Tuesday, January 05, 2016
The Mill, Part One
Over the holidays, I was tickled pink when a neighbor gave me a 1954 magazine clipping about the Mill, the French country house of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (or, as the article referred to them, "the world's most romantic couple."). Titled Our First Real Home, the article was a two-part series written by the Duchess herself, who described at length the renovation and decoration of the couple's first purchased home. (Their previous homes had all been leased.)
Formerly owned by the artist Drian, the seventeenth-century mill, Moulin de la Tuilerie, consisted of a millhouse and three outbuildings located, naturally, along a stream. According to the article, the Duchess chose a fruit and floral theme for the home because "every house should have a theme in its decoration." She also established a vibrant color-palette for most of the rooms because she "wanted to have a fling with bright colors." The exceptions to this are the Duchess's pastel-colored bedroom and the lighter-toned dining room. Assisted by her decorator, Stéphane Boudin of Maison Jansen, the Duchess filled her country home with newly-purchased objects as well as furnishings from their previous homes, including pieces from York House and Fort Belvedere. (If, like me, you have spent hours pouring over the Duke and Duchess of Windsor auction catalogues, you'll likely recognize a number of the paintings and objects seen here.)
As I've said before, I don't consider the Mill to be on par with the Windsors' Paris home, which was really most attractive. I find the colors of these interiors to be jarring to the eye, and some of the decorative combinations are rather odd. (One such example, seen below, is the drawing-room banquette, which was accented with red satin cushions. Alongside it was a corduroy-upholstered chair. See what I mean?) That being said, I relish these photos, because they provide a glimpse into the lives of a stylish couple who, rightly or wrongly, fascinate me.
You might recognize some of these photos, for they later appeared in Suzy Menkes's terrific book, The Windsor Style. Because the article featured so many photos, I'm dividing them up into two blog posts. And I've also included the original photo captions, because they're too good to overlook.
So, now, the tour of the Mill...
The Big Hall:
The Drawing Room:
The Duchess's Bedroom:
The Duke's Bedroom and Bath:
To be continued....