Monday, February 23, 2009

Baroque-en Beds




I'm a great admirer of people who have the guts to go out on a limb and do something crazy in their homes, even if it's not so very stylish. Didn't Diana Vreeland once say that it was better to have bad taste than no taste at all? One room that seems to really stir people's fantasies is the bedroom. And no, I'm not talking about those fantasies. This is a design blog after all.

Most of us have tailored, upholstered headboards and plain but appropriate bed linen. Can you imagine having one of these Baroque, bold, and over the top beds in your bedroom?? Probably not. But sometimes it's interesting to see what goes on behind closed doors.

(Image at top: I could say something cheesy like "Snare him in your web of allure", and I just did!)



Only a Hollywood actress would have an over the top bed like this. And that actress was none other than Mae West, famous for her risque one liners. When asked why the bed had a mirrored ceiling attached to it, she quipped "I like to be able to see how well I'm doing!"


Helena Rubinstein was nothing if not innovative and provocative. Here, she was photographed in her illuminated lucite bed designed by Ladislas Medgyes. The bed was only four feet wide by five and a half feet long to accommodate Rubinstein's short stature. Notice the footboard is etched with a vase of roses and an "H".


Yet another illuminated bed, c. 1936. What I want to know is...would the lighting on this bed create down shadows on your face? If so, that might not be so attractive.


Men are not always immune to the flamboyant bed syndrome. Cecil Beaton had this exuberant bed in the Circus Bedroom at Ashcombe. If those walls could talk...

20 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:50 AM

    What a fun post - great way to start the week!
    thank you, Christy

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  2. at this very moment i can't think of anything i wouldn't do for cecil beaton's circus bedroom!!!

    we own a self-portrait by cecil beaton ... it's the great man standing in the circus bedroom!

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  3. oh, cecil, cecil, cecil...

    I'm not sure I could live up the presumed acrobatics that the bed invites, but, still, I would cut off an insignificant body part (a toe, perhaps?) to own this bed!

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  4. Mme.Rubinstein's bed is certainly a wonder and I know because I look at it everyday.
    The bed currently resides at Malmaison Antiques,in Manhattan.
    One day I hope to figure out how to turn the lights on!
    The designer also designed packaging for HR.

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  5. Paul- I'm envious! How wonderful for you to own a Beaton- and a self-portrait in the Circus bedroom at that!

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  6. Tristan- Please don't do that! But it is a wonderful bed :)

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  7. Lithgow- While I was writing this, I wondered where that bed now resides! I hope you figure out the light situation because that, to me, is what pushes that bed to over the top status- in a wonderful way of course!

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  8. I'll keep you "posted."

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  9. This is what I would call "going for broke."

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  10. Cecil Beaton - what a guy and what a bed, xv.

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  11. Oh wow, that last one is gaudy!

    Oh, and come over and see my Tucker Blair giveaway! So cute and oh so preppy!!

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  12. The things people get up to. Really, that Cecil Beaton bed, umm...

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  13. Lithgow, this was the first time in years that I didn't make it to NY for the Winter Antiques Show, but maybe I can get there before the trees in the park bloom, and if I do, I'll try to stop in to see HR's bed.

    [BTW, somewhere, I have a multi-page spread of what I assume is your amazing apartment, ripped out of either Nest or WoI a long time ago. It's one of the things that gave me the courage to move out of my former huge-&-handsome-but-way-too-far-away Victorian house into a 1920s Tudorbethan apartment about a third of the size of my old place. Mine's also been published, but it's nowhwere near as cool as yours. M.]

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  14. Totally apart from its uniqueness and (then) novelty, another great thing about Ladislas Medgyes' glamourous illuminated bed is its practicality, eliminating the need for bedside lamp tables. Then again, I'm not much liking the unstable look of that shallow teacup teetering on top of quilted satin. Then again, maybe that's why the cup's handle's placed weirdly & the spoon's out of reach: the cup's clearly empty.

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  15. I never thought about the lighting situation.
    Very clever indeed.
    The apartment was in Elle Decor when Marion McEvoy was there. She was and is so great.
    Stop by when you're in town, by all means, but please call 1st!

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  16. The ultimate "baroque-en" beds come from Phyllis Morris in Los Angeles. They exude that Liberace-style excess that is the interior design equivalent of Shock & Awe. See phyllismorrris*dot*com for a sample. (I have no affiliation with Phyllis Morris, nor would I ever purchase her products, but like Las Vegas, she must be seen at least once!)

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  17. Hello. Love everything, as always. The is a comment/question for all you devotees of all things fabulous. The question/comment I have relates to Rose Cummings bedroom, show above. In the movie "Cruel Intentions" with Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Michelle Gellar - to name a few, Sarah Michelle Gellar's bedroom really reminded me of the Rose Cummings bedroom. An ythoughts or recollections - has this already been discussed? Any I very behind the times? Wasn't the house where Ryan Philippe's aunt stayed actually Templeton, CZ Guest's place on Long Island? Maybe I'll try t find picture from the move set showing the bedroom. Thanks

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  18. Keith- Wow. I haven't seen that movie in AGES. I'm going to rent it soon and maybe then I can comment!

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  19. I've trying to find pictures, no luck. I recall when the moving can out thinking they definitively channeled rose coming to a "T" - it's been a while so my memory is rickety. if you find anything let we know. As always LOVE this blog - def kindred spirits. I'd love to show show you my new acquisition - dodi rosekrans draperies from her Palazzo in Venice - i was fortunate enough to receive 8 panels 15'h x 6-8 " w - too ,much, and the fabric is so amazing - you'd love it. Love to show you pictures.

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