh Palace hotel), and jewels (Marie-Helene de Taillac in Paris and the Kasliwals in Jaipur) and cashmere scarves at Kashmir Loom in Delhi.

Buddhism is the predominant religious, practiced daily and intensely by over 98 per cent of Burmese people (thus the current religious conflicts, very sad). I visited as many pagodas, temples, shrines and monasteries as I could. On one sunny afternoon, I encountered these two pretty sisters, dressed to visit their family's shrine.

I launched my blog four years ago—and it has been such a great and lively, and scintillating experience. 

I’ve reported on leading California designers, a top French interior designer, a social scenester/blog darling, and a house in Malibu. 

I write the texts. I select the images. I fact-check and edit my texts. It is a great pleasure. Brian Dittmar, the art director, takes the texts and images and shapes and designs and plans them into cohesive and clear and elegant blog posts. I love the polish and clarity of his design. 

I take my readers along as I explore a remote Indian village, and you are in my pocket as I venture into the Medina in Tangier. 

You are there with me as I meet the Maharani, and when you read my post and see the images—you are there as I clamber over a collapsed 15th-century temple in a remote Cambodian jungle. You meet my guide, Mme. Mai, a landmine survivor and wonderful spirit.

Thank you, also, to all of the photographers and artists who have given me permission to present their original work on THE STYLE SALONISTE. I am grateful. Thank you to the designers and architects whose work I’ve presented, and to the jewelers, the great creators, the daring and articulate people I admire.

My recent images from India were among your and my favorites.
It's notable that Indian village women in their glorious costumes are particularly photogenic. They gave me permission to take their photos.
I loved every moment.

Next on THE STYLE SALONISTE:  I’ll be taking you on more adventures—and as well I’ll introduce you to new designers, and you’ll get news of the cultural life of San Francisco. Surprises and discoveries, too. 

Brian Dittmar in San Francisco, the blog art director extraordinaire, is an interior designer by day, and the fantastic art director of THE STYLE SALONISTE early mornings. 

Brian Dittmar in his room at the 2010 San Francisco Decorator Showcase. Photo by Moanalani Jeffrey.

Brian, each week, makes the text and images look elegant, polished, cohesive and brilliant.

It has been such a great pleasure to work with Brian—who also designed the header, which I love.

At the same time, it has been a great thrill to see Brian’s interior design career take off, and to watch him make his mark in three highly successful fund-raising decorator showcase years for the San Francisco Decorator Showcase.

Bravo, Brian, and a million thanks for beautifully polished design—both for THE STYLE SALONISTE and your exciting client roster. See Brian’s contacts/website below. 

Brian with his pug, Moe, who will be turning 14 in two months.

Brian Dittmar Design, Inc.



“One afternoon in the early 70s, in Paris, I went to see the architect and designer Eileen Gray, who at the age of ninety-three thought nothing of a fourteen-hour working day. She lived on the rue Bonaparte, and in her salon hung a map of Patagonia, which she had painted in gouache. 

“I’ve always wanted to go there,” I said. 

“So have I,” she added. “Go there for me.” I went. 

Now I am thinking of settling down. Eileen Gray’s map is hanging in my London apartment. But the future is tentative.” 

—From ‘Anatomy of Restlessness’, by Bruce Chatwin (Viking 1996). 

CREDITS: Travel images on today’s post copyright Diane Dorrans Saeks.


Marsha Splenderosa said...

Diane, I learn something new with every post you do. It is always a visual pleasure to visit and to read about your adventures. Plus, I believe you have a very unique knowledge of design which I admire and appreciate. Here's to many more brilliant years !!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Marsha-

Lovely to hear from you.
Yes, the photos have to be vivid and surprising and informational.

I'm so glad you learn a lot from my posts and stories. I'm fortunate to write about many talented people--and I always want to send their ideas out into the world.

Thank you so much for your comments, DIANE

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Happy Blogiversary -look forward to many more posts! Nice to 'meet' the talents behind your blog, too!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


Yes, Brian is great.

Moe is a great companion of many years...the secret is that he is the spell any little misspellings he has to catch. Phew!

Thank you for being a constant reader...from the earliest days. BEST DIANE

Blue said...

I think it is we who should be thanking you – thus, thank you for the most interesting blog there is.

mary constant said...

Diane, I just "discovered" your blog a few months ago. It is great fun reading your past blogs as well as keeping up with all your new finds!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Blue

I love your blog--and it seems so long now that we've been friends. Be sure to stay in touch.

I must say I was happy to revisit the photos I shot in Burma and India and Cambodia in the last year...they make me want to return.
But now, my plan is to travel to places I've never visited...not to return to favorites (though I'll always return to Paris and Jaipur and Venice...but once there I must go and explore places I have not yet seen. To see for the first time is such a thrill.
very best DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


It is so wonderful to be friends on the blog, to be friends on FB...and then to meet. How fortunate I was to drive up and up and up the hill (always wondering if I was lost) the top of Diamond Mountain.
I hope to see you soon, very best DIANE

the modern sybarite ™ said...

Congrats Diane. It's a great feat just to get to 1 year writing at the level that you are. 4 is just commendable! Congrats. Richard Rabel

The Peak of Chic said...

And what a glorious four years it has been! Here's to many more!

I can't end my comment without mentioning your recent Bazaar article on Denise Hale. Excellent!

The Devoted Classicist said...

Best wishes, Diane and Brian, for your continued success!

Cristin Priest (Simplified Bee) said...

Congrats on four years! I know it's not an easy task to keep a blog going for so long.

Thank you for the wonderful inspiration, education and fantasy!

Brian is the best too!


Dawn said...

Congratulations, Diane. I discovered your blog awhile ago when I was doing research on John Dickenson furniture. Now, I can't wait to read it every week! Beautiful to look at and inspiring to read. Well done! I'm looking forward to many more.

Anonymous said...

Dear Diane,

While I selfishly have never taken the time to tell you how wonderful your blog is, I am now. It is such a treat - like opening a sparkling gift on Christmas morning - every time it comes to my email. And as beautiful as your insights and images are, your spirit is the true star. Congratulations on a spectacular four years!


Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Richard-

I love your blog!

Thank you so much for your lovely comment.

Stay in touch--and I'll keep reading your blog. I love your piece about curved furniture. DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear John-

Your blog is keep working and writing and maintaining your devotion.
Thank you so much for your kind words...much appreciated, DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


It's much too long since I've seen you.

I hope all is well...and that things are sunny down on the Peninsula...sunnier than the foggy city right now.

Stay in touch...and check on upcoming seminars through UC Berkeley interiors coming in October you would DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


It's so lovely to hear from you.

I hope all is well...and that the challenges are moving away, out of sight, passed and gone.

You are such a bright and generous spirit--and I admire you enormously.

very best and thanks DIANE

Philip Bewley said...

Dear Diane,
it has been an extraordinary four years of superlative posts -congratulations, and thank you for the inspiration. It is a great achievement -some of the best writing presented in any blog, with original photography, Brian's elegant presentation, and transporting features on design, books, travels and more. Orwells's house was one of my favorites of the places you shared -and there were so many to choose: a palace the stuff of dreams, the vintage cars being polished in India, a downpour in cambodia -if I go i will promise to bring those pencils and supplies for the schoolchildren. To paraphrase a quote from a special moment you shared, in reading your posts I am ..."taking it in, listening, seeing, smiling."

peggy braswell said...

What an amazing 4 years it has been +
Congratulations. I am excited each time I see an e-mail from The Style

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


I'm so glad you discovered the blog...when researching John Dickinson.

This is almost the only source for any information--and certainly the only one for information as personal and detailed and insider as mine.

Be sure to stay in touch, DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Jennifer-

THE PEAK OF CHIC is so divine...and you and I have been friends from the beginning of my blogging. I'm pleased.

Thank you for your comment about the Bazaar piece on Denise Hale. I've had wonderful feedback...everyone reads Bazaar.

Also...I'll see you in many connections.

very best, DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Peggy-

You are one of my longest and most loyal readers.

Thank you so much. I enjoy your feedback and comments very much.

Stay tuned...lots of new ideas and concepts and inspirations in the fall. I love to hear from you.


Diane Dorrans Saeks said...



I always take my readers along with see the maharaja's cars being polished (for a car rally)...and to climb a granite mountain, 765 steps...up to the top at sunset...and the lovely Burmese sisters at the family shrine...I loved looking back when I was selecting these 'greatest hits' images from recent trips.
There were so many I loved.
YES...ORWELL'S HOUSE...the key element here is that I had to first be sure WHICH TOWN...on the he disguised it in his books. I arrived there on the river cruise ship---and then went in search of it...found someone who seemed to know...and went off in a cycle rickshaw...into the unknown...if only you know...I first found a building, decrepit...that was most likely a British club (the British left in the forties...)...and a tennis court fromt the days, and and assorted...and then...a little further along the signs, none...I walked up the garden path...calling out, with my cycle rickshaw man following (no guide)...and called out again...noone there...'yes, this is Orwell house' said my local authority...I took the photos, uncertain if anyone would shout...and then walked into the house, calling out took the other photos...and then the man arrived home, govt person...he left me to my own devices. It started to rain a little...this was it. So really, my readers are seeing such a rare rare report, rare photos. I was surprised to see the March story in NYT...with almost the same photo exterior...actually the same shot/angle mine better. But it was the experience...going there and not know what would happen...and then reporting it for my readers. That's the thing. I'm so glad you liked it. Yes...this is rare...(no signs, none...). I hope you go there one day. very best DIANE

MJH DesignArts said...

And a million thank you's for taking me along on your fantastic adventures and interview. Here's to another fantastic 4!!

Tricia Rose Rough Linen said...

You make my world larger Diane - here's to the next four years of travels, elegance and observation!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Mary-

Thank you so much. It's marvelous to hear from you.

fondest DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


It's so wonderful that these recent travels have captured my readers...beyond my expectation, even.

Certainly the Burma stories...George Orwell's house (hidden for almost a century...with Burma closed off to the world...) and people and temples in Angkor and India, definitely.

I love to inspire my readers to travel--to see the world as a place to discover--and to travel boldly.

I've also loved presenting new designers.

Thanks Tricia---I am so glad you are such a great companion and vivid presence on this adventure.

see you soon, DIANE

columnist said...

Congratulations. Your posts are always fascinating - well written and well photographed - and it's always a joy to see what new adventures you've been up to. The very best of luck for the future!

DelRae Roth said...

Dear Diane,

Thank you for one of the most inspiring and beatiful blogs out there....
I look forward to many more years of your insight, wit and fun!

red ticking said...

dear diane..

i have been following for a long time now and each time i read your posts i have a deeper respect for you.
your thorough research and passion are unlike anything i have ever come across.

i have something special to ask you and if you can kindly email me at i would sincerely appreciate it.

thank you, pam

and bravo on 4 years... and here is to many many more...

Parisbreakfasts said...

Simply fabulous and beyond fabulous
I'm speechless with awe
Your pictures are so heavenly..well it's all heavenly.
Bravo Diane for staying the blogging course and taking us along on your grand adventures.

A Super Dilettante said...

My dear Diane,

Many congratulations. You have given us the most enthralling and insightful four years of your time. You take us into the seductive world of design and architecture with your typical style of mixing accessible language and a wealth of knowledge that penetrates into the world where most people think is impenetrable.

You travel widely but your choice of destination is always sui generis and unpredictable. With you, this year, we saw the exotic world filled with the deep blue sea, the golden pagodas, the magnificient sunsets and the forgotten partitions ancient civilisation. Your descriptions of such places are dazzling with heartfelt optimism.

I'm most grateful to you for recommending Sitwell's long forgotten travel book, "Escape With Me". Like Sitwell, you write with a rare insight of a cognoscenti - a blend of personal reminiscence, history, architecture, the esoteric, the local culture and cuisine - enlivened with an eye that understands people of all backgrounds, their taste and rituals.

But my dear, I can't believe we know each other for four years!!! It seems like we've been friends forever.

Bravo, Diane!!

Best wishes,


Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Columnist-

It is so wonderful to hear from you.
You've been a faithful reader from the very start...and I always love to receive your messages from wonderful.

very best DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear DelRae-

I loved your perfumes..they are so elegant and chic and always do individual.

Yes, wit it important in all my stories...and I love to be a little frisky...just as your perfumes have that 'witty' and frisky element...fragrance can be fun, too.

very best, DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...



You are right--I do a lot of research for all of my features--and I love to find books that my lovely readers have not yet discovered...always important.
Lifelong learning...and reading. I know you have a great eye for books, also.
very best, DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


I love your blog posts about Paris.

And I've always followed your blog for your beautiful paintings (I aspire to be an even...good...watercolorist.

Keep writing and keep painting. You're the best...

thank you DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


You are right--I love to go off the beaten track.

And for my travel stories...I write about places and people and locations that have not been exposed.

Sailing on 'The Road to Mandalay' last year--and going far north up the Irrawaddy was such a trip of discovery.
I love to see places I've never seen photos of (grammar...)...something I am seeing for the first time.
For Burma there were very very few books...none, really...of any information, so it was pure discovery. Same with going off the map in Cambodia.
And in India esp. I always visit schools, meet the teachers and the children, and take school supplies with me...I love to give each child pens and pencils and put it directly into their hand. And it's exciting to chat to them, ask them what they re studying, what they want to be when they grow up (often, teachers...which is wonderful)...and encouraging, always, girls to stay in school.
I like to have a very strong framework/plan for my travels, based on research--and then to have impromptu visits, off the map, encounters with great people, and lots of time for the unexpected and unknown as well.
BOOKS! So very important. Stay posted as I have more new books...often out of recommend upcoming...Yes, books are essential.
Oh, and watch for poems...coming next week and in future...
fondest. You were one of my very very first readers and we've been friends ever since...xx D

Holly B said...

Diane, thank you for all of the inspiring and educational posts, and beautiful photographs over the past 4 years! I have enjoyed reading and look forward to more!

Katie said...

Congrats Diane, and thanks for all of the wonderful material! Here's to 4 more years of success! Loved the photos of India, by the way. I went to Mumbai a few years ago and found it deeply inspiring and opened me up to a whole new world I never new existed. I'd love to get back and see more of that beautiful country.

Windlost said...

Hello Diane, happy anniversary and my sincere apology for not commenting sooner.

Your blog succeeds in delighting and inspiring me every day. I feel very privileged to have found you as a sort of virtual mentor, giving me the upbringing I wish I had. haha!! We all need teachers, even at 43, and you are one of mine! :)

Happy anniversary and also kudos to Brian. I did not know you had an art director! Lovely photos of him - I love his style already (great office!). I will check out his site!

Best, Terri