Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Darling Nicky

How easy it is to forget about preparing a blog post when you're reading Nicky Haslam's new memoir Redeeming Features. Forget delving into my design archives and actually researching something scholarly. I've only been interested in reading about things that are a bit more prurient.

I had anxiously awaited my copy because I knew it would be provocative. Actually, I ordered both
Redeeming Features and The Queen Mother: The Official Biography, but I passed the Queen Mum along to my mum because I wanted to read the book with the naughty bits first. In the first three chapters alone, Haslam has gained more, um, experience than most garner in a lifetime and has spent the weekend with Tallulah Bankhead- all this by the time he was a young teenager. Hmmm....

So, while I continue to read about who did what with whom and where, I leave you with a few photos of Haslam's work from his previous tome
Sheer Opulence.

The salon in a New Orleans home designed by Haslam. The design of the magnolias on both the wallpaper and armchair fabric was taken from a hunting schloss. Haslam lacquered corrugated paper and hung it beneath the room's chair rail.

The entrance hall in a London mansion apartment. Haslam says that he got the idea to drape the stairwell in white fabric from Christian Dior's Paris home.

A London dining room. The wallpaper is actually "cheap" textured paper that Haslam had silvered and hand painted.

Haslam installed the overscaled columns and pillars in this London dining room. What I find most interesting is the chinoiserie panel that can be seen in the mirror. It was inspired by the Chinese Palace at Oranienbaum (more on that this week) and was made of silver mica paper made to look like beadwork.

The study in Haslam's former London apartment. The wallpaper was painted by George Oakes, the famed decorative artist who worked with John Fowler. Can you imagine anything more comfortable than curling up in this room and reading a book? Perhaps a book like "Redeeming Features"?

(All photos with the exception of the image at top from Sheer Opulence)


  1. Love the cover of the latest book!

  2. Anonymous10:44 AM

    Glad that you are enjoying the Book! It gets almost comical towards the end with all of the people he knows!
    I had the pleasure of meeting him in London, in the 8o's! He was charming. Will

  3. Will, it's amazing how many "luminaries" he has known in his life. Sometimes I have to reread a page in order to absorb all of the names.

  4. It is such a great read- thus far-I have been laughing aloud, finding so many of the off hand comments so amusing. I just love his work- it continually is my source of inspiration! Sheer Opulence is worn out here. If I could pick one designer to do up my rooms (IF) it would be the (in)famous Nicky! GT

  5. This book is on my "to get" list for Christmas :-)
    Thanks for sharing the images of Nicky's digs!
    xo xo

  6. Thanks for the reminder...I can't wait to read this and a great Christmas gift too. xv

  7. Oh my, I'm going to have to get my own copy now. Loved reading all your comments.

    Jennifer - your profile says you are from Atlanta - but you mention that you gave a book to your "Mum" not your Mom. Seems very English?? (I'm from England)



  8. Jennifer I am waiting for my copy! Can't wait. I was most fortunate to be a guest at the New Orleans home you have featured (only weeks before it was sold). It was beyond stunning! Nicky is now designing their 'new' home in New Orleans.

  9. Val, No, I'm not English! I just used the term "Mum" since I used "Queen Mum" in the same sentence!

  10. Opulence is probably an understatement. Amazing creativity. Thank so much for the amazing photos.

  11. Such talent and I look forward to the book!!

  12. Jennifer,

    I'm putting this one on my Christmas list (if I can wait that long). Thanks, can't wait to read it. Hope all is well.


  13. Hi Jennifer-

    Loved your selection of Haslam decor in this post--as decor is totally lacking in the book (and do remember that the book was delayed, no doubt as lawyers read and re-read it...).

    The book is so well written! It is vivid and literary (surprising) and he seems to have perfect recall of every bon mot and witticism that ever rolled off the tongue of everyone famous.
    Read it slowly...and note his close attention and apprication of Rory Cameron's houses (which he copied) and David Hicks (also much copied by al, et al)...and Tom Parr and John Fowler. He owes them all a debt (and admits it).
    Nicky knew them all and was inspired by every one of them.
    The book is lively and sinuous and sinewy and wickedly good. A reader will learn of the predilections of everyone (including Nicky himself who leapt in and out of beds and was selected and rejected by all).
    Note...he was once rejected by a longtime 'close friend' (rich, like most of those mentioned) for a hitchhiker. Live and learn, I say.

  14. Thanks for another must have title. What really makes these rooms is something few of us have these days. No, not money — really high ceilings! (PS — my word verification is "fuggin" which seems very appropriate).

  15. Ms. Wis.- OK, that is hysterical and so very, very appropriate!! Yes, high ceilings can make a world of difference, I agree.