Yikes! Stripes!

I picked up this little number from Brilliant Asylum last week. Brilliant (and she is, you should drop in) was focusing on the art of Scott Ingram, but I couldn't get over the striped chairs. The room itself is the work of designer Suzanne Kasler and I couldn't help but wonder if her inspiration for the chairs came from John Fowler's sitting room for Pauline de Rothchild.

I have always admired this room. The stripes on the settee and chair are iconic; it's hard to forget this room once you've seen it. White parquet floors, fur rugs, and oh, those curtains. Perhaps the bows and pinking sheered edges are not for you, but you must admire their owner. Women of great style take chances. I've looked at this picture a hundred times and just today focused on those crazy chairs with the sphinx heads and the hoofed feet.

Fowler called his look "humble elegance" and I think this is often the appeal of stripes. While they often take on an uptown air they are rarely uppity.

Stripes on the settee, again, this time designer John Oetgen, House Beautiful, Aug. '07.

Horizontal stripes on the curtains are still comfortable with vertical stripes on the walls in the same home.

While I love stripes in a formal setting, they are so happy to hang at the beach or in the country. Jack Fhillip's Vero Beach bedroom is a symphony of stripes, all subtle. The chair and shade share the same stripe, but sheets, blanket and dust ruffle are all slightly different, though the same shade of blue and white. Don't miss the blue and white striped ribbon running horizontally along the hem of the bed skirt.

While this image isn't technically vintage, I've definitely had it around a while. Here Waldo Fernandez uses three different stripes, again of the same color family, in his Hamptons home. This look may seem a bit "Pottery Barn" now, but at the time I thought it was off the charts. Actually, I still do. (Mr. Fernandez visited the antique shop where I work a few months ago and he is lovely. And not just because he antiques in Kansas City.)

No, no pattern. None. Then, bam, big, bold striped lamp shades. Colleen Bashaw designed this room in Congress Hall, a hotel in Cape May, NJ from HG Aug. '03. I'm a sucker for black wicker - oh, and yellow- but these shades are an unexpected twist.

"Humbled elegance." A lofty goal indeed.