Friday, August 12, 2016

Where to Spend a Saturday Night

There was a time in my life when weekends were spent going out, catching up with friends, and having too much fun.  Well, that time has come and gone, because as much as I still enjoy being out and about, I love nothing more than spending a quiet Friday or Saturday night at home.  But the more time I spend at home, the more I understand how important it is for one's home to be inviting, comfortable, and, above all, cozy.  Because if you're going to spend a Saturday night at home, you want your home to give you a warm embrace and not the cold shoulder.

One home that must have been supremely cozy on a Saturday night (or any night, for that matter) was the Mayfair apartment of the late decorator, Geoffrey Bennison.  Seen here in photos from the April 1987 issue of House & Garden, the apartment was filled with all kinds of interesting furnishings, which was hardly surprising for a man who began his career as an antiques dealer.  But look beyond the pictures and objects, and you'll see the pieces that really contributed to the home's cozy atmosphere: comfy upholstered sofas and chairs, generous curtains that kept the hustle and bustle at bay, glowing lamp light, loads of books, and a most impressive canopy bed.  If that were my bed, I would have a difficult time getting out of it in the mornings.

Now tell me, wouldn't you rather spend a Saturday night at home in digs like these rather than the enduring the agony of a hip and trendy restaurant?  I know that I certainly would.

All photos from House & Garden, April 1987, Christopher Simon Sykes photographer


  1. The first shot is the best.

  2. Those are rooms I'd NEVER want to leave! Classic and timeless and just plain beautiful. Yes, the time does come in ones life when staying at home is better than any hip, noisy restaurant on a date with someone who bores you to death!

  3. Clutter done right.

    I am personally not a fan of floral curtains AND wallpaper, though I see the design decision behind it in this instance; the rest works for me. A bit lush, but I think the key to lots of stuff is to have standout high points, like the Vendome Column on the desk, the large painting of the plumed Negress, the dromedary sculpture, the floor to ceiling and almost wall to wall canopy bed and the Laocoon bust on the armoire, flanked by impressive tomes and infilled with shells in a studied disarray. The set pieces offer surprise, a change scale and give the room a sense of having air, for all the other things filling the space. This is also the key to a small room, have at least one outscale piece to make a statement and confuse the eye's perception of scale.

    Bennison and Zipkin; two red roomed lairs. The difference is that Zipkin never seemed to understand that tons of tiny things, items of like size and pictures all in the same size range stop compelling notice and merely read as annoying, claustrophobic pattern. Bennison's rooms have a sweeping breadth, with perspective and a sense of distances; not like the walls closing in on one effect of Mr. Zipkin's habitat.

    Thanks for the great pix. I think I will steal the idea of having an armoire jutting into the room off a flue wall, and using the resulting more commodious corner for a dining alcove.

    1. It is so divine. All of the details you point out are so correct! I do believe the walls are fabric; (although applied like wallpaper); fascinating the jib doors are all makes the rooms seem much bigger than they are.....none of the "secondary" doors show at all.

      Genius. Good grief! I have acres of wall space left in my house!!

      And as much as I enjoyed Jerry Zipkin's......this is way more talented design. I love the personal....which both apartments have in spades. This one is just leagues ahead in design!!!

  4. Oh, yes! A thousand times YES to staying at home in such a cozy & interesting environment!

  5. Anonymous11:54 AM

    I agree 100%, I would never want to leave this apartment! I can just imagine how wonderful it was to sip a glass of wine while reading a book by that elegant fireplace, with classical music playing in the background......especially when it was snowing outside. Thank you so much for posting these Jennifer. LK

  6. are SPOT ON! I detest going out anymore...especially on the weekends. A weeknight out with friends at a familiar pub is fun, but drinks and good conversation can really only be enjoyed at home. Next time you are in town it's dinner and drinks at our house. David will grill while we make fun concoctions with vodka!

  7. Alexis Purr1:32 PM

    And yet dear Geoffrey himself was more prone to spenind his Friday nights trawling the fleshpots of Brighton, dressed in drag. Not for him the quiet night in with a book. What a riot he was.