I'm still working my way through Manhattan Style (a great book, by the way) and was happy to find the chapter on the Manhattan apartment of the late Stanley Barrows. Barrows was regarded as one of the finest and most erudite design historians of the twentieth century. As head of the interior design department at Parsons and later at FIT, Barrows taught the history of interior design to the likes of Albert Hadley, Mario Buatta, and Angelo Donghia amongst many others. He truly was the éminence grise of design history.
What makes this home so appealing to me is the sense of elegant comfort and coziness. Yes, it is filled with distinguished antiques, but they are arranged and displayed in such a way that is hardly pretentious. This was obviously the home of a man who treasured his collections, namely his library of 5000+ books, but they weren't displayed for show. Isn't that refreshing after years of conspicuous displays of art and antiques? And the apartment was somewhat small too, but there was still a place for everything- a small dining area, a seating area, and copious bookshelves. Barrows may not have had an endless amount of space with which to work, but he still managed to create a pretty fabulous home.
I think that what I'm trying to get at is that Barrows' home is such a wonderful example of how you can live, and live grandly, on a smaller scale surrounded by things that you love. You shouldn't let your style and creativity be hampered by a lack of space or a lack of trendy objects and accessories. And stick to what you love and what you'd love to live with years from now. Would you be surprised to know that this apartment was photographed around 1990? Almost twenty years later and it still looks like a home I'd gladly live in. Just a little food for thought.
A liberal use of red can be a little tricky, but it just really works in this apartment.
The dining area within the living room. Wouldn't dinner at a cozy table like this be far more fun and lively than at a restaurant?
The Boulle cabinet that was used as honest to goodness bookshelves. Look how the books were piled willy-nilly. I'm a stickler for symmetry, but I think this looks just great.
Fine antiques were mixed with more contemporary pieces like the red upholstered slipper chairs.
Image at top: A bedroom filled with more books. This might have been a tad cluttered for my tastes, but I appreciate it nonetheless.