Monday, December 07, 2009

Working with Style

There are some designers who say they have little to no time to devote to their own homes, and others who treat their abodes as opportunities to make statements. Just think about how Miles Redd's home (and most especially that David Adler bathroom) helped to build his glamorous reputation. Well, one could say that a design office is yet another opportunity to show potential clients that you know what you're doing and that you mean business.

Take, for example, Kelly Wearstler. That's the Kelly Wearstler Studio boardroom featured at top. Yes, the chandelier is glam, the painting bold, and the wallpaper striking. But for me it's all about the Kelly Wearstler folders arranged neatly on the boardroom table. The next time the Peak of Chic holds her annual meeting, she just might have to follow suit.

This yummy room is the Materials Library at Wearstler's Hillcrest Estate. OK, so technically it's not an office, but wouldn't you love to spend a few hours rifling through all of that fabric?

Back in 1934, the decorating firm Beverly & Valentine had "foyer trouble" in their Chicago office. They installed a niche and placed painted mirror within it; a basket of greenery was placed at the base. The chicest thing about this space are the walls painted to resemble venetian blinds. Love that detail!

The former office of Heather Hoyt and Alison Levasseur (photographed in 2002) makes me want to rethink my own office. And keep in mind that this was early on in the coral craze, so it looked really fresh at the time.

Sybil Colefax had a studio at 29 Bruton Street which was really more of a showroom rather than office. Still, it must have been heaven to have worked here on a daily basis. Be sure to check out the radiator covers, some of the most stylish I've seen. (Photo c. 1940)

(Top Wearstler photo from Hue, Grey Crawford photographer; 2nd Wearstler photo from Hue, Francois Halard photographer. 1934 photo from House Beautiful. Hoyt/Levasseur office from House Beautiful, 10/02, Buff Strickland photographer. Colefax photo from John Fowler: Prince of Decorators by Martin Wood.)


  1. Hmmmm, feeling the need to redo my office space. I love how Ms Wearstler's library is essentially a walk in closet, so fabulous...may be nabbing that idea;)

    All the best,

  2. We love Kelly Wearstler! We also appreciate any opportunity to see the inside of her home (or any designer's home for that matter)! Hadn't seen these photos before. Thanks for reminding us she has a new book out!


  3. I do love those portfolio covers--attention to detail.

  4. Uhm- yes, I would LOVE to rifle through her fabrics. I think you might be a little more likely than me to get an invitation, so when you do-can I come in your purse? I'll bring snacks.

    Enjoyed recently seeing Kelly's home in Food & Wine. Was surprised to see that it was relatively demure.

    And I love those painted blinds!

  5. Jennifer, I'd love to see Peak of Chic folders on a boardroom table!

  6. Lovely! any insight to ms wearstler's world is well received. keep up the fab work! xo -Merci

  7. I would love to sit in that boardroom and then rifle through those fabrics!

  8. Jennifer,

    Love the office post. Have been rethinking for quite some time how to deal with all my samples, trims, wallpapers, etc. It's a full-time job to figure all that out. I love your historical photos. Keeps everything grounded. Hope all is well.

    Ragland Hill Social

  9. Anonymous2:58 AM

    Love the way you make connections and demonstrate your point with photos from different periods. It's an enviable skill. Well done!

  10. Love Kelly! Love the chandelier and the fresh flowers! These are the accessories that transforms the work space and helps inspire great work.

  11. Anonymous5:01 AM

    It's actually spelled Sibyl Colefax! Sybil is a layman's error.

  12. I've heard great things about her designing skills.