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Filtering by Tag: Design

The Ancient Art of Sweeping

Suzanne Pollak

Joseph Solman 1909 The Broom

Sweeping is the oldest form of housework. Dean Pollak remembers seeing West African girls sweep hard packed dirt floors in mud huts throughout her childhood.   

Every house, from a one room mud hut to a mansion with many rooms, needs a broom and a dustpan. Keep in mind, if you are setting up a new house, that wood floors and Persian rugs are more forgiving surfaces than white rugs and light tiled floors.  The dirt simply does not show up as much on the former surfaces.  And remember that the Japanese are really on to something,  82% of dirt is left outside if shoes are removed before entering the house.

Regardless if you ever wear shoes in the house, you are going to have to sweep your floors. Sweeping is quick, easy and efficient, and often, less trouble than dragging out a heavy vacuum cleaner. Using a broom can even be relaxing. The rhythmic sound of a sweeping broom relaxes, inside or out.  The violent noise from a backpack blower or vacuum does nothing but jar and addle listeners. The Deans prefer natural fiber brooms with an angled edge that are not too heavy to manage.

In 1908, Mrs. Curtis, in her book Household Discoveries, maintains that to sweep well with a broom is an art that calls for quite a little skill and intelligence. According to Mrs. Curtis there are wrong ways in sweeping as well as the right away. 

For those of you new to brooming, here's the right way as per the Dean:

  • Sweep dirt into a pile.

  • Sweep that pile into a dustpan.

  • Deposit into the garbage.

  • Voila! Clean floors.

Great artists see the beauty in brooming. 

Edouard Vuillard 1940 Woman Sweeping

No One Can Enjoy Delicious Food through Gritted Teeth

Suzanne Pollak

Unless your oven conks out, your Thanksgiving meal will get cooked. Everyone puts so much thought and effort into the food that we just know that the flavor of your meal will be wonderful, wherever you eat it. 

What causes our annual breakout of holiday hives is that Thanksgiving food is endlessly thought about but the entirety of the day can be overlooked. Children need to be entertained, elderly people need to be comfortable, lonely neighbors and acquaintances need to be invited, not to mention you yourself must be taken care of! If you are in charge of the day and you break down, well then, everyone is in trouble. No one will mind if there is no creamed cauliflower, but they will mind if no one is getting along and the children are screaming and the sister-in-laws are bickering and the table is rushed to and and then abandoned in a total of fifteen minutes. No one can enjoy delicious food through gritted teeth. 

  • Start grocery shopping days before and be sure to get to the store first thing in the morning. Do not try to accomplish all your shopping in one fell swoop.

  • Make sure everyone has a task to do. This is no time to be a hero. People like to help. Let them.

  • Set the table the day before if you can. If not, be sure to delegate it to people not actively involved in cooking.

  • Assign the turkey carving to a person of competence as early as possible.

  • When someone asks what they can bring assign bottles of wine, or to bakers, a homemade pie.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two days you have people over who may be difficult whether you want them to or not. Although sometimes easier to bite your tongue when someone says something truly offensive, it’s not always best to remain silent. Remember your example to the younger generations, and that some things we should not simply let go. It is possible to respectfully present an opposing view, and then pivot to another subject so the tense moment dissipates. Or better yet, save your discourse for a private moment. Thanksgiving dinner is no place for politics after all, but a time to be thankful for friends, family, and good food!

Q&A with Dierdre Zahl, Owner of Candy Shop Vintage

Suzanne Pollak


Q: What is your personal style? At home, for parties, in the store?

A: My personal style is feminine with an edge. I like girly details, like peplum or bishop sleeves. I love wearing heels, skirts and stockings, but I always like at least one bold print or accessory -- usually in the form of statement jewelry!

Has your (personal and house) style changed since you were single versus now as a mom?

I would say that in my early twenties, living in NYC with musicians on the Lower East Side, my style was definitely edgier, more rock and roll. Lot's of cut T-shirts and ripped denim. In my late twenties, after I got married and moved to Charleston, I softened my look a lot with more feminine cuts like peplum sleeves and flared skirts but always with a bit of an edge, usually in the form of statement jewelry! Since becoming a Mom, my style has remained pretty consistent. I like to dress up and since I own a shop, I definitely have to put some thought into my outfits as I can't just roll out of bed and sell jewelry. My daughter has really picked up her own strong sense of stye too; she likes to pic out all her own clothes and is very opinionated!

How do you accessorize for parties? A dinner party at your house? Going to a restaurant? 

Cocktail party: a fun party dress, big earrings and heels. A dinner party at home: leggings, heels and a silk blouse with some Charleston Rice Beads and red lipstick. Dinner out: a skirt with maybe a bodysuit and cute blazer or fitted jacket and stacks of bangles plus a fun purse.

Any go-to necklaces, earrings, shoes, your mother's or grandmother's pieces? 

I usually wear a piece of Candy Shop Vintage, often a Charleston Rice Bead bracelet wrapped multiple times around my wrist. I have some very cool vintage earrings in a few styles by MAM', a designer from Texas who used to make fun, colorful statement earrings out of resin-coated paper. They are very lightweight, but big and whimsical. I also have these great woven palm tree earrings by Mercedes Salzar, a Columbian jewelry designer who is just incredible.

Favorite source of inspiration? A person? A place? In Charleston? 

Daphne Guinness is definitely my ultimate style icon. She is so elegant, so edgy, so high fashion but still soft and feminine and very unique. I love following Beyoncé's Instagram account. Her outfits are so on point and of course I look to a lot of vintage clothing, jewelry and home accessories for design inspiration.


Do spouses come to the store for Valentine gifts/ideas? What do you recommend? 

We get a lot of spouses very close to the holidays. Usually they are last-minute buyers. I usually recommend the Charleston Rice Beads because they are always a crowd pleaser. We have them in a wonderful Kelly Green and light pink this spring -- perfect for Valentine's Day! We actually did the light pink a number of years ago and brought it back.

Favorite hostess gifts? For parties, or as a house guest? What do you like to receive? 

I always love candles as a hostess gift, or a bottle of wine. We have some great embroidered cocktail napkins in the shop and of course, your Handbook is always a wonderful gift for a hostess. We can hardly keep them in stock!

It only takes 5 minutes and 3 ingredients to make 1 pitcher of margaritas...

A. K. Lister

OK, OK, 4 ingredients if you count salt.

Sorry to drill it home but Labor Day weekend has arrived (yes, it officially starts Friday AM, class dismissed!) and Summer is packing her bags while Fall cha cha's in the back door.

But it's still hot as Hades in Charleston, and the rain seems like it might wash us all to sea.  Your life raft: a few friends/neighbors, a sassy hat, and a pitcher of margaritas you can make faster than you can say, "Siri, find me a Mariachi Band."  Sassy hat optional.  Mariachi band...strongly encouraged.

Give that old Summer feeling a proper farewell. 

XOXO, the Deans

P.S.  Pro. Tip #1:  

P.P.S. Pro. Tip #2: Do not drink the pitcher all by yourself.  One margarita usually does the trick, but two could have you feeling ten feet tall, bulletproof, and wild as a hornet's nest.  That's what happened to a friend of ours one time, anyway...

So Long, Summer

A. K. Lister

The solstice may be fleeting, but September has arrived & the Academy is in session!  Time for a new season of classes, starting with our quintessential Essential Dinners series.  If you anticipate finding yourself surrounded by hungry friends/partners/kids/co-workers (or even all alone, just starving little old you) and fresh out of satisfying dinner plans, here's your answer.

On Wednesday mornings in late September/early October, let the Dean show you how she wields the workhorses of the kitchen -- the Stock Pot, the Roasting Pan, and the almighty Cast-Iron Skillet -- for Suppertime glory.  Learn how to make everything from Gumbo to freeze-able stocks, from the Academy's prized Pork Butt in Milk to roasted root vegetables, from cheesy rice to eggplant everyone will eat.  Then, enjoy lunch in the Academy dining hall while the Dean fields all of your burning kitchen- (or even non-kitchen-) related inquiries.  

For more information on the Essential Dinners series, check out our calendar or purchase tickets here



A Soon to Be Lost Art

Lee Manigault

Entertaining children at home is a forgotten art.  Helicopter parents over-schedule their children with soccer, art camps, swim teams; anything so as not to have a moment of down time.  

Recently, one of our first grade friends and fans told us about an incident at school. She was incensed when a classmate took over her job as door monitor and had a solution to end the tyranny. She got her backpack and whacked her classmate over the head! We admire her pluck and verve but could not endorse this tactic as a life long plan and her school and parents certainly did not. When she returned home from school, her parents 'punishment' was to have her sit out the nightly TV program with her sister and to help with evening chores instead.  But guess what?  She loved the extra time with her parents.  We were reminded anew that children don't find house work the chore we do if they can learn and be with their parents.  All children might not love the added chores as much as this budding domestic goddess, but they will enjoy having added responsibility. 

Dean Manigault went to her ex-husband's plantation with her daughter and a friend of hers.  There was no wifi, so all attendees were forced to be 'present'.  It was freezing cold so the children were tasked with keeping the fires stoked and the log piles plentiful.  Dinner was provided by Dean Manigault but breakfast and lunch was the time tested "if you can reach it, you can eat it".  The kids were a bit inventive when left to their own menu choices, but no one starved and the kids reveled in their new autonomy.  In fact, Gigi cracked the spine of the Academy cookbook for the first time ever and created the egg strata all by herself. All the entertainments were "in house" and there was lots of downtime together.  It is so much fun to get young people's perspective on the world today.




1 sourdough boule sliced 3/4 inch thick

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Thin slices of Gruyere or cheddar, enough to cover bread on bottom of pan

6 eggs

3 cups whole milk

1 pound bulk sausage, browned


1.  Grease a 9-by-11 inch glass or ceramic baking dish.  Spread both sides of the bread with the butter.  Layer the bread in the bottom of the baking dish.  Top with the cheese.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.  Pour over the bread, up to a 1/2 inch below the top of the baking dish.  Any more liquid will bubble over when cooking.  Add the sausage.  Cover and refrigerate the strata overnight or for up to 2 days.

3.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake the strata until puffy and golden brown, 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

Unstructured time at home is a gift and should be treated as such.  When time is over scheduled outside the home- the domestic skills are left to wither on the vine.  Quiet time together in your own house is not the modern day boogyman.  Quite the opposite.  Revel in before your children are permanently gone and you missed your chance to get to know them and what they can do!

Find creative recipes for everyday & special events

Girls Night Out, In

Allison Jacobson

Dean Pollak gives Southern Charm star, Cameran Eubanks, a lesson on how to host a pre-party with your besties before a Charleston Fashion Week event.

Richard Avedon said style is based on repetition, not duplication.  All you need are a few signature recipes and drinks - and own them.  No need to reinvent the wheel every time you entertain.  Guests will look forward to your specialty.

Instructions as per the Deans:


The Many Benefits of Hosting a Pre-Party Cocktail Hour:

  1. Party where you get all the credit with very little work.
  2. Party takes less than a half hour to put together.
  3. Party is so easy it can be last minute (some of our favorite parties have been last minute).
  4. Party is over before you know it.  One hour and your hosting is done.
  5. Party expense is minimal, but impact is big, lasting and fun.



1  1/2 cups tequila

1 cup citrus juice (mixture of freshly squeezed lime, orange, lemon & tangerine juices)

3/4 cup (or more) soda water

Ice cubes


1.  Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher and stir.

2.  Pour into cocktail glasses and serve over ice.



1 cup olives with pits (use assorted colors)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 strip orange peel

1 chili

1 teaspoon fennel or Herbs de Province


1.  Heat small sauté pan over medium heat for a minute; add olive oil, and then remaining ingredients.

2.  Cook over low heat, stirring, for a few minutes until olives are warm.  Turn off heat and pour olives in a small bowl.

3.  Place a smaller bowl, or cup, near the olive bowl for the pits.

The Poo Poo Palace

Lee Manigault

What is essential for the bathroom? It's not what you think. Square footage is not the main priority: it's lighting.  

La Perla stores interior designers hold their PhD's in lighting.  How else could La Perla sell bathing suits that only oligarchs can afford? We are not sure what magic the designers use in the dressing rooms, but we lose ten years, ten pounds and our legs grow 2 inches. The Deans want this effect at home when we enter the den of naked flesh. If we have to see ourselves naked we would prefer to be Helen Keller, but since we are not, we are going to straighten out our bathrooms and while we are at, yours too.  

Courtesy of Elle Decor

Courtesy of Elle Decor

First: Get the right light bulb. The Charleston Interior Stylist, Nathalie Naylor suggests getting natural LED bulbs and putting them on a dimmer.  The dimmer will allow you to see more when you need to and less when you don't want to.

Second:  Mirror every surface except the floor and ceiling of this traditionally small space.

Third: Throw away all the half used bottles and tubes of drug store products or hide them in your medicine cabinet.   

Eva Chen's, former beauty editor & now Editor-in-Chief of Lucky Magazine, medicine cabinet

Eva Chen's, former beauty editor & now Editor-in-Chief of Lucky Magazine, medicine cabinet

*Make sure the bottles and tubes that are left out and visible are full and in good looking vessels.  Your bathroom will start looking like a spa.  Like the modern looking Armani mineral regenerating cream luxe and gorgeously bottled Lavandula Bath Oil.

Fourth: The Deans love towels.  There is not a bathroom in the world that won't be improved by the addition of D. Porthault towels.  At this moment, the towels are on sale!! Grab quickly- they go fast.

Fifth: Scented candles. These belong in the bathroom, not on the dining room table!

Sixth:  We shouldn't have to tell you this, but some of you need to hear it again.  It only takes 10-15 minutes to clean the bathroom.  Make sure yours is always pristine.  You cannot live a beautiful life if your bathroom is not sparkling.

American Horror Story

Lee Manigault

The Deans have become unglued. Upon reading Friday's article "Princess Bedrooms That Rule" the Deans were introduced to a horror they could never have dreamt up.  Apparently, people are creating princess bedrooms for their little girls and think nothing of dropping $60,000 for a Murano glass chandelier and $35,000 for beds in the shape of carriages.  Where to even begin to discuss how much we despise this trend?

Courtesy of WSJ   The occupant of this bedroom imagination was stolen by her mother.

Courtesy of WSJ

The occupant of this bedroom imagination was stolen by her mother.

Mothers and interior designers believe they are fulfilling little girls' dreams, but these schemes are the stuff of nightmares, beginning with the fact that the rooms are hideously ugly.  Move on to the sense of entitlement that these rooms create for their occupants, not to not mention the value system such rooms perpetuate.  Children innately believe the world revolves around them and this myth does not need to be reinforced.  A child's sense of wonder is crushed beneath the weight of so much tastelessness.  A bedroom that screams fantasy so loudly stifles the imagination. 

Take a look at Kate Middleton's childhood bedroom and Dolly Parton's below:

Courtesy of Daily Mail.com   This humble bedroom was where the future Queen of England, Kate Middleton, lay her uncrowned head as a little girl.

Courtesy of Daily Mail.com

This humble bedroom was where the future Queen of England, Kate Middleton, lay her uncrowned head as a little girl.

Courtesy of Hooked on Houses   The Princess of country music Dolly Parton grew up here.

Courtesy of Hooked on Houses

The Princess of country music Dolly Parton grew up here.

Put A Spell On Me

Suzanne Pollak

At 61 years old, four time Grammy award winner, Annie Lennox, proved she mimics no one. On Sunday, she belted our "I Put a Spell On You"  and she sure DID! In our youth obsessed culture our populace feels put out to pasture after age 35. However, if you know your style and stick to it, 35 is the time to dig deeper and really own your look. Instead of trying to turn back to a time you cannot reclaim with Botox and nips and tucks, dig deeper into your own style and evolve. Hone that which really defines you.

Dean Pollak's Front Entry & Informal Living Room

Dean Pollak's Front Entry & Informal Living Room

It's not just what you wear that defines your style, the interior of your house speaks volumes about you as well. Make sure your house is filled with objects that you love, not objects that you think other people will love. When your house reflects your inner self the atmosphere draws people in and captivates them. 

Dean Pollak's Formal Living Room

Dean Pollak's Formal Living Room

Dean Manigault's Front Entrance

Dean Manigault's Front Entrance

With Valentines Class coming up the Deans main lesson will show how to help you put a spell on everyone who enters your space. Learn How to Build a Beautiful Life!

Dean Manigault's Daughters Bedroom

Dean Manigault's Daughters Bedroom

101 Guests

Suzanne Pollak

Perusing the Sunday New York Times Travel Section, Dean Pollak was stopped in her tracks. She has frequently espoused that a dining room table tells you exactly how many guests it wants.

The wonder of the restored dining room in the palace, Falaknuma in Hyderabad, India, is the table that seats 101 people.  It is the longest dining room table in the world. Dean Pollak thinks that if she rearrange a few things it will fit nicely in her dining room. No more trimming the guest list! 


The world's longest dining table - Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad, India

The world's longest dining table - Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad, India

And Now, A Word from Maris

Suzanne Pollak

Exactly one year ago today Dean Manigault's mother was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and given a sentence of six months to live. In August, Dean Manigault and her brother buried their mother.

Today, Dean Manigault's mother's highly temperamental amaryllis bloomed for the first time in years. Last spring, Maris, (Dean Manigault's mother) had instructed her son to take the bulb to the compost heap since it hadn't bloomed in many years. He refused and promised that he was going to provide it a good home. He did and today just look at it! If Dean Manigault doesn't hear her mother's voice when looking at this bloom then she is not listening hard enough. We just had to share. 

A Foray Into Your Foyer

Suzanne Pollak

The head bartender at the Paris Ritz, Colin Field, says he can extract more information about you from your cocktail order than Sherlock Holmes could. He can tell if you are there to meet a lover, sign a business contract, if you are sophisticated or just plain silly. 

The Deans can preform a similar trick but our medium is your front hall. This room or area is everyone’s introduction into your personal space. Your energy has permeated the front hall during your fifteen thousand walk throughs. The Deans look at your space with impartial eyes and cool objectivity. We can’t help but notice whether the space is open and inviting (which says you are too), or a bit more formal and harder to penetrate. Are coats and keys and pocketbooks left out for people to see, or tucked away in closets? Is the front hall decorated for every season?  Is your artwork global, local or strictly family oriented?

Just like every space in your house, the front hall should evolve through your life. Little children’s artwork is appropriate if there are little children around, but if they have children of their own, those pictures should have been swept out years ago.

The Deans charge you to look at your front hall with our eyes and be sure that what you are conveying to the world is what you mean to. If you are not sure send us a picture and we will help you figure it out. 

Dean Manigault's front hall

Dean Manigault's front hall

First World Problems

Suzanne Pollak

Image courtesy of  Black Tap Coffee

Image courtesy of Black Tap Coffee

Has it happened to you too? We bet it has. Starts out innocently enough just meeting a friend for a cup of coffee at that chic new coffee shop and then later swinging in by yourself for a quick pick me up midmorning and without you even noticing, and sooner than even seems possible, you are addicted. Your Mr. Coffee and Brunn drip machine sit on your countertop forlorn and completely confused as to what they did wrong to cause you to abandon them. First it was Starbucks but now it's Couture coffee made with a Hario pour over for which we all line up obediently and happily pay up to five dollars for the privilege of a cup of this valuable black gold.

Are we insane? No, we are not! We just can no longer be satisfied with dark dishwater or bitter home brew. Some of our friends have capitulated and bought expensive coffee machines and diligently recreate these masterpieces in their own homes. The Deans don't fool themselves. Part of what we like is the ritual of communing with people and meeting up with friends. And let's face it, it wouldn't really do for the Deans to become bar flies, so consider us coffee shop flies. 

The Deans List:

(Our favorite coffee shops in Charleston)


If Mr. Coffee weeps too loudly for you to ignore at least be sure your coffee is the caliber of La Colombe, Stump Town, or Blue Bottle. 

Can a Hollywood Party Compare to Yours? Surprisingly, Yes!

Suzanne Pollak

Dean Pollak went to one of the fanciest parties in LA Saturday night, Sean Penn’s Help Haiti Home Gala and at first glance this evening had nothing to do with our simple east coast at home soiree’s.  But upon second glance……

The Deans are always learning, and a good party is a good party no matter where it is. Great parties contain certain key elements that are the bedrock of successful entertaining, no matter if it’s four people at home or 300 at a public venue.

The most essential element for a fantastic party, tiny or huge, is timing.  One person has organized every single detail, and in this case there was no detail too small for Sean Penn’s eagle eye. It was clear he did not hire an event planner for his party; perhaps to execute his ideas, but not to create them.

Because the party was big, Sean could not greet each guest individually, so he hired extra greeters: a coat was taken care of upon entering and a drink was provided, giving each guest an immediate sense that they were being taken care of for the evening.

Two or three surprise elements punctuated the evening. You might not be able to get Chris Martin or the Red Hot Chili Peppers to your party, or maybe you can, but a local musician to play two or three songs, (four or five is too many) can be unforgettable.  Even Chris Martin only played two songs, remember, less is more!  Other surprises you can interject - party favors, game of charades after dinner, an authentic spicy gumbo, or costume theme, beer place cards. 

The Red Hot Chili Peppers live performance

The Red Hot Chili Peppers live performance

Chris Martin- impromptu performance

Chris Martin- impromptu performance

Richard Hotes   (Dean Pollak's host) with Charlize Theron

Richard Hotes (Dean Pollak's host) with Charlize Theron

The Deans have said it before this, the end of the party needs to be in sight.  At no time is this more important than at a large party. If your party has a chance of going too long or too short, err on the side of too short. Always leave people wanting more. If everyone gets up and stampedes to the door after dessert, you will know your event went on too long.  

If you see someone you recognize at a party, not someone you see every day, do him/her the favor of re-introducing yourself, even if you are sure they know who you are. Be sure to put yourself in context when saying hello. People are distracted at a party, and a name, where you met them, and your connection to the person are polite and a huge help.

Even when the Deans are treated to a star studded evening, it is heart warming to notice what the Gala has in common with our entertainments.  Just because movie stars are in attendance does not mean the party is a slam dunk.  Timing is always the most important element.  If something goes wrong, make necessary adjustments, but try not to let your timing get off track.  Remember having fun yourself is the whole point of your party.  

Sarah, Carolyn and Tish (Richard's Angels) with Dean Pollak and Richard (founder of the   Hotes Foundation  )

Sarah, Carolyn and Tish (Richard's Angels) with Dean Pollak and Richard (founder of the Hotes Foundation)

Beer Place Cards

Beer Place Cards

Texts Are Not Thank You Notes

Suzanne Pollak

If you have received any gifts over the holidays you need to sit down at your desk or kitchen table and write some thank you notes. In our technological age they are as rare as a hen’s tooth, but much more valuable. Your parents made you write them, and now the Deans are here to make sure your manners are still intact.

If you splurge for engraved stationary, and we highly suggest you do,  writing these notes will be fun as well. Writing on heavy stock paper is a worth while endeavor and the thick card announces to the world you are not only a person of taste, but one who possess gratitude as well.

The Deans have many ideas on writing the perfect thank you note.  We are going to give you a few thank you samples that you can use and copy & paste into your own content:

  1. Everything was perfection last night, starting with you.  
  2. You always set the standard for entertaining. Coming to your house is my favorite way to spend a night out. 
  3. We had the most wonderful time last night. Everything from the food, the company and ambiance hit just the right note. Thank you for including me. 

Gush more if you want, it will be appreciated, but anything less than the above is sorely substandard. 

Thank You Card by  Ink Meets Paper

Thank You Card by Ink Meets Paper


Merry Christmas

Suzanne Pollak

Christmas Day is the one day that the Deans are convinced houses are being actually lived in and used. People take the time to make a tasty breakfast, talk to each other, lounge around in their pajamas while opening gifts, many of which are for the home, and enjoy a meal seated around the dining room table.

What the Deans want to see, minus the gifts, is you people doing this once a week all year long. Our gift to you is leading the way on how to live a beautiful life and to stay on top of you until you have learned.



The Manliest Men

Suzanne Pollak

For the manliest men, the ones most sure of themselves who are elegant, accomplished, debonair, when these men are feeling at their peak only their favorite quaff puts them in the right frame of mind, perfectly chilled champagne.

As most people know, but not everyone, champagne refers only to sparkling wines with grapes grown in the champagne valley. There are some delicious sparkling wines from other parts of the world, but they will never go under the moniker of champagne. And let's face it; there are just no songs with lyrics about sparkling wine.

Ask your local wine shop to pair a different champagne with every course, instead of wine. Dean Pollak’s brother, a former sommelier, sent cases of different champagnes for a multi course dinner in Savannah, Georgia.  For a one-time treat it was effervescent, not overkill.  The hands down favorite that evening was Salon, a singular champagne made by one man with one grape in one region.

Champagne Salon, the original creation by Aime Salon

Champagne Salon, the original creation by Aime Salon

Charleston’s premier cardiac specialist, Dr. Martin Morad, is a Persian doctor of international fame. Dr. Morad splits his time between his elegant homes in Maine, Washington, D.C. and Charleston, SC. His taste is beyond superb, and so is it any wonder that the first drink he serves whenever he entertains at home, which is often, is champagne? His go to favorite is Phillippe Prie Brut

Brilliant men can be found in any profession, and the most brilliant man that Dean Pollak ever knew was The Rev. William Ralston. He had three go to drinks - Old Weller bourbon, Chartreuse, (which he called the Green Eyed Monster), and Veuve Clicquot, the Grande Dame.


But perhaps the most famous champagne loving man of all time is Winston Churchill. Churchill only drank Pol Roget. When he died in 1965 Pol Roger placed a black border around the labels of its white-foil Champagne bound for England.

 As he wrote in 1898:

"A single glass of Champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration. The nerves are braced: the imagination is agreeably stirred; the wits become more nimble. A bottle produces the opposite effect."

pol roger.jpg

Deans in the Wall Street Journal

Suzanne Pollak

The Deans are always saying their domiciles are our everything. They are used as our board rooms, play rooms, wine tasting venues, hideaways....so we are particularly honored to be profiled in a publication that we admire as much as The Wall Street Journal. The editors of the Mansion section opted for Dean Pollak's house for their December 19 issue. Dean Pollak felt right from the start that she was in good hands with writer, Katy McLaughlin, but nothing could have prepared her for the final product. 

pollak dining room.jpg

When you are looking at Dean Pollak's lean spare style, remember that her children have grown and gone. Dean Manigault's children are still at home so she has clutter and things everywhere.

Sometimes we are envious of the other, other days we love our own house. Style is ever changing. 

The Bedrock of Entertaining

Suzanne Pollak

Dinner parties are the bedrock of entertaining.  There is no better way to get to know someone than by having them over and cooking for them. A thousand nights in restaurants will never create the same amount of intimacy.  By allowing someone into your house, you are showing them your sense of style, letting them see the books you like to read, the food you like to cook: in short, who you really are.  A little bit of luxury goes a long way at home. An Old Fashioned, a few oysters in a pan roast and a spoonful of chocolate mousse set the mood for an evening to remember.  And you created it all yourself!

 The Dean’s Cheat Sheet

7 is the perfect dinner party number. One conversation shared by the whole group and enjoyed with maximum conviviality.  

Candlelight only, please. The less you can see the better everyone looks.  It is by far the most flattering of all the lights.  

Use your whole house i.e. drinks in one room, dinner at the table and coffee and cordials while lounging sofa side in your living room or den or even outside if the weather permits.

You only need one go-to menu.  It’s the Dean’s job to pair you with the right one.

Keep to a schedule.  If the cocktail hour is actually 2 hours, then someone may have a breakdown - and a drunken one, too - on the living  room floor.

Outsourcing some of the meal is brilliant.  It relieves stress and may make the party happen as opposed to being just a fantasy. No one turns down a bowl of Haagen Dazs or a dessert from from the local bakery and very few guests mind bringing a single cheese with a column of crackers.

Here are a few of our favorite local spots for outsourcing fabulous courses.

Christophe'sgreat for those last minute sweets needed for any party.

Goat. Sheep. Cow. - the perfect place to shop for specialty cheeses, wines and meats to bring as a hostess gift or to supply as an appetizer.

The Wine Shop of Charleston - the place to buy super size bottles of wine to woo even the most jaded palate

The Beer Exchange - for the speciality beers which is a must have in every hipster's frig.