Wednesday, January 13, 2016
A Sumptuous Get Away
After a long holiday, getting back into the swing of things has been a challenge, so much so that in the last few days, I've felt like saying, "Calgon, take me away." If a box of Calgon really could take me away for a respite, I'd wish to be transported to this Paris apartment, one of the more memorable Paris dwellings to have been published in the last fifteen years. (Well, memorable to me anyway.) Owned and decorated by financier Kristen van Riel and published in the September 2001 issue of House Beautiful, this Left Bank apartment is a bastion of elegance, good taste, and quality, three things that seem to be in short supply these days.
Look at the photos, and you won't see one piece of modern furniture. Contemporary art is absent, too, while antique engravings and oil paintings are in abundance. (By the way, I hear that the market for traditional oil paintings is tepid at best.) But rather than appearing old-fashioned, this apartment seems very much suited to our modern lives. The color palette is a pleasing mix of rich, energizing color tempered by anything-but-dull neutrals. The homeowner's many collections provide the home with those all-important, comforting layers, but the rooms have an edited feel, too, which prevent them from being too weighed down by the past. And how nice would it be to escape the hustle and bustle of emails, social media, phone calls, and interruptions by settling down on that sumptuous red-velvet sofa, a book or magazine in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other? In fact, that's such a nice thought that I'm ready to be taken there immediately. Calgon, I'm ready when you are.
All images from House Beautiful, September 2001, Alexandre Bailhache, photographer.