Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Spring Book Releases, Part One

The Spring book releases are just starting to make their debuts, and two that I have read- and enjoyed- thus far are A Home in Paris, written by Catherine Synave with photographs by Guillaume de Laubier, and Nicky Haslam: A Designer's Life, which was written by the designer himself. The former is a voyeuristic look at some of Paris' more intriguing homes, including residences decorated by Jacques Garcia and Tino Zerduvachi.  Organized mostly by decorating and architectural styles, the featured homes are grouped into such categories as "Tradition and Reinterpretations", "Modern and Contemporary Interiors", and "The Soul of a Collector".  (It should come as no surprise that the traditional-oriented section is my favorite.)  Although there have been a multitude of books published on Paris interiors, I continue to add them to my library because, quite simply, I never tire of looking at beautifully-appointed homes in Paris.  If you're like me, you should consider adding this volume to your design-book collection.  Do note, though, that the book is modestly-sized, measuring roughly seven-by-nine inches.  I like the book's scale because it made reading in bed easy, but I want to let you know in case you were expecting a larger-sized book. 

A much different design book is Haslam's latest effort.  The book's subtitle is, "An Archive of Inspired Design and Décor", and what an archive it is.  Haslam's work is well-represented in the book by big, beautiful photos.  But Haslam takes the reader beyond the glossy surfaces by making him privy to the inspiration and creative-process behind each interior.  The designer's upbringing has greatly influenced his work, as have books, travel, and the glittering personalities with whom Haslam associates.  In his book, Haslam writes of these influences, linking them through witty text and photos to the interiors and decorative finishes that they inspired.  Yes, the book reads in part as a memoir (and a lively one at that,) but it also allows the reader to see how a designer such as Haslam translates inspiration into some very posh interiors.  If you're looking for a delightful design book, then Haslam's book should suit you to a T.

A Home in Paris:

The living room leads to the library, where Jacques Garcia has placed an armchair bearing the stamp of the famed chair maker Jean-Baptiste Séné. Turgot, the Controller-General of Finance at the beginning of Louis XVI’s reign, used this piece in his office. © Guillaume de Laubier

On a table in the smoking room, a Wedgwood vase and obelisk are displayed with a late nineteenth-century oil lamp to compose a charming still life. © Guillaume de Laubier

The living room is a tribute to the splendors of the past. Modern designer furniture and decorative objects comfortably adapt to a backdrop of gilt boiseries. Vast mirrors, reflecting the light, further expand the space. © Guillaume de Laubier

In the living room, English furniture mingles with Arman’s “Danceuse” armchairs. The gilding of the Directoire mirror and the Oriental subjects of the paintings stand out against the cherry-red wall covering, which is bordered with colourful strips cut from a shawl. The rich tones are repeated in the sofa’s upholstery. © Guillaume de Laubier

Enlivening the entrance and recalling the interiors of old Saint Petersburg, the Wedgwood-blue walls are ornamented with a frieze of stencilled motifs that accent the outlines of the doors and panelling. © Guillaume de Laubier

Nicky Haslam: A Designer's Life

A Haslam-decorated living room in a New Orleans home. © Andrew Wood.

Look closely, and you'll see the fringe-trimmed pelmets.  As Haslam wrote, "I always wanted to put a fringe on these pelmets."  © Andrew Twort.

A former home of Haslam.  The library's walls were covered in charming paper painted by the legendary George Oakes for Colefax and Fowler. © Fritz von der Schulenburg

Nicky Haslam designed this tiled garden seat after Portuguese azulejos.

©A HOME IN PARIS, Flammarion, 2015. Images ©Guillaume de Laubier. ©NICKY HASLAM: A DESIGNER'S LIFE by Nicholas Haslam, Rizzoli New York, 2015.

Thank you Flower Magazine

I want to thank Karen Carroll and flower magazine for featuring me in their "House Party" column in the March/April issue. When Karen asked me to describe my style of entertaining, the first word out of my mouth might have been "Cocktails!" Because, as you know, I do love to mix a classic cocktail. I enjoy having guests over for cocktails and heavy hors d'oeuvres, which is not only a fun way to spend an evening, but it's easy on the hostess, too.

You can read all about my cocktail entertaining in the new issue. Karen has also included a short-list of my favorite host and hostesses along with their words of wisdom.

Cover photo courtesy of flower; Sarah Dorio photographer. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Home Tour: Dottebob Andes

One of the many highlights of my book tour was visiting my sweet friend, Dottebob Andes, in her chic Philadelphia-area home.  Prior to my visit, I was aware that Dottebob and I had a lot in common, especially our shared love of "the classics".  (That would be classic décor, not classic literature- although perhaps we have similar taste in books, too.)  Like me, Dottebob, who is a well-regarded decorator, has an appreciation for bright colors (especially blue and coral), prints, Chinoiserie, and the sense of coziness that fabrics bring to a room.  But not until my book was published did I realize just how simpatico we are. 

Shortly after she read my book, Dottebob sent me photos of her home, explaining that she lives with most of the classic furnishings about which I wrote.  Sure enough, many- if not most- of my book's entries can be found in Dottebob's home.  There are examples of Chinoiserie, portières, leopard print, needlepoint, trompe l'oeil, singerie, exotic prints, garden stools, trellis, slipper chairs, skirted tables, and, well, I could go on and on.  Dottebob's home is like In with the Old come to life.  If I didn't know better, I would think that we had been separated at birth.

When I visited Dottebob, I was struck by how closely her home and her personality are intertwined.  Dottebob's home is a reflection of her warmth and generosity, her enthusiasm for socializing and spending time with friends and family, and her passion for decorating.  She is surrounded by things she loves and treasures that have meaning to her.  In my mind, all of these qualities represent the true meaning of decorating.

I'll leave you with the photos I took during my visit. Looking at them reminds me of what decorating is supposed to be about.

All photos are the copyright of Jennifer Boles/ The Peak of Chic

Thursday, February 19, 2015

An Early Summer, Courtesy of Jim Thomspon and No. 9 Thompson

Last week, I attended a presentation of the Spring 2015 collections from Jim Thompson and No. 9 Thompson.  The temperature outdoors might have been hovering around the freezing mark, but it certainly didn't feel like winter inside the Jim Thompson showroom.  So vibrant and colorful are the new collections that I could have sworn warm weather had arrived.

Taking his inspiration from the textiles of Central Asia, Turkey, and Tangiers, No. 9 Thompson designer Richard Smith has created a collection that is the essence of summer.  Named "Anatolia", the new collection is abundant with juicy color, easy-going patterns, and breezy textures.  There is Karapinar, a multi-colored abstract print which is based on a 19th-century Caucasian carpet, and Zelig, whose pattern is reminiscent of North African ceramic tiles.  In addition to cottons and linens, there are a number of outdoor fabrics, including one, Fez, which is embroidered with a motif often found on flat-weave carpets.  And because a finished-look is welcome any time of year, two new border tapes have been introduced.  (See Casablanca, below.)

"Forbidden Colours" is the new Jim Thompson collection, and again, the story here is color.  Just look at the vibrant colors of Lamun, which is a beautiful handwoven silk.  Or what about Anais, a luxurious 6-ply silk ikat?  Jim Thompson is, of course, renowned for its silks, but cotton and linen have not been forgotten, with Cinnabar, Adler, and Balthazar striking casual-yet-sophisticated notes among those refined silks.   

I think that when you take a look at the new collections, you'll likely find yourself yearning for summer...and perhaps some new fabrics, too.

No. 9 Thompson Collection:




 Anatolia Stripe

Tan Tan






Jim Thompson Collection:











All photos courtesy of Jim Thompson