Monday, February 22, 2016
Tom Parr in France
A few years ago, I read a Country Life article on Tom Parr and his partner Klaus Scheinert's garden in the South of France. The article was published in 2013, two years after the death of Parr, who, as many of you know, was the former director of the venerable London design firm, Colefax and Fowler. While the Country Life article was a keeper (meaning I clipped it for my tear-sheet library), I was left wishing that I could see photos of the home's interior.
Thankfully, someone gave me a 1997 issue of House Beautiful that happened to feature Parr and Scheinert's house, interiors and all. Located near Grasse, the house, named "La Casella", had been built in the 1960s and was patterned after an 18th-century pavilion built for Madame de Pompadour. By the time Parr and Scheinert purchased the house in the Eighties, the house was in sorry shape, a "rather unloved, rather down-market place," according to Parr. Equally as unloved were the adjoining gardens, which once supplied jasmine to the perfume industry. But after Parr's overhaul of the interiors and Scheinert's revamp of the gardens, La Casella was eventually transformed into a haven of comfortable good taste.
Fans of the English Country House style should be pleased by the home's interiors, which were lavished with Colefax and Fowler fabrics, including old favorites such as Old Rose (seen above in the yellow salon, the room which perhaps best reflects Parr's inimitable style,) Bailey Rose, and Floral Toile. Others will likely be enthused by La Casella's enchanting gardens. (If you'd like to learn more about the gardens, you should read Robin Lane Fox's article for FT.) But what impresses me is the confidence with which Parr decorated his house, choosing fabrics and furnishings of which he was certain he would never tire. "I might do fresh new slipcovers, but I'm certainly not changing any of the patterns," said Parr. "They will all be the same forever. They work. I love them. And if they weren't exactly right, I wouldn't have chosen them in the first place, would I?"
All photos from House Beautiful, August 1997, Alexandre Bailhache photographer