Wednesday, September 12, 2007

And Now for the Ladies...

Continuing with the article from yesterday, here are some solutions from design mavens Frances Elkins and Eleanor Brown.


Problem: Mrs. George Coleman Jr. wanted "gaiety" in her home using clear colors. She also wanted a durable rug that would withstand three daughters and their riding boots.
Solution: Frances Elkins mixed blue and white Chinese plates, Mexican pottery, and Delft tiles that would "please the eye"; she chose the blue and white color scheme as it worked in the clear, bright light of California. And of course, she chose a sturdy rug for those daughters!
Don't you love that hand-blocked linen fabric? Sixty years later and it still looks fantastic.



Problem: Mrs. Diego Suarez wanted to bring the outdoors inside her home on Shinnecock Bay. She also wanted a "background for flowers, fine books, and modern leather furniture."
Solution: Inspired by the view of the water, Mrs. Brown (of McMillen Inc.) chose soft blues for the walls, the oversized sofa, and the folding shutters. For the accent colors Brown used mustard and white.
Not necessarily the 21st century idea of a beach home, but I do like the mustard fabric on the chair in the foreground. And I'm curious about that modern leather furniture...

17 comments:

  1. Yes, sixty years later and that hand-blocked linen still looks fresh!

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  2. Yes, that does still look wonderful! We are talking about classic things on my blog so it was fun to see your post! Come by if you want to add your favorite classics to our compiled list of favorites!

    Thanks!

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  3. It amazing how much the blue and white couches look like what Chloe Sevigny did in her apartment. Everything old is new again!

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  4. Melissa- Thanks! I love the classics!

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  5. Habitually Chic- You've got a great memory ;)
    That does look quite similar to the Sevigny sofa. Truly classic!

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  6. Anonymous12:17 PM

    Re beach houses and the "non-beach" look of the Suarez place ... please remember that (a) lifestyles were different then and that (b) Mrs Suarez, formerly Mrs Marshall Field 3rd and a sister in law of Brooke Astor (Evelyn Suarez was the sister of Brooke's 2nd husband Buddy Marshall) was 60 years old when that house was published, so it was highly unlikely (given her age, family, etc) to do interiors that were much more modern or casual in appearance (though she and her first husband did hire Frances Elkins to do a swell decorating job of the Field estate on Long Island way back when) ... fyi should anbody care ... Mrs George L Coleman Jr (née Elizabeth Fullerton of Miami, Oklahoma) divorced her husband in 1959, married the San Francisco banker William W. Crocker in 1960 (he died in 1964) and then married the 10th Duke of Manchester in 1969 ... I think she's still living ...

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  7. Another great post! Every time I think of Mrs. Brown I think of Alexandra Stoddard (one of my favorite writers and a Mrs Brown protégé).

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  8. Anon- Good point, b/c it was a different time- an era that was more formal (wish it was so today). I'm constantly accused of being too formal; that said, this beach house is still a bit too formal for me. And thank you for the info on Mrs. Coleman! I care! This is why I read all of the "stuff" that I do- I like to be able to piece everything (and everyone) together!

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  9. Hmmm, I am curous as to anon identity! So very informed.
    Wonderful post! I am so jealous of a family that can keep a white carpet clean for, did you say 60 years! I love the blue and white Elkins. Thanks!

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  10. Anonymous7:56 AM

    Just remember, Peak ... just because a house is described as on a "bay" doesn't make it a "beach" house, ie Mrs Suarez's place ... it just makes it a house beside a body of salt water ... which is a different thing entirely (and I doubt that House & Garden described Mrs Suarez's house as a beach house, but that you may have assumed so because of its geographical location) ... how many big Tudor-style houses have you seen in Boston right on the Atlantic ... yet NOT beach houses by any stretch of the imagine ... or the so-called cottages of Newport, again right on the Atlantic, with the beach below, yet inarguably NOT beach houses ... Think of Sister Parish's family house in Maine ... steps from the ocean yet inarguably NOT a beach house and jam-packed with Victoriana and American quilts ... You can't call every house situated by the ocean a beach house ... it's too literal and hence too misleading ... now, I must get off my high house and drink some coffee ...

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  11. Anonymous8:14 AM

    Dear Peak, Did you get my response re "beach" houses?

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  12. Anon- OK, I think I got my geography a bit confused. Perhaps I need to make a trip up there to see that area firsthand. And I do see your point about how many of the homes of Newport, for example, are not beachy per se but really are quite grand. Sea Island, GA has lost a lot of its beachy beach houses, and they have been replaced with French chateaux(!)and such. Perhaps I should expand my notion of what constitutes a beach house??

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  13. Anonymous9:08 AM

    I think the common definition of a "beach house" is a more modern one, ie a smallish house with a certain casualness and clarity and ease that speaks of open windows, sandy feet, knockabout charm, and temporary residence (ie during a particular season rather than year round). That being said, I think the location is less important to our dicussion than how the house is used and its cumulative styles, indoors and out ... think of the houses that Oliver Messel designed on Mustique in the 1960s ... again, beach houses, broadly speaking, given their physical situation and private stretches of beach, but their coral-stone neo-Palladian grandeur and fine furnishings makes them anything but the "standard" idea of a beach house. Again, Evie Suarez's house wasn't a beach house -- but it was a country house with a view of a salt-water bay, so the interior from the 1948 House & Garden that you show is actually perfect for the house's use (weekend and summer living) and style (neo-Georgian, I believe) and the owner's status (she was a social leader married to one of the finest landscape designers of the day). Funnily enough, note how few times any of these articles mention the husbands ... like Mr Astor, Mr Coleman, and Mr Pershing, Mr Suarez was alive and well and living happily with the Missus, but he's not mentioned in the article at all. Just shows the inherent bias of many early design magazines, "bias" in the sense that the husband barely counted, if ever, in the editorial context.

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  14. Anon- How true. And I do think that the social wives still tend to dominate media coverage over their husbands.

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  15. wow anon needs to write for a major magazine (smile)

    great post btw. and wonderful comments. i just learned so much here! thank you anon and peak

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  16. Megan- I agree! And I learned a lot too :)

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  17. I will say that this turned out to be quite and interesting and informative post!

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