Tuesday, June 29, 2010

California Interiors





A pleasant surprise is always welcome, don't you think? That's what I got this past weekend when I bought an old copy of Architectural Digest California Interiors. I've collected most of the AD books (of which Architectural Digest New York Interiors and Architectural Digest Traditional Interiors are my favorites), but for some reason, I always avoided the California book as I thought that it would only feature homes that bore the " California Look". After all, the book was published in 1979, so maybe my assumption could be understood. And truth be told, the heavily publicized California look of the 1970s and 80s is not a favorite of mine. (I know- sacrilege. I'm prepared to take the heat for this.)

But...boy was I wrong. Yes, there is some of that look in the book, but not much. Instead, there are plenty of elegant interiors that one would expect in Los Angeles and especially San Francisco. And even more surprising, some of the interiors don't seem too dated. A few flouncy curtains and oversized upholstered furniture perhaps, but not much. Just take a look:


This has to be my favorite photo in the entire book. The Los Angeles dining room of Jerry Leen, founding partner of Dennis and Leen. How chic, even thirty years later.




I think that I'm taken with this room because it's truly a nighttime room. Those dark brown walls and black blinds are such a rich backdrop for the room's fine furniture and rug. (San Francisco home of Spero Arbes.)




To me, this room has a New York feel to it. Sally Sirkin Lewis designed this room in the Beverly Hills home of Harris L. Katlemans.



Another nighttime room, this time the Los Angeles dining cum sitting room of designer Helen Partello. The chintz covered walls are unexpectedly topped by a dark, dramatic ceiling. The tablesetting is rather nice as well. (And yes, there is a sofa trimmed in fringe, although it's a little too long for me.)




Okay, I realize that this bed is kind of funky. But, I think that's why I like it. I'm not saying I would have it in my bedroom, but there's something oddly appealing about it. The bedroom of Los Angeles designer J.P. Mathieu.

(All images from Architectural Digest California Interiors; images #1, #2 and #5 by photographer Russell MacMasters; #3 by Tim Street-Porter; #4 by Jerry Bragsted)

14 comments:

  1. The patterns and colour on the bed cover are wonderful, an exquisite work of art!

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  2. John Tackett9:31 AM

    I find these relatively small-scaled rooms inspirational. Perhaps they were once modest houses that have been improved because of their desirable location, view, etc. But they are good examples of what can be accomplished with capable decoration.

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  3. Mosaicista- That fabric is just gorgeous!

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  4. I love the second room! Looks like a great place to relax after a long day!

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  5. John- Great point. I think these images are proof that good things do come in small packages.

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  6. Jade- Looks like a great place to curl up at the end of the day with a drink and a good design book!

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  7. I've had all of these AD books since they were published. (yes, I'm older than dirt!) I still enjoy looking through them. You're right---although some of the rooms are dated, others are timeless.

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  8. I have to agree with John as well. The one thing that surprised me throughout the images were how compact and well put together the rooms were. Also enjoyed the use of color in the 2,3,4 images particularly - love the zebra skin rug!

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  9. Thank you for sharing these timeless interiors, especially Jerry Leen's. I was fortunate to have known Jerry and his partner Leo, they were brilliant designers. Also very eccentric.

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  10. Anonymous4:23 PM

    I hope in the future you will show more of Jerry Leens home.It is so hard to find images of his work.

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  11. Anon- You got it. I'll show the entire home (or at least the four photos of it in this book) in a post very soon.

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  12. What a great find!

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  13. At one point Jerry Leen had an apartment on Nob Hill and was my next door neighbor (mid-eighties). It was a stunning apartment and may have had that same dining room table there. Do you have any images that place?

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  14. I, too, pick up these books as I run across them. They never seem to disappoint. Seriously great picks here.

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