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!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Inside the Villa del Balbianello

Nestled into the hills surrounding Lake Como is the Villa del Balbianello which is open to the public. On his recent visit my penpal thankfully shared these photos with us!
Last inhabited by explorer Guido Monzino, the villa is left as if he had just packed up on one of his adventures. Decorated in classical mid-century splendor there is much inside to inspire today's decorators.
Before going inside lets first lets explore the grounds of the villa as the setting is really more spectacular than the architecture. Built in 1787 as a Franciscan Monastery, the villa shortly thereafter became a family home.
The Villa and gardens were restored in the early 20th century by an American businessman, Butler Ames, who used it as his vacation home.
The views of the lake and surrounding hillsides are stunning. The gardens are kept simple to allow the view to take precedence.
Above you can see the original chapel with clocktower.
The carved stonework is intricate and fanciful.
 How would you like to wake up to this view everyday? Sign me up!
Inside the elegantly muted interiors leave the spectacular views to become the focal point.
I love these soft boiseries in the main salon. Notice the chandelier is not electrified.
 Looking the other direction the views of the lake are probably amazing.
I wish I had one of these 2 story paneled libraries in my own house! The chandelier is more practically electrified.
 This paneled sitting room operates as a sort of treasury or collector's cabinet.
 The touches of green throughout the house connect the interiors of the villa to the gardens.
 I love the very elegant sitting room above.
The dining room looks as if it could hold quite the large dinner party, perfect for lots of weekend guests. The dreary red carpet 'runway' to protect the floor finishes really ruins the effect.
The velvet upholstered furniture throughout the house is all really beautiful and not dated at all. The chinoiserie secretary is probably coveted by many!
 Notice the very (now) trendy printed curtains in the breakfast room.
 The villa appears to be full of many dining room or perhaps this is a study off the library?
 The kitchen remains efficient and practically simple but notice the stylish lantern fixture.
The sumptuous bedrooms again feature elegant candle-lit chandeliers. I'm assuming these would never or rarely be lit!
 The marble bathrooms are again beautifully detailed.
I think something is really charming about guest bedrooms with pairs of twin beds; I'll file this away for inspiration.
Monzino loved the Villa del Balbianello so much that he is even buried on the property. I can see why; I've added the Villa of my (long) bucket list of places to visit!