Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Flair for Living

I've just finished reading Charlotte Moss' new book A Flair for Living- for the second time. I've long been a fan of both Moss and her beautiful books, and this new release did not disappoint.

In "A Flair for Living", Moss gives us a room by room tour of her gorgeous home (and the homes of a few of her clients). For each room, Moss shares with us her views on creating environments that are beautiful, comfortable, and most importantly functional. And while design and decoration are important, Moss emphasizes "Living". After all, a well-designed room with no life is really rather empty, isn't it?

In the introduction, Moss writes of her admiration for Nancy Lancaster and John Fowler, two designers who possessed the ability and skill to "humanize" a room. In my opinion, Moss has taken up the mantle of these two design legends, and quite successfully I might add. In "A Flair for Living", Moss discusses the importance of getting the bones of the room right. Furniture placement is obviously quite critical- you have to create a room that is conducive to daily living and entertaining. But Moss does not stop here. She discusses ways to imbue warmth into a room through objects, personal mementos, and books. Many times it's the details that can bring one so much joy. I won't spoil the book for you, but I do encourage you to read it. The text is certainly very inspiring, but I think once you see the gorgeous photographs in the book you will be anxious to hone your own flair for living.

Moss was kind enough to spend some time chatting with me about her new book and design in general. I asked her how her views on design and living have changed in the last twenty years. Moss said that she came to realize that interior design is not just about decoration- it's about making sure that the clients have what they need to "live" after the design project is over. Moss encourages her clients to relax and enjoy their home, and she gives them the tools they need to do so. Fortunately for us, "A Flair for Living" gives us the same sage advice that Moss doles out to her clients.

We also discussed gracious living and whether this concept is dying out (something which I very much fear). Moss believes that if you give people the history behind traditions- whether it be traditions involving entertaining, flatware, or books, for example- that you make these things relevant. People will understand these traditions and might in fact start to seek out the comfort of the past.

Of course, anytime we read books by designers, we inevitably want to know about specifics. I asked Moss to name the items that really make a room come alive. Among them are books that one actually reads (Amen!), flowers, people, a good fire, fragrance, personal objects, and a floor plan that is conducive to conversation. But most importantly, she feels a room needs people to come alive. So true.

Knowing that Moss has traveled extensively, I was curious as to the kind of homes that made the biggest impression on her. Moss mentioned her fascination with grand homes because of their level of detail and because that type of grandeur is incomprehensible. But the type of home that speaks most to Moss is one that is classically French- something simple and constructed of stucco and limestone. But most of all, Moss' favorite kind of home is one that is warm and layered.

Finally, I just had to dish on
The Townhouse with Moss. The shop is just so beautiful that you feel as if you've been transported to an incredibly beautiful, elegant, glamorous, and spunky home. I asked Moss who she saw as the fictional homeowner of The Townhouse. To Moss, it would be someone who has lots of interests and a great deal of energy, a person who is spirited and curious, a traveler, a people gatherer, and someone who entertains all of the time. I think that this fictitious chatelaine of The Townhouse and Charlotte Moss have a great deal in common!

(To purchase "A Flair for Living", click
here. And check back tomorrow for Charlotte Moss' Top Ten Book List.)

How gorgeous is this bedroom? This is just one of the many sumptuous photographs in Moss' book.


  1. what a treat Jennifer. I really admire Moss' spirit and philosophy for living!

  2. What a privilege to get to speak with Charlotte personally and then share "inside" information with your readers. She has truly become a living design legend herself. The book looks beautiful! Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing this with all of us.

  3. Glad you both enjoyed the post. She is a very kind, gracious, and talented woman!

  4. How wonderful! She sounds like a gracious and well lived lady, which makes me appreciate her work even more. Another book for the list!

  5. Simply wonderful posting -- and thanks for sharing your time with the incredile Ms. Moss! Just adore that bedroom -- looks like a truly gorgeous-but-comfy inviting space -- and that pink-checked chaise is divine!

    Many thanks!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  6. THanks so much for the great interview! I can not wait to get the book!

  7. Anonymous11:59 PM

    Thanks for sharing your conversation with Charlotte Moss. I can't wait to see her list in your post tomorrow.

  8. Both this and your post delving into Ms. Moss' bookshelves are wonderful. Nice get!

    Your question about the fictional owner of The Townhouse was brilliant.

  9. Thank you E&E. I could be quite happy as the fictional owner of the Townhouse!

  10. Jennifer - wow is all I can say! How did you get this interview girl? What a coup - but is the book out yet? I haven't received mine yet. That bedroom! omg!!!! i'm dying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Already on my list at Amazon! That is so neat you got to speak personally with her! That is so exciting! Thanks for sharing with us :)