Thursday, March 06, 2008

Luxury by the Yard

What is my idea of luxury? Alright, I admit it, I have many. Yes, I do think that luxury can be found in the simple things in life, like freshly laundered sheets or a having a small posy of fresh flowers by my bed. But in terms of design, I think it would be most luxurious to have a room with miles and miles of fabric everywhere, especially if it's the same print. Think curtains, swags, fabric on the walls, and upholstered chairs and sofa. Even fabric covered screens! I know, it sounds over the top. Ridiculously expensive. Not so practical. But wouldn't it be luxurious and decadent to just throw caution to the wind and create a room that envelops you in your favorite fabric?

The French seem to excel at this look:

Room designed by Christian Badin

A bedroom designed by Robert d'Ario

The British have their own take on it:

Valentino's London home, decorated by Roger Banks-Pye

Nina Campbell's look is sweet

A Very American Version:

Billy Baldwin used shirred fabric on the walls in Speed Lamkin's apartment

At the risk of losing my argument, I thought I would include a few photos of fashion designer Pauline Trigère's home. What, you haven't thought of having some fabric printed up with your name on it? In the words of this icon of fashion, "Fabric is the dictator."

Trigère print fabric

Image at top: Remember this fabulous image of Mario?


  1. Jennifer, I think now I'll always associate tented or "upholstered" rooms with you :)

    Great chic examples!

  2. Thanks Courtney! It's fun to think about these things.. I wonder if I'll ever go for it, though!

  3. I do remember this photo of Mario! A prince, indeed. As for the courage to tent - you have it in you, we'll just wait for the right space to present itself.

  4. Thanks Patricia! Yes, that photo of Mario is so memorable, isn't it?

  5. I love rooms decorated en suite (as the French call it). So absolutely seamless and embracing. I wish more Americans understood its charms.

  6. Notice that the orange bedroom is the Woodson fabric that Baldwin used in Taulbee's apartment.

  7. To my eye, there is something very calming and comforting about having the same fabric on everything. In addition, it can have the same effect as having a room filled with neutrals--the objects and the odd piece of furniture truly stand out.

    Great examples.

  8. Aesthete- You're right- you don't see it that often here in the States, and that's a shame. This is part of the reason I only included one American example. I did notice tht Trigère used the same fabric as that in the Taulbee. I think I still like the black colorway better.

  9. Morris- Yes, it's soothing and calming. There are no hard edges in these rooms. And everything seems to get balanced out too.

  10. How could I forget that photo? I saw the master just today arranging a vignette at the AD Home Show. His room was complete with his ubiquitous plastic cockroach- I believe it's his sense of humor that puts his genius over the top!

  11. Dixie- I agree. He's legendary for his pranks!

  12. magnaverde5:53 PM

    NB to Mario Buatta: if you're reading this, please stop right now, and start writing a book.

    There's at least one decorating book by--or about--every single big-name decorator of the 2Oth Century and frequently, there are several. There are the books by no-talent flash-in-the-pan celebrities who play decorators on TV. These days, in fact, it seems like everybody who's ever hot-glued some fringe on a cheap throw pillow has written a book about it. So why is it that someone of your talents doesn't have a book?

    In a letter that he included along with the limited-edition copy of his autobiographical book The Education of Henry Adams that he sent to Henry James, Adams said [this] "volume is a mere shield of protection...I advise you to take your own life in the same way, in order to prevent biographers from taking it in theirs." A hundred years later, that's still excellent advice. No one can tell your story as well as you can.

    Yes, I know you're busy, and that you work by yourself, and therefore don't have a bunch of Mini-me's to spin the decorating plates while you write, but if Elsie de Wolfe wasn't above hiring Ruby Ross Wood to do the writing while she did the decorating, there's no reason you can't find someone to do the same thing for you. I know you know people. And if they're "too busy", well, then get in touch with me.


  13. Amen Magnaverde!! When I found that photo, I thought "It's a disgrace that this man does not have a book profiling his work!" Truly, he deserves to have a book. And someone needs to write a book profiling Mark Hampton's work too!

  14. I'm starting to dream of a tented office for some reason, I see your point!

  15. Your post totally brought a smile to my face. This is like my ultimate dream, being able to do a whole room in fabric! It is so luxurious and so much $$$$ uggh. One can dream ^_^


  16. I don't know why but for me the best inspiration in these photos is the french one ...

  17. Mélanie- I do think you might be partial to French design (ha ha), but the French designers did do an excellent job in these rooms ;)