Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Taking a Stand

Here in Atlanta, we finally got a taste of fall a few days ago.  With nightly temperatures hovering in the 30s, it was time for my pretty potted geraniums to come indoors.  Unfortunately for them, though, they went from a comfortable balcony to the floor of the kitchen, the only spot that I could find for them where they would get sun.  And because I do find geraniums to be a genteel plant, they really have no business being unceremoniously dumped on the floor.

I could always find a narrow table like the one in the illustration above, one on which I could park a few plants, but the problem is that such a table takes up space, something in short supply around my home.  What I want, and think that I need, too,  is a good old-fashioned plant stand, one dignified enough for geraniums, not to mention my living room as well.  Of course, what I covet is a stand much like that owned by the late John Fowler, seen immediately below this text.  That has to be the all-time best looking plant stand that I've ever seen. 

While looking for other photos of plant stands, I realized that the best examples I could find were featured in books on English and Irish design.  Not surprising, really, as a pretty stand holding a flowering plant seems made for both quaint country cottages and grand country houses alike.

For all of you who are being affected by Hurricane Sandy, please stay safe and be well!

John Fowler's stand in the hall at his Hunting Lodge.

A plant stand in Lady Gunston's drawing room in Pelham Crescent, decorated by John Fowler.

A wire plant stand on a table in Fowler's home-showroom at 292 King's Road.

A modern scheme includes a column supporting a potted urn, decorated by David Mlinaric.

A stand with what looks like a terrarium on top, in an 18th century lodge decorated again by Mlinaric.

The charming and much-photographed living room of the late Mark Hampton. The curvy plant stand in the window held a pot of pretty paperwhites.

A fountain converted into a plant stand, at Killadoon, County Kildare

And a Victorian looking stand at Birr Castle, County Offaly.

Image #1 and #7 from Colefax and Fowler: The Best in Interior Decoration by Chester Jones. #2 from Nancy Lancaster: English Country House Style by Martin Wood; #3 and #4 from John Fowler: Prince of Decorators, also by Wood; #5 and #6 from Mlinaric on Decorating; #8 and #9 from The Irish Country House.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A 1970 "It" Home

Every so often, there is a home whose interiors seem to resonate with us. Perhaps it's because the home captures the mood of the time, or maybe it's that the homeowner or designer hit the nail on the head when it came to using various popular decorative trends. No matter the reason, these homes usually end up being featured in numerous shelter magazines, and now, blogs, too.

One such home that was the hit of design magazines in the early 1970s was the Manhattan apartment of Mr. and Mrs. John C. Moore III.  I first saw the home, one notable for creating a country home effect in a New York apartment building, in a 1970 issue of House & Garden.  While the home was evocative of that era- layer upon layer of prints and patterns, wicker furniture, needlepoint, and Italian ceramics- I do think that it was a rather interesting idea to imbue the space with such quaint, country effects.  Design editors must have thought so, too, because just a few months later, in 1971, House Beautiful also featured the Moore's apartment.  But this version was a little different.  I'm fairly certain it was the same apartment, but the fireplace mantel seems to have changed as well as some of the fabrics.  And strangely enough, the painted piano from 1970 seems to have been repainted with a different design just a short time later.

There are other differences, but I stopped looking at the photos as it was giving me a headache.  Suffice it to say, the Moore's residence was an "it" residence of the early 1970s, one that captured the spirit of that time.

Image at top:  The Moores' Dining-Sitting Room as it appeared in 1970.  The white piano bore painted miniature fruits and vegetables.

In 1971, the dining room has a change in fabric, and paneling seems to have been added. Here, the piano was painted with exuberant flowers.

Jumping back to 1970, Marni Moore was photographed sitting on her charming sofa with blue and white floral pillows.

Another 1970 photo which shows a wider view of the living room.

A detail 1970 photo of Mrs. Moore's cocktail table with a top made of blue, white, and red tile. The same table was a holdover for the 1971 photo shoot.

The Living Room circa 1971.

And here, in 1970, was a black and white shot of the living room with the dining room beyond.

The colorful Library made it into the 1971 House Beautiful article, but not that of the 1970 House & Garden issue.

The Moores' bedroom, which I do think is rather pretty, from 1970.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Walter Gay - Impressions of Interiors

In the midst of all of the blockbuster fall book releases, there is one book that I hope will not be overlooked. Titled Impressions of Interiors: Gilded Age Paintings by Walter Gay, the book is an informative, but more importantly interesting, overview of the work of the late, esteemed interior illustrator.

Written chiefly by Isabel Taube as a companion catalogue to The Frick Art & Historical Center's exhibition of the same name, the book provides an engaging overview of Gay's oil renderings of both European and American interiors. There is an entire chapter devoted to Gay's paintings of his own homes, including Château du Bréau, as well as other chapters that profile Gay's studies of the homes of friends and patrons.  Also included is an enlightening essay on the style of interior decoration that was most often seen in Gay's work, something that provides context for Gay's charming paintings.

I know that many of you collect (or hope to someday collect) interior illustrations, so I do hope that you'll visit The Frick's exhibition if you're in the Pittsburgh vicinity.  And by all means, get a copy of this book!  It will only help to fuel your passion for this exquisite form of illustration.

Symphonie en Blanc (Château du Bréau)

Interior of the Bedroom of the Château du Bréau, c. 1912

The Artist's Study, rue de l'Université, c. 1910

Antechamber of Marie-Antoinette, Château de Fontainebleau

The Green Lacquer Room, Museo Correr, Venice, 1912/22

All images courtesy of Impressions of Interiors: Gilded Age Paintings by Walter Gay, Isabel Taube author. D Giles Ltd, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mr. Adams Goes to Budapest

I've written about London based designer Richard Adams before.  His luxuriously appointed, bijou London flat is a favorite of mine thanks to what is, really, a heady mix of glimmer and glamour.  (Click here to see photos of it.)  Well, I'm back with more photos, but this time, they show Richard's luxuriously appointed, bijou Budapest pied à terre.

Richard now divides his time between London and Budapest, a city that, according to Richard, has a large and interesting expat community.  The designer's new home features the same elegance as that which we saw in his London flat, with some of that home's furnishings having made the move to Budapest.  But I'm not the only fan of Richard's new domicile.  It seems that the editors at Polgari Otthon, a Budapest design magazine, feel the same way.  They are featuring Richard's flat in their latest issue, the article photos which you see here.

All images from Polgari Otthon, September/October 2012.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Gil Schafer and The Great American House

The other book for which I can credit my speedy recovery is The Great American House: Tradition for the Way We Live Now by Gil Schafer. Before reading the book, I was pretty confident that I would enjoy it as I'm an avid fan of Gil's work, not to mention the fact that he is a very affable and interesting person. Still, I didn't anticipate just how much I would enjoy this book. I opened the book, and before I knew it, a few hours had passed.  And really, I can't imagine a better way to spend a few hours than to read Gil's engaging text and pore over the big, beautiful photos of his work. 

I think that what I enjoyed most about this book is that it isn't solely a book about architecture. It's just as much about decoration and landscape architecture, too. And what impresses me is that Gil is so knowledgeable about all three, something that might explain why his houses have such great appeal. There is a harmonious relationship between the bones of the house and what lies both inside and outdoors. This is no easy feat, and Gil makes it look so effortless, though I realize it isn't. That takes great skill, something which Gil obviously has in spades.

If you want a book that is filled with glorious homes, beautiful interiors, and lush grounds, then Gil's book won't disappoint you.  But if you also want a book that makes you think about what makes a home comfortable, modern, and timeless, then you've come to the right book.  My only complaint is that I don't have a piece of property upon which to build a home of Gil's design.

*Gil will be presenting what looks to be an interesting talk next Tuesday, October 16, 11 a.m., at ADAC Atlanta.  Titled Pink Clapboards and Tea Olive: What a Southern House Taught Me About Tradition, Memory, and Great Design, the presentation should be highly entertaining and informative, especially to those of us who call the South home.  For more information or to register, please click here.

All book photos from The Great American House: Tradition for the Way We Live Now by Gil Schafer III, Rizzoli Publishers, 2012. Photo of Schafer, Rebecca Greenfield photographer.