It occurred to me this weekend as I looked again at The Finest Rooms by America's Great Decorators as I tidied away piles of books littering the place (a sisyphean task, if ever there was one) that I have my favorite rooms and that to me they are very fine rooms indeed. None perhaps with the grandeur of those illustrated in The Finest Rooms but all with four things in common: space, simplicity, suitability, and atmosphere.
As I look around me now it seems again I'm still surrounded by books. On the coffee table, the weekends essential reading in order of stacking: Les réussites de la décoration française 1950 - 1960; Maureen Footer's brilliant George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic; an Italian easy-reader mystery La casa sulla scogliera; Mary Gilliatt's A House in the Country: the Second Home from Cottages to Castles; David Hicks's Living with Design; Mario Praz's Interior Decoration; and Brian J McCarthy's beautiful Luminous Interiors. As to the side tables .... well, I had probably better stop right there and return to my actual theme which is a new and not infrequent series about rooms I consider to be particularly fine.
I have written about some of these rooms before and feel it will do no harm to give them another look. The rooms by Kalef Alaton, for example, still figure large in my mind as some of the finest of 20th-century decorating, as also do rooms by Antony Childs, Arthur Smith and Roderick Cameron. Rooms in palaces or rooms overflowing with preciousness probably won't get a mention but I could change my mind given I've just remembered a room in a Japanese palace filled with preciousness of a different kind.
The first in the series, then, are two photographs I found on Tumblr. A greenhouse, a pavilion, a bedroom, a retreat – it's all of these but to me, romantic that I am, it's the finest bedroom in the world. I can imagine nothing finer than to be in this room – presupposing a hundred acres of privacy surround it – when fireflies flicker and starlight gleams; when birds sing and sun rises; when snow falls or rain pours; when the northern lights stream, or nights, most magical of all, when the Milky Way shines across the sky. The screams of massacred animals, the shrill of insects and the slither of snakes? Meh. As I say, I'm a romantic.