Friday, 19 September 2014

yellow walls - part two

It seems my last week's blog post, yellow walls - part one, struck the right chord. Perhaps it is the cheerful quality or the warmth of yellow that is so appealing. When one looks at various photos of yellow painted rooms it is easy to see how beautiful they look, even though the décor is not one's personal style. As I said on Friday, usually the spaces in these images belong to rather grand homes, but this week, in part two, I have also included a few in farmhouses that are decorated in tasteful country style.

I am starting with the grandeur. The first space, a downstairs room furnished in colonial style, has a tint of yellow. It belongs to the Miles Brewton House in Charleston, which is considered "one of the most important Georgian homes in America" and has been owned by the same family since 1769, as stated in an article in Town & Country. According to the resident, the house still looks so good because there was no money after the Civil War to make any changes. In the article they also point out that "the story of Miles Brewton begins almost 500 years ago outside Venice, with the villas created by Andrea Palladio," which is fitting because next we head to Italy.
These two yellow rooms, above and below, belong to the private estate of Villar Perosa, in the northern part of Italy, not far from the city of Turin. The owner is the Agnelli family. You may remember Marella Agnelli, the widow of Gianni Agnelli, from my 'outdoor living' series when I featured her gorgeous bedroom terrace at the Ain Kassimou estate in Morocco. She is one of those extraordinary women, an art collector and a style icon, and you can learn more about her by reading Marella Agnelli: The Last Swan, which will be published in October. Villar Perosa is an 18th century retreat and the above room is called salon da gioco, which is Italian for a card game room. The yellow colour is warm and I find the décor interesting, the mix of floral and animal print chairs and cushions. The large artworks are 18th century Piedmontese portraits of the king and queen of Sardinia.
The second Villar Perosa space, also in warm yellow, is called the second salon, where an 18th century landscape by V. A. Cignaroli hangs above the sofa and a painting of the Marchioness of Prie, a former owner of the villa, sits on an easel. The large rug is an antique Aubusson. Apparently some parts of the estate were bombed during the WWII and it was the French interior designer Stéphane Boudin (1888-1967) who helped restoring it. When Marella and Gianni got married in 1953 his parents had passed away and the young couple turned to Boudin for help with the estate. If you are interested in learning about its history and gardens there is an old book by Marella called The Agnelli Gardens at Villar Perosa: Two Centuries of a Family Retreat, which includes her personal photographs.
Yellow walls in a London apartment, a David Hare design.
On Monday I wrote a blog post about the late Bunny Mellon's estate in Virginia and the upcoming Sotheby's auction. The above yellow room belongs to her former New York City townhouse. It's interesting to compare this grand room to the simple rooms at the country estate, Oak Spring Farms. Do you notice the floors? They are just like the ones in the living room at Oak Spring, except there the geometric motifs were painted darker and the rugs were natural.
A yellow breakfast nook in a charming, renovated farmhouse in Spain that appeared in the magazine El Mueble.
Finally we visit two yellow rooms at the Connecticut farmhouse of interior designer Bunny Williams and her husband John Roselli. Her book, An Affair with a House, has been on my wish list for a long time and I need to do something about that. I don't know how many blog posts with wonderful images I have read where the book is highly praised as a favourite. Some bloggers have even visited the gardens and been given the opportunity to go inside the renovated barn (photo below), a former garage that Bunny and her husband turned into a beautiful home.

I have a soft spot for exposed beams and I love how inviting this space feels. I have to say one thing about the colour of the barn's walls. In this photo, that appears in her book, the wall looks yellowish, which wasn't the case in an image I found on the Bunny Williams website. First I wasn't sure if it was just a scan or if the photography made the wall appear that way. Then I looked closer at various photos taken inside the barn that all showed a yellow shade. Before publishing this post I decided to pin the image I found on her website so you could see the difference. I'm guessing the room has been painted since the publishing of the book back in 2005.
On a personal note: I woke up in a Great Britain that still includes Scotland, which I find rather comforting, as I don't believe there would be a Great Britain without it, without the Highlands and the beautiful tartans. I'm neither British nor Scottish, just a humble Icelander that calls England her home, which makes it easy for me to have an opinion like that, as the matter doesn't really affect my way of living. Hail to the Queen! In case you were wondering, yes there will be a part three of yellow walls.
YELLOW WALLS: PART ONE

photo credit:
1: Jonathan Becker for Town & Country | 2-3: Oberto Gili for Architectural Digest | 4: David Hare Designs | 5: Sotheby's International Realty via Architectural Digest | 6: El Mueble | 7-8: from the book An Affair with a House by Bunny Williams, published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang Inc via Mark D. Sikes: here + here


Thursday, 18 September 2014

outdoor living

Outdoor living is a temporary series on the blog that contains stylish outdoor living areas and sometimes al fresco table settings. It's about celebrating the season of summer!
This blog series is about celebrating the summer season but today I'm giving a nod to autumn with a feature from the October 2005 issue of House & Garden. This Milanese townhouse and garden, with its shutters, conservatory, terrace, and balcony with large terracotta pots, kept on pulling me. It is a Studio Peregalli design and belongs to Claudio and Maria Luti. He is the CEO of Kartell, the Italian furniture company, founded in 1949 by Maria's father, Giulio Castelli. I had to include a photo taken inside the conservatory, or garden room, so you could take a peek into the garden. The table is English, from the early 19th century, contrasted with modern Louis Ghost chairs by Philippe Starck for Kartell.
I found a feature of this same house in T Magazine from April last year and had to add this sunny third photo.
photo credit:
1-2: François Halard for House & Garden, October 2005 via Architectural Digest | 3: Ruy Teixeira for T Magazine

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

autumn colours and home styling details

I had no idea what to name today's post. The title could as well have been 'feeling inspired by the October 2014 issue of The World of Interiors', even though none of these images come from the magazine. Yesterday I had to run some errands and I bought the issue in a bookshop before heading to a café to enjoy a latte. I felt so inspired by the deep colours in the issue, the textiles, art, book talk, and the various home styling. Reading the issue felt like being hit with the ideal dose of autumn mood - autumn with an element of lightness. My mind started thinking about certain images in my files, first the one above which I saw the other day on the Facebook page of Traditional Home. It is my idea of a beautiful styling with perfect colours and details. Then I started thinking about a house tour in Vogue US earlier this year, when the magazine visited Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten at his home in Lier, a city not far from Antwerp. The photo below shows one of his many stunning spaces.
In the entrance: A painting by Belgian expressionist Léon de Smet, Nude and Bouquet, 1922.

In the issue there was a talk about a new book that is being published tomorrow, Green: The History of a Color by Michel Pastoureau, the third in a series of five volumes from the Princeton University Press (the first was Blue and the second Black). One of the images in the article was this Henri Matisse painting, but I was reminded of the colours in the one below, Meditation (Portrait of Laurette), 1916–17.
Then my mind parted with Matisse and to my mind came a particular space in a London home by designer Alidad that has a large tapestry on the wall and a yellow sofa. It's a shade of yellow that reminds me of the changing colours of the autumn leaves. If this is the interior design style you find fascinating you may want to get a copy of his book: Alidad: The Timeless Home.
I believe I have now described to you what can happen when a person sits down at a café with a latte and an inspiring magazine … it can be magical.

photo credit:
1: Traditional Home on Facebook | 2: François Halard for Vogue US, March 2014 (home of Dries Van Noten) via Handpicked by Ron & Chris | 3: Henri Matisse, Meditation (Portrait of Laurette), 1916–17, oil on canvas, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston via Architects and Artisans | 4: Simon Upton for House & Garden, March 2001 via Alidad

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

space: art meets tiles in Valencia

All that talk about art yesterday in the late Bunny Mellon's country home made me want to feature a space today with the focus on an art piece. This modern living room in Valencia is a David Lladró design. The red and white artwork that demands one attention is by Spanish artist Nanda Botella. The tiles on the floor are original tiles that were taken up and randomly placed as borders throughout the space (the other floor material is cement). Beautifully contrasting the painting and tiles is an oriental console table with two terracotta vases. Modern without feeling cold.

photo credit:
Oberto Gili for House & Garden, March 2006 via Architectural Digest

Monday, 15 September 2014

Oak Spring Farms: Bunny Mellon's country estate

On Friday I came across an interesting article in The New York Times about the upcoming Sotheby's auction of many of Bunny Mellon's possessions. Apart from personal items there will be plenty of art works, or about 400 paintings and drawings, including works by Picasso and Hopper. A Rothko painting is expected to sell for $30 million and they say the auction could bring in over $100 million. Included in the article were images of her 4,000-acre farm, Oak Spring Farms, in Upperville, Virginia, a wonderfully laid-back home considering the wealth of its residents. For those who don't know her story Mellon was an iconic American figure, born Rachel Lowe Lambert in 1910 into a wealthy pharmaceutical family (her grandfather invented Listerine). In 1948 she married her second husband, Paul Mellon, a billionaire who passed away in 1999. Bunny was a philanthropist, an avid art collector who had a stunning collection in her five homes (e.g. Degas, Mark Rothko, Pissarro, Georgia O'Keeffe), a self-taught horticulturist and a gardener. She was a close friend to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and replanted the White House Rose Garden for the Kennedys in 1962, and later the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden. She was 103 years old when she passed away in March this year.
A photograph of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Marshall Hawkins sits on Mellon's desk.
There is also a bust by Renoir that you can see in the top photo.

In Oak Spring she kept a beautiful garden, which she designed herself, of course, and fascinating art pieces. There was even a still life by Vincent van Gogh hanging above her bathtub. In the NYT article they point out:
But perhaps most notably, she was a passionate collector of a bygone era. She didn’t pay attention to what was in fashion; she didn’t think about future financial returns. Instead, she had understated and original taste, buying what she loved, free from the dictates of decorators and investment consultants.
An unframed Pissarro hangs above the living room fireplace, and one by Winslow Homer to the top left.
The horse on the mantle is by Swiss sculptor and designer Diego Giacometti, who was a personal friend.

I remember reading an interview with Mellon in Vanity Fair back in 2010, which she gave shortly before turning 100 years old and her mind was still sharp (the detail photo from the garden house further below is from the interview). I remember reading articles that stated she frequently wore Jean Schlumberger jewellery and that couturier Balenciaga designed all her clothes until his retirement in 1968. Then she turned to Hubert de Givenchy, who also designed the uniforms worn by her maids. The designer clothes and jewellery indicated her style and class but Mellon was so much more; an extraordinary lady, a supporter of the arts, who also distributed her wealth to those in need.
A work by Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte in the stairway.
Two works by the 20th century French artist Madeline Hewes hang on the wall in the entrance.
On a dining room wall hangs a portrait by Welsh artist Gwen John.
Mellon herself designed the inner garden at Oak Spring and the courtyard. The garden house is quite unique and has a trompe l'œil decoration by French artist Fernand Renard.

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