Friday, November 30, 2007

Jeremiah Goodman at Belvedere

Last night was a big night in Atlanta- our resident design maven Julia-Carr Bayler hosted a wonderful party at her store Belvedere to celebrate the recent release of interior illustrator Jeremiah Goodman's book. Not only was it a thrill to see his magnificent paintings in person, but it was even more exciting to get to meet the legend himself. Mr. Goodman, who looked quite dashing in his bow-tie, was extremely gracious and charming. I know I'm gushing, but I can't help myself. I've admired his work for so long that it was a real honor to get to talk to him.

If you're in Atlanta you should try to stop by Belvedere today to view the exhibition of his paintings. Works include the rooms of Diana Vreeland, the Duchess of Windsor, Rose Cumming, and Cecil Beaton. Or, visit 1st dibs for an opportunity to purchase one of Mr. Goodman's paintings.

(For those who visit the shop in person also be sure to check out Justin Giunta's Subversive Jewelry line as well as his paintings, also available on 1st dibs. The baubles would be a perfect holiday gift- to receive, of course!).

Image at top: "Diana Vreeland, Living Room" (aka Garden in Hell) by Jeremiah Goodman. Available for purchase from Belvedere/1st dibs

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Markham Roberts Laboratory

I must admit that I love to see the homes of designers, especially those I admire. Perhaps it's the snoop in me?? But seriously, I think that many designers use their homes as laboratories- places where they can experiment and, more importantly, where they can take the design risks that their clients may be afraid of.

I was excited to see Markham Roberts' apartment in the December issue of Domino (it's a big month for Markham- one of his projects is also featured in the December issue of House Beautiful). Roberts' home has that classic, masculine vibe that would still be appealing to a female (at least it is to me!). And, the best part is that you can see what books and accessories that he has in his home... just the voyeur in me talking!

A shot of Roberts' stylish and practical study.

I had to include a photo of his bedroom for you suzani fans out there.

(Photographs by Paul Costello)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sticking with What You Love

I think that each and every one of us has one
design-related thing that we return to over and over again. For me, it's Chinoiserie. For others, it might be toile, floral prints, or painting a room chocolate brown. "It" (whatever that may be) is a reflection of our personal style and is something that we should embrace.

For Caroline Herrera Jr., it is ticking, particularly that by Ian Mankin, that is her love. Luckily for Herrera, ticking is classic, chic, and easy to work with. Still, this fabric is a common thread throughout her homes. In the image above (
Domino, Spring/Summer '05), Herrera has chosen a beautiful Mankin striped print in soft shades of red to give her Madrid bedroom a feeling of coziness.

The same Mankin print is also found on a Louis XVI sofa at her country home in Extremadura, Spain (featured in
Vogue Living, Fall/Winter 2007).

And another Mankin ticking on a Spanish Empire daybed

And ticking is not only loved by Herrera Jr., but by her mother as well. Here it is in a pretty shade of blue in Caroline Herrera's Manhattan sitting room (Domino, Sept '06)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Let's Have a Party!

Recipe for a Fantasy Party:

Start with one of these:

Flat canopy tent from Raj Tent Club

To it, add one Madeline Weinrib rug:

Mandala Red and White rug by Madeline Weinrib

For a little comfort, add a heavy dose of pillows:

Winter Garden pillows by John Robshaw

Create a little mood lighting:

White Lantern from The Conran Shop

This is not the time for plastic plates and glassware:

Red etched tumblers from Global Table

Hermes Balcon plates

Why not add a little furniture:

Moroccan tables from Hollyhock

Ottoman from Ankasa

Don't forget about your party attire:

Mudra Silk Brocade Shawls from Passion for India

Mix the above, add a dash of adventure, and enjoy!

Friday, November 23, 2007

A VERY Happy Holiday from Charlotte Moss

Some of my favorite holiday gifts are those that are a collection of related items- think Fortnum & Mason gift hampers or Chanel no. 5 fragrance sets. They are a great way to experience the best of the best from these retail establishments. So I was excited to see that the Townhouse has put together very stylish gift boxes filled with all types of luxurious items. Whether it is an array of linens for a hostess, a library of design books, or an assortment of chic stationery, the collections all reflect Charlotte Moss' sense of style and flair. I also read that Moss' team will assemble a custom design/lifestyle library which is certainly a gift that one would never forget! And for those of you who want to treat yourself during this frenetic time of year? What about a charm bracelet or key ring with Moss' now iconic pagoda motif!

One of my favorites: The Stylish Desk, includes some of those wonderful notepads and pencils with witty quotations, post-it notes with Moss' pagoda motif, a weekly planner, and other fun desk items.

The Elegant Hostess- includes four hand-embroidered Valombreuse linen napkins, placemats, and guest towels. Your choice of twenty different embroidered designs- lily of the valley, daisy, orangerie, etc.

The Complete Decorator- Have someone on your list who is just starting to assemble a design library? What about giving this collection of books by Moss?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you! I hope you have a wonderful holiday. I thank you for your continued support and your always insightful comments.

And at this time when we're giving thanks, let's not forget those who are less fortunate. In the spirit of the season, I'd like to mention that House Beautiful will be auctioning off a Christmas tree with all "101 Best Christmas Ornaments" that are featured in the December issue. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Rebuilding Together New Orleans- a very worthwhile cause for a city that is so important to the history and culture of our country.

The auction, to be held online via Ebay's charity auction site, will begin on Friday, November 30 with bidding ending on December 10. Visit House Beautiful's website for more information on how to bid.

(Image at top courtesy of Conde Nast)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Latest and Greatest Fabrics and Trims

Houlès Trim

The devil is in the detail... but in this case the detail is divine! I've met very few trims that I didn't like, but Houlès, for me, is the ultimate. Is it the firm' s history? The fact that it is French? Perhaps it's the amazing beauty and craftsmanship. I'm particularly taken with their new Beaugency collection. I think the shapes are exquisite and modern. These are not your grandmother's tassels and trims. I also love this particular colorway- the purple and yellow look so rich together. The nice thing about many of Houlès' trims is that they're fresh looking, both in color and design. They would look great with the most traditional or contemporary of fabrics.

John Stefanidis Fabrics

I've long admired the elegant and timeless interiors of London based designer John Stefanidis. But why was his fabric line not on my radar? The gorgeous fabrics, made primarily of cotton and silks, have such rich prints. And, while many of the prints are inspired by antique prints and textiles, they seem very "right now" to me.

"Chinese Clouds" in Cobalt

"Puccini" in terracotta and blue

"Josephine" in red and gold

"Jaisilmir" in Charcoal

Monday, November 19, 2007

Turkish Tents

After reading and posting last week about the Turkish tent inspired room designed by Renzo Mongiardino, I decided to learn more about these exotic structures. So, here is a *brief* history lesson (and I don't think you'll need that shot of espresso to get through this!).

The early Turks were a nomadic people who lived in ornate tents that were derived from yurts. This choice of abode later influenced the Ottoman armies, which were known for traveling with elaborate war tents. As the Ottoman empire expanded, and as their wealth grew, the tents became even more intricate and were often influenced by Byzantine and Persian designs. Many of them were quite luxurious (especially those built for the sultans) with elaborate fabric hangings and furnishings inside. Fortunately for us a few of these Ottoman tents survive, such as that at Wawel Royal Castle in Krakow.

In time, the exoticism and ornateness of these tents became a source of inspiration for the design of garden follies across Europe. One of the most famous is that built around 1760 at Painshill Park, Surrey, England. This tent was actually a quite sturdy structure with a brick floor, partial brick walls, and a wooden dome which supported the painted canvas. Although the original structure disappeared in the 19th c., it has now been rebuilt based on Henry Keene's original designs. Other Turkish tent inspired structures are also found at a few of the Swedish royal palaces.

Besides being an interesting history lesson, I think it is fascinating to see how these tents have inspired people through the ages. No, not many people are inclined to build a garden folly (although I wish more people would), and yes, the idea of that much fabric in one room (like Mongiardino's tented room) may intimidate some people. But there are so many other ways in which these relics of the past can influence us. Perhaps in our choice of textiles, or our use of color, or even the way we might apply a certain decorative motif. Sometimes, if we open our eyes and our minds, we can really be inspired by some of the most wonderful, and historical, things.

An authentic Turkish tent from the first half of the 17th c. It was a spoil of war from the Ottoman defeat at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. Now part of the textile collection at Wawel Royal Castle in Krakow, Poland.

Henry Keene's design for a Turkish Tent at Painshill Park, Surrey, c. 1760 (the drawing is part of the collection of the Victoria and Albert)

The restored and rebuilt Turkish Tent at Painshill Park (photographer Antony McCallum)

The Palace Guard's tent at Drottningholm Palace Park, Sweden. Built in the second half of the 18th c. (dates vary on the internet), the structure is made of painted copper.

Another copper, Turkish inspired tent at Haga Park, Sweden. It was built in 1787 to house both stables and guards.

I don't know if these tents, designed in 1971 by Maison Jansen for the celebration of the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of Persia, were inspired by Turkish tents, but this was a modern, luxurious, and glamorous treatment of temporary tent living. (Images from Jansen by James Archer Abbott, Acanthus Press).

Image at top: Franz Geffels painted "Battle of Vienna 1683" to depict the bloody battle. Notice the Turkish tents present.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Revisiting the Past

I was going back through some of my older posts last night, and I reread the very first post that I ever published back in September 2006. Back then, I think I had two readers (both family members) and I had to deal with the disappointment of having zero comments! I still love this post, though, because it's so interesting to see how certain decorative motifs that were popular back in the 1930s are still considered to be stylish and chic today.

Like I usually say when I feature images of vintage rooms, there are certain elements in the rooms below that are dated. And, both of the rooms have a lot going on in them. Still, there is an exuberance in both rooms that make them fun and spirited.

So, for those of you who weren't reading my blog back then (I think that would be 99% of you!), I thought I would feature this oldie but goodie again.

I was recently looking through some vintage issues of House and Garden from 1936. I was struck by how modern and vibrant the rooms were, especially considering that they were designed 70 years ago! The above picture was from an ad for Armstrong Linoleum floors. Linoleum was then considered the height of chic. I love the Chinoiserie elements of the room- the Chinese red console and wall brackets, the Chinese Chippendale banister, the blanc de Chine porcelain figures, and the gold Pagoda mounted to the wall. And if that wasn't enough, the designer added a Greek key motif to the mix.

Check out another Armstrong ad below- I love the plaster palm fronds on the wall- very Elsie de Wolfe! And don't you think the white dining chairs with apple green satin upholstery is very au courant?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Excellent Advice from Bunny Williams

I recently read an article (New York Times, I think) about Bunny Williams and her new book Bunny Williams' Point of View. In it, Williams said that people should visit the crème de la crème of antiques and furniture stores in order to train one's eye. The merchandise may completely be out of your price range, but you're getting an education while you're browsing. I think Williams is quite right.

One website that I like to visit from time to time is that of Kentshire Galleries, the venerable English antique shop located in Manhattan. Of course there are no prices listed, only colored dots by the item that indicate a general price range ($10,000 and below, $10,000 to $50,000, and $50,000 and up). Yes, the dots can be a little intimidating, but just to be able to look through such a wonderful assortment of furniture, porcelain, and accessories- it's a virtual feast for the eye and the mind. And the great thing about this whole process is that when I do see something that I like in a local antiques shop that is in my price range, I will be ready to buy with confidence.

A pair of Chinese Quing Dynasty cloisonne elephants, c. late 18thc- 19th c.)

Pair of Italian Painted Nubian Pedestals, c. 1790

Pair of Art Deco glass and bronze screens, c. 1910

Pair of Regency faux painted bamboo benches, c. 1810

Pair of George III Adam brackets, c. 1770

Image at top: Regency Gilded and Faux Marble Chiffonier, c. 1805

(All images courtesy of Kentshire Galleries)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Glorious, Glossy Red

I recently came across this image above in my copious amount of tear sheets, and I quickly remembered why I tore it out. From an old issue of House & Garden, this vignette is so chic, so glamorous, so Asian, and so perfect! But what really makes this image so striking is the glossiness of everything- nothing to me is richer looking than a high gloss, high sheen red.

I was trying to figure out how to incorporate this shot into a post, and lo and behold I found this dining room in the December issue of
Elle Decor. Designed by Brian McCarthy, this shiny red room is reminiscent of my favorite vignette, no? The walls are so glossy they almost look wet! Not to mention that fabulous mirrored door in the corner- yet more sparkle. And because the entire apartment is a feast for the eyes, I'm also including a shot of the elegant and au courant living room too. You can't have too much of a good thing!

(Top image courtesy of House & Garden. Bottom two images from the December issue of Elle Decor; photographer William Waldron)