Thursday, 2 October 2014

outdoor living

Outdoor living is a series on the blog that contains stylish outdoor living areas and sometimes al fresco table settings. It's about celebrating the season of summer all year round!
First let me say that I have changed the intro to this blog series, as I'm no longer considering it a temporary one, and I'm enjoying it too much to take a break from it. Besides I have plenty of outdoor living areas in my files waiting to be posted and it is unlikely that I will run out of content with all the monthly publications of interior magazines. I am aware that last week's space also had industrial chairs and a rustic farm table, but I wanted to show you that look in a completely different setting. This expansive terrace belongs to a duplex in the East Village in New York, owned by Alfredo Paredes, a chief executive at Ralph Lauren, and Brad Goldfarb of the cooking site The Recipe Grinder. With the help of architect Michael Neumann they renovated this penthouse (in the 1920s the building was a hospital) and created what can only be described as a beautiful home.

I like their al fresco table setting and I think the outdoor dining area has a good balance of rustic and industrial style, perhaps because of the colour of the vintage Tolix chairs, which blends in well. If it weren't for the surrounding buildings one would think this was a terrace somewhere out in the country - it looks so lush green!
The reason I decided to include a photo of the kitchen is that probably many of you recognise it. That photo could be found on almost every other design blog when the AD April 2012 issue came out. Besides I never get tired of black-framed doors, and I wanted to show you the arched window above the doors. In this penthouse there are five arched openings like this one that lead out onto the large terrace.
photo credit:
Miguel Flores-Vianna for Architectural Digest, April 2012

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

textile designer Carolina Irving's Manhattan home

Textiles, textiles, textiles! Since viewing Dries Van Noten's fashion show in Paris last week I have been going through pretty much everything textile related in my files (a lot!) and I was reminded of an old house tour in the first issue of Lonny in 2009, when the magazine visited textile designer Carolina Irving in her Manhattan home. She studied 17th century Italian art at the École du Louvre in Paris (she was raised there, her parents are from Venezuela). Irving has her own fabric collection, writes the 'In the Air' column for T magazine, and earlier this year she replaced interior designer Miles Redd as the creative director of Oscar de la Renta Home. If that wasn't enough she is also a partner in Irving and Morrison, which has a showroom in London and offers a beautiful range of furnishings and accessories for the home. Irving never had any training in textile design, but before launching her own label in 2006 she had been a style editor at House & Garden for ten years.
A striped rug and a Robert Kime ottoman in the living room.

What mainly interests me about Irving's home is her individual style. Apart from the skirted furniture (not my thing), I love the things she has surrounded herself with. I'm especially fond of all those books (note how she uses the lower bookshelves to create space), the artwork and textiles - I love the striped rug! She is quoted in the feature as saying:
To me, a house becomes a home when you are surrounded by the things you like, not a 'match' decorating scheme … I simply use the things I already own, it's rare that my look ever varies.
Textile designer Carolina Irving with her dog.
A close-up of table styling in Irving's home.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

space: black shelving in a Madrid kitchen

Kitchenware on display is not for everyone, particularly open shelving as in this Madrid kitchen, where a modern look meets rustic and industrial style. How awesome are these floorboards? Personally I would feel more comfortable with glass doors, or wooden lower doors and upper glass doors, to protect the kitchenware but I think it can be healthy to live dangerously and step out of the comfort zone. You can always step back into it if it gets too uncomfortable. I have never had a home with black walls and, in my opinion, they either look good or they don't, depending on the quality of the painting job. Badly painted black walls, or walls in any other dark colour, are a complete turn off for me. In interior magazines it's common to see lacquered dark walls but I don't remember seeing black walls with this kind of matt finish, and matching shelves and door frames. It's probably fine with no small children in the house.

Speaking of black walls and shelving, yesterday West Elm UK posted a photo on Instagram of a new rustic modular storage collection. When I checked their website I found another photo of a single unit, or a bookshelf, which I think would look very stylish in a kitchen with beautiful kitchenware on display.

photo credit:
Pablo Zamora for AD España

Monday, 29 September 2014

yellow walls - part three

Part three will be the last of my yellow walls posts, at least for now, as I'm ready to move on to other colours in my files. In this final one I cannot leave out the yellow drawing room in the offices of Colefax & Fowler on 22 Avery Row in Mayfair, London, designed by Nancy Lancaster and John Fowler back in the 1950s. It is probably the most famous yellow room in the history of interior design, with a rich buttercup yellow, or 'buttah yellah' as Nancy referred to it.

You have probably seen many photos and scans of this room. The above one can be found all over Pinterest and on various websites, but it always shows the room in reverse so I flipped it. I think the photo appears in the book Colefax & Fowler: The Best in English Interior Decoration by Chester Jones but I don't have a copy of it so I cannot confirm the source. The below photo by photographer Derry Moore shows the entire room.
The room appeared on the cover of the December 2010 issue of The World of Interiors, or so people thought at first. However, it was a recreation of the look of the room and one can easily spot the difference by comparing the images.
A recreation of the yellow room, which appeared in The World of Interiors, December 2010
I'm not quite done with this famous room because the above photo is supposed to have appeared in House & Garden. Unfortunately, I don't know which issue it was or when it was published, but it's interesting to see how differently it is decorated, with blue shades contrasting the yellow walls.
A room in Lady Diana Cooper’s (1892-1986) home, from the book Rooms by Derry Moore
Nancy Lancaster and John Fowler weren't the first people to choose a yellow colour to decorate a room. The drawing room at Sir John Soane's house in London (photo not shown here) is a famous yellow room and another one is the dining room at Monticello, the historical country house of President Thomas Jefferson. Originally it was painted in a colour called chrome yellow but in the late 19th or early 20th century, some sources say 1936, it was painted blue, which looks like Wedgwood blue. In 2010 it got back its yellow colour, or a recreation of the colour, with the help of fashion designer Ralph Lauren who made a generous donation.
At Monticello: the tea room seen from the yellow dining room
In 1969 John Fowler created another yellow room in the London apartment of diplomat David K.E. Bruce and his wife Evangeline. Unfortunately I don't know anything about the source of the above image, as I seem to have lost the link, but there is a smaller photo on the website of AD magazine that shows a different angle.

Finally, we head to Turkey for an exotic yellow taste. This room, which I absolutely love, belongs to an Istanbul home on the Bosphorus, owned by Turkish interior designer Zeynep Fadillioglu. It was featured in the Sept/Oct 2010 issue of the Australian Magazine Vogue Living. The room has such a beautiful texture and the decorative objects are simply stunning. That enormous Chinese vase in the window, sigh!

photo credit:
1: from the book Colefax & Fowler: The Best of English Interior Design by Chester Jones (?) | 2: Derry Moore via Cote de Texas | 3: Rupert Thomas for The World of Interiors, December 2010 via NH Design (cropped by me) | 4: House & Garden via Mark D. Sikes | 5: Derry Moore, from the book Rooms, published by Rizzoli via "Tweedland" The Gentlemen's club | 6-7: Pieter Estersohn for Elle Decor, July/August 2010 | 8: John Fowler design, unknown source | 9: Richard Powers for Vogue Living Sept/Oct 2010

Friday, 26 September 2014

Dries Van Noten Spring 2015 - Ophelia inspired

Dries Van Noten's Spring 2015 Collection, which he showed at the Paris Fashion Week on Wednesday, was inspired by Ophelia, the Pre-Raphaelite painting by John Everett Millais and Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. This was Dries at his best. If you are a lover of textiles be prepared to have your textile heart beating faster! I just knew Dries would show us something wonderful this week; it was hanging in the air, almost a tangible feeling. If I had the luxury of unlimited budget I would probably buy all the shirts, blouses and tops. Not everyone can afford designer clothes so let's hope the copycats will be inspired by Dries and we will all be wearing colours and pattern on pattern next spring. The models walked on a forest carpet, which was created specially for this show, and other Dries Van Noten events around the world, by the Argentinean artist Alexandra Kehayoglou - see a short video of the carpet in making.
If the show was a stylist's triumph, layering the infinite gorgeous possibilities of color, pattern, and weight into persuasively coherent outfits, the foundation of it all was Van Noten's roots in Antwerp, a city where merchants once brought the world's most sumptuous exotica to market. (Tim Blanks)
Van Noten also mentioned A Midsummer Night's Dream as a reference. The gossamer lightness and gilded fabrics loaned a fairy-tale element. Colors were deep and muted, as if illuminated by sunlight filtered through trees. There were dreamy intangibles, like the dresses made from tiers of chiffon floating from the thinnest straps, a twig of gold clasping the model's throat. (Tim Blanks)

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