Monday, November 23, 2015

A Few Book Recommendations, for Your Holiday Enjoyment or Gift-Giving

At Home in the Garden by Carolyne Roehm (Potter Style. Images © Carolyne Roehm)

I feel fairly certain that by now, you're quite familiar with Roehm's latest book, which has received accolades the blogosphere over.  Nevertheless, I'd like to add my voice to the chorus so that I, too, can sing this book's praises.  With dreamy photos of Roehm's extensive property, its lush and colorful flowers, and the well-set tables that often grace it, this is the kind of book in which one revels.  Reading it is bliss, a chance to lose oneself in a landscape that this high-rise dweller finds enviable.  And having recently attended two of Roehm's speaking engagements, I can say that the author is just as engaging as her books.

Once Upon a Pillow by Rebecca Vizard (Pointed Leaf Press. Photos by Antoine Bootz.)

This book was such a treat for me to read, partially because I know Becky Vizard and admire her and her work immensely.  But even if you don't know Vizard, or if you're not familiar with her exquisitely designed pillows that feature antique textile embellishments, I think you'll find her story and her work fascinating.  The book takes the reader on a journey to Vizard's home in rural Louisiana.  That alone is something that many readers might be surprised to learn, likely expecting this textile-collector and pillow-designer to live somewhere more cosmopolitan.  But as we Southerners know, sophistication and creativity often thrive in some unexpected places in the South- and that's what makes Becky's story, and this book, so compelling.  (It also explains why Becky is such a nice, down-to-earth person.) 

Once Upon a Pillow features numerous photos of Becky's home and the poetic landscape that surrounds it, but the heart of this book is the antique textiles that fuel Becky's creativity.  You'll find interesting chapters on the various categories of textiles that make up Becky's working collection, including Ecclesiastical needlework, Suzanis, and Fortuny fabrics.  The book's added bonus is the photos of Vizard's pillows as they appear in the homes of her ardent fans, which include a number of well-respected designers.

Decorating with Carpets: A Fine Foundation by Ashley Stark Kenner and Chad Stark with Heather Smith MacIsaac (The Vendome Press; Photo credits: #1 and #3 Eric Piasecki/OTTO; #2 Christopher Sturman/ Trunk Archive)

Typically, I'm not a fan of books that feature previously-published photos.  However, I gladly make an exception for this tome, whose photos capture a range of delectably-decorated interiors, all done by top-notch designers.  Perhaps these photos feel new to me because the emphasis here is, naturally, the rooms' Stark carpets.  The authors make a strong case for the versatility of their floor coverings, showing the reader how they can beautifully transform both contemporary and traditional interiors.  And if you're like me and appreciate Stark for its notable history, then you will likely find this book a worthy addition to your library.

The House of Thurn und Taxis (© House of Thurn und Taxis, Skira Rizzoli, 2015. Images © Todd Eberle.)

I was first introduced to Princess Gloria Thurn und Taxis by W Magazine, whose 1980s-era issues (which, as a teenager, I read religiously) were filled with the exploits of the party princess, then known as Princess TNT. Times have changed, and Thurn und Taxis has calmed down considerably, now devoting much of her attention to the Catholic Church. But that's beside the point, because this lavish book focuses not so much on the princess herself, but rather her late husband's family home, Regensberg Palace of St. Emmeram, Germany. What makes Schloss St. Emmeram so memorable is its glorious architecture, which includes examples of the Romanesque-Gothic, Rococo, and Baroque styles.  But what many laud is Thurn und Taxis' contemporary art collection, which provides a striking-to-some contrast to the palace's regal architecture.  I'm not a fan of much this art collection, but that does not diminish my enthusiasm for this book.  The photos of the myriad rooms of St. Emmeram are gorgeous, making this book a dazzling read.

The Isabel O'Neil Studio Workshop Silver Anniversary Holiday Sale

The Isabel O'Neil Studio Workshop will host its annual Holiday Sale next Tuesday, December 1, from 5-8 p.m. at 3 West Club. The silver anniversary of this much-loved event, the Holiday Sale features the work of the studio's talented artisans. Featured items in this year's sale include hand-painted boxes, frames, and furniture.  This is a wonderful opportunity to buy unique objects in a variety of painted finishes, not to mention you'll also help support this important studio, which keeps the art of the painted finish alive.

For more information, please visit the Isabel O'Neil Studio website.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Surrealism at Schiaparelli

Last week, while sifting through my over-flowing box of article clippings, I found a 2013 AD France article, which I meant to feature on my blog two years ago.  The article, which shows the then-newly furbished Maison Schiaparelli, is still relevant, for in my opinion, Surrealism and Forties furniture never go out of style.

Located at 21 Place Vendome, where Elsa Schiaparelli's original salon was housed, Maison Schiaparelli caused great excitement in 2013, when, after a sixty-year hiatus, it reopened under new ownership.  (Its first haute-couture collection was designed by Christian Lacroix, while subsequent collections were designed by Marco Zanini and, most recently, Bertrand Guyon.)  Maximally decorated with all kinds of eccentric-yet-chic flourishes, the house embodies the flair of its namesake, not to mention her well-documented passion for Surrealist design. Forties-era furniture makes appearances in the salon, as do vintage rugs, including a striking one by Andre Arbus, and illustrations by Vertès and Léonor Fini.  Vincent Darré is responsible for much of the new Surrealist and Dadaist-style furniture, while Pierre Le-Tan's wonderful trompe l'oeil decorations grace a number of rooms.

The only thing really missing from these interiors is a healthy dose of Shocking Pink, Schiaparelli's signature shade of fuchsia.  But if Elsa Schiaparelli were alive today, I feel certain that she would be in her element in these sophisticated and slightly-madcap surroundings.

Image at top: The Entry Hall, with its Forties-era banquette, Maison Darré rug, and chair that was once owned by Madeleine Castaing.

Farida Khelfa, Schiaparelli's brand ambassador, stands next to Hippocampe, Maison Darré's sculpted wood and glass table, upon which a thirties-era bust of Anna Pavlova rests.  A pair of Maison Darré sconces flank an antique Venetian mirror.

The Grand Salon.  The 1940s-era rug is by Arbus, while much of the furniture hails from that same decade. 

In the salon, trompe l'oeil-painted walls are reminiscent of work by Christian Berard, while the bookshelves are also decorated with trompe l'oeil accents by Pierre Le-Tan.  The canapé is Jansen, and the mirror above it was purchased at the Yves Saint Laurent sale in 2009.

Also in the Salon is A'tiroir écrevisse, a lobster-like cabinet by Maison Darré. Both the chairs and curtains are from the 1940s.

A rug by Fernand Léger for Aubusson appears in the dining room.  The chairs are by Gio Ponti, and the dining table is by Maison Darré.

Finally, the office of Farida Khelfa. Around the Seventies-era desk are chairs by Poul Volther and Franco Albini.

All photos from AD France, April 2013, Alexis Armanet photographer.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Vive La France

Early last Friday, I wrote a blog post about a Parisian house, and I had intended to feature it on my website today.  But hours after writing that article, I was horrified to learn of the brutal and senseless terrorist attacks that took place in Paris.  In light of these events, I have chosen not feature that post today.  Rather, I want to express my deepest sympathy to the families of the victims and my solidarity with the French people.

Friday, November 13, 2015

New Vintage Fabrics from Mary Jane McCarty

Some of you longtime readers might remember my post in which I featured the antique-textile pillows that were hand-crafted by Mary Jane McCarty.  Those who are in the know- or who shop at Bergdorf Goodman, where the pillows are sold- covet McCarty's handiwork both for its charm and its emphasis on antique and vintage fabrics.

Well, McCarty's love of antique textiles has blossomed once again.  McCarty recently introduced her New Vintage Collection, a fabric collection whose prints are based on the designer's trove of archival textiles.  Available to the trade and printed to order, the cotton fabrics, which were designed by McCarty, might be new, but their spirit evokes the past.  Patterns include indiennes, tropical motifs, and scenes of architectural ruins and even harems.  But the fabric that especially strikes my fancy is Ming Urn, whose urn-flanked windows I find so delightful.

While the fabrics are sold to the trade, McCarty's New Vintage pillows and custom-order lamp shades are available to all customers.  To see the entire range, or for information on ordering fabrics or accessories, please visit McCarty's website, where I think you'll find that McCarty's passion for antique textiles is infectious!

Ming Urn in Sepia

Columns in Indigo

Harem in Plum

Indiennes in Slate/Multi

Jungle Parrots in Teal

Tropic Leaves in Oxblood

Avignon Stripe in Coco