Paint the Town

Rose Tarlow says in her book, The Private House, that she can obsess about fabric. She often drives around with it on the dash of her car so she can think about it some more once she leaves the office. I shouldn’t drive around with fabric samples in my car as they usually end up trampled by soccer cleats. But, I leave books open on my desk for weeks at a time. Picking things apart. Turning them over.
I’ve been stuck on this image (top) of Albert Hadley’s living room. Arresting in its composition, but also remarkable in the use of this painted canvas. It’s just painted blue. Anyone could do that.

I had a friend ask me to paint canvases for her like the ones in my hallway. I assured her that even her children could do that for her. She disagreed. But the panel, top, and the screen, above, and the chairs, below, anyone could do that.

It makes us copy cats, of course, and not design legends, but I never had “design legend” on my list of aspirations anyway so no harm done.

We can draw a lot of inspiration from the high-end magazines even if our budgets are low-end.

All images from Style and Substance, The Best of Elle Decor. Photography from top, Fernando Bengoechea, Simon Upton, William Waldron, Pieter Estersohn and Eric Piasecki. While all the other images could be translated with basically a coat of paint, the bottom image did inspire me to buy a (not inexpensive) sink. I had seen it originally in Pastis and was giddy to find it sourced in Elle Decor; it solved the problem of three boys and one sink quite well.

Its publisher has decided to focus its energy on Elle Decor while retiring Met Home. I subscribed to Met Home and enjoyed many of its features over the years. Best wishes to its staff members.
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail      rssrss

40 thoughts on “Paint the Town

  1. LOVE that sink. Truly a classic, and it's perfect against the tangerine wall. So you are now the proud owner of one?
    And of course I also think the little check floor in the bathroom above it is pretty awesome, but then again I have to be bath obsessed in my business…

  2. might we be seeing a fabulous painted screen soon?

    and I drive around with open books on my dash. these past few days – it's been Vicki Archer's newest – splayed open on the dash, waiting patiently for the red light. 😉

  3. The Hadley room is actually a small study/guest room and the blue painted thing is a large bulletin board with a gilt frame.

  4. This couldn't be more timely, I need to find some exterior color inspiration. Something I can love as much as that glossy blue screen in the second photo.

  5. Oh, Mrs. B. I so agree — we can get so many inspirations from magazines and even though it may be a $10,000 red rose sofa with green stripe pillows, we can get the look by reupholstering an existing sofa in a cheaper red rose fabric and getting a similar green stripe and making our own pillows!

    I love decorating magazines and books and have gotten a lot of inspiration from them (and then made it fit my pocketbook!)

  6. Patricia — I was thrilled to see that Hadley image in the front of the book. I lost, or never had, the original and it's an all-time fave that inspired Miles Redd's sister's red "board" that I've posted a few hundred times.

    Inspired post.

  7. That's a lovely sink, and just look at that blue chandelier! Yes, paint is one of the cheapest and most transformative design tools going. I like the painted screen idea. Maybe I can hide behind one and get to read blogs in peace.

  8. Sara – we bought the sink a couple of years ago. There was formerly a single wall mount and an easier, and, frankly, cheaper solution might have been to install a cabinet with two sinks, but this fits the feel of the room better. And, I can't deny, I just thought it was cool from the minute I saw it.

  9. Court – I, too, had failed to save this issue. Joni alerted me via SRT that Elle Decor is putting their digital issues on line. They haven't made it back to 2000 yet, but I'm waiting.

  10. You would have loved my mother-in-law. She was all about educating the eye up and doing what your budget would allow. When I came along (and she had only two sons), it was like sit yourself down I have so much to share with you. I think the B boy's wives are going to be in for a real treat. By that time you will be absolutely encyclopedic (with several books you will have published) with how to create a home that looks great and doesn't break the bank.

  11. The Hadley blue and the fabulous folding high gloss screen have been in my favorite pile for a while.
    Both such a beautiful shade of blue and happiness.

  12. The Private House has been my latest discovery. I just read it, and am rereading it to pull out every kernel of knowledge. I remember that part about the fabric – I also loved the story of her experience in the little fabric store in Paris.

  13. Hi!
    I'm a long-time fan of your blog. You have the perfect mix of escapism and education. I also relate to the children factor, with 3 of my own.
    I followed your link to canvasses you painted and you mention a dash and albert stair runner. How do you install that on your stairs? Thanks so much.

  14. HBD – I fear they will not be interested in all of my wisdom – we'll see. Of course, that might not keep me from talking.

  15. stine – I checked the Kohler site and did not see it last night. I'll look again and see if I can find the product number and search that way. It is commercial and comes with three faucets as well.

  16. What a fantastic treat to see this sink and even more wonderful to learn that Mrs. Blandings has it also! I bought it a year ago and have had mixed reactions to it from others — but I LOVE it! It's the Brockway model from Kohler — comes in four sizes with either two or three faucets. The faucets are also wonderful.

  17. I once re-created an entire cabinet full of plates, glasses, pitchers, etc. by taking cues from a beautifully styled cabinet full of blue and white china that I saw in House Beautiful. I proceeded to Home Goods and spent about $100 on the "china" and achieved the same desired effect! Design on a dime…

  18. How thrilling to see the sink pictured here — and even better to hear that Mrs. Blandings has the sink. I purchased it a year ago. I LOVE it. The faucets are also wonderful. You can find the sink, it's called Brockway, at the Kohler website. It comes in 4 sizes, with either two or three faucet fittings.

  19. What a wonderful post!

    I struggle all the time with feeling unoriginal when I 'rip off' an idea from a magazine. But the truth is, the rooms in my home that have been close recreations of decorator's rooms absolutely delight me, while the ones I've tried to figure out myself leave me wanting. I guess that's why people pay the greats thousands. For now I guess I'll settle for getting my great design at $4.99.

  20. You are so right, apart from taking clues and inspirations from great designers and the magazines who publish their work, maybe we also could take clues from the world we live in, things that surround us, shops, which inspire, blogs we read, movies we see,places we go.
    I used to write a journal about such things, now it's my trusted iphone and I document a lot being out and about. That helps get an original feel to your place and the copying will not be a problem.
    Just make it your own!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *