Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Jean-Charles de Ravenel at Lindroth Design

Lyford Cay-based collage artist Jean-Charles de Ravenel will be making his Palm Beach professional debut with an upcoming exhibit at Lindroth Design, designer Amanda Lindroth's charming Palm Beach design studio and shop. On display will be the artist's "Palm Beach Series" of collages, which celebrate the rich social history of this Florida resort town.  Look closely at the images seen here- just a few of the many collages that will be featured- and you'll see references to such Palm Beach luminaries as Mr. and Mrs. Winston Guest,  Mrs. Harrison Williams, Addison Mizner, John L. Volk, Laddie Sanford, Mrs. Woolworth Donahue, and more.

Featuring period photos, press clippings, and other mementos, these inspired collages present an intriguing chronicle of life in old Palm Beach.  The exhibition runs from Friday, February 12 through April.  For more information or sales inquiries, please contact Lindroth Design's Palm Beach location.

Image at top: On Polo Field

On Polo Field (B)

Night Life

Worth Avenue


Mrs. Harrison Williams on board "Warrior"

Mrs. Harrison Williams at home "Blythedunes"

All images courtesy of Lindroth Design

Thursday, February 04, 2016

The Suján Rajmahal Palace

In need of a mid-week pick-me-up?  Then feast your eyes on the Suján Rajmahal Palace, the luxury Jaipur hotel whose energizing interiors- refreshing blues, pulsating pinks, and pattern galore- are sure to give you a visual start.

A welcome respite from those ho hum and humdrum hotels, the Suján reminds me of Dorothy Draper and her work at The Carlyle, the Quitandinha, and The Greenbrier- minus the Suján's Indian flair, of course.  Draper understood the power of making a decorative statement, especially at hotels and restaurants.  After all, who wants to embark on a night on the town or a weekend getaway, only to be greeted by bland décor?  On these occasions, guests want a break from the everyday, something Draper afforded to many through her high-style and, at times, whimsically-inclined interiors.  Like Draper, Carleton Varney understands people's desire for an escape from the ordinary, as evidenced by his colorful work at The Greenbrier and the Colony Hotel.  And so, too, does Adhil Ahmad, the designer responsible for the Suján's interiors. 

I wouldn't necessarily want my dining room to have magenta wallpaper and a purple ceiling (see below,) but oh, how much fun it would be to spend an evening in just such a room!

All photos from the hotel's website

Monday, February 01, 2016

A Potager Inspired by Mount Vernon

"I dress the garden with a new look each season- just like a collection." 

So said Hubert de Givenchy, whose gardens at Le Jonchet, his 16th-century chateau near Paris, appear to be a slice of verdant heaven.  Back in the mid-1990s, one of those new looks entailed the building of a new potager, or kitchen garden. Givenchy's first potager, seen below in image number two, had been inspired by Venice.  But for his subsequent potager, the designer sought inspiration in a classic American setting: George Washington's garden at Mount Vernon.

Whenever Givenchy visited his great friend, Bunny Mellon, the two made a habit of visiting Mount Vernon.  Those trips made a great impact on the designer, who later fashioned his potager's two pavilions and fencing after those at Mount Vernon.  As Givenchy explained, "I adore America and the idea of having a little bit of American perfection at Le Jonchet.".

It might be the pair of pavilions that I find most charming; in fact, I feature one of the pavilions in my "In with the Old" slide presentation.  While one pavilion was intended for use by the head gardener, the other was built for the designer's personal use.  That one is filled with elegant-yet-rustic furniture, gardening tools, and books.  "Each little thing in my pavilion comes from a trip and is something I love," said Givenchy.

The Venetian-inspired potager.

In his then-new potager, Givenchy chose board fences like those at Mount Vernon.

Above, the head gardener's pavilion.

Givenchy's pavilion.

The unique curved bench is a replica of one at Cawdor Castle, Scotland.

The view of the lake from the pool house.

All images from House Beautiful, Christopher Simon Sykes photographer.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


I'm too young to feel so out of touch with the times, but nevertheless, I do.  So many things leave me asking, "Why?"  Take, for example, the new Chelsea Handler show on Netflix.  Why do I want to see Chelsea Handler do drugs and promptly get sick in a bucket?  And why did Kate Hudson feel the need to Instagram a photo of herself, bare-bottomed and in a bubble bath, in an effort to make her boy toy, Nick Jonas, jealous?  Perhaps the question I ought to be asking myself is, "Why am I spending so much time reading about this trash on the Daily Mail?"

And after reading last week's New York Times article, "The Art of Home Staging", I felt even more out of touch than before.  If you haven't yet read it, I highly recommend doing so, because the piece confirms what most of us already knew- that flair and individuality, those once-lauded virtues in the world of interiors, have become real deal-killers when it comes to the buying and selling of residential real estate.  The way to sell your home quickly and for more money?  Hire a home stager to banish the old and bring in the new- and banal.

Before I go on, I should mention that I'm all for doing what is necessary to sell one's home.  If staging means more traffic and more offers, then by all means, do it.  What I find troubling is not home staging itself, but rather the innocuous décor that buyers seem to prefer.  If what real estate agents and home stagers say is true, home buyers want to see white walls, plain-jane curtains, contemporary furniture, and a live-edge coffee table.  Do these buyers not realize that the furniture moves away after closing?  And is it really that difficult for people to see past a home's paint and wallpaper, furniture, fabrics, and- heaven forbid- antiques in order to assess a home's bones?

What really struck me is that one of the article's examples of a successfully staged apartment was that of designer Jean-Paul Beaujard.  His New York City home was featured in Architectural Digest about five years ago, and I was so taken with the interiors that I actually wrote about it on my blog in 2011.  But, sadly, such interiors don't sell homes these days, so the apartment's listing agents at Corcoran suggested bringing in a home stager.  All of Beaujard's beautiful furniture was sent away to storage, while contemporary furniture and  plain white fabrics were brought in.  (Oh, and the walls were painted white, of course.)  Beaujard was quoted as saying, "It's the complete opposite of what I like," but admitted that, "now, you see the proportions of the apartment better. Even I was surprised."  The staging worked, because the designer recently accepted an offer on his apartment.

While I find traditional decor's lack of broad appeal to be depressing, I did take heart in readers' comments.  It seems that many of them, like me, preferred the pre-staged version of Beaujard's apartment, while others bemoaned home buyers' lack of imagination.  So with that in mind, I'm once again showing the "before" of Beaujard's apartment.  If you'd like to see how it looked after being staged, please click here to visit the Corcoran listing.

All photos from Architectural Digest, Miguel Flores-Vianna photographer.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Albert Hadley on Illustrations

About eight or nine years ago, I had the opportunity, thanks to a friend, to meet privately with Albert Hadley. Because our meeting was one of those "pinch-me" moments (at least, it was for me,) much of what we discussed is a blur. But Mr. Hadley made one comment that I will never forget. He said that today's magazines feature too few illustrations.  His comment struck a chord with me, because I'm an avid fan of illustrations, especially those of interiors.  When executed by a deft hand, interior illustrations can convey a room's personality in a way that photography simply can't. 

Take these illustrations, for example, which appeared in a 1934 issue of House & Garden.  Depicting an "all-metal house in a traditional style" (the house's architect, Robert B. Carr, specified that the make-believe structure be constructed of "enameled metal shingles over steel braced structural walls",) the illustrations show an inventive marriage of Regency-style flourishes and then-cutting-edge finishes.  What I find so beguiling and, yes, inspiring is the style of the illustrations.  They are colorful and concise in a way that really captures- and even amplifies- the decorative essence of each room.  And because the rooms are anonymous, I find it easier to imagine myself inhabiting these spaces.  Finally, although there are dated elements to these rendered rooms (that fish-tank table in the living room illustration should be left to the 1930s,) many of the colors and decorations still look fresh today.  Can't you just see the bathroom's bright blue door with gold star (see below) in a stylish home of today?

Would magazine pages full of interior illustrations fly in today's world? Probably not.  But I agree with Albert Hadley that interior illustrations still have relevance.  The benefit to such illustrations is that they stimulate the reader's imagination, requiring the reader to flesh out details and adapt the illustrated ideas for use in his or her home.  And it's imagination that gives design its flavor and its personality.   

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Sumptuous Get Away

After a long holiday, getting back into the swing of things has been a challenge, so much so that in the last few days, I've felt like saying, "Calgon, take me away."  If a box of Calgon really could take me away for a respite, I'd wish to be transported to this Paris apartment, one of the more memorable Paris dwellings to have been published in the last fifteen years.  (Well, memorable to me anyway.)  Owned and decorated by financier Kristen van Riel and published in the September 2001 issue of House Beautiful, this Left Bank apartment is a bastion of elegance, good taste, and quality, three things that seem to be in short supply these days.

Look at the photos, and you won't see one piece of modern furniture.  Contemporary art is absent, too, while antique engravings and oil paintings are in abundance.  (By the way, I hear that the market for traditional oil paintings is tepid at best.)  But rather than appearing old-fashioned, this apartment seems very much suited to our modern lives.  The color palette is a pleasing mix of rich, energizing color tempered by anything-but-dull neutrals.  The homeowner's many collections provide the home with those all-important, comforting layers, but the rooms have an edited feel, too, which prevent them from being too weighed down by the past.  And how nice would it be to escape the hustle and bustle of emails, social media, phone calls, and interruptions by settling down on that sumptuous red-velvet sofa, a book or magazine in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other?  In fact, that's such a nice thought that I'm ready to be taken there immediately.  Calgon, I'm ready when you are.

All images from House Beautiful, September 2001, Alexandre Bailhache, photographer.

Matouk and John Robshaw, Together at AmericasMart

AmericasMart's biannual Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market takes place this week and next, and lucky for me, I only have to travel a few miles to attend.  One of this Market's big stories is the opening of the Matouk-John Robshaw showroom, the first time the companies have partnered in a joint space.  Located in Building One of AmericasMart, the 1426-square-foot showroom will showcase bedding from both lines, which are favorites of those with weaknesses for stylish bed linen.

During Market, both Matouk and John Robshaw will be debuting new additions to their collections.  Shown above are Minerva, Delilah, and Cassidy, all by Matouk, while below, you can see John Robshaw's newest designs: Mahzar and Firat, respectively.

For more information on these Spring 2016 introductions plus their current collections, please visit the websites of Matouk and John Robshaw.  Or, better yet, see them in person at their new AmericasMart showroom. They are located in showroom #9A4 and will be hosting a cocktail party on Friday evening at 6pm.

By the way, I'm looking forward to attending Market this week as a participant in the inaugural Style Your Season program, a collaboration between AmericasMart and a select group of bloggers.  Soon, I'll report on the products and trends that caught my eye during my visit.  Stay tuned.

All images courtesy of Matouk and John Robshaw.