Shangri-La ~ Doris Duke an American heiress


Shangri-La: A distant and secluded hideaway, usually of great beauty and peacefulness.

At the young age of 12, Doris Duke became the richest girl in the world when her father, James Buchanan Duke magnate behind a tobacoo and energy empire and benefactor of Duke University, died. In 1935, returning from a honeymoon through the Islamic world, Doris Duke stopped over in Hawaii and fell in love with the people, the climate, surfing and the Hawaiian way of life. She was captivated by the beauty, the weather and the privacy Hawaii offered her from the public eye and the New York social scene.

Shangri La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise, and legendary tobacco heiress Doris Duke (1912–1993) had found hers in Hawaii, so she built a home there, and named it Shangri La, after the fictitious place in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon.


Doris Duke’s Shangri La mansion is near Diamond Head just outside Honolulu is now owned by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

She was also a major collector of Islamic art, assembling a collection of more than 2,500 pieces and exhibiting it throughout her Honolulu home Shangri La—a sustained effort of nearly 60 years.

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Doris Duke at Shangri La in 1966, photographed by Horst for Vogue.



I am from Los Angeles and now live in Nashville. Here is a wonderful wallpaper company named Abnormals Anonymous based in Los Angeles, the two owners met in a Nashville hotel elevator, perhaps The Hutton Hotel, and discovered their common passion for wallpaper design and fell in love. They are now a happily married couple living in Venice, California. My mother, a talented artist and chorus line dancer designed wallpaper during World War II in London, England.

To maintain anonymity they call themsleves Henrietta and Paco. It makes me wish they would open a restaurant by that name. “I just had a marvelous squid salad with baratta and tomatoes at our local restaurant called Henrietta and Paco.”

Their story can’t get any better than this, except it does, they create beautiful, quirky wallpaper inspired by their nautical adventures in a part time Seattle home. A local fisherman based in Los Angeles finds the couple old etchings, which they enlarge for wallpaper. The wallpaper has fun names like “meet the flockers”, “squindle” and “mimso”.

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These beautiful papers are designed and printed in Los Angeles. Henrietta and Paco use eco friendly, VOC free inks on all of their papers and can print on a variety of materials including paper, mylar, type II vinyl, textured papers and even a new recycled material great for earning LEED points.

If you want to experience a good night’s sleep with this wallpaper surrounding you, go treat yourself to a stay at the new Palihouse Santa Monica. Avi Brosh bought this landmark 1927 Morrish Revival apartment-hotel near the Third Street Promenade.



Palihouse Santa Monica, 1001 Third St., Santa Monica; 310-394-1279 or

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