Bordello Chic

Mr. Blandings attends a conference every year in Las Vegas.  I haven’t gone for a while as it falls during the last week of school, but when the boys were still at home and not demanding my attendance at programs and parties off I would go arm-in-arm with Mr. B to the city of sin.

I adore Las Vegas for all of its excess.  On our first trip there together we were behind a rather scandalously dressed young lady at the Bellagio.  Mr. Blandings leaned over to me and whispered, “Get a load of that outfit.”  “Darling, she’s a professional.”  “What?!  Can’t be – they don’t let them out; they keep them someplace.”  You can see why I like him.
So when Maison 21 posted this chandelier and confessed that he found it jolie laid I had to agree that it was magnificent in its extravagance.  In fact, I commented that it would be great fun as the starting point in the decoration of a house of ill repute.  Then M21 raised the stakes and double-dog dared me to do just that.  Here’s my vision of where “they” would “keep them” in Las Vegas.  
I usually flip right by the “Opulent” chapter of Influential Interiors, but today I use it as my inspiration.  No one does old world over the top like Albert Pinto and Jacques Garcia.

Reds and golds and greens with lots of gilt seems just the thing.  I think you get the idea.

To begin, let’s imagine the outside is quite discrete.  Non-descript, but with helipad for the L.A. traffic.  Indeed, a private club.  A gentleman’s club, and, to further qualify it, let’s say MSW.  Catering to a straight clientele enables us to focus without swinging both ways.  As you swipe your card to enter, a lovely young woman would take your bag and check your phone; no photos please.  This vestibule would be paneled with sheets of malachite off-set by brass fillet similar to the Astor library by Albert Hadley.

The floor, a black, honed marble covered by this handsome beauty, soft beneath your shoe.

 A quick check to ensure you are still as dashing as you remembered.

A little shaggy?  Happy to fix you up if you are in need of a little trim.

All set?  Up two honed black marble steps into the main room.
The ceilings would need to be two stories; the chandelier is a monster and would need to be well hung in the dead center of the room.  Civilized and sophisticated, the clientele would surely settle in for a drink and perhaps a game of pool.  

You’d want to unwind, shake off the daily grind.  Another associate would be happy to fix you a drink.

Let’s use this charmer to set up the bar.  Even here, the Victorian wall-length bars seem unsophisticated.  A cigar?  Certainly.

Men, I’ve found, like the idea of being stylish, but not at the expense of comfort.  The one exception to this rule may be women as they often choose based on aesthetics and find themselves with a difficult and itchy match down the line.  So, following the style of Pinto and Garcia we will use comfy sofas, perhaps a pair of these

and then this in another seating area

and scatter lots of chairs like this

and these, as I couldn’t’ resist them and the leather is so yummy, to assuage the gilt a bit.

in fabrics like this

This would give our lovely working girls some spots on which to drape themselves.  I have in mind a stable of the Eastern Block lovelies resembling those who have graced the runways over the last few years.

I think the establishment could benefit from upholstered walls, so I’d use a red wool.  It should be red, agreed?  A patterned broadloom to keep everything cozy and easily cleaned.

On the walls, some antique oils, nudes, of course.  You know.  Classy.

And I can’t resist the thought of this Walton Ford. A little tongue-in-cheek poke at the natural essence of the business sprinkled with a little ugliness.

As an aside, when I as interning at Nightline my senior year in college a visitor to the show had seen me in the production booth and inquired if I were Sydney Biddle Barrows.  Of course, the producer corrected the error, but was surprised that I didn’t see the humor in the anecdote.  “Who knew you were such a prude?”  “Prude?  Never!  I can’t believe he’d think I was she.  She must be ten years older than I.  At least!”  
All furniture and furnishings 1stdibs except the pool table which is  Rug Doris Leslie Blau; Carpet Karastan; Fabrics Scalamandre.  Malachite is Fornasetti paper.  
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19 thoughts on “Bordello Chic

  1. mrs. b, you have far and away exceeded ANY expectations i may have had when i laid down the gauntlet for the “design blogger’s challenge”,

    not only have you provided excellent eye candy in your proposed decor scheme, but in true mrs. blandings style, you’ve paired it with erudite and informed writing, and a well-written story, to boot.

    i am in awe.

    ps: the malachite and brass a la hadley vestibule is genius, as is the walton ford painting as a allegory for the “business”.

    seriously, in awe

  2. LOL, Don’t Stop, please. You leave me wanting more. I would like to know would there be a secret code or password to enter this den?
    Great post for several magazines…you really must submit.

  3. Patricia — you can really step out of your Gambrel comfort zone!

    I feel as if I’m there. Your descriptions are so clear. Actually, I really like the malachite walls. I need to crack open Influential Interiors again.

  4. My dear! What a fantastic post!!! I’m laughing and swooning all at once! I totally agree – there is so much dullness in the world, we must do our best to smooth over the edges of that reality. And what better way then to indulge our imagination, and creativity. It’s our duty! And I love the SBB story – wonderful dinner party ice breaker! I have to say – I have a tough day today, but I will call it Malachite Monday, and thank you for the inspiration.

  5. M21 – I had a ball doing it – thanks for the inspiration! Katiedid is next right? We’ll shame her into it.

  6. Courtney – you should give it a go – it’s great fun. Influential Interiors is one of the best – and It was great to give this chapter a closer look. Again, their attention to detail is amazing.

  7. Nancy – you know what’s funny? I’ve never told this story before – or not beyond the week following the confusion at least. I need to trot it back out.

  8. Joni – it was never meant to be bad, only a bit naughty. You should have a go – you’d be fabulous at creating a room around that chandelier. I’m only sorry Megan is on vacation.

  9. Madame, you’ve outdone yourself.

    Mrs. E. and I haven’t had working … “girls” … on our corner for three years now. They didn’t deserve such a palace in which to ply their trade.

    One would be tempted to wear a riverboat gambler’s embroidered vest! Perhaps they have loaners? For an extra fee, of course.

  10. Eeeek! What am i going to do?!?!?! I accepted the challenge and I am afraid I cannot do it the justice you have done. I will just have to take it another direction completely…perhaps a bit Dr. Zhivago with blues and whites and alot of “ice” like the summer house in winter. This will require some thought.

    Wonderful wonderful job! I am “licking the plate” so to speak. 🙂

  11. E&E – Madame, indeed. Your corner sounds so much more interesting than mine; all I get is the ice cream man. I hear the vest is just the thing this season anyway. I don’t know why, but I kept envisioning George Clooney as clientele. Not a flattering role.

  12. Katie – you won’t be able to stop yourself once you get started. All the versions I’ve seen so far have had their own look; your storyboard sounds spot on!

  13. Anon – Ha! I could use the revenue stream, but all that is going on in my basement is laundry and Wii!

  14. Oh my gosh I have been searching for this site since Nov., we are doing a GRAND ROOM in our second home in CA and this is the look we have been working on. Can't wait to send you " our" Palm Desert Bordello..ha


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