Thursday, August 12, 2010

What Lies Behind Those Doors...

For me, one of the most stunning homes in James Archer Abbott's Jansen was the Paris apartment of Jansen president Pierre Delbee. It was a memorable home amongst many memorable homes. I think that what did it for me were those doors. Ahhh, those doors.... You see, they send me into a reverie every time I look at the photos. The ebony and ivory veneered numbers were decorated with depictions of follies, temples, even a trompe l'oeil grid-patterned floor. To have doors like these grace one's home must be pretty terrific. Good luck finding someone to duplicate them, though. What might be easier to replicate are the doors inside the home's library:

Upholstered in green suede and trimmed in gilt bronze. Now these are almost as beautiful as the other doors (although far more simple), and that centrally placed doorknob is the perfect punctuation point. While we're behind closed doors, let's look at the rest of the room:

Two things stand out to me- that greek key lampshade in the foreground which is actually made of cut silver, and the leopard print sofa at the far end of the room. The impressive antique armchairs in the library are all by Jacob. Pretty heady stuff, don't you think?

(Top photo from Jansen by James Archer Abbott; remaining photos from The Best in European Decoration)


  1. Unlike most of the homes you see! Beautiful.
    Teresa (Splendid Sass)

  2. I've also had a passion for any thing JANSEN! Christie's Monaco featured these doors in their sale Dec. 11-12, 1999,"Le Cabinet d'un Amateur Ancienne Collection Delbee-Jansen". Beautiful catalogue of this appartment.Also, Christie's London June 12,2003 "Boulle to Jansen"talks about the legacy of Jansen. Check these out if you can locate them.

  3. Anything by Jansen catches my eye. I don't always agree with the aesthetic, but the quality always shines through. Pierre Delbee's apartment is so unbelievably loaded with detail that my brain goes into shut-down mode. Just give the Jacob chairs and I will be in heaven. Super post.

  4. Love the upholstered door as it is absolutely beautiful!

  5. John J. Tackett12:31 PM

    Jansen was arguably the most influential decorating firm of the 20th century. James Archer Abbott wrote two books on Jansen, the second being about their furniture. Both are a MUST HAVE for those interested in the history of interior design.

  6. Its definitely my favorite room in that entire book. I don't remember the library though...and I'm sure I would have if I'd seen it...those doors are pretty memorable!

  7. Have always wondered what happened beyond those
    famous inlaid doors, which was the highlight of James
    Archer's fine book on Jansen. By sheer coincidence I received a copy of the book Best in European Decoration only last week, and I too was dazzled by the
    library doors. To think it was all carried out in 1957!
    A far cry from what is generally thought of as "mid-century"......

  8. Library wow… I love to read books and the whole room matched with that idea.
    folding doors

  9. I love to read your blog, it is very informative and detailed. I wonder if Phoebe and Jim Howard got their inspiration for their spectacular dining room in their Charlotte shop, from this: I posted the picture a few weeks ago. Thanks for a great education in design. You are a favorite for sure!

  10. I love everything that James Archer Abbott does... and I love him, too! He's the best!!!