Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Immensely chic

and a total favorite.

So, what makes a room a favorite? Clearly there can never be just one, and this is favorite number seven or thereabouts I've posted about. For a room to be attractive to me there should be a spareness about it, I don't want it to be arch, historical reference is always pleasing as long as it does not smack of marketing, texture should make the hand grateful for the touch, and color should delight the eye without cauterizing the retina. There are fluctuations to my rules, but the room above fits right in.

The guest room above designed in 1946 by Samuel Marx for the Block family of Chicago. The image comes from the book Ultramodern: Samuel Marx, Architect, Designer, Art Collector by Liz Smith. It is a beautiful book, filled with wonderful images of Marx's architecture and interior design during the first half, and beyond, of the 20th century.

The author's description:

"The walls of the guest room were sheathed in unadorned silver leaf. Two signature Marx chests in crackle lacquer with block handles flanked the parchment daybed over-spread with printed linen. The coverlet's bold painterly graphic of doves and fruit trees reminiscent of period fabrics by designers such as Ruth Reeves, may well have been the work of Miller. Two Queen Anne-style armchairs, produced by Quigley in cream-colored lacquer, exemplify the cabinet-maker's virtuoso craftsmanship and Marx's deft reinterpretation of historical models for use in chic modern interiors."

Mouthwatering and chic as all-get-out.

One of the advantages of having worked for an organization that rid itself of its library is that together with co-workers, students and other institutions, I was able to boost my own library. This book is one of the discards and it came as such a pleasant surprise to open this excellent book about Samuel Marx's work. Maybe that says a lot about my narrowness but I shall not apologize for it as now I'm making amends and cannot put the book down. It is so full of beautiful images of immensely chic interiors.


  1. Thanks for introducing me to Mr. Marks. Googling took me to this NY Times article about him and the book. "At first glance, the images are so diverse that they seem to depict the work of several hands..." "...This perfectionist order might have seemed overbearing or cold without the voluptuous finishes and decorative flourishes that Marx reveled in..." When you got. you got it, I guess.

  2. Thank you, Terry. I'm going to read that NY Times article tonight when I get to my hotel. A great and pleasant surprise to me though as I said it might say something of my narrowness in my scope of reading if I've only just discovered him.