I normally wouldn't disclose any medical conditions on my blog, but I'm thinking I may have a hormone imbalance. Actually, I'm only kidding, but I have noticed a surge of testosterone in my design chemical makeup. It started with the aluminum blind thing and has now morphed itself into a current obsession with black and metal, two things typically associated with a masculine aesthetic. The estrogen seems to have taken a back seat.
So the black thing stems from a flashback that I had recently about a black galley kitchen that I saw back in the 1980s. It was in a suite at The Carlyle and it made a great impression on me, despite the fact that I was a preteen. I remember thinking "One day...". I have a dated kitchen that I'm thinking of tarting up (or perhaps I should say butching up) in black and more black- this despite the fact that Van Day Truex admonished anyone who dared decorate a kitchen in anything other than white. Black lacquer, black tile, black marble. It's all so aggressive. It's represents a strong point of view. It's confident. We need a shot of confidence, don't you think?
The fascination with metal came about when I was looking at Geoffrey Beene's Manhattan apartment. I really find all of that steel interesting. I can't say that I would encourage anyone to replicate this look exactly. But, if used with a light hand (a metal table, steel bookshelves, or even a steel clad wall), the cool metal could add a little swagger to a room.
And of course all of this talk about cocky design is timely as Oliver Stone's follow-up to Wall Street, Wall Street- Money Never Sleeps, is due to be released soon. Remember Charlie Sheen's slick kitchen replete with the de rigueur pasta maker? So very 1980s. In fact, does anyone remember if his kitchen was black??
It all comes full circle, doesn't it?
(Image at top: The bedroom of designer Michael Schaible c. 1985)
Melvin Dwork created this "winter" bedroom by using lacquered black/green walls. (OK, so not 100% black, but you get the idea.) Actually, I think very little about this room seems dated, despite the fact it was decorated over 20 years ago.
I'm still obsessing over this black kitchen from Lee Bailey's City Food cookbook. I know that you can't see the details, but I think this shot is evocative of that edgy drama so prevalent in interiors from 30 years ago.
Look past that shadow in the crease and you'll see a pretty fantastic room decorated by Joe D'Urso, a designer whose work just might make a modernist of me yet.
Geoffrey Beene's Manhattan apartment was one big steel trap. I chose to show the one image that doesn't seem quite so dated. I love that industrial steel stair rail.
In small doses, metal doesn't seem quite so scary, especially if it's a drinks table like this one in this Jay Spectre designed home. Note too the steel cabinetry that houses a bar, audio equipment, and a TV. This brings up another point- remember when technology was sexy? When it played an aesthetically important role in a room? It just doesn't seem the same today.
In the same Spectre designed house. The dining room is thoroughly traditional except for that sleek dining table and steel and marble sideboard.
Aluminum panels decorate one wall in this home by Ron Wilson. There's something oddly intriguing about this room.
(Top photo: New York Interior Design, 1935-1985, Vol. 2: Masters of Modernism. Dwork photo: Manhattan Style; Beene photo courtesy of Celebrity Homes II: Architectural Digest presents the private worlds of thirty international personalities. D'Urso photo from The New York Times Book of Interior Design and Decoration. Spectre photos from Architectural Digest, September 1977, Jaime Ardiles-Arce photographer. Wilson photo from Architectural Digest, October 1977, Russell MacMasters photographer.)