Friday, September 26, 2014

Markham Roberts, Decorating the way I see it.

The fine folks at Vendome Press recently sent me a copy of Markham Roberts new book, Decorating the way I see it, and I spent a happy evening perusing Robert's trademark 'un-decorated' style.
While Roberts modestly claims in the book to not have a trademark style I would disagree.  Each house has the style of its' homeowner graciously pulled together by the talent of the designer.
I hate those blogpost spoilers you so often see that share every image in the book; why purchase the book then? Seen highlighted in this post is one project seen in the book out of many that was previously published by House Beautiful (seen HERE).
The house was originally designed by noted architect H.T. Lindeberg (about whom I have blogged many times HERE) in the Locust Valley section of Long Island and retains all of the era's charm and graceful proportions.
The book is split into HOW Roberts works and starts practically, with the room's floorplan (seen above). Nothing fancy is needed.  The designer sketched the furniture to scale over a drafted floorplan to see how the room functions and what scale of furniture was required.
 The house is a charming brick structure. The room in question is the side wing seen above.
A true sign of any designer's talent is how they live themselves. The last few chapters of the book are devoted to Robert's own homes and the sneak peaks are delightful, particularly his private dressing room seen below where all of his interests collide.
The book Markham Roberts, Decorating the way I see it, is a delightful read full of Robert's obvious charm, modesty, and wit with a peak at some of his many projects which don't scream 'decorated' but rather are gracious homes where people can actually LIVE.
All photography in the book and this post by Nelson Hancock 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Weekend finds

This past weekend was perfect for shopping the local junk and charity shops and just enjoy the weather.  I was so excited to find this antique Italian neoclassical sidechair (and for only $25, no joke) at my favorite Christ Child Opportunity shop.  They've been in Georgetown for generations and support a great cause which is an added bonus.
I look forward to visiting Haute fabrics to find something appropriate for the chair to replace the green Naugahyde. Leather would be nice (calfskin?) but a deep chocolate or rust mohair would be lovely too -what do you think?
At my favorite local junk shop, Miss Pixies, I always find inexpensive silverplate that is my harmless addiction. It's so useful and at $1 a piece you can't go wrong!
 This pattern is by Century Plate and named 'Grosvenor' which seems really Adam-esque (if thats a word) to me.
I also picked up a few forks that match some of my other silver. It's amazing what a difference a little polishing will make - before and after seen above. Did you find anything exciting this weekend?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Schwetzingen bathhouse -a private Italian Villa

The Schloss Schwetzingen which I mentioned last week (the Temple of Apollo) was essentially a very public space, even in the 18th century before becoming the even more public museum it is today. The elector, in order to get away from 'court life' and from the general public which were allowed into the grounds, built the Badehaus (bathhouse) as a private refuge from what was essentially his 'work'.  Imagine having to live at your office!
Built in the style of an Italian Villa the bathhouse featured not only a small sauna area but also a bedroom & sitting room - a sort of Petit Trianon at Schwetzingen!
While strictly classical I love the sense of playfulness found throughout the details. The round entrance hall is stunning.
Directly off the entry hall is the bath -thats what the building is for afterall!  You may recognize the spaces as they were featured in the May 2009 issue of World of Interiors Magazine (one of my favorites).
You also will catch a rare glimpse of my Australian Penpal in the mirrored door who is kind enough to always share his travel pictures with us here on ArchitectDesign!
Rather than a large palatial room the bedroom is quite residential, even featuring a now out-dated twin sized bed. Seriously - when was the last time you slept in a twin bed? Even kids seem to have bigger beds these days!
Don't miss the chamber pot pulled out of its' little closet with a porthole window for ventilation. Also the Wedgwood vases are unusual to spot in Germany rather than Meissen or another German porcelain.
The room above features a more typical German porcelain chandelier (Dresden or Meissen perhaps?) along with a number of very German looking figurines on the mantelpiece. I hope you enjoyed this very private look at the Schwetzingen Badehaus!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lecture opportunity with Stephen Salny THIS THURSDAY: The interiors of William Hodgins

Washingtonians are in for a treat!  Author Stephen Salny will be speaking on his latest book, William Hodgins Interiors, in Georgetown at Blake Hall for the ICAA THIS Thursday, Sept 18th at 7:15. Join members of the ICAA for drinks beforehand at 6:30. Mr. Salny will be signing copies of the book, which will be available for purchase, after the lecture.
Boston based decorator William Hodgins is considered one of America's greatest interior decorators. William Hodgins Inc was launched in 1969 and his work encompasses residential commissions from New England to Florida, as far west as California, and overseas.  Author Stephen M. Salny will present an in-depth look at Hodgins most important work to date during his illustrious, ongoing forty-year career.

Stephen M. Salny, who grew up in the Boston area and has had a long-standing interest in interior decoration, first became familiar with Hodgins' work at the age of 13. Salny knew many families who hired Hodgins to decorate their homes. Salny and the designer met in the early 1980s at Hodgins client's home in Palm Beach and they became good friends. In writing about Hodgins, Salny has had the pleasurable privilege of spending quality time with Hodgins, his associates, former employees, and many of his clients.

Information on attending the lecture is available at the ICAA website HERE about 1/2 way down the page. I hope to see you there!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Temple of Apollo, Schwetzingen

The gardens of Schloss Schwetzingen, in Schwetzingen, Germany, are world renowned, even more so than the palace, as they are preserved from the mid 18th century and feature a number of unique areas. The first of these is the Temple of Apollo.
The gardens are a mixture of Italian and English styles, popular at the time, and the temple is set atop terraced walls. Set inside the garden folly is a statue of the Greek god Apollo, the god of the Arts and of light.
They look down to an Italianate fountain which ends at a rounded lawn, perfect as an outdoor amphitheater.
 The guardrails have a beautiful verdigris finish with gilded suns set at the posts. The details of even such a small corner of the gardens are astounding!
Next week I'll bring some special structures from the Garden at Schwetzingen. I hope this leaves you with a taste of whats to come!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Inside the Villa della Regina; an 18th century chinoiserie fantasy

Located high in the hills above Turin, Italy, and surrounded by luscious Italianate gardens is the royal Savoy palace known as the "Villa della Regina".  Despite damage from WWII and years of neglect the villa has remained a fantastic example of the exotic 18th century chinoiserie style.
The building has been the property of the country since 1994 and maintenance is directly funded by visitors ( so make sure to visit! ). The views of Turin alone would be worth the trip.
Above you can see the highly terraced gardens with the house nestled into the hillside creating a protected entry court.
 The views down to Turin are stunning!
 I love these highly terraced, architectural gardens.
 The fountain at the entrance is large enough to be a pool!
 The fountain above is stunning even when not running.
 This teahouse terminates the view up the hillside.
The real thing to see here however are the interiors, preserved from the 18th century in all of their exotic-ness.
 The boiseries in many of the rooms contain panels of chinoiserie wallpaper.
 The details are gorgeous
 and the scenes intriguing.
Very few examples of the original furniture exist but the above cabinet gives one a taste of what once was.
 The room above has a bit of everything: rococo, chinoserie, Pompeian scenes, etc.
In the above enfilade you can tell just how big this place is although not all of the rooms retain their original decoration.
The rooms which still boast their frescoes make up for it though. Have you ever seen anything so fanciful?
The ceilings in most cases are more interesting than the walls.  Let this be a lesson to all of us; no more boring white ceilings!
 You almost need a microscope to take in all of the detail.
Some of the rooms have lost their original decoration but retain the plasterwork like above for a more modern look.
Comparing the same room's ceiling from 2 different angles shows one what a difference the decoration makes.
I hope you enjoyed this peek into the Villa della Regina and found something to inspire you! Thanks again to my Penpal for sharing these gorgeous images. As always click on the photos to view in greater detail.

Monday, September 8, 2014

BUtterfield 8 movie sets

This past weekend I watched the movie that won Elizabeth Taylor her first Oscar in 1960, BUtterfield 8. While Mrs Taylor's performance and the movie as a whole were excellent I have to say what stole the show for me was the NYC apartment of her society 'boyfriend' Weston Liggett played by Laurence Harvey.
The neutral tones of the apartment were predominantly gray with black doors and white trim. Sound very 2014 to you?  I also loved that the plaster casings around the door - seen above -and in the fireplace surround seen in the first photo were a very classical Greek key. Design inspiration is everywhere if you just look!
Apologies for the photo quality which I took of my tv screen!