Wednesday, October 21, 2015
The Penthouse Terrace of Bill Blass
What a treat for me to find these 1974 Architectural Digest photos of Bill Blass's penthouse terrace...and what a disappointment to find that only two photos were featured. That's surprising, really, considering the article mentioned that this terrace, located sixteen stories above Manhattan's hustle and bustle, was one of the largest penthouse terraces in that city- at least, it was back in 1974.
The person tasked with creating "a private country woodland" up in the sky was none other than Renny Reynolds, who treated the terrace space as an extension of the penthouse's interiors, even going so far as to refer to the outdoor spaces as "exterior rooms." (We hear so much about "exterior rooms" today, so it's interesting to learn that this concept of aesthetically linking an outdoor space to the indoors is not a new idea.)
For those of you into gardening, I'll give you specifics of the terrace garden design. The walls were built of flagstone and rocks, which were then covered in ivy. Plant material included common honeylocust, weeping willows, shrubs of Japanese maple, wisteria, forsythia, and different forms of holly. Whew! Then there were flowers chosen for their white shades, which Blass preferred: impatiens; petunias; geraniums; daisies; begonias; and chrysanthemums.
What I find especially pretty are the accents of blue, namely, those blue cushions on the antique French garden furniture and, though not prominent in these photos, blue canvas awnings. But, of course, what I might like best is that Porthault cloth on Blass's outdoor table, set with blue napkins, elegant china, sterling candlesticks, and, perhaps best of all, a simple vase holding a bounty of daisies.
Photos from Architectural Digest, Jan/Feb 1974, Stan Ries, photographer.