Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My Idea of Real Comfort Is...

I recently found a fun 1980 House & Garden article in which top designers were asked to define comfort. Not surprisingly, most designers linked comfort to comfortable seating, including Billy Baldwin, whose Nantucket bed-sitting room, seen above, exemplified the designer's notion that comfort is "a first-class upholstered chair and everything within easy reach."

Designer Robert Lewis, with whom I'm not familiar, also believed comfort involved a well-upholstered chair, but comfort was atmospheric, too: "Wonderful fabric, herbs, flowers, good music- a place to unwind."

For Michael Taylor, comfort was "a seating arrangement that really works."  One such successful arrangement can be seen here, on Taylor's own terrace.  The wicker furniture was also designed by Taylor.

I agree wholeheartedly with William Hodgins' thoughts on comfort: "A casual stuffed sofa and a good mystery book."  I could easily relax- and read mystery novels- in this room designed by Hodgins.

No surprise that Denning and Fourcade showed rather elaborate upholstered chairs to illustrate comfort.  For Denning, it was "a chair where you can slump, put your feet up and make a telephone call," while Fourcade called for "a chair that you can sink into so that it completely enfolds you."

"Easy-to-move extra chairs that make your furniture arrangement flexible," said designer John Dickinson.  Such an important design consideration, and one that Dickinson acknowledged in his San Francisco home, above.

For Mario Buatta, comfort was linked with scent.  "A good piece of furniture, with pillows to rest your feet on- and a wonderful fragrance in the air."  In this photo of Buatta's home, you will find Freesia, potpourri, and pomander balls on the table next to the fireplace.

For Bob Patino, comfort was a soak in a "large deep tub full of hot water."

And finally, for Sister Parish, comfort meant "a room where one can relax and have tea with friends," something which, by the looks of it, she could do easily in her bedroom.

All photos from House & Garden, February 1980.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Veere Grenney for Schumacher

London-based designer Veere Grenney recently visited Atlanta to introduce his second collection for Schumacher.  While I knew that he was immensely talented (I've long been an admirer of his work), I was delighted to discover that he is immensely charming as well.

Grenney's latest collection of linen fabrics and wallcoverings comes in such a pleasing color palette: soft shades of sage, straw, and lilac, for example, joined by more robust hues of burnt orange, berber brown, and peacock blue.  But, hands down, my favorite color in the collection is Temple Pink, which has to be the most perfect shade of pink.  Not too sweet nor feminine, this mature version of pink also graces the drawing room walls of Grenney's eighteenth-century, Palladian-style temple folly, which has garnered accolades far and wide because of its architecture, its decor, and those splendid Temple Pink drawing room walls.

Equally as enticing are the collection's sophisticated prints.  In a world where screaming for attention has become the norm, it's refreshing to see a collection of small-scaled prints that are subtle yet striking.  But, should you wish to make a bold statement, you can do so thanks to the fact that some of the prints, such as  Belvedere and Kiosk, are available in coordinating fabrics and wallcoverings.

To see the entire range of this collection, please visit the Schumacher website.  And the next time you're in a Schumacher showroom, make sure to peruse the collection in person.  I think you'll be as impressed with it as I am.

Folly linen fabric in Burnt Orange

Folly linen fabric in Temple Pink

Folly wallcovering in Orpington Blue

Temple wallcovering in Berber Brown

Belvedere linen fabric in Peacock Blue

Belvedere wallcovering in Berber Brown

Belvedere wallcovering in Lilac

Berrydown wallcovering in Berber Brown

Burley wallcovering in Peacock Blue

Burley wallcovering in Straw

Ferne Park wallcovering in Sage

Kiosk linen fabric in Orpington Blue

Kiosk linen fabric in Temple Pink

Kiosk wallcovering in Peacock Blue

Pavillion linen fabric in Peacock Blue

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Goodrum House

If you live in Atlanta or have spent any time here, then you're likely familiar with the Goodrum House.  Fondly known as the "Peacock House" (or, at least, it was when I was a child), the 1929 house, located at the corner of West Paces Ferry and Habersham Road, was designed by architect Philip Shutze.  You might remember that I wrote about the house in 2008, when the house was on the market and uncertainty about the house's future ensued.  But, thankfully, the house was purchased by the Watson-Brown Foundation, which has embarked on a major restoration of the house and its gardens.

A few weeks ago, I found these black-and-white photos of the house and its gardens in some 1932 and 1933 issues of House & Garden.  The house was originally decorated by Porter and Porter, which was Atlanta's prominent decorating firm of the day.  Although the house looked more pulled together in 1932 than it did in the 2008 photos, below (taken when the house was on the market after having served as headquarters for the Southern Center for International Studies), you can see that what made the home's interiors so enchanting- the Chinese red Chippendale banister, the dining room's Chinoiserie mural that was painted by Allyn Cox, and the exquisite breakfast room that was painted by Athos Menaboni to resemble a bird cage- have remained intact.

I don't know how the gardens fared over the years, although, like the house, the gardens are currently being restored.  However, I'm really taken with the serpentine walls that appear in the 1933 photos, above.  But really strikes me (and will likely strike those of you who grew up or currently live in the area) is how uninhabited the neighborhood looked back in 1933.  Just look at the road beyond the garden walls; there are no other houses lining this section of the street.  Needless to say, the neighborhood has been heavily developed since that time.

As it appeared in 2008 photos:

The Classics: The Brumby Rocker

Ask most Southerners to name their favorite chair, and they'll likely respond, "A Brumby Rocker, of course." As Southern as sweet tea and monograms, the Brumby Rocker is hands-down the rocker of choice in the South and beyond. And it has been that way for ages, too, because the chair's maker, The Brumby Chair Company, has been making these gracious chairs since 1878, three years after the company was founded. Located in Marietta, Georgia, the company is still being led by the Brumby family, with sisters Anna Brumby and Spain Brumby Gregory at the helm.

What makes these rocking chairs so special is that, first and foremost, they are extremely comfortable. I should know, because I grew up with white Brumby Rockers on my front porch. Believe me, few things in life are as relaxing as rocking back and forth in a Brumby Rocker. The chairs are extremely sturdy, too, thanks to their oak frames and their cane backs and seats, which are tightly woven in a herringbone-pattern. And finally, they are so durable that they seem to last forever. But should your Brumby Rockers need it, the company offers a restoration service, which does wonders on, say, eighty or ninety-year-old Brumby Rockers, ensuring their use for the next hundred years.

There are a number of styles of rockers, including a Baby Rocker for children and a Courting Rocker that is wide enough for a couple or a few small children, but the classic style for which the company is so well-known is the Jumbo Rocker. Although the rockers come in a variety of stains and enamels, I am partial to both the white and the black painted finishes. Both colors give the rockers a polished look that is suited to traditional settings and modern-minded houses alike. And I would be remiss not to mention that the Rockers are well-suited to The White House, too, where President Jimmy Carter assembled a number of Brumby Rockers, which, I assume, reminded him of his home state.

Honestly, I can't think of a better chair in which to set a spell, especially at this time of year and, preferably, with family or friends.  For more information, or to buy your own Brumby Rocker (lucky you), please visit The Brumby Chair Company website.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Blues

Some people consider the color blue as too cold to be welcomed into a comfortable house.  Not so, said Dorothy Draper, who believed that, "Blue can be delicate and yet warm at the same time."  It's a sentiment with which I wholeheartedly agree. Blue, in all of its various guises, is not only my favorite color, it's the essence of my home, making appearances in every room of my apartment, which, I've been told, is warm and inviting.  (Draper also said, "Just as the main theme appears and reappears throughout a symphony, so you can carry one note of color through your whole house to beautiful effect.") Back in 1932 and 1933, the editors of House & Garden were likewise advocates of decorating with blue.  Look at the magazine's color photographs from this time period, and you'll see that blue is notably featured in most of them. In some interior photos, the color permeated a room, such as in the Manhattan living room, seen above and below, of Mrs. Robert A. Lovett.  Mrs. Lovett obviously had a yen for inky blue, because not only did she choose the shade for her living room, she used it in her bathroom as well.  (Seen in the third photograph, the bathroom walls were painted with a mural that shows a colonnaded view of the ocean.)

In other photographs, and in a few illustrations, too, blue appeared as an accent color.  Take, for example, the charming illustration of the living room of Richardson Wright, then editor-in-chief of House & Garden, and his decorator wife, Agnes Foster Wright.  In this room, the Wrights lived beneath a vibrant, bright blue ceiling.  A similar shade can also be seen in the illustration of Condé Nast's paragon-of-chic ballroom, where Elsie de Wolfe chose an 18th-century Chinese wallpaper with a splash of refreshing blue.

But perhaps no photo captures the beauty of blue better than the Edward Steichen photograph, seen below, which shows a woman seemingly enraptured by the blue Delphiniums that grew in Steichen's garden.  I understand the way that woman felt, because the spectrum of blues always dazzles me, too. 

The three photos above show the Manhattan apartment of Mrs. Robert A. Lovett, who decorated her home.

A photo by Edward Steichen, which was taken in his garden.

This illustration shows the living room of Richardson and Agnes Foster Wright.

An illustration of Condé Nast's ballroom.

All images from various 1932 and 1933 issues of House & Garden