UPDATE:  Today (Friday the 16th) is the last day to participate in the give-away! I'll announce the winner on Monday the 19th, so stay tunned.

It's a Sanity Fair first! A give-away, and being from me, it's a book! I've collected vintage design books for years, and I can attest to the fact that they're invaluable. And this give-away choice is a double for design:  it has a great cover and great content (sometimes, you CAN judge a book by its cover!). The book is Dorothy Rodgers' The House In My Head.

Socialite extraordinaire, wife of the "Rodgers" in "Rodgers and Hammerstein," entrepreneur, art collector, and fashion and decor diva, Dorothy Rodgers was a Manhattan chameleon. And she was so well known for her superb hostess skills (from conversation to recipes) that guests dubbed her "La Perfecta." Jackson Pollacks hung on her walls; Slim Hayward and Noel Coward hung out in her drawing room.
In 1964, Dorothy published a book called My Favorite Things. It was a whirlwind of advice  - everything from how to properly throw a dinner party and display your hobbies as decor, to tips on maximizing storage space in small closets. She knew from whence she spoke - entrepreneur Dorothy had founded her own design and renovation firm Repair, Inc. years before. And she practiced what she preached. Overwhelmed by the amount of care (even with servants) that her colonial Connecticut manse required, she set out to design a modern, efficient home from the ground up. That project became The House In My Head.

The House In My Head chronicles every step of her home's creation, from the "first pencil stroke to lighting the final lamp;" Dorothy thought about everything:  how she preferred to store things, the lighting she liked, the way she (and her family) inhabited a home. She was determined to create perfection. It's a design story we can all sympathize with:  triumph and frustration, excitement and planning - and a welcome reminder that even super wealthy socialites must suffer at the hands of contractors (though the recent success of your husband's musical, The Sound of Music, makes bill-paying painless). As Rodgers herself says in the book's conclusion: "if only we had known how much confusion, delay, uncertainty and expense we would have to accept.... however, to create one last 'if only'... if only we had built the house ten years ago." But the real plum in the pudding is her recipe collection in the back of the book, meticulously organized into select menus. My favorite? A special brunch menu for spring:  Spring Soup with scallions, Croissants, Chutney, Sliced Tomatoes with Basil and French Dressing, and Sour Cherry Tart. Break out the good china!

The Give-Away ends next Friday. The random generator will choose a winner from among comments I receive April 9 - 16. So leave a comment, and cross your fingers (and be sure to include your email)! BONUS:  "Follow" Sanity Fair in the LH sidebar, and you'll be entered twice - just be sure to mention in your comment that you did so!

Specs:  254 pages, First Edition, Color and Black and White photos by House Beautiful. Jacket review by Kitty Carlisle Hart. Published by Avenel. Rare vintage edition; excellent condition with only minor wear; one pen mark. A note to overseas readers:  all shipping is to U.S. addresses. Keep that in mind!
Read more about Dorothy here via the New York Times.

Image of Dorothy from


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