Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Remember This One?

Let's rehash an oldie but goodie- the New York apartment of Jeff Pfeifle, former president of J. Crew, and his partner Adam Mahr. I was reminded of the fabulous apartment, featured in the December 2006 issue of House & Garden, when I saw Pfeifle's photo on New York Social Diary the other day. Now, you might think that I was taken with the home because of the children of the house (see above), children who bear a striking resemblance to Alfie. Well, perhaps it swayed me a bit, but really, the home is downright chic. Starting with...

...the tented entryway. Did someone say tented? I think perhaps that's what hooked me.

Or perhaps it was the good old-fashioned dining room that is anything but old-fashioned.

The guest bedroom? Yep, like that one too.

And the telephone room? Why, it pushed me over the edge. Time to dial 9-1-1.

(All images from House & Garden, December 2006; Hugh Stewart photographer)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mad for Marion

Thanks to the non-drowsy decongestant I've been taking all weekend, I've been a little too revved-up to sleep. A little annoying, but on the bright side, I've redecorated my apartment...at least, in my mind. I've decided that I need a small rug in my dressing room. I already have a nice wool, Wilton weave carpet in there right now (I'm a big fan of wall-to-wall carpet in bedrooms, closets, and dressing areas), but I think a throw rug would add some zip to the space. After all, a minimalist wardrobe, though chic on the body, is too subtle to do much in the way of decoration.

So what would be perfect in my dressing area is a Marion Dorn rug. I mean, if you're going to daydream, you might as well shoot for the stars. It would certainly be in keeping with the loose 1930s look that I'm going for. And if they were good enough for Syrie Maugham and Frances Elkins- both fans of Dorn's work- they are more than good enough for me.

(Speaking of Maugham, don't forget that Pauline Metcalfe's much anticipated book, Syrie Maugham, is being released in a few weeks. Look for a review here soon.)

This Dorn rug, c. 1930, was sold at Christie's for around $4300. The pale tones would be perfect for my room's color scheme of pinks, grays, and creams. The zig-zag design is reminiscent of the Dorn rug in Mrs. Celia Tobin Clark's bedroom (c. 1929-31; seen at the top of this post), a room decorated by Syrie Maugham.

Frances Elkins chose this beige and off-white Dorn rug for the bedroom of Ruth Winslow. The rug was a nice modern counterpoint to the traditional French floral chintz.

How chic was the Lounge at Claridge's Hotel, c. 1930? Decorated by Oswald Milne, the space was a combination of Art Deco and Modernist decor. The black and cream geometric patterned rug was, yes, by Dorn.

Another stylish room decorated by Maugham, this time the London drawing room of Mr. Robin Wilson. I wonder if that was a Dorn designed rug?

This Dorn work is/was available at a rug dealer in Paris.

Not quite the right colors for my dressing area, but this Dorn rug- auctioned off by Sotheby's- is certainly enchanting.

(Clark image from David Adler, Architect: The Elements of Style, Martha Thorne editor; Elkins image from Frances Elkins: Interior Design by Stephen Salny. Claridge's photo from Martin Battersby's The Decorative Thirties; Wilson drawing room photo from The Great Lady Decorators: The Women Who Defined Interior Design, 1870-1955 by Adam Lewis.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cooling Effects

After every walk that we take during the hot summer, Alfie marches inside my apartment and immediately collapses on my entryway's tile floor. I don't blame him; it's such a quick and easy way to cool off. This summer has been so hot and muggy that there have been times when I have considered lying down on the tile floor as well, although a modicum of decency has prevented me from doing so. But, there really is something appealing right now about things that are cool to the touch. To me, that usually translates to ceramic or porcelain and white, of course.

Like this 1930s French Patisserie Table from Soane Antiques. It's the perfect size for Alfie! Seriously though, I am charmed by this table.

In terms of garden stools, this drapery and tassel version is completely unexpected. (from Palm Beach Antique & Design Center.)

Who knew that firewood could be so cool? It is when it's made of bisque porcelain. (Still Life Logs from Klein Reid)

How cool are these ceramic wall brackets? (from Dixon Lane Antiques)

Just wanted to see if you were paying attention (Ceramic turkey from Kirk Albert Vintage Furnishings)

A little blue is perfectly acceptable, especially when it's on a table as terrific as this. (from Carlos de la Puente Antiques)

And finally, if I had a floor made of this Barbara Barry tile for Ann Sacks, I suspect Alfie and I would be fighting for space on the floor.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Inside "Inside Design"

I'm feverishly working on an article right now, so I'm going to rely upon Michael Greer to carry this post. You remember Michael...his 1962 book was on my top ten book list last week. For some, the mention of Greer's name prompted a walk down memory lane, while for others, his work was entirely new.

His book,
Inside Design, is chock full of practical design advice that still holds true today. And the photos of his work that accompany the text? Well, truth be told, a little of it is dated. Most people just don't live like that anymore. But to me, that's beside the point. He had a well-honed sense of color, a predilection for decorative flourishes, and a way with curtains and valances. Sounds okay to me.

Decorative painting and trompe l'oeil were seen often in a Michael Greer interior.

According to a very knowledgeable reader of mine, this is the living room of Charlton Heston. Yes, the man who starred in "Planet of the Apes" had curtains made from one of our favorite Pierre Frey prints.

Here's the dated look that I was talking about. Still, there's an interesting use of color here. And see what I mean about those valances?

How I wish this were my terrace.

A masculine, restrained, and symmetrical composition.

Love that royal blue screen.

Greer used this photo to demonstrate his use of vinyl tile flooring. I'm starting to rethink vinyl...

(Top photo by Jennifer Boles. Remaining images from Inside Design by Michael Greer.)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What's in My Library- Jennifer Boles

Blogging is a funny thing. Some weeks, the ideas for posts come to me so quickly and easily. Billy Baldwin! Chinoiserie valances! The Duchess of Windsor made the fruit and cheese pick hors d'oeuvres popular! It all comes to me just like that.

And then there are those weeks where there's nothing. Well, not nothing, but the ideas are S-L-O-W to percolate. Those are the weeks during which I sweat bullets, mindlessly tapping on my keyboard while listening to the tick-tock of my sunburst clock. Just what am I going to write about?

Well, this week has been a little in-between. I have been thinking about my "What's in Their Library" series which has been dormant as of late. No reason for that other than the fact that I've been focused on other things. So, perhaps in a fit of hubris or even desperation, I have decided to post my top ten list of books. Does anyone care? Maybe yes, maybe no, but hey- it's a post during a week when my creativity is flagging just a bit. How's that for honesty?

PS- I have many more favorites than this, including books on Parish-Hadley, Albert Hadley, Sister Parish, David Hicks, etc, etc. I tried to pick some that haven't appeared on other lists.

Decorating Is Fun!: How to be Your Own Decorator by Dorothy Draper. I just had to start with this one. I know, it's a favorite of most designers, but there's a reason for it- Draper's enthusiasm for solving design dilemmas is infectious. I credit Dorothy with starting me down this odd yet completely fulfilling path of design, books, and blogging. And yes, I really do have three copies.

Tiffany Table Settings. The very first vintage book that I ever bought. Amongst the lavish table settings created by the likes of Diana Vreeland, Babe Paley, William Pahlmann, and Billy Baldwin, there is enough inspiration there to see you through decades of entertaining. You will want to host a dinner party after reading this.

Van Day Truex: The Man Who Defined Twentieth-Century Taste and Style by Adam Lewis. If you've always wondered what all of the fuss about Van Day Truex is about, read this book. Not only will you want to copy Truex's style and hunt down his discontinued Tiffany & Co. designs, you will understand the value of an education on antiques, design history, architecture, and good taste. After all, the late Tiffany & Co. design director was once a teacher with Parsons.

Inside Design by Michael Greer. Poor Michael Greer. He was considered to be one of the top decorators during the mid-20th c. His style was elegant, refined, a little fancy, and very much in keeping with the times. But it was, unfortunately, the way in which he died (murdered and found with a red sash binding his feet) that most people remember him by. Look at the photos of his work, found throughout the book, and you'll forget all about his sad demise- for a little while, at least.

Tiffany Taste and The New Tiffany Table Settings, both by John Loring. More Tiffany books on the list? Well, I do write about them ad nauseam. It's a toss up as to which one is my favorite, but these two are, I believe, some of the best of the series.

The Finest Rooms in France. Everything that you wanted to know about French design- but were afraid to ask the French. I think that the tattered cover says it all. I refer to this book all of the time.

Manhattan Style by John Esten, Rose Bennett Gilbert, and George Chinsee. Any book with photos of Stanley Barrows' apartment in it is a favorite of mine. Work by Tom Britt, Kevin McNamara, Zajac and Callahan, John Saladino, and Angelo Donghia are also featured.

Food For Beauty by Helena Rubinstein. This book is the wild card addition to my list. Zurich Nut Bread, anybody?

The Duke And Duchess Of Windsor. Sale 7000. The Public Collections. The Private Collections., 3 volume set from the 1997 Sotheby's auction. Not quite a book, but much more than an auction catalogue.

The Decorative Twenties and The Decorative Thirties by Martin Battersby. A great resource for info on furniture, pottery, fabrics, interiors, fashion, and the decorative arts of the 1920s and 30s.