Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Off to San Francisco

I'm heading out to San Francisco today to see my sister and attend the Antiques Show. Hoping to get a little bit of R&R, I'm going to take a break from blogging until next week. And if this trip is like previous ones, I might end up buying so many secondhand books that I'll have to ship them home. If only Atlanta had used bookstores like those in San Francisco.

See you next week!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Château de Groussay

Over the weekend, I came across some old photos of Château de Groussay that I had never seen before. At least, I don't think that I've ever seen them before. It's hard to remember what one has or hasn't seen thanks to the constant barrage of information that we face daily.

These photos were published in the May 15, 1955 issue of Connaissance des Arts. Some are in color, while others were published in black and white- typical for the era. And I'm sure that the article's text is interesting, but my high school level French wasn't very useful in understanding the details of the story. That translation will have to wait until another day. In the meantime, I think that the photos speak for themselves

The images above are of the Dutch Salon

These photos show the Louis XIII gallery that leads to the Dutch Salon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Christopher Norman Wallpapers

While I attended last week's Fall Market at the D&D Building, I stopped by the Zimmer + Rohde showroom to see the latest offerings from Christopher Norman. Let's just say that after seeing all of their wallpapers, I desperately want to buy a second apartment where I can paper the walls with abandon.

I feel a certain kinship with the Christopher Norman team. Like me, they mine the past for inspiration, updating it for the 21st century audience. The Christopher Norman collection includes Waterhouse Wallhangings, Inez Croom, and Thomas Strahan. These three lines were founded decades ago (in the case of Thomas Strahan it was 1886), so collectively there is quite an archive of terrific old prints. Some of the prints are of more recent vintages, while others date to the 19th c. What's so striking is that Christopher Norman has recolored many of these prints, making them look completely fresh and modern.

Take, for example, Moiré, Spider Web, and Shoot for the Moon, all part of Waterhouse Wallhangings. They are 19th c. document prints that Christopher Norman/ Waterhouse Wallhangings produced in conjunction with Historic New England. They have been reprinted in the original narrow width and repeat, but the colors make them look anything but old-fashioned. Seriously, looking at the coral colorway of Moiré (see below), would you have guessed that it's a 19th c. print?

The beauty of these papers is that if you are a historical-minded person, you'll be charmed by the lineage of these prints. And if you're history averse, well, I think you'll still be charmed.

Oh, and one more thing- I'm so glad to see that Christopher Norman still carries wallpaper borders. They seem to have fallen out of favor, but I really do think that in certain rooms and installations, borders provide the finishing touch. In fact, I'm thinking of ordering a Christopher Norman border for my bedroom.

In many of the photos below, I included multiple colorways in one shot so that you could see part of the color range. In addition to great wallpapers, Christopher Norman also produces beautiful fabrics too. Visit their website for showroom locations. If you're in Atlanta, Travis & Co. carries the line.

, Waterhouse Wallhangings through Christopher Norman

Salem Stripe, Waterhouse Wallhangings through Christopher Norman

Fauve Leopard, Christopher Norman Collection

Petite Pavillion, Inez Croom through Christopher Norman

Badminton Trellis was introduced by Christopher Norman in July of this year. (You can see it at top in a window display.) It currently comes in one colorway (off white and rose)although four additional colors will be added in January 2012.

Spider Web, Waterhouse Wallhangings through Christopher Norman

Celestial Swag, Waterhouse Wallhangings through Christopher Norman

Waterhouse Drapery, Waterhouse Wallhangings through Christopher Norman

Monuments of Paris, Inez Croom through Christopher Norman

Rice Birds, Inez Croom through Christopher Norman

Shoot for the Moon, Waterhouse Wallhangings through Christopher Norman

Honorable Bamboo, Inez Croom through Christopher Norman

An array of wallpaper borders.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pickett's Press

Last week, my friend Elizabeth Pyne of McMillen Inc. introduced me to Kate Pickett, owner of a letterpress stationery line called Pickett's Press. Elizabeth raved about Kate's stationery, and during the course of conversation, two more people approached us to share their praise of the line. Needless to say, as soon as I got back to the hotel that night, I visited the Pickett's Press website to see the stationery for myself.

There is a lot of letterpress stationery on the market today, but much of it isn't quite formal enough for me. What I like about Pickett's Press is that the designs resemble what one might see in more traditional engraved stationery, and yet the letterpress printing of it makes the stationery seem fresh. It's the best of both worlds.

The line includes boxed note cards and gift enclosure cards as well as place cards and fill-in invitations. I love using fill-in invitations for small cocktail and dinner parties, so it's nice to see that Kate has included these in her line. Custom letterpress stationery can also be designed. You could order change of address cards with an architectural rendering of your new house or personalized menu cards or...well, the sky's the limit.

Seeing that the holidays are just around the corner, I urge you to visit
the website to see the full range. I think that Pickett's Press is a great resource for social stationery during the holidays and the rest of the year too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Entertaining in the French Style

A few weeks ago, I posted on both the Manhattan and Paris apartments of designer Jean-Paul Beaujard. Well, my fascination with Beaujard's work has only intensified thanks to the book Entertaining in the French Style. I guess you could also say that because of this book, my interest in French food and tableware has been piqued as well.

Eileen Johnson, the book's author who also owns and operates FlowerSchool New York, has written a charming book that really captures the essence of French entertaining. Each chapter profiles an intriguing person (subjects include Beaujard, an artist, and an antique textiles collector) who lives in some beautiful part of France (think Paris, L'Isle sur la Sorgue, and La Perche.) The book's sumptuous photographs show the various tableware and food that each subject uses and serves when entertaining. There are even a few recipes included for dishes like Algerian Couscous and Plum Clafouti.

If you are at all interested in French style and entertaining, you really should consider purchasing a copy of this book either for yourself or as a gift. (The book's smaller size makes it perfect for gift-giving.) Reading it really is like taking an enchanting but all too brief trip to France.

A beautiful Maison Jansen games table set for dinner in the Paris apartment of designer Jean-Paul Beaujard. The porcelain is Sevres.

A table set beneath a pear tree at a bed & breakfast in Saignon. The wine, cheese, and fruit look scrumptious.

In the L'Isle sur la Sorgue home of designer and textile collector Michel Biehn. Biehn designed the cicada and pine decorated china and had it made in Mouspiers, France. I'm fascinated with the earthenware cicada knife rests.

Biehn set this table in his garden.

Artist Tony Ramos, who lives near Eygalieres in Provence, laid out hors d'oeuvres including saucisson, olives, and olive paste, in his studio. This was a precursor to a meal of roast chicken, string beans, and fresh tomatoes. Vin d'orange was served alongside.

A jasmine tart is garnished with crystallized mint leaves and rose petals.

All photos from Entertaining in the French Style by Eileen Johnson; Brie Williams photographer.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Katie Ridder Rooms

I couldn't have asked for a better weekend: a fun cocktail party hosted by neighbors; a leisurely Sunday night supper at a friend's house; and reading the soon to be released Katie Ridder Rooms. I have long been a fan of Katie's work, so I had a feeling that I would enjoy this book. Still, I didn't realize just how much I would enjoy reading it.

There is much that I admire about Katie. She has an amazing sense of color, an ease with both traditional and contemporary furnishings, and a keen eye for detail. (In fact, the book has pages devoted to details like upholstery, lighting, and wallpaper.) The result, I think, is that her rooms are layered and full of life. They are rooms that you want to pore over, soaking in the details. And fortunately, the book's photos really capture the beauty of Katie's work. The colors leap from the page.

The book's text is interesting too, giving the reader a sense of how Katie works and what her design philosophy is. In addition, Katie's tips on things like "The Ideal Dining Chair", "What Every Entry Needs", and "The Best Bookcases" are all highlighted. It's informative and inspiring too.

And going back to what I said about Katie's eye for detail. Take a close look at the book and you'll see that it is decorated with some of Katie's great fabric and wallpaper prints including Wave and Attendant. Very clever!

Katie's Attendant print appears on the book's spine.

Take off the dust jacket and you'll see that the book's front and end boards feature her Wave print.

Images of interiors from Katie Ridder Rooms by Heather Smith MacIsaac, Eric Piasecki photographer (Vendome Press).