Thursday, January 22, 2009

Design Legend Melanie Kahane




The late decorator Melanie Kahane understood color. And the other thing she "got" was the importance of publicity. Because Kahane did not have the social connections that designers like Mrs. Parish and Dorothy Draper had, Kahane had to prove herself by concocting eye-catching rooms- rooms that were sure to garner attention. The image at top was from a showroom that Kahane designed in 1949, and based on what I've read this room was one of the most photographed and published rooms of the year. Back at that time, black, white, and pumpkin orange was a rather daring color scheme. Don't you think it still looks pretty fresh today?

Kahane (b.1910-d.1988) was not one to shy away from color, and pink was one of her favorites. She could create interiors that were subtle and sophisticated, but I prefer her colorful confections more. I like the bold bursts of color that she injected in her interiors as well as the daring color combinations with which Kahane experimented. Pink and orange anyone?










12 comments:

  1. I love love love that black and white wallpaper! What an enormous motif!

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  2. Anonymous9:51 AM

    The black,white, and pumpkin room does indeed look fresh - only the floral gives it away.
    Christy

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  3. Such fabulous shots - what a difference a few decades makes, xv.

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  4. I've fallen in love with top image... and have half a mind to do my master bedroom in our new apartment in Berlin in similar style! I have almost all the elements in place, to make "my" version! Thanks for the inspiration!!

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  5. I think these rooms look very fresh-I love the black and white, the pink, the stripes. It is quite Hollywood Regency. I especially love the living room with the large Chinese screen.

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  6. I think it is interesting how she incorporated antiques with new pieces. In particular, she uses Directoire(late 18th century French) pieces such as the Directoire painted bergere in the first image, and the high backed Directoire bergere in the red and purple room. Also the coromandal panel screen was such a way to anchor a room. She really mixed periods, too...the Charles X round table in the green and white room, along with a 17-18 century banquette in the back. It looks like in the room in the black and white photograph she has centered(you can see just a bit of it) a Rococo glazed porcelain stove) how chic!
    These were fun to look at!

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  7. I love this exploration of color in design! I've been exploring different methods of adding color to primarily black-and-white rooms, putting together ideabooks with this theme over at www.houzz.com and making collages with this theme from magazine cutouts. I don't think I've gotten it quite right yet because it can be a really tough thing to do but the use of color that you've shown here - particularly in that first "pumpkin orange" example - really makes me hopeful that I'll be able to figure it out! Thanks!

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  8. The carpets immediately caught my eye - how bold and wonderful.

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  9. Wow. That top image looks sort of like an updated Vermeer -- it has the tall antiques and checkerboard floor you often see in old paintings of Dutch interiors, yet it's modern. I can't figure out how she pulled that off.

    Thanks so much for posting this.

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  10. Great shots, its amazing how timeless great design is, still, I am not sure I would want that tile floor.

    Also, check out our blog, it's back up and running after a 6 month break.

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  11. I love the punches of bright color she used in the top and the bottom photo. So timely and current for today especially considering that these rooms were done more than half a century ago.

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  12. CBell Furnishing10:32 PM

    I am crazy for bright orange lately. An infusion of bright color transforms these rooms.It's inspiring & such a mood changer

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