Finally, our “renovation reveal” episode is here! While we filmed hours and hours of the renovation work as it was completed, not much has been shown of the nuts and bolts. I suppose contractors knocking down walls and hoisting air conditioner fans onto the roof is more suited to a This Old House sort of show than ours. At any rate, the work began in small bites August 15th and in earnest on September 6th when we returned from St. Barths.
Simon and I work well under pressure, and thrive on it. Every time we begin a major project we set ourselves a deadline, otherwise we would procrastinate forever. We were helped in a way by the Season 2 production schedule; the last, drop-dead date of filming was November 1st, and the producers jokingly asked “What can you get done by then?” Our first response was…”our entire Phase 2 – the garden and parlor levels!” After permit setbacks and a few other surprises, we amended that to finishing one entire floor. We did that, and then some. From September to November 1st we did the kitchen, dining and living rooms, our bedroom and two bathrooms – one full, one half. For more of the nuts and bolts of the work, jump over to www.mccordvankempen.com for a renovation specific blog that addresses things like structural walls, wiring and floorplans.
One thing that Simon and I are infamous for are quick decisions when it comes to renovating. People can easily be overwhelmed by the amount of choice out there and our architect told us horror stories of a client who literally spent months choosing between barely different paint shades. Our solution for “abundance of choice paralysis” is to only look at items in stock that can be delivered within the week. Also, we go out of our way to buy to fit at least one of the following criterion: made by domestic (preferably local) craftsmen, environmentally friendly or in support of a charity. All of our kitchen and bedroom cabinetry & hardware was crafted in Brooklyn just a few miles from our townhouse. We chose bamboo for the cabinets in the kitchen and our bedroom as it’s a highly renewable resource. The meteorite countertops were cut about 5 minutes from the house as well. All new artwork was bought at charity auctions, including the Alice Cooper portrait at an auction to benefit City Harvest. The fabric came from Zarin, and the sewing was done in their workshop on the Lower East Side. It was a win-win situation. We could give Jill and Bobby business, they were local, and most importantly they could work within our deadline. One Sunday afternoon in October we brought the boys to the showroom to choose the fabric.
Alex, I think of all the housewives, you are definitly the most real and unpretentious. You always remain calm and stay above the pettiness of the other housewives. The only problem I have with you is as you love Simon we really could use seeing a lot less of him during the show. Really, it's "housewives", not "husbands of housewives".
Alex. I find a lot of backstabbing, whispers, whinning and mini- break downs. You have stayed the same person/same couple that you have been since the very first show. The both of you are very secure, very happy, very content and hold the deepest respect for each other. Most of your co-stars do not have the same well rounded shared lives.
You and Simon are beyond polite and respectful to those around you. The others need to get off Simon, his dressing...and taste in clothes. He is EUROPEAN, my brother in law is from England and lived in Australia. He loves clothes and is very secure in who he is, does not care what others think, and my sister is just like you. Very supportive and truthful, it the pink shirt looks good - wear it!
Best of luck to you, you are a very classy woman that shows up everyone on that show.
I'm very impressed with your attention and dedication to ethical shopping in your home reno! How awesome to know that all of these pieces that you love were made ethically (sweatshop-free) and some were eco-friendly as well! It can be easy to lose sight of ethical concerns when distracted by all of the pretty options out there, so I applaud you and the example that you set! (This may have bumped Silex up a few nothches in my book)
You guys seem to have a nice loving relationship, like it when you talk about fashion/design in furniture and clothes.
Alex, As a designer who studied in NYC, and as a future mother who adores her husband, I am perplexed by the bad rap you both received the first season (I've been watching the reruns today). As the only city I can tolerate of the "housewives" series, you and Simon's relationship has inspired me and helped me appreciate the partnership with my husband. You both are truly best friends, have aspirations and are ambitious while maintaining a family - never be ashamed of that! To that end, I congratulate you and hope I can have the same success as you both do - as a couple.
Thanks to you and Simon for putting Ramona and her husband in their place. They are becoming way to mouthy... Cheers, that she never showed up at your housewarming... I am was so excited!
Alex, You should give lessons to Beth about how to remain cool under pressure and to assume responsibility for your actions. Beth carries a chip on her shoulder the size of a redwood. Too bad you haven't rubbed off on her.
Alex, I enjoyed you in season one and continued to enjoy you in season two, which regretfully ends tonight.
I see no reason for adding Kelly this season and hope she does not return. The 5 original housewives was drama enough.
You always showed class and dignity and never really cared about what the others thought. It always seemed that you were the odd duck out, but you showed them! You go girl.
It was obvious from season one that in actuality, Simon was the 6th. housewife, why was Kelly even brought in, anyway, with no disrespect to Simon, the show about the 5 of you was all that was needed. Simon added his humorous drama as much as Ramona, and I can see, that the both of you were the reason for his continuous appearance, even though Mario, Bobby and Count Alex had less screen time. Their wives made up for the drama and humor on their own.
Hopefully, we will see all of you back, minus Kelly, for a third season. And again, no disrespect to Simon, but less of him as well, the show is called the Real Housewives and now that New Jersey is starting next week, I guess this concept can go all over the US, but the New York group will always be the best, because I am from New York.
Stay well, hopefully we will see you back again- Keep up with Bethanny, she may need you for more computer drawings!!
Re the earrings. Didn't the designer say something about knowing she has the ones in white gold and these were in platinum or the other way around? Don't we all have items in our wardrobe which are similar because the line is complinentary to our bodies?
Hi Alex, Certainly you and Simon have impressed a lot of people based on what I've read here. I too grew to like you. In fact, you are my favorite! I was shocked when everyone picked on you at the reunion. I would have thought Ramona would have been the target. I think as others have, that showing you in a more casual setting with Bethany helped me to see the real you. And, Simon agreeing to help Jill in the tennis match under those terms............. loved the guy!! And Jill, who is also a favorite, should have shown far more appreciation and respect for Simon's willingness to help her out. Yes, you are at time pretentious, but, obviously that's how you chose to represent yourselves, and it's gotten you both a lot of attention. However, I hope you continue to have those moments when we see the real you. You definataly are a strong woman and secure, but I have seen the pain in your face at times. And, I've respected your restraint. Know that you are understood and admired by many of your viewers! And also know that Ramona is a piece of work who has not earned any respect. I'm sure her antics help her to receive a lot of attention. But, attention doesn't equate to respect or like -ability. Is that a word? Looking forward to more of HWONYC
I will tell you what really impresses me. Alex can wear ANYTHING and look fabulous in it. I am so jealous of how you can go to a store and try on 10 outfits and look absolutely fabulous in each and every one of them. I can go to a store and try on 10 outfits and I'm lucky if one of them looks good on me.
Hey Alex, I'm a natural-born proofreader and I just watched the reunion from season one. The earrings you were wearing look EXACTLY like the earrings Simon bought you for your birthday this season! A little "re-gifting" going on??
Alex, you home looks sooo gorgeous!! It was definitely worth the wait and everything you two went through. I give you so much credit for being such a strong woman and holding your ground with Ramona..you are not fake and you tell it like it is! Not only are you a great mother and wife but a beautiful lady inside and out. This season has showed the way you are toward others, you definitely have class.
And so what about the comment about wearing your earings again...they are absolutely gorgeous - jewelery is not something to be worn once...they are beautiful and go with everything whether at work or a night out on the town. You and Simon do have class and taste when it comes to everything!!
I'm wondering, as others seem to be, about the earrings you are shown receiving on your birthday. You're wearing identical-looking earrings....last season. Hmmmmm
Social climbers... watching them like watching The Talented Mr. Ripley in stereo... over and over. They will never truly achieve status.
You and Simon continue to impress me. You are the most non-judgemental and forgiving of the bunch! You are the only two that I feel aren't about the self-promotion of your businesses. Enjoy your children and your life together.
Hi Alex, just wanted to let you know that I think it's fantastic that you stand up to Ramona's bullying. I'm surprised she doesn't see what she's doing or how she acts on the show. I don't know why your husband insisted on inviting Ramona to your party, did you asked him what is he trying to prove to Ramona? Is he inviting her because he wants her to like him and hoping to become friends with her? (friends, I mean like good friends.) He need to shift his attention to those that are good friends to both of you instead of wasting his time & energy trying to please Ramona. Ramona is shallow & a bully who doesn't deserve friendship from both of you. You two are both kind and smart. I hope your husband read this: Please do not pay attention to Ramona. Ignore her and show her your time and kindness is worth giving to those who respect you and Alex. Why would you waste your time and energy trying to show or give Ramona respect when she always talks down on you? Watch the show over again and pay attention on how she treats and acts toward you. I hope you'll be able to see that Ramona is not worthy of a friend.
Bravo just re-aired the reunion special from Season 1 and it looks like you were wearing the same earrings that you received this season during the birthday surprise episode?
Alex, I had always thought that you and Simon were portrayed out of character. I really think Simon got the worst of it too. I just saw the reunion at the Russian Tea Room and have to say even in that forum it seemed that Ramona has her mind made up about you and your family. Her neurosis bled through my set and I think in a way she's jealous of your family, they're loose, and on her side you have uptight and always worrying how everyone interprets her. Did you feel that way?
I truly think that Jill was the most REAL of the other gals. She calls it like she sees it and it's probably why her and Bethenny get on so well.
Keep it real Alex, you and Simon continue to roll and dance to the beat of your own drummer! I thought it would have been nice for you two to have a little more TV time, it seemed they focused on a couple of the others more. But that's the way this show is! All the best to you, Simon and the kids!
Alex. Do hope you read this. I think you rock. Your relationship rocks, your renovation rocks, your self confidence rocks. I love you being you and you being okay with that in front of millions. And Simon, he is great! I love you both and think the rest of the housewives need to be as comfortable in their own shin as you are in yours. Hope to you next season.
Your house looks much better but not my style. The kitchen is nice but the rest looks tacky, like Dracula's den...almost demonic. The Zarin Fabrics drapes are, of course, beautiful. I just don't get you two. Why is the living room so dark?? How depressing for your kids! If you don't return next season that would be great news!!
Your "Francky" insisted on inviting the woman of his obsession (Ramona) to your party based on a hug of 45 seconds. He counted the seconds! That is weird. It is also strange that you gave in to his ridiculous demand just to appease him. Where is your backbone or brain?
btw: the rehab looks more of HIS personality than of yours. It's stark, depressing, and uncomfortable looking - just like Simon.
Alex, You know, until last night's episode I thoght you were a snotty person. But after listning to you about the renovation and how you go about things and watching closely I think I am beginning to like you very much. You may have been a little to primadonna in a couple episodes but I really think you are beginning to come into your own on the show and I applud you for that. One thing..please don't push the I can buy anything attitude, the real you last night was nice, refreshing and a person I think I like
I love watching you and simon together. I can tell you really love each other and some of the things he says to you and about you reminds me of things my boyfriend says to me. The two of you seem like your best friends.
Alex, You and your family are so great! I love that you tried to go green/local for the renovation. Congrats on the finished product - it looks fantastic. (Also, one of my favorite moments from the renovation reveal episode was when Kelly thinks Brooklyn isn't in NYC... we all know Brooklyn is actually the best part of the city!!) Kindra
I just want to say that you and Simon are my favorite couple on the show. I think you have alot of depth! (take that, Ramona!)
I love the renovation and I think your taste is fabulous. Very edgy. I think I would feel very welcome in your home. You both seem like down to earth people. You know how to have fun and keep that "spark" in your marriage. It seems that the two of you are very much in love and are genuinely happy with the life you have created together. Your children are absolutely adorable. I think you have handled yourself very graciously on the show this season. Keep on being you!
Alex~ Prior to this evening, I've never felt compelled to write on someone else's blog unless I know them personally. I happened to watch an episode of HWoNYC tonight and when the announcer did the post show tag line about learning more about the show on BravoTV.com, I thought...heck. Why not? I was invited afterall! Anyway, what I want to comment on are your beautiful children. Specifically, the many ignorant comments you receive about the way you parent. All those macho, hard nosed comments about how "I would NEVER allow my kids to act like that!" make me worried about this generation of children now being raised. The way I view your parenting style is that you want to instill in your children feelings of both safety and independance. Your children will likely not suffer the all too common problems that come with having a low self esteem. You can tell that they feel as if what they have to say is not only listened to, but matters to the entire family. Having said all of that, I do want to offer some unsolicited advice. Something that I have learned not only from my own parenting, but from a lifelong interest in and study of child development. Many things come to children naturally, over time, as they age. But some things do have to be taught, just like reading. I am specifically speaking of manners and what is appropriate behavior in the outside world. When the kids are allowed to create chaos and disruption in other people's homes, you are doing them no favors. Other will find them to be obnoxious and the kids will pick up on it and there goes all of your hard work that gave them their self assuredness to begin with. One incident from the show illustrates this perfectly. One of the boys had his hands all over a guests dinner. When someone commented on it, Simon's response was basically "This is how boys this age act." My immediate thought was "Only if they have never been taught that it is not right to do so." Believe me, when manners and thoughtfulness are introduced early and gently, they can become part of a childs natural behavior from a very young age. Your boys are both intelligent, inquisitive and have the potential to be socially engaging. However, if the kids are allowed to believe that only their thoughts and feelings matter, none of their many good qualities will ever have the chance to shine. BTW...I am not speaking of discipline, I am speaking of education. Just my 2 cents and best of luck to you!
Hi Alex, You what color sceme would have been amazing is black walls with those gorgeous moldings you have in white, along with that beautiful white stucco fireplace you you already had. White and black window treatments along with a gorgeous crystal chandelier .White leather couch (easy to keep clean).I love your floors and the color is nice . If you want bold color? bold Color pillows are great and nice for the kids . Red and black is nice if your a Chicago Bulls fan.Sorry, I think you guys are great though. It wouldnt cost to much to change all that. The Alice cooper portrait would have fit right in.Paint ,window treatments,and fixtures.Your'e moldings are magnificent. Jill didn't know what she was talking about.Homes built back then all had much higher quality materials. Then home built and remolded today.Ask any craftsman.
I must be honest, didn't like you two at first until recently I realized I think I may like you the best. You never lost your class when you were bullied by Ramona and her husband and you have been there for Bethany and she know she can trust you. It must have been hell but you came out loved by the viewers. Kudos!
alex your a great mother and a woman and someone very down to earth and i feel can fit almost basically anywhere given.
your great, simple and calm and all whom have an issue with you, clearly you dont have to worry about because they dont make your life or make you who you are.
but i have to say this, your husband is a bit strange but i think its great how he loves you and tries his best to be around you and the family at all times and be involved in your day to day life. a lot of woman would die for that im sure and your very lucky to have someone like him, so cheers to that.
all the best and be blessed.
WOW that is a great Kitchen. The living area looked very edgy and totally with it! It's not for me BUT I can appreciate all the work and effort. Jill is a nut, she can not compare a toddler and pre-K with two girls about to finish up elementary school! Compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges NOT apples to oranges. I am hoping they get rid of that KELLY. Jill has bonded with her, too sad for me to watch.
Love the renovation. Yes the red and black livingroom is vibrant, but very well done. I think the other cast members should stop commenting on the behavior of toddlers. Toddlers and very young children explore the world, this is how they learn; you cannot and should not restrict them from learning about their environment. These restrictions can effect brain development, intelligence, let them be free. I tend to think children that young should be off limits as far as negative comments from other cast members are concerned. And commenting to the press! I would have their heads on a platter! I would let the producers of the show know that these two boys are very, very young, and comments about them on air are off limits. I love Jill, but shame on her, and the drapes would go back. I would advertise some other shop and would not buy their products if they talked about my children that way. Bethany does not even have children and has quite a lot to learn. Children are NOT little adults and should not be forced to act like adults. Let them enjoy their childhood. I think you and Simon are very tolerant, easy-going and kind parents. Any child would be happy in your home.
Alex and Simon,
As I have read the other blogs, I too didn't care much for either of you during season 1. However I really like how you both truly love each other and care for your boys. Anyone with kids knows they can be unpredictable and they are just small boys still. I don't care for the decorating except the kitchen is cool, but hey I don't live there. I do like how they have shown Alex separately with Bethany helping her with artwork for her book. She truly seems sincere and sweet as a friend. Simon you are pure entertainment, no worries mate.....
My husband and I watched reruns of the shows. At first he balked at watching, but then we were both hooked.
He was perplexed at the bad rap you and your husband were getting. You're the most normal ones on the show. You both are more quiet and intellectual and amazingly calm about the rudeness dished out upon you. Simon should never have talked with that bubblehead, Ramona. Would you try and pet a pitt bull that had already bit you? She's really a flake and her husband is embarrassing - truly a five year old. You're real and artistic and fun. Your boys are boys. I raised two and now they are both happily married and in the arts. I adore my husband of 35 years like you do yours. He is my best friend.
So, continue to be your strong and happy selves. I felt badly for you on more than one occasion because of the sniping, but it didn't seem to bother you. You know the secret - people who snipe are unhappy, jealous souls. Sad.
Alex.. You are SO sweet.. Your the only one on the show that I've seen that couses NO drama. Simon is pretty cool too. Im really happy for both of you. Stay the way you guys are ! Your awesome. Ty
All the people making ridiculously rude comments on your decor are just plain mean! I bet 99% have redone a room, thought it was beautiful, and then later changed their minds. Duh! If you like it for now fine, but it is not like your living room was etched in stone. We all go through fazes, and if you tire of the decor, there are such things as new drapes and paint for crying out loud. I think it is great that you took chances and after a while if you choose to redo a couple of things what is the big deal? And I am happy for you both if you got your appliances for free, and so what if they are GE, I thought they were pretty nice and I'm sure they work...right? I don't know why people see you and Simon as people who brag about being multimillionaires. I think you display the average all-American concerns of trying to live the best life you are able to, and you certainly do not live in the glass house that throws stones like some of the other housewives. Big deal, you like to go on vacations, have a few evenings out, and shop. I think almost everyone has done that a couple times. It is not like your living a lavish lifestyle that is outside of your means. I feel that you and Simon are the only ones on RHNYC that don't go around spouting off how fabulous and luxurious your lifestyle is. You two are just appreciating your life and having fun. And I hope that you and Simon continue to do just that for many years to come!
I commend you for keeping your cool and yourself above the petty comments about your life style and/or Simon. Who cares what they (or anyone) thinks about your husband as long as the two of you are happy together and with your boys. Personally, I can't see you with Simon, but what do I care if you are happy. Then there are the nude photos Mario and Romana are in a twist about. I've seen many episodes where her actions have been less than classy and she is quick to condemn. If your nude phots don't bother you or your family, I don't feel anyone should judge you or dismiss your company based on them. It is their loss. What I admire about you the most is the fact you don't feel compelled to explain and/or apologized when questioned about your nude photos, your home, choice of vacations, or the upbringing of your boys. You are comfortable in your own skin and happy in your life so you are ahead of the game in my opinion. Continue to let Ramona's and Mario's comments roll off your back. Only unhappy and insecure people feel the need to put others down to make themselves feel more important.
I enjoyed seeing the renovations in your house. I loved the kitchen and some of the living room. It really looks like a huge space.I can't believe that you planned a party when you had so much to do.I give you credit for that. You and Simon were so gracious to your guests and really seemed to enjoy your own party. I loved seeing you and Simon and your little boys at Jills store. Sometimes its best to leave the kids home when you have to make important decisions and it wasn't fair to Jill. I'm saying this because I had three little boys who are now wonderful grown men.I remember those days. Good luck to you and your family and enjoy your home!
Alex and Simon, Your home looks so warm and cozy...maybe not my style but different is sometimes a good thing. VERY NICE WORK!
I understand you and Simon went through so much, renovations to your home, boys were difficult at times, rain coming through the windows, and work. I noticed not once was a mean word spoken between you and Simon. I guess your relationship is based upon RESPECT. How wonderful!
Keep being you!
P.S. I respect the fact you never have a cruel word spoken behind ones back.
alex, loved your kitchen. looked wonderful. but the red/black room is another thing. it wouldnt be so bad if the doors were anything but gray and black. the red is not bad, but the curtains blended in with the walls. u didint know when the wall end and the curtain started. it was way too much red. who was your decorator???? decorators normally dont decorate in this manner. trust me on this. otherwise, we love you and to see you coming coming into your own self, is wonderful to see. this is your time. go for it girl.
I'm watching, what I think is a rerun. An article was written in the New York Times surrounding derogatory statements made about Jill. To recommend that someone needs therapy based on these statements, and attacks one with the statement of "they have low-self esteem", is called projecting. Clinically, it is you, that clearly has the "low-self esteem" and struggles with your image. Anyone, with the condesending attitude you and your "general manager for a small hotel" possess, only is attributed to your lack of self. Further, to use the "jealously card". Hmm, perhaps you should ask yourself, what is it that, Jill could possibly want from you? Once again, the clinical term is projecting. I've tried to construct this post using lay mans terms, and realized that my audience would be that of simpletons. Please, Alex, if you need further clarification, or if I can make it easier for you to comprehend, please feel free to email. HAHAH, I'm as bad as you are... condesending! But then, I am a professional. What exactly do you do?
Alex, we love you and Simon. I have been with my fiance for 3 years. Our relationship is just like yours. We don't need anyone else to have a good time. We love spending time togeather, and wouldnt have it any other way. We also loved the renovation. You guys please keep being yourselves, the love that you all have for one another is beautiful. I feel that others are probably jealous of you all. You don't see the love in the other relationships on the show.
I love you on the show. I think you live your life without any outside influences. Keep it up, you and Simon are who you are and that's just fine.
I do agree with one other reader though, we would like to see more of the work you did for Betthany if you are no longer working for Victoria Secrets.
Hope to see that for next season!
Wow.. Your patience is amazing.. that is what I love about you most. You manage to go with the flow of 2 toddlers, a pretty assertive husband (my only beef with him is.. he cuts you off mid-sentence a lot and needs to let YOU have your say and your time on YOUR show).. Simon takes over a lot. I think he's a great husband and a great father, but, he needs to step back on this show and let you have your camera time and time with the other cast ladies. Your house looks great. I never could have gone through what you did. Too many decisions and angst.. Hope that you can, now, be home for a while between jobs, and enjoy some time with your adorable boys.. You are very talented and will get a job in no time. Enjoy the time you have with the boys while they are little. I know.. I worked my whole life and they grow up in a NY minute and you regret the time you were working while they were growing!!