Friday, January 04, 2008

In with the Old, In with the New




A few months ago, the New York Times published an interesting article on Newport, Rhode Island society decorator John Peixinho. I was really quite curious about him as he counts the inimitable Oatsie Charles as a client. In fact, Peixinho upholstered Charles' late husband's Barcalounger in a Scalamandre Chinoiserie print. Now, how can you not like the decorator who adorns the 800 pound gorilla in the room in Scalamandre?

So it was interesting to see the recent article in House Beautiful (Jan. 08) about Peixinho's own home in Newport. The 1730 house is owned by the Newport Restoration Foundation, which strictly limits what Peixinho can do to the house (i.e.- no painting!). It seems, though, that Peixinho overcame these restrictions by filling the home with pieces that he loves, and this to me is what makes the home interesting. Amongst the Chinese export, the Hitchcock chairs, and other antiques are more modern pieces- a bright yellow Bungalow 5 coffee table, contemporary paintings, and mirrors from Ballard Designs.

It's this mix of the old and the new that I find inspiring. I've been fortunate enough to receive some early American antiques from my parents, and will inherit more some day. As much as I adore these antiques, I don't actively collect early American. But that's okay because they work with my other furniture. I'm here to suggest that with a little imagination and a critical eye, you can mix American antiques with Louis XV chairs or 1930s furniture for example. And really, isn't this the modern way of living?


The card room with the Ballard Design mirrors and newly painted Queen Anne Chairs.


Another view of the card room with a modern painting.

37 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:25 AM

    "Oatsie"--they don't make names like that anymore!

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  2. I so agree! And I loved his mix when I saw it too. Totally inspirational.

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  3. I have to see this Barcalounger! Love the red Queen Anne chairs with the modern art. I do not know how I have made it this long without ever seeing Newport. Maybe I should plan a summer trip...

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  4. Anon- Yes, don't you love it!

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  5. Courtney- I know you have pieces too that were handed down, and they too work with some of the newer things you have. It's all in the mix, so to speak.

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  6. BA- You must go! The homes are magnificent.

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  7. Anonymous11:47 AM

    Just got my copy of House Beautiful (it takes a while in Canada!) and that was my favourite story. Did you notice the similarity in the pair of mirrors from Ballard with the (albeit more stunning and rare) Venetian mirrors in the Michael Taylor story? Just the way they were used and the smoky aged quality.

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  8. Anon- That's a good observation! The mirrors in the Taylor room were so grand and magnificent, while the Peixinho mirrors are somewhat plain (in keeping with the style of his home)- yet, they both create such striking focal points to the rooms.

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  9. I did love this layout - and I think that cover on the card table is needlepoint, which makes me want to take up bridge. A little. One wonders if it is good for Uno as well.

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  10. Patricia- The only card game I know is UNO, so it works for me!

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  11. It is almost a crime to call this decorated; certainly is one to call it designed. Love it, esp. that Calder print. Which do you think came first, the chairs or the print?

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  12. very nice, a really lovely and playful mix.

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  13. HOBAC- Hmm, the chairs? I love that bottom shot- the red chairs, the Calder, the green cardtable cover, the tortoise box- it all looks so great together.

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  14. Joanna- I agree- the mix is so charming and comfortable.

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  15. Jennifer I think you nailed it on the head, yes it is the modern way of living. Nice post.

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  16. Anonymous5:37 PM

    See this delicious link from Washington Monthly for more on Georgetown lady Oatsie Charles' wonderful Newport house, "Land's End/The Whim"...and other fabbo Newport houses. Oatsie, 87-years-young,"a bipartisan philanthropist," was I believe a pal of JFK's. Her Newport house was the "marital house" of Edith Wharton! http://www.washingtonlife.com/backissues/archives/02sept/newport.htm

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  17. I thoroughly enjoyed this post, Jennifer. He is a designer I was not familiar with, so thank you for the introduction.

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  18. tinuviel12:45 AM

    I,too, was quite taken with his home when my mag came in the mail. I have to confess, though, that I'd never heard his name before. But it caught my eye and I hope to spot some of his work in my home dec rags.

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  19. My first visit to your blog, but definitly not the last! You have so much great inspiration collected here!! Love it! I'm gonna look some more here now ;-)

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  20. I had never heard of him until the NY Times article, so it was nice to see this spread in HB. I too hope to see more of his work soon!

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  21. I was really taken with the chandelier over the card table. So simple and rustic yet curvy and pretty.
    Peak, thanks ... your posts are always so thoughtful and well written.

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  22. I was so taken with John Peixinho in House Beautiful (tore out all the pages and redid my living room mantel to look like his) I must confess I googled his name. And lucky for me, that lead me here.

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  23. Topsy- I too like that chandelier, and I can't remember if it was credited or not. Still, it's great b/c it's simple and would go well in modern or rustic traditional settings.

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  24. haile- I loved his mantel vignette! I want to recreate that too, but first I must remember to save my invitations for display (it looks like he's been invited to some fun parties!).

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  25. Hi Peak
    Congratulation on being voted "Best Design Blog" in Atlanta Magazine!

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  26. Anon- I finally got a chance to read that article- what a wonderful home she has! She's certainly a unique personality, isn't she! I think she comes from Montgomery, or Mobile?? Anyone know?

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  27. Anonymous12:14 PM

    Peak,
    Oatsie is from Montgomery. Her houses are featured in AD, July '85 and in Jan '00.
    Interesting person, interesting houses.

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  28. Anonymous12:38 PM

    Here's a WSJ link to a slideshow that features O.C.'s recently sold Georgetown house--views are near the end of this slideshow: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119395210854079582.html

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  29. Anon (I almost called you Oatsie!)- Thanks for the info. I'll try to find those issues.

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  30. Anon- RE: the WSJ article- I especially like the cheery yellow exterior. It's also interesting that she (or her designer) chose red for the bedroom. And a lacquered red at that!

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  31. Anonymous3:15 PM

    I agree re: the lacquered red bedroom---one of your current themes! Also especially like the small library/den's red vaguely Oriental/Fortuny-esque chandelier. Have tried unsuccessfully to get a better view by increasing size.

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  32. I tried to enlarge them too but to no avail.

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  33. djellabah7:45 PM

    Oatsie Charles is a veritable goddess. Brilliant, caustic, chic, bliss. Her recently sold house in Georgetown was decorated first by Sister Parish way back when, then by Anthony Browne (he did her house, Land's End, too). She's had work done by Mario Buatta too. She grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, in a fabulous old house called Belvoir.

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  34. djellabah- Someone needs to write an article/book about here. I'm very interested in her.

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  35. Thanks for the intro to this designer - I love his style! That top room is very beautiful!
    XO
    Anna

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