Wandering Minds Want to Know

As I push furniture and measure windows, I am thinking about what I want. What I want, which is something entirely different from what readers want or what is best or what is on-trend. As I think it over, or over think it, my mind's eye is drawn to a couple of things. One, was Thomas Jayne's new year resolution at Elle Decor, "I resolve to listen to my design instincts. At this point in my experience and education, my first reactions are often the best ones."

The second was in Albert Hadley's advice to those who are starting out on Architectural Digest's web page, "The best rooms have history and meaning: photographs that remind you of someone, furniture that has a story. Whatever you put in your house should be interesting. I may not like it, but that doesn’t make any difference. And decorating is not about dollars and cents; it’s an emotional thing, it’s passion."

I don't have Jayne's education and experience, of course, but I think his resolution and Hadley's observation go hand in hand. I'm making my home. Mine.

And all this ruminating led me back to the books, as usual. This Los Angeles home in Hancock Park was built in 1938. Almost '40's, the decade whose aesthetic seems to be wired into my hard drive. The grounds, the patio, the wrought iron awning, all delightful.

But the dining room ceiling, a modification of the owner, is an update that enchanted me. It's dramatic and subtle at the same time, reminiscent of plaster ceilings of the past while being clearly modern.
Further, the collage panels in the powder room contain butterflies, the heads of which are photos of family friends. And what struck me, was that these details are so completely personal. Nine people out of ten, perhaps anyone whose picture was not included, would walk by that wall without a second glance. But for the owners it is a treasure trove of sentiment.

Hadley, again, "Decorating has never been superficial. It has always represented the best of times. Now I’m talking about the rich, who have always furnished their houses elaborately. But even a cottage is a castle to the person who lives in it."

Image, top, from Thomas Jayne; next, a Hadley design via Arch Digest for an on-line interview; the profile in the magazine was by Mitch Owens; all remaining images, Classic Homes of Los Angeles, which I received as a review copy, by Douglas Wells; photography by Melba Levick.

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