Tag Archives: Enduring Style

Enduring Styles – IMHO

One of the things that Emily Eerdsman and I discussed when she was here was current design books. I’m incredibly fond of Thomas Jayne’s The Finest Rooms in America and I brought along a copy to our lunch.

Many of the rooms that people included in the Enduring Style series are in the book; many, many of the much beloved rooms of the last couple hundred years are in the book.

I like having them all together, like having all your best friends able to celebrate your birthday.

I had thought I would not dip my toe in the Enduring Styles series, but I am adding Todd Romano’s apartment featured both in Elle Decor and New York Social Diary.

This apartment is not in Jayne’s book (Which I hate to point out, “Oh, we missed you at the Winthrops. Hmm..? What’s that? Not invited, oh dear.” No, I don’t mean to do that.) but it pops into my head so often. It was the one spot that I missed after a very satisfying read. (Goodness, this is coming out all wrong; more on Jayne’s book later. “Gertrude Winthrop how could you have not invited the Bullstrodes.” Absolutely not what I mean to imply.)

Romano’s home is just so darned elegant and comfortable at the same time. The Albers, the Queensware, the white walls and leopard. It makes me want to know him. That’s the point, right?
All images Elle Decor, January/February 2007; photography by Pieter Estersohn.
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Enduring Styles, Post Script: Isabel Lopez-Quesada

I was going back through some of the posts from the Enduring Style series that I did last year. As I was reading the Aesthete’s picks again, I remembered that images from one of his choices, Isabel Lopez-Quesada, had been tricky to find; her site was under construction.

So I clicked the link to check it again. Here. Here is the link, though I warn you: if you click this link you are going to spend a lot of time on this site. A lot. You will want to. You will not want to miss a single image.

And if you miss Aesthete’s Lament perhaps you will feel that we toasted him here this morning for bringing us something good once again.

Also, maybe jot down the site address if you are interested. I requested permission to use these images and did not hear back. Just in case it makes someone a little grouchy and he or she asks me to pull them, bookmark now.
All images via isabellopezquesada.com.
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Enduring Style – Miguel Flores-Vianna

I recently received an incredibly engaging email from photographer Miguel Flores-Vianna. He had read the Enduring Style posts from last summer and they had triggered some introspection on rooms that had inspired him, “Here are a few of the people and places that, I believe, have deeply influenced my own personal vision, as well as trends in design around the world. Rather than make it universal and all encompassing, I have confined choices to people I know, have known and/or places where I have spent a great deal of time. So my list does not have any scholarly pretensions but rather comes from the heart.” His picks are as follows:

“The first one is an impression, a vague memory of a table all set up with white linens, shiny silver, colorful flowers. The table is in front of a shack on a beach in Patmos, Greece. I am about 20 years old and have no idea to whom the shack belongs; I walked past that memorable feast and went to lay at the end of beach. That table or the memory of it rather always stayed with me.

Fast forward another 25 years and I learn that that place belonged to the Englishman Teddy Millingon-Drake. A decorator, painter and friend to half the world in the decorative arts.

To me the world of interior design would not have been the same without the amazing eye of an American painter who, in the 50’s, moved to Italy. Cy Twombly has created some of the most outstanding rooms in the second half of the 20th century. His various residences have a modernity and a timelessness that is moving and captivating. His incredible deft at mixing classicism with modern art still is a bottomless well of inspiration for myself and countless decorators.

I grew up in Argentina in the 70’s. Everybody we knew, family and friends, either lived in modern glass houses or inherited old homes built at the turn of the 20th century with clear European inspirations. It was only later when I moved to New York and began working as an editor that I became aware of the difference between people of modernist or classicist taste.
And then one day I went to Houston and I saw the DeMenil House. I realized why, during my childhood and adolescence, I was never aware of old or new taste. See, the de Menils hired Philip Johnson to build them a glass box and later a New York couturier, Charles James, to furnished it. Few of us understand today that a modern house need not be decorated with contemporary furniture. James created atmospheres where the new met the old. Where the clinical met the sensual. Where color met blank spaces.
It was a bit what I had experienced as a child, whether we lived in old houses or new houses we always felt the presence of the past through hand me downs or purposefully bought antiques. James invented a language which, unfortunately, has not been necessarily understood by a generation of architects that came after the house was built and decorated.

Stephen Sills and James Huniford created a masterpiece in the early 1990’s. It is an hour north of New York City. It is dreamy and subtle and so, so grand. It became a bit the ABC of their style, a little Monticello. The low armless sofas, the over sized plaster vases, the Louis XVI chairs, the Rauchensbergs and Fontanas, leaves instead of flowers, stone floors and lacquered walls, pale blues, grays, chartreuse greens.

I can’t help but be mesmerized at the beauty of it all. It is one of the major triumphs of American design in the last 30 years.

The ivy growing in the wall… Rose Tarlow, need I say more?

Lars Sjoberg may one day become a national hero in Sweden. He has done more to reclaim and re-discover the 18th Century in his own country than the rest of the Swedish design community put together.

A watershed article in the World of Interiors in the mid 1980’s on his property Regnholm became the starting point of a love affair with those white, subtle rooms that we have come to known as “gustavian” (after King Gustav lll). Today Sjoberg owns about ten houses and they have all become his laboratories to study and re-fresh an era (1700’s) which has become his passion.

(Andre) Le Notre designed gardens, and gardens are made of rooms. I am including him in this list. The master gardener, the creator of Versailles and Vaux le Vicompte. The grand tamer of nature, logical, measured, musical.

Although I can not help but marvel at his masterpieces, it is a smaller one, and less known that moves me – the gardens of Courances, a chateau to the south east of Paris, still in private hands, but more intimate, private and measured.
A symphony none the less. Whether under summer rain or in brilliant snow the garden is a masterpiece, timeless and unmeasurable. At times grand and imposing, at times shy and quiet. Always poetic.

Luis Barragan is the grandest name in Mexican architecture as far as the 20th century goes. And what a decorator. His monastic eye gave him set standards to bear. And yet he created a language where the strict becomes sensual; the holy, decadent; and the colorless, a riot of hues.

His house in a nondescript Mexico City suburb is a mini temple to his passion for clean lines, luxurious nature, religious art and a passion for horses. At times claustrophobic like a monk’s cell and yet as liberating as a grand cathedral. Totally modern and timeless.”

It is an incredibly insightful compilation and I am grateful that Miguel took the time to share it with me.

Images, from top, two works of Teddy Millington-Drake via ArtNet; Cy Twombly’s home via Aesthete’s Lament; four images of the DeMenil home via House of Beauty and Culture; two images from Dwellings by Stephen Sills and James Huniford; Lars Sjorberg’s work via Belgian Pearls; Couranses via The Hip Paris Blog, and Luis Barragan’s work via google images, and I am so sorry, but I cannot remember which source.
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Lost and Found

One of Suzanne Rheinstein’s picks for the Enduring Style series was Roger Lussier’s Boston Back Bay apartment. I thought I had two versions of his home in my files but I could only find one at the time.

Naturally, looking for something else I stumbled across the later version.

This serene rendition appeared in House Beautiful, March of 1994.

If you think it has been published since do let me know as I would love to see it. Again. And again.

Photography by Thibault Jeanson.
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Enduring Style – Postscript

Just a few thoughts as I wrap things up here.  Courtney Barnes at Style Court sent me these images that she had saved (and cropped) from Ruthie Sommers’s inspiration board that appeared in the first issue of domino, 2005.

I need to find a spot to put a board like this as I usually end up with piles of stuff on my desk for weeks on end.  But I thought the board was interesting because you can see that Sommers was inspired by other designers’ work.  Miles Redd noted this as well and many readers commented on the fact that he was inspired by the work of his contemporaries.

It’s likely that each of us has different elements that jump out at us among Sommers’s creative jumble – the Smith dining room, the most excellent green on the cover of World of Interiors, the graphic punch of the stack of stripes.

But I continue to feel the tug of Steven Gambrel’s second Sag Harbor house that appeared in Elle Decor, July/August 2004.

I can still recall opening that issue and the mental gasp when I saw these images for the first time.  

Aesthete’s Lament also noted, “Gambrel’s first Sag Harbor house was genius… pure genius.”  The Aesthete went on to say that Gambrel’s color sense is exemplary.  I must agree.

The gift of that color magic, with the unerring eye and, most importantly in this case I think, some budget constrictions resulted in something particularly special.  

This house, I think, will come around again and again as one of the examples of an enduring aesthetic of our day.

Designers’ own homes often seem the mad scientists’ laboratories and how I do love to see what they are cooking up.

Images, top, via Style Court; photography for the Gambrel images by William Waldron.
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