Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cecil Beaton Profile

The days here are as crisp and clear as Granny Smiths and while my body is busy my mind is wandering. I've ambled down the path of the Mitford clan and settled in for a nice long visit with Winston Churchill and just when I thought I'd turned the corner and might rejoin the 21st century, I happened upon Cecil Beaton.

Beaton (1904 - 1980) was a creative force in England and the States, primarily known for his photography, but also a set and costume designer, artist and prolific journal writer.

A captivating character, his level of creativity is astounding. Still, while enchanted by his story, I can't stop looking at the pictures.

And then yesterday on a walk, I began to wonder when the fashion of having your portrait done in profile began to fade.

Mr. Blandings's aunt, a woman of inestimable taste, has a stunning black and white portrait of herself and her daughter in profile on her dresser.

It's not a pose most prefer. A view of ourselves with which we are largely unfamiliar. We like to preserve the view that we prepare, the one that we perceive. Full on. Straight ahead. The nose slightly obscured by the energy of the eyes and, in some cases, the halo of hair.

But the world largely sees us from all angles. The jaw weak, the prominent beak, all pieces of a whole that we acknowledge and accept in others but avoid seeing in ourselves.

All images by Cecil Beaton. From top, the photographer's mother, Sir Laurence Olivier, Lady Diane Cooper, Greta Garbo, all from Cecil Beaton, Memoirs of the '40s. The photographer's sisters, Nancy and Baba, and the last image of Beaton himself from The Wandering Years, Diaries: 1922-1939. Second to the last image, Doris Castlerosse from Cecil Beaton, a Biography by Hugo Vickers.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Off the Rack - You Floor Me

World of Interiors, you charming gentleman, I wonder if you know how eagerly I await your styling?

I'm aware that I am supposed to be admiring this plushy pile,

but all I want to do is run my bare foot across this cool and slightly gritty floor.

You get me every time.

All images by Bill Batten for World of Interiors, September, 2009.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In House

Speaking of Mitch Owens (I was yesterday), I'm sure you know he has a new book coming out. What? No? Indeed. In House profiles diverse examples of exceptional individual style. Or so I've heard. I am standing at the mailbox daily twisting my beads waiting for my copy.

The photographs are by Derry Moore, the 12th Earl of Drogheda, whose work has appeared in Architectural Digest and Nest.

Owens is an editor-at-large for Elle Decor and has written on design for the New York Times, Architectural Digest and Travel and Leisure. Though I've heard that someone said recently that you don't need a writer to wax poetic about design - all you need is pictures - I disagree. I want someone to tell me what it feels like to be in that space. When I read Owens's articles he makes me feel like I'm sitting right next to him on the sofa. It's lucky I'm not because I can never keep my mouth shut. Which is why I am telling you right now - pre-order. Here or somewhere. I've heard it will knock your socks off.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Meet Mel

When I was going to New York last November, George Terbovich said, "You should meet Mel Dwork."

When I had the great pleasure of meeting Mitch Owens he said, "You must know Mel Dwork?" Mr. Dwork is a native Kansas Citian and one should suppose that we would know one another. That is how things work around here.

When I was ohhing and ahhing over the work of Roy Hamilton on the same trip he said, "I am good friends with Mel Dwork." And I thought, "Why the heck am I not?"

So on this trip I was thrilled to meet this incredibly talented and recognized designer.

Melvin Dwork left Kansas City when he was 19. He had received a scholarship to the Kansas City Art Institute. "The Nelson was my classroom; it had a tremendous impact on me." He moved to New York to attend Parsons. He still considers himself a Kansas Citian though he has spent sixty-seven of his eighty-six years in New York. I like that in a guy.

Dwork's work has been featured in magazines including House & Garden, Architectural Digest, Interior Design and the New York Times.

On top of all that he's incredibly lovely.

He is still working with select clients.

You can find out more about Mr. Dwork from his profile in the Interior Design Hall of Fame here and read an interview from the Times here.

Image, top, from House Beautiful, October, 1967 via the Peak of Chic; the following four images from Interior Design; the striped dining room is from House and Garden's Complete Guide to Interior Decoration, 1970, the room with the Mondrian inspired rug is from House and Garden's Complete Guide to Interior Decoration, 1960, the following two images are of Dwork's Shelter Island Home and the final is his NYC apartment featured in the New York Times, photography by Michael Falco.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Compare and Contrast

Alison Berger's floor lamp caught my eye in the Michael Smith designed home in the October issue of House Beautiful.

The industrial metal and sparkle of the glass are a nice contrast to the texture in the rest of the room.

Berger's site is under construction, but you can view her pieces through Holly Hunt here.

House Beautiful images by Thomas Loof; last image via Holly Hunt.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Not Even Close

In an effort to borrow some chic I tried tying my onyx beads like this last week. I was either doing it wrong, or this particular insouciance is only good for standing still. I kept coming undone.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

No Hillbilly He

Come and listen to a story about a store named JED
A chic antiquer, barely keeps his passion fed.

Each and every day he is rounding up some loot
You want so much it will make you say, "shoot."

Basalt that is, black gold, for your tea.

Well, the next thing you know ol' JED's breaking into song
You're so giddy you want to sing along.

In Sag Harbor this is where you ought to be
I'm loading up the truck so don't get in front of me.

Hamptons, that is.
Beachy feel, sky full of stars.

Y'all come back now, y'hear?

Jack Deamer owns a dreamy little spot in Sag Harbor. His space can barely contain his finds or his personality. He did, indeed, break into a (very good) chorus of "She Works Hard for the Money," while checking on a price. Jack likes to sell pieces as a collection - like the basalt and jasperware and the silhouettes. This set of English stoneware had me mesmerized; it is sitting on a chair, one of a pair, from the Doris Duke estate.

27 Washington Street

All images by Mrs. Blandings. Feel free to do with them what you will as that is what I am doing with other people's images every day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

First Things First

It's a great indulgence when I am in New York to be able to stop in the showrooms and shops that I usually admire from a computer screen. John Robshaw's fabrics always delight and the only problem is picking which one I would want to adorn the bed or pillow in question.

But the beauty of going to the showroom in New York is that you can see many pieces that are only available to the trade. Robshaw offers furniture that he has produced for the company including these bone inlaid chairs.

The idea of a pair of these chairs in different patterns sends me over the moon.

But it is not all about me. (Well, mostly it is, but..) Rosie would be oh-so-cozy and chic on one of the new dog beds.

It seems we see a lot of the bedding and pillows but are less likely to get a peek of Robshaw's fabric used in upholstery.

He has recently produced some pieces through John Derian's line with Cisco Brothers and Rosselli & Associates to craft furniture using his prints.

More chairs. I know, I can't help myself.

While Robshaw's block printed pillows are a great accent, the showroom has a wide selection of pillows made from vintage fabrics.

Yep, terrific. I did mention "the customer" might want to see a little more black. Or me. I would like to see a little more black. I might have mentioned it more than once.

Some of the new prints were inspired by the block printing process itself.

A piece of fabric is laid under the fabric to be printed and absorbs the colors and patterns itself. Used over and over these base pieces are a fantastic montage.

There are a few of these on display in the showroom. You want these, too, don't you? I know.

Equally engaging are the fabrics they inspired.

You can find retailers in your area here. I'm sure a local interior designer would be happy to follow up on any piece that you are interested in that is to the trade only. Follow what is up with John and his crew through their blog here.

p.s. Courtney brought to my attention that the bed, top, can be seen in the home decorated by Michael Smith in the September issue of Elle Decor.

The loveseat, sofa and chair with the jaunty plaid pillow are John Derian for Cisco Brothers; the remaining chairs are through Rosselli. Many thanks to John and Laura Stanley for taking the time to show me around.