Enduring Style – Emily Evans Eerdmans

Emily Evans Eerdmans is a design historian and author of Regency Redux and Classic English Design and Antiques.  While working on her latest book on Madeleine Castaing her editor suggested she start blogging to keep her writing muscles in shape; lucky for us.  Here she weighs in on what will last:

Breaking down “The Money Room”
When Mrs. Blandings asked for my thoughts on which rooms will be tomorrow’s “Garden in Hell” or “Money Room” and which young(er) decorators will be tomorrow’s Billy Baldwin, my brain started whirling in overtime.
 I started thinking about these iconic rooms and what they all had in common:
1. the owner is generally a style-setter herself (Pauline de R, Diana Vreeland, Babe Paley)
2. and has the big bucks for a room done to the nth
3. which means the designer is usually someone already established and already has a track record
4. and lastly, don’t discount the importance of the photographer.  If Derry Moore shoots your room, for example, you increase the odds of reaching icon status.  Photographs that are atmospheric and evocative rather than the overlit, impersonal style often seen in Architectural Digest add tremendously to the overall effect.
So with these things in mind, here are a few selections which I believe have a good shot of being tomorrow’s touchstones:
Annette de La Renta’s Bedroom in Connecticut

Susan Gutfreund’s Winter Garden Room, NYC, by Henri Samuel

Carolyne Roehm’s Double-Height Sitting Room, NYC

I also love the homes of younger fashion-socialites Tory Burch (by architect Daniel Romualdez) and Aerin Lauder (by Jacques Grange).
 And if I had to nominate a few additional names that we’ll be talking about in 2049, I would cast my vote for Miles Redd and Kelly Wearstler.

For more information on Emily, do check Ronda Carman’s profile here.  And, as we seem to be awash in a sea of Redd, check back to see why he thinks his rooms “have legs” and which designers inspire his work.

Images from top, Annette and Oscar de la Renta’s bedroom with architect Ernesto Buch, Vogue, December 2008, photograph by Francois Halard, two images of Gutfreund’s Garden Room courtesy of NYSD, photography Jeffrey Hirsch; two images of Roehm’s living room also NYSD, photography again by Jeffrey Hirsch; Tory Burch’s entry via the Peak of Chic from Vogue, photography by Francois Halard.
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16 thoughts on “Enduring Style – Emily Evans Eerdmans

  1. Thanks for posting these iconic interiors. They're lovely, and it's great to be reminded of their classic elegance.

    Are there no contemporary rooms that make the cut? Just not your preference?

  2. Leona – so far I have not weighed in with my picks, though I agree with nearly all the other "players." I do think my invitations were probably skewed by my aesthetic. I'm sure all of us enjoy a modern room, but these feel more like home – or what we want home to be.

  3. I absolutely love all these pictures… Yet considering Susan Gutfreund's interiors is tomorrow's iconic room sounds pretty strange…
    Henri Samuel was born the same year as Billy Baldwin and they worked rougly at the same period… Samuel died in 1996… I think his work deserves to be part of history's iconic rooms. In Europe, he is way more famous than Baldwin, and hiw way of decorating is no less flawless than Balwin's.

    If you talk about tomorrow, I think we should stick to relatively young interior designers like Miles Redd or Romualdez who has done an amazing work for Tory Burch both for her shops and personal residence.

    A question as well: why aren't there any interior designers who are doing contemporary interiors here?… That's an open question because I am not sure they can be compared as their work is often more achitecture than decoration. Yet I remain fascinated with some of John Pawson's realizations.

  4. Oh I got my answer above actually… I kind of agree with you Mrs Blandings: these rooms feel more like home.

  5. I was in the Gutfreund room last year, one afternoon, and what is so amazing is the atmosphere. What looks so outlandishly lavish in a photograph actually is strangely inviting in person, walking through the doors of a greenhouse. It is gorgeous and suits Mrs G's opulent beauty quite nicely.

  6. And if I had to pick a room to spend the rest of my life in, it would inarguably be Annette de la Renta's grand bedsit.

  7. I am looking forward to the Madeleine Castaing book. I have been fascinated by her for years. It will be an interesting filter, being written by an American and a design historian. Thank you for being the guide to Emily Evans Eerdmans blog. I enjoy her sense of humor and am gobsmacked by her knowledge. And a big thumbs up to the mention by her of the art of the photographer on our comprehension of the beauty of a room. Being of a certain age, I agree that lighting is critical.

  8. Typically astute of EEE to stress the importance of the photographer. As the majority of us haven't set foot into the actual rooms, we rely on photography, in fact the unspoken subtext of Mrs Blanding's question has more to do with iconic images on the printed or computer-screened page. I often wonder how we'd react to the authentic rooms themselves~would they appear puny, claustrophobic, rough around the edges? Or as deliciously refined as the photographer intended?

  9. All these interiors are iconic, yet remain warm and "family" friendly. While more modern interiors are stunning, rarely do they feel like "home", although there are exceptions, of course.

  10. I really like your blog. I just listened to you on The Skirted Roundtable and enjoyed it thoroughly. I have two blogs, one focusing entirely on Chinoiserie. I'm sure you have noticed how many iconic rooms and traditional interiors have Chinoiserie elements. Your blog has some wonderful examples and is so well done. I will be a regular-thanks!

  11. Just heard you on the Skirted Roundtable, found your blog and have begun to read from the beginning (I'm in heaven) and just joined Netflix in order to see the movie. Thank you!

  12. The quite, soft, less publicized decorators will really be the ones history remembers…not kw and mr lets meet back here in 50 plusyearrs and confirm…you will see….

  13. Just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed your interview at the round table. Thanks

  14. Hello,
    I came on over from the Skirted Round Table Interview. So glad I listened and found your blog. I love design and had a mural art business a few years ago, my passion now is spending time with my horses. I still like to read interesting blogs about interior design and yours is certainly one of them. Thanks! Luanne

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