Friday, December 22, 2006

Robert Rufino on New York Social Diary

Today's NYSD House interview (on is with Robert Rufino, VP of Creative Services and Visual Merchandising at Tiffany & Co. I had admired Rufino's apartment when it was featured in either Elle Decor or House & Garden a few years ago. While the apartment is certainly masculine, the crisp and tailored furniture and the interesting bibelots would, in my opinion, appeal to those with a more feminine decorating style.

Rufino is a natty dresser, and his love of clothing is reflected in his choice of fabrics for his home (plaid and striped menswear fabric). While there are certain "modern" elements to his home, such as the somewhat austere slate fireplace and the sleek and tidy kitchen, he has incorporated rather traditional furnishings to create a home that reflects his style- what he calls "traditional with a twist". I also like that he adds punches of color through his use of brightly colored books and accessories.

And don't you love his simple Christmas decorations? I'm crazy for the Magnolia wreath in front of the fireplace as well as the massive fir and conifer arrangement on the cocktail table. Overall, what an elegant and cozy home!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

2007 Book Releases

As we are approaching the New Year, I thought I would share some upcoming book releases that I am looking forward to (and that I've added to my Amazon wish list!). I guess I need to start saving my pennies!

Jansen Furniture by James Archer Abbott. This Acanthus Press publication is a follow up to this year's release Jansen. From what I've read, it is supposed to be a comprehensive look at the furniture that was designed by this venerable firm. Set to be released in Spring 2007.

The L.A. House by Ruthie Sommers. I am eagerly anticipating this one. I have been a fan of Sommers for sometime, and I am hopeful that this book will include a lot of photos of her work. March 2007. Wish I could find out more information on this one.

Jeremiah: A Romantic Vision. This was supposed to be released at the end of 2006, but now it looks like it will be early 2007. The definitive work about painter Jeremiah Goodman, best known for his paintings of interiors. See my post from a few weeks ago.

The Decoration of Houses byEdith Wharton and Ogden Codman. Although this is obviously a reprint of this 1897 work, it is still the "must-have" work for all design libraries. I don't yet own a copy, so I'll be sure to purchase this edition. Spring 2007.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

For The Decorator Who Has Everything...

If you're scratching your head trying to figure out what to get your favorite decorator for Christmas, why not give him or her a set of these kitschy curtain-themed glasses? Available through Stripe on, the set of seven glasses are decorated with a curtain theme and have images of curtain rods, finials, and tiebacks on them. Tacky? Maybe. Unique? Definitely!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Jeremiah Goodman

Jeremiah Goodman is considered to be one of the finest illustrators of interiors. Known for his watercolors and gouaches, Goodman made a name for himself with his interior renderings for decorators, celebrities, and Lord & Taylor. Goodman has painted the rooms of Billy Baldwin, Michael Taylor, Diana Vreeland, and Greta Garbo.

Now in his eighties, Goodman is finally getting the recognition that he so deserves. There is a new book, Jeremiah: A Romantic Vision, which is a compilation of some of his finest works. Coinciding with the release of this publication, there is also an exhibit of his works at Bergdorf Goodman (through December 31).

I found a few images of his work on the internet. The first work is "Tearoom at the Colony Club, by Elsie de Wolfe", which was painted in 1985. The second painting is "Jeremiah Goodman's East Hampton Living Room" (1967).

A few years ago, I was able to acquire two paintings that I believe were done by Goodman (Goodman always signed his paintings using his first name- Jeremiah- only). They are very simple renderings when compared to those above. As he did illustrations for Lord and Taylor catalogues and advertisements, I wonder if that might have been the purpose of my Goodmans?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Chinoiserie Redux

After writing my post from yesterday on the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, I decided to search the web for contemporary Chinoiserie design. What I found was a profusion of fabric, wallcoverings, furniture, and tabletop items that incorporate this classic style. Here's a little of what I found, and hopefully it will inspire you to create your own Royal Pavilion!

Source Perrier is a great source of traditional and affordable furniture and accessories. They have many Chinese inspired items, but my two favorites are the Red Chinoiserie Mirror and the Chinese Porcelain Figures.

Clarence House has many Chinoiserie fabrics and wallcoverings. Why not make a few throw pillows in their "Fete d'Orient" pattern for a little Chinese chic?

For an authentic Royal Pavilion feel, why not wallpaper a foyer in Zuber's aptly named "Brighton" wallcovering?

Charles Edwards has a plethora of fabulous lights, lamps, and lanterns. Their pagoda lantern would be add just the right touch to that Zuber papered foyer!

And for a bit of casual Chinoiserie, Williams Sonoma Home has a great bamboo style chair that would be perfect in the oxblood finish.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Royal Pavilion at Brighton

On my recent trip to England, I was able to spend the day in Brighton visiting the Royal Pavilion. To be able to see this Chinoiserie fantasy up close was a dream come true.

Built by George IV, the Royal Pavilion was initially a smaller, neoclassical style structure designed by Henry Holland. About thirty years later (in 1815), John Nash was hired to expand the home into its current incarnation- an Indian style palace characterized by onion domes and minarets.

While the exterior is awe-inspiring, it is the interiors, in my opinion, that make the Pavilion most remarkable. The Banqueting Room is a mesmerizing mix of Chinese (or at least a British interpretation of) elements- fretwork wall covering, gilt dragons, and Chinese inspired murals. This ostentatious display is continued in the Music Room, which is also decorated in a similar style and is grandly topped by a gilt capiz shell dome.

What I was taken with is that many of the rooms seem so current. I could see taking certain elements of the decor- perhaps the Chinese style wallcoverings and the Regency furniture- and using them in a contemporary setting. I think this is why the Royal Pavilion continues to inspire and fascinate designers today.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mary McDonald's Website

Mary McDonald is a decorator whose work I've admired for a few years. I had spent some time trying to find her website, and after a lot of searching, I finally found it (it's!

I like McDonald's take on traditional style- in her interiors, rooms are glamorous, snappy, and classic. The dining room below is striking in a subtle and sophisticated way. The walls- covered in a vivid green de Gournay hand-painted chinoiserie print- are what really make this room a knock-out.

Her office (seen below) was featured in the Jan/Feb Domino. Here,the look is more movie star glamour. Once again, there are touches of chinoiserie in the desk and lamps (a girl after my own heart!). And the curtains in the pink room add graphic flair.

There is a section on her website entitled Mary McDonald At Home (currently under construction). Perhaps she is designing her own line of furniture and home accessories? I hope so! I definitely think she is an L.A. designer to watch, along with Ruthie Sommers.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Inspiring Room

I was very taken with the article on the home of Christopher Spitzmiller, featured in December's Elle Decor. I have been a fan of Spitzmiller's lamps for years, so it was interesting to see how he chose to decorate his home.

The lacquered yellow walls of the living room create such a vivid backdrop to the room's furnishings. Spitzmiller mentioned that he was inspired by Nancy Lancaster's "buttah yellow" walls and used this as a starting point for the room. He was also influenced by the home of Mr. and Mrs. David Bruce that was decorated by John Fowler (to see a photo of the Bruce's drawing room, see my post from yesterday). Interestingly, Spitzmiller was able to purchase a few pieces that belonged to the Bruces, including two medallions that were painted by George Oakes. Oakes was an employee of Colefax Fowler who painted numerous pieces for John Fowler.

The living room is, in my opinion, very chic-traditional. You can tell that each piece of furniture was chosen with care, and each piece adds something to the overall design. I am also crazy about his bedroom. I love the paisley fabric walls. Very inspiring!

Marc Jacobs for Waterford on has chosen Marc Jacobs' flowerpot vase for Waterford as its item of the week. I like the fact that Jacobs has chosen to reinterpret the humble flowerpot (dish included!) in crystal. It is simple and striking at the same time.

It looks like it comes in three sizes. The small size would be perfect for a single bulb or bloom (as they have suggested). Perhaps the large size might make a stylish and chic cachepot. You could try lining the pot with moss or green waxy leaves for an interesting look.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

John Fowler at the V&A

I recently had the opportunity to travel to London, and at the top of my to-do list was to see the exhibit "John Fowler: Detail in Decoration" at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Although comprising only two rooms, the exhibit was an excellent overview of John Fowler's fifty year career.

For those who may not be familiar with him, John Fowler is best known as the master of the English country look. He began his career as a decorative painter, later branching out into the field of interior design. In 1938, he joined forces with decorator Sybil Colefax to form Colefax and Fowler. Upon Colefax's death, Nancy Lancaster acquired the firm. Fowler learned a great deal from Lancaster, and although their taste was very similar, they tended to have a rather contentious relationship. As has been oft quoted, they were the "unhappiest unmarried couple in England". Fowler left the firm in 1968, and spent his later years advising on the restoration of National Trust houses.

Fowler had a deep interest in document fabrics and wallpapers and began to collect them (later leaving them to the V&A). He reproduced many of the historical patterns that he found, and these figure prominently in his work. One of his favorite document prints was "Berkeley Sprig"- a charming print of a flower against a trellis background. This print has been used in numerous Colefax & Fowler interiors. One of my favorite Fowler fabrics that was featured in the exhibit is a trompe l'oeil pattern of venetian style blinds- he used the fabric for roman shades, an idea that I just may borrow sometime.

One of the most delightful aspects of the exhibit was the display of painted furniture that Fowler either owned or used in his various projects. The painted furniture was rather simple and sometimes rustic but was thoroughly enchanting and contributed greatly to this English country look.

No exhibit on Fowler would be complete without including photos of some of his best-known rooms. Fowler's work for Mrs. David Bruce is legendary, especially his work on her London drawing room. Note the elaborate curtains, which are another hallmark of Fowler's design.

And of course, I couldn't leave out the famous yellow drawing room at Colefax and Fowler's shop/offices on Brook St. A collaboration between Fowler and Lancaster, this room ranks as one of the most iconic rooms in the history of interior design.