Monday, October 10, 2016

Luxe, Calme, et Volupté


As I mature, I find myself increasingly drawn to interiors that are refined and pretty.  Perhaps it's a sign of aesthetic maturity, or maybe it's simply that refinement and prettiness seem so uncommon these days that they present a welcome departure from the commonplace.  Whatever the reason, it's a treat to come across photos of jewel-box-like interiors, such as the ones I'm showing today.

You might assume this elegant residence is located in Paris.  In fact, it's a townhouse in Georgetown which, when photographed for the March 1987 issue of House & Garden, belonged to Mrs. F. Burrall Hoffman, widow of Francis Burrall Hoffman, the prominent architect who is best remembered for his work on Villa Vizcaya.  An American who spent part of her childhood and much of her married life living in Paris, Mrs. Hoffman, who was a decorator, was responsible for the home's interiors.  Considering her background, it's not surprising that her home had a prominent French accent.  Take the drawing room, for example, which was lavished in such an attractive shade of green.  Enveloping the room were silk hangings that had been installed in the Hoffman's Paris home, while from one side of the room, a bust of Marie Antoinette stood guard.  Equally in the French style was Mrs. Hoffman's bedroom, which was also treated to sumptuous green fabrics.  Without a doubt, the star of this room was the homeowner's Louis XVI bed, which she slept in as a child.

So much is being made today about how rooms must be casual in order to be comfortable.  I completely disagree.  What's not comfortable about Mrs. Hoffman's library, with its inviting sofa and amply-sized armchair?  The same goes for her bedroom, which looks to me like a guarantee of sweet dreams.  (Granted, a tall person might be a bit uncomfortable in that slender bed.)  And don't you think the drawing room would be a smashing room in which to host guests for drinks? 

I realize that not everyone wants to live in such dressy surroundings today, but wouldn't it be nice if dressiness was a bit more prevalent in today's surroundings?


Above and at top, the drawing room.


The other side of the drawing room.  A Brussels tapestry hung behind the sofa.


The dining room.  The table was set with Nymphenburg china.  Two 18th c. Chinese silk paintings hang over the altar table.


The upstairs library. 



Mrs. Hoffman's bedroom


All photos from House & Garden, March 1987, Edgar de Evia, photographer.

18 comments:

  1. I agree with your assessment. I find these rooms soothing, interesting, classy as opposed to cold & sterile. Certainly everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion and should surround themselves with things that bring pleasure and serenity to their spirits...

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    1. Soothing is an apt description of these rooms. Glad to know that you appreciate them as I do.

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  2. I'm partial to green myself and with only a few minor adjustments I could move right into this place.

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    1. I especially like this particular shade of green. It's elegant and sophisticated.

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  3. I just love your posts! It is so wonderfully refreshing to see classic and beautiful interiors when it seems we are inundated by so much grey and beige. The interiors you find are always a visual treat!

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    1. Joanna, How nice! Thank you! I love interiors such as these, and I appreciate them even more now that it's so rare to see such homes published.

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  4. I too agree. The acoustics will be muffled, thus making the interiors even more cozy and intimate. And I love how the tellys sit on small tables, rather than today's room domination.

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    1. Pamela, I noticed that, too. How refreshing to see a television that was not the focal point of the room.

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  5. Anonymous11:31 AM

    I absolutely agree Jennifer! I am so tired of the "Pottery Barn" look of today's homes with black chunky tables, steel lamps and bulky armchairs. The photos you have posted are timeless, elegant and very comfortable looking to me. I could spend hours reading in that cozy library. Thank you so much for the post. LK

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    1. That library is so cozy-looking. It may not be to everyone's taste, but I don't see how any one could say it wasn't comfortable-looking.

      Thank you for your comment!

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  6. I totally agree! The older I get (and I'm far older than you, my dear!), the more prettiness and comfort are my guiding forces when decorating rooms in which one lives. Now in kitchens and bathrooms, function and practicality must trump everything, but they can still be very attractive, just more minimalist for cleanliness reasons.

    To me, a home should be a refuge from the ugliness and vulgarity of the world today - a place to replenish ones soul. I will never understand people who say that a holiday table should be "casual so it won't be stuffy". The only thing that makes a table stuffy are stuffy boring guests! One can be just as spontaneous and joyful at a table set with beautiful linens, china and silver. All this worship at the great god of casualness is nothing more than an excuse for sloth.

    While these rooms may not be my personal taste (I'm far more English in my approach to design, not French), they are lovely and as one comment said, "soothing". That green is a lovely color and the rooms are indeed very soothing, even if formal.

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    1. Regarding elegant tables, I couldn't agree with you more. It's the same thing with white-tablecloth restaurants. They can be just as comfy and cozy as a casually-furnished restaurant, though in a different way. I don't understand why so many people are down on establishments with white tablecloths.

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  7. scrumpdeliumptious (my word)!! If I didn't have 8 million animals.....

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    1. Perhaps, but a house full of animals is awfully nice, too!

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  8. These are lovely, timeless rooms! And I think you could have a lot of animals in them!! Just classic and elegant! Thank you Jennifer!!!

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  9. So beautiful and definitely comfortable. The leopard print on the sofa has converted me! My mother preached that leopard was tacky. But she's not here to see it when i get a leopard print throw! I'm not partial to green indoors, but I think I could live with the green in this home. (I'm of the opinion that a house is a house and a home is a house with people living in it...different creatures) as in If it's available for sale and not being lived in, it's a house. But then I'm old fashioned with sterling silver flatware and dinner service for 12 and white linen ironed tablecloths. Thanks for sharing this delightful space......

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