“What better occupation, really, than to spend the evening at the fireside with a book,
with the wind beating on the windows and the lamp burning bright…”
-gustave flaubert (1821-1880)
My design for this elegant cream and white bedroom features sumptuous fabrics set among modern and period fine art and furnishings. My hope was that its gentle tones and textures would evoke the mood of a luxurious retreat, where both respite and inspiration could be found. A white boudoir pillow, embroidered by Frette Linens of Italy, wears my original, scripted letter ‘A’ logo. Above the velvety soft headboard, one can see a contemporary print displayed on a silk-covered wall. The print, Seated Young Woman, is after an 18th-century French chalk drawing of the same name, by master Rococo painter and draughtsman Antoine Watteau. I was fortunate to stand before the original drawing, which belongs to the Morgan Library and Museum of New York City; her beauty captivates! With exquisite delicacy, its fluid lines capture the essence of the female spirit and the soul of Rococo.
Watteau gracefully ushered in the Rococo era and would be referred to as “the poet of 18th-century France”. His brief, yet remarkable life, is discussed in my forthcoming book, Inspired By Beauty, and will be explored in an upcoming post.
While on the subject of the book…
Photo by Phillip Van Nostrand
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art & books
the soul of a room
Photo by Phillip Van Nostrand
In my contemporary tea salon, modern furnishings with clean and elegant lines blend harmoniously with the refined Louis XVI style. Luscious shades of lavender, pink, mauve, and purple envelop our senses, while heady scents of fresh-cut blooms fill the air. The hand-painted, paper flowers – perched atop books like a crown of confection – are the work of Danish sculptress Marie-Louise Otte. Their soft, chalky hues evoke the delicate tones of 18th-century French art and style.
The riveting, framed photography, on the bookshelf and above the console, are the work of Brooklyn-based artists WAXenVINE. The sconce is ca. 1940, Maison Baguès* and the console is made today by Maison Taillardat. The Taillardat piece was inspired by the superb craftsmanship of 18th-century French master ébénistes. Its refined and graceful lines are the quintessence of the Louis Seize style.
*As an antique dealer for many years, I had the pleasure of dealing in exquisite French period pieces. (This is where I developed my passion for 18th and 19th-century French academic art, which led me in a new direction.) Handling beautiful furnishings by Maison Baguès, François Linke, and Maison Jansen – and researching their history and provenance – has been tremendously rewarding!
“But indeed I would rather have nothing but tea.”
-jane austen (1775-1817)
An elegant setting of sumptuous roses, French porcelain, and English silver beckons one to tea. Sprinkled throughout are the most delectable, pastel-colored pastries. Hand-painted, Chinese murals (after an 18th-century design) make for an enchanting background.
The English silver teapot is a treasured possession. A family heirloom, it is filled with my mum’s memories of growing up in war-torn London, as well as stories of love.
The pastries are from Ladurée – Cachepot by AERIN – porcelain from Maison Bernardaud – and the lush English roses, fresh from the garden.