Thursday, March 13, 2014

Speed Lamkin at Home in Louisiana


One of my favorite Mark Hampton-designed houses has to be that of the late author and playwright, Speed Lamkin.  The Monroe, Louisiana house, in which the writer and his sister, socialite Marguerite Littman, were raised, was built in 1936 by Lamkin's parents. After many years spent in the whirl of New York City, Lamkin returned home to Monroe to refocus his energy on his writing career and to take up residence in his childhood house.

Although Lamkin was known for his refined taste and his passion for collecting, he had the good sense to hire some very talented designers during his lifetime.  While living in New York, Lamkin engaged Billy Baldwin to decorate two different apartments. But for his Louisiana house, the playwright hired Mark Hampton, who helped Lamkin redecorate the house's interiors.  Lamkin had long wanted a drawing room with mirrored paneled walls like those in Coco Chanel's salon, something which Hampton made a reality.  And in what had once been the house's porte cochere, Lamkin envisioned a winter garden room.  Hampton complied and layered the room in yards of a charming Brunschwig & Fils floral chintz.  What a chic collaboration.

The photos that you see here appeared in the September 1981 issue of Architectural Digest.  Although I had seen photos of the house before (such as in Duane Hampton's book on Mark Hampton,) there are a few- namely, the master bedroom- which are not familiar to me.  Take a look below and tell me that this house didn't strike just the right balance between high-style, big city flourishes and Southern comfort and graciousness.



In the house's entrance hall, family portraits are displayed.  The wallpaper is a David Hicks design.



Two photos of the Coco Chanel-inspired drawing room. The bureau plat (to the left in the first photo) once belonged to Empress Eugenie.



The crimson dining room. The draperies were designed in the Regency style.



The winter garden room was referred to as the "Edwardian Room". You can see the garden and pool beyond the glass door.



The master bedroom with its very inviting-looking velvet canopy.




All photos from Architectural Digest, September 1981; Horst, photographer.

23 comments:

  1. Carol8:53 AM

    Thank you for posting about one of my hometown treasures!

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  2. Jennifer, your intro to this beautiful home was so well-written and concise. Thank you. I wish you much success with your book.

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  3. So incredibly chic! Are those suede sofas in the drawing room?
    Wonderful post, thank you!

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    1. Foodie, they look suede to me. So glad you enjoyed the post.

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  4. I just sent you a long note about how this house completely derailed me this morning! What a fantastic story and design. Thank you! Stacy

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  5. being from the deep south, I adored these photos + loved this home. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  6. Royalty! Mesmerized at the sight of their taste and brilliance! Thank you so much Chic! I feel honored to have seen these.

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  7. Anonymous1:59 PM

    I guess I'll be odd man out on this one. Love the entrance hall - thought the large-patterned paper was Mauny at first - but the other rooms look fussy, crowded, inappropriate for the house and location. The few photographs of Baldwin's work for Lamkin hold up much better.

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    1. Anonymous1:59 PM

      I agree. I, too, love color but there is too, too much "stuff" in the rooms. I prefer a more tranquil look. All of it is tasteful to me, but take about half of the decorative items and it will be more appealing.

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    2. I do agree with both of you that there is a lot of "stuff" in this home. I like it, however, I do wonder if I could actually live with such a dense collection of objects.

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    3. Anonymous12:57 PM

      Whoever said "less is boring", I couldn't agree more.

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  8. Another fabulous post! Always loved his apartment with the paisley tented walls that BB did. Do you think Mr. Lamkin is still living in the Monroe house? I have a weakness for painted brick Georgians. I also adore the pair chairs in the drawing room, which I think were also in the tented room. Have you seen the new BRAVO show called "Southern Charm" ? There is a house featured that appears to have been done by Mario Buatta. Check it out, (Whitney's mothers house)
    Dean

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  9. Wow! I remember this house from my childhood before I even knew of Mark Hampton or interior design for that matter.....thank you for posting this wonderful memory for me!

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  10. Anonymous10:27 AM

    It is Monroe lore that the obelisk in front of the door to the garden room is from Mr. Lamkin's father's grave near downtown Monroe. Speed apparently fancied it and had it moved to his home. He was as funny and bright as he was eccentric. I enjoyed hearing his stories about James Dean and other celebrities of the day.

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    1. Now that's a story! It is a nice obelisk, I must say.

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  11. This brings back such wonderful memories for me.
    I spent so much time at this house with Speed, my parents,
    and their friends. While the grown ups danced the day and
    night away, us kids swam in the beautiful pool. Speed treated
    us as his own. He was so much fun!!

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    Replies
    1. What a lovely memory. I'm sure he was a wonderful host!

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  12. What date were these photos taken?

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    1. They appeared in a 1981 issue of AD, so I'm assuming they were taken around that time.

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  13. Anonymous9:28 PM

    I had the opportunity to go into the apartment on the second floor and see his great collection of books. one of my favorite homes in Monroe

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    1. I'd be interested to learn about the types of books he collected. Fiction? Biography? Just curious!

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  14. Anonymous7:01 PM

    This brings back wonderful memories. Speed was a dear loyal friend. I enjoyed many conversations over cocktails and dinner in his beautiful home. E Mize.

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