Thursday, August 6, 2009

Looking backwards for a while

to another favorite.

When I first saw this room in the November 1986 issue of WoI I was totally charmed by its grace, its colors, its confident use of Colefax and Fowler's Old Rose chintz. The text of the magazine article was written by Mr. Hampton and such an easy and civilized read it was and frankly still is. 

"We now indulge in a fondness for a much broader variety of styles: Regency, Gothic Revival of practically any period, French chairs, bits from Italy and the ever-present Chinese table or two. Given this meandering taste, one of the great virtues of a room in which the curtains, the walls and much of the furniture are all in the same glazed cotton chintz, is that this goes a very long way towards unifying all the other disparate elements."

At the end of the WoI text he wrote,

"Every ten years or so, whether one needs to redecorate or not, a certain reorganization is usually required: static rooms, like rooms that are too new, are dull and boring. Things have to come and go all the time, even if they are just moved about once in a while. If we see something on the King's Road, we get it if we love it, not only if we can find a place for it. You can always find a place for something you love."

By 1990 the room had become what you see below. I didn't get it then but I do now. I think. 


  1. I don't get it. The first room seems timeless to me. The second room seems less and less so. At almost 60 I see my friends approaching their homes in several ways. Some, like me, add and subtract, but mostly their homes represent their lives lived and traveled, collected and inherited, loved and moved on to another love, but in small doses. Others, like the one below, seem to have the need to reduce, reduce, reduce as if they are anticipating making it easier for their children to clean up after them when they are gone. The first room resonates with me and the second one just makes me sad.

  2. I understand what you mean but my reaction to the room is different. As a period piece, and that's what it is, it is brilliant. Could I have lived in it then? Probably. Could I live in it now? Probably, despite my desire as I have aged to pare down and to keep only the clutter, if that is what it is, that has personal meaning to us both. Despite its clutter, the room has a clarity informed by a designer's personal souvenirs.

    This is what I like about blogging - this personal, non-acrimonious interaction about design and life.