Thursday, June 04, 2015
The Four Seasons Under One Roof
During the summer, when everyone else is focused on beach-house decor, I continue to turn my attention to warm, cozy rooms that scream winter. It's not that I want to be in such rooms when it's 90-degrees outside. A wool sofa just isn't all that inviting during a sultry, Southern summer. I do, however, enjoy looking at these comforting rooms during the summer months because it allows me to pretend that it's fall and winter. Perhaps it's my way of beating the heat.
Some of you might feel as I do about summertime perusal of wintertime rooms, while others might find it stifling. But I think I have found a home that might suit all temperatures, not to mention most temperaments. The photos you see here show designer Valentino's Roman villa as it appeared in 1981. It's an eclectic house in that some of the rooms are cool and even breezy, while others feel more like a cashmere robe on a cold winter's night.
Take, for example, the home's living room, which was inspired by ancient Egypt. Decorated by Renzo Mongiardino, the room was perched on a slab of presumably cool-to-the-touch marble. Stone tables and sculptures further added to the heat-quelling atmosphere, as did the mostly neutral-colored upholstery. The only decoration that really seemed to give off warmth was the pair of fur rugs.
Now look at Valentino's private rooms (also shown below), which were decorated by Adrian Magistretti. The tone was maximal and the attitude Victorian. Shades of claret, russet, and Bordeaux mixed with heavier fabrics, such as velvets and tapestries. Yes, the look is slightly heavy (and reminiscent of a Denning and Fourcade interior), but it certainly keeps one's eyes entertained. If any room could ward off a chill, it has to be Valentino's bedroom.
And then, switching gears again, there was the small, tented dining room, which was decorated by Valentino himself. The mood here- very spring and summery- was appropriate for the dining room's location off of the garden. It was slightly casual, a little carefree, and most intriguing when you compare it to the rest of the house. It almost feels like a dining pavilion plunked down in the middle of a garden.
Of course, Valentino is known for being a polyglot collector, so it's not surprising that his house would reflect his myriad interests. What is somewhat surprising, but also very compelling, is how one house could capture so many moods- and evoke all four seasons.
All photos from Architectural Digest, August 1981, Robert Emmett Bright photographer.