Tag Archives: Vintage Design


We are off tomorrow.  I will not be posting while I am gone.  Hubris to believe that is necessary to have something here while I’m away; folly to worry about internet connection and posting comments while in France.  Back soon.

Yet another image from House Beautiful, March 1965.  A lovely table bursting with pattern from Van Day Truex, then design director of Tiffany and Company; photography by Wesley Balz.

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Magical Charm

The March 1965 issue of House Beautiful which I featured yesterday is titled, “The Individualist.”    It’s delightful even forty-six years later.

Besides the Mathews’ home there is an entire section of “applied individualism.”  These images are of Mr. and Mrs. Tony Duquette’s bed-sitting room in Los Angeles.  If you described the palette it might sound like you were describing a bruise, but there’s nothing painful about it.  It’s hauntingly beautiful.
Images, House Beautiful, March 1965, design by Mr. Duquette, photography by Danforth-Tidmarsh.  The title of the post is a description of the room from the article.
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Elegant Rewards of a Disciplined Choice

I’m nearly hopeless at furniture placement.  

Mine is nearly always a ring around the rosie (otherwise known as the coffee table) with the sofa against the wall like it’s getting a mug shot.

Somewhere, sometime (it’s been nearly four years for heaven’s sake) another blogger mentioned “the ladies who love dead decorators” (or something like that.)  I can’t assume that I was referenced, but I recognized myself in the description.

I do like looking back to see what still strikes a note; it helps me pull out my own aesthetic.

These rooms were created before I was born.  My mother could have rested this copy of House Beautiful on her bulging belly.  Perhaps that is why I recognize this tailored treat and that wonderful, wonderful view.

All images House Beautiful, March 1965, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Mathews.  The post title is the same as the title of the article which implies that the decorating was done by Mr. Mathews who was with the architecture and engineering firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.  Photography by Ezra Stoller Associates – and isn’t the lighting amazing?  By the way, there is wear on the third image, not a pattern on the carpet which appears to be a solid, short pile.

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The Significance of Petty Details

I stood barefoot at the kitchen island Monday eating pasta from a small, white bowl.  It was a recipe I’d requested from the night before.  We’ve avoided pasta and the like, existing on cold dinners and carry-out in an unspoken resistance to heating the kitchen, but crackers and pizza crusts were not satisfying my gluten gluttony and my husband agreed to boil and toil.

So I stood, the next day, enjoying again the snap of the peas and the bite of the pancetta, reading a hamburger recipe from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home, which friends had made for us Saturday night.  The hamburgers had achieved mythical status in my mind and I needed to know just how difficult they would be to prepare.

I flipped through Keller’s book, soaking up both knowledge and olive oil while gnawing left-over ciabatta.  I breezed through searing and stock until I discovered the recipe I’d been looking for.  Our host, the night of the dinner, had asked, “Do you really think it makes a difference to grind the meat yourself?”  Well, yes, now I do.

It was a beautiful evening and we sat under white lights and fabric flag garland ironed and hung by their fourteen-year-old daughter.  We had dined together just a week or so before and had come around to my interest in astrology.  “You must have The Secret Language of Birthdays?”  “What?  I don’t.  Do I need it? Are you mocking me?”  “Yes, a little, and yes, you do.”  So in a reverse sort of hostess gift, they gave it to me and we read aloud our profiles after dessert.

“Those born on this day are not overly concerned with petty details, choosing instead to focus on the broad line, the big show.”

And as I read Keller’s recipe I wondered if this is why I am not a good cook.  Wondered if inherently I can’t attend to the pre-grind seasoning, to the careful not over-combining.  Wondered if this is why it is unlikely that I will create a dish as elegant as Keller’s or rooms as elegant at Frances Elkins’s.

All images Mr. and Mrs. Kersey Coates Reed home, architecture David Adler, design Frances Elkins from Frances Elkins Interior Design by Stephen M. Salny.

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