Saturday, May 21, 2011

John Saladino's Santa Barbara Villa

The enfilade from the dining room to the entrance hall.

John Saladino sought a career as an artist, rather than as the world-reknown influential interior designer he has become.  In 1961 he was accepted into Yale's Fine Arts program. However, Instead of studying art only in the aesthetic form, Saladino also studied art in the applied form, becoming an architect, out of which interior and landscape design naturally developed. "If given the opportunity ... I want to do all the architecture, the interiors, I want to design the furniture, and I want to do the garden. I see the whole thing as a homogeneous entity," says Saladino in a video interview with House & Garden. And along with those jack-of-all-trades talents, he still continues to paint.

The motorcourt.

In Saladino's book, Villa, he gives a visual diary detailing the four "relentless" years he spent restoring his 1920s Santa Barbara home.  But what began as a dilapidated 2,500-square-foot villa -- not much more than a romantic stone ruin -- was transformed into a 10,000-square-foot, 6 bedroom, 6 bath masterpiece that he named Villa di Lemma. The restoration encompassed a new foundation, a new roof, and stabilizing the cliffside portion of the 13-acre estate to prevent erosion, all of which took twice as long as he had predicted and cost three times his budget. "It's the summation of my knowledge ; it's my opus."

Below, an outdoor walkway. The stone walls and flooring were rescued from the original villa. Before re-use, however, the stone had to be scrubbed clean of peach paint covering all the original stone house surfaces. It took six men working full-time for a year to completely clean the stone of paint. 

Known for his complex-yet-edited interiors, Saladino infuses his designs with a sense of modern and ancient, rough and luxe. In the living room, below, the juxtaposition is evident in his carefully crafted, multi-note design: silk and leather; worn antique carpeting and modern sofa; wood and stone.  "Any room that you can immediately understand to me is a failure."

In the dining room, below, all of the floor tiles were dyed to achieve just the right color. One of the boiserie panels doubles as a door to the kitchen and breakfast room. The white tablecloth is a white Marseille bedcover. Saladino believes that the dining room is "the last place where we have theater in our lives."

Below, a modern kitchen in a beautifully-aged setting. Saladino has chosen to forgo upper cabinets, a trend that continues to gain popularity. Massive marble slabs comprise the counters; dishwashers, oven, and cooktop are Bosch; two doors disguise two Sub-Zero refrigerators and freezers; a third door is a secret entrance to Saladino's office.

Below, a cozy nook in a corner of the kitchen.

 The stairs leading to the office.

I just love this office (below), which he says is "not, of course, my main office, but the one I use in California to keep the dam plugged."

Saladino's master bedroom, with his fabulous Napoleonic sleigh bed. Of his design, he said, "I have to admit I gave way to my most extravagant theatrical inclinations. The new walls frame the bed like a proscenium stage."

Below, his beloved partner Betty Barrett's room. Saladino designed the daybed and linens for her in her favorite aqua tones.

The breakfast room.

A spare bedroom.

 Antique Fortuny fabric backs paintings of Santa Barbara landscapes.

An outdoor room.

Antique Venetian statues.

One of the Mediterranean gardens Saladino carefully designed and restored. More than 4,000 trees, shrubs, and flowers were planted on the property, including mature 50-year-old cypress trees and an olive allee.

Saladino's pool (on left) with an incomparable ocean view. The column is Roman from 200 B.C., and is discreetly secured by wire in this earthquake-prone area.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Menswear-Inspired Interiors

Pinstripe wallpaper in Beau Brummel's house in London.

Pinstripe, plaid, tuxedo ruffles, flannel, tweeds, leather, bespoke tailoring -- just a smattering of these masculine touches can coax a courtly and dignified tone from the frilliest of interiors. Think Cary Grant or George Clooney, leather paneling, a dashing fedora, a long-ago remembered scent of pipe tobacco. It's a style that wears well on its own, but also mingles well with modern and traditional, rough and luxe, high and low. 

Ralph Lauren fabric and wallcovering, Fall 2010

No one does masculine interiors quite like Ralph Lauren. Long before he debuted his Home collection, Lauren perfected menswear-inspired interiors in his own home. A modern-day dandy, Ralph Lauren fully embraced his decor of plaid, tweed, and tobacco leather furniture, his home a tasteful embodiment of  his blue-blood-in-America clothing line. 

Below, Lauren's Bedford estate library, resplendent with plaid, paisley, tobacco leather and antique carpets. Lauren's homes (he has five) all sport meanswear-inspired touches, regardless of their geographic locales.

From Architectural Digest, image by Durston Saylor
Below, Harris Tweed covered chairs in the Blythswood Square hotel, Glasgow, Scotland's first five-star hotel. With knock-off tweeds now being produced around the world, genuine Harris Tweed has been produced for 150 years by islanders who live on Scotland's Outer Hebrides. Still a cottage industry, Harris Tweed is still handwoven from strong Scottish wool on pedal-powered looms in the weavers' homes, and is then sent out to their local mills for washing and finishing.

Harris Tweed-covered chairs in the Blythswood Square hotel.
While many other types of tweed exist, only Harris Tweed is protected by an act of Parliament, which created the Harris Tweed Authority in 1933, defining by law what constitutes Harris Tweed. Only tweed that is dyed, spun, and woven entirely by hand in the Outer Hebrides islands of Harris, Lewis, Uist and Barra can receive the sovereign "orb" trademark. An inspector from the Harris Tweed Authority checks every 50 meters of the tweed before it's stamped by hand with the famous symbol.

Flannel, long a menswear staple known for its sturdy-yet-soft qualities, has been made since the 17th century. Originating from Wales, flannel is woven from wool and cotton, then brushed to give it its softness. Below, a grey flannel Chesterfield chair.

Chesterfield from Lover's Lounge

Below, a Ralph Lauren flannel Chesterfield sofa and plaid chair.

Plaid has seen a resurgence in popularity in both fashion and interiors. Tartan, as it is referred to outside of North America, is historically Scottish, with clans designated their own official pattern. Provinces in Canada have their own official tartan, but did you also know that here in America, most states have their own official tartans? You can find a list of official U.S. state tartans here.

Plaid has long been used to decorate interiors, but mostly in cabin or rustic interiors. Below are some examples of just how sophisticated and refreshing plaid can look. Two different plaids in the same color family, a silk table covering, a sheer-covered crystal chandelier -- who would have ever thought they would all look this good together? What an elegant and thoughtful design.

Image and design from Encore Decor

Below, a bathroom in Castle Forter in Perthshire, Scotland. From the photos of this stunning castle, it looks as if plaid/tartan is used in every room. The overall look is of comfortable elegance.

Below, a more polished take on decorating with plaid.

Courtesy of Summer Thornton Designs

Below, the San Francisco home of designer Scot Meacham Wood. Of Scottish descent, Wood unabashedly decorated his home with plaid, plaid, and more plaid. The result is pure, beautiful, British luxury.

Courtesy of The Adventures of Tartanscot
Scot Meacham Wood's bedroom.

Courtesy of The Adventures of Tartanscot

Plaid on a classic Eames lounge chair. wallpaper in a hallway alcove, behind a vintage coat rack.

Courtesy of House To Home, U.K.
...on a Mini Cooper.

...even the interior of a Porsche. 

Pinstripes have long been associated with conservative business attire. Now the fabric gets a decidedly modern update as it transitions into interior design.

Courtesy of Designers Call

Courtesy of blog 2Modern

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bohemian Chic!

Designer Celerie Kemble's NY apartment, courtesy of Lonny magazine

I suppose I'm like many of you: modern yet a little old-fashioned, whimsical yet dead serious, hard working but fun-loving, forward-looking while honoring my past. With that said, I want my interiors to reflect all aspects of me and my family. Rather than decorate to fit a theme, such as English regency or French country, why not make YOU the theme. Go ahead -- mix your antique French walnut armoire with your fabulous vintage Guy de Rougement cloud table (lucky devil if you have one), your stately tobacco leather chesterfield sofa, the new lucite parsons table you just acquired with your antique printers blocks placed on it just so...  You get the idea. The end look is fresh, modern, comfortable, interesting, and, best of all, personalized, reflecting who you are.

Bryan Ferry's London home, below, received some attention in the design world for its highly personalized, stylish interior, decorated with art, textiles, and quirky objects collected from his travels around the world. He has said that he doesn't buy to fit, instead purchasing with his heart and gut, then finding a place for it in his home.

Below is a living room from the Kips Bay Decorator Show House in New York decorated by none other than Bunny Williams, well-known for her traditional decor. She still has her traditional touches, such the the formal, matched chairs and brown velvet sofas. But what a difference it makes to drape one sofa in a suzani, paint the traditional wooden chairs white, hang super-sized botanical gouaches, and stencil a sisal rug with stars.

Like Bunny William's white chairs, I am seeing more and more traditional furniture painted white, a fresh take on the traditional style. Below, a traditional chandelier that was dipped in plaster.

Introducing a lucite piece into a traditional setting adds punch to an outdated interior. Then add a vintage piece to that mix and you are on your way to Bohemian Chic. Below, a modern lucite table, 60s stools, and a traditional floor mirror with a painted white frame in a lush old-world setting.

Below, a more upmarket and clean Boho Chic look, with modern acrylic chairs mixing perfectly with conventional wing chairs, a pink tufted settee, and a mirrored deco chest topped with modern art leaned against the wall.

Below, the home of Bob Williams, of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. The lucite "Lily" chair and the white leather armchair are vintage (City Issue); the sofa, chair, and wing chair are from Mitchell's company. Other accessories are vintage, antique and collected.

Courtesy of Traditional Home. Image by Colleen Duffley

Remember this armoire, below, from one of my posts several weeks ago? This would fit perfectly in Boho Chic design. Start with an antique Louis XV armoire, then paint it white, and replace the doors with glass. I know, I would have a hard time, too, so drastically altering an antique. But, to convert a beautiful non-antique armoire that once housed a television in the pre-flat screen days is a great way to recycle and update an outmoded piece of furniture.

Courtesy of Citified blog

Look at these beautiful interior sliding screen doors in a Barcelona home. Just stunning! Though they are probably modern, they have a distinct Art Deco flair to them. And peering through the screen we can see a linen-draped table with traditional chairs underneath a fun, modern beaded chandelier in French Empire style, a black and white photograph leaned against the wall. This is a more modern, clean look that Barcelona has become known for, while still possessing the style mixture of Boho Chic.

Courtesy of Delight by Design  blog

Below, the Barcelona office of oh-so-talented designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán's design company, Contemporain Studio. A perfect Boho Chic mixture of ancient and modern, Occidental and Asian, textures, colors, and styles. The eclectic mix of furniture is arranged in the classic conversation seating arrangements, lending a certain gravity to a space that, in spite of the widely diverse styles represented, does not veer into whimsy. Each piece seems (and I'm certain, was) carefully chosen and thoughtfully placed. Just masterful.

Courtesy of Contemporain

A different view of the same room.

Courtesy of Contemporain

Below, the Contemporain office kitchen. I wrote about this kitchen a couple of months ago, and I'm still quite taken with it! His mixing of a Louis XV table with an antique Chinese screen, along with antelope horns, a mid-century mod chair over a stunning herringbone wood floor somehow seems fresh, interesting, vibrant, and appropriate.

Courtesy of Contemporain

In the London townhouse of cosmetics executive Christine D'Ornano (her family founded Coty and Lancome cosmetics) from Elle Decor, a George Smith chesterfield sofa, a pair of sparse cane chairs, mid-century style chairs, pop art, neon art, and a rabbit sculpture. D'Ornano's furnishings are a mish-mash of top of the line furniture, family pieces, and flea market finds, all fully representational of who she is.

Courtesy of Elle Decor

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Modern English-Tudor Style

Courtesy of Elle Decor. Image by Simon Upton
In honor of today's royal wedding, we will take a look at English Tudor style. Just as British royalty have gotten a modern, fresh update in Will and Kate, the English-tudor style has gotten a 21st-century makeover as well. Always thought of Tudor as dark and stuffy? Think again. Gone is the dark oak paneling with dark oak flooring with dark oak furniture, all under dark oak beams. Todays Tudor-style has lightened up, with touches of dark wood as an accent, not the main design feature that seemed to demand jewel-toned carpets, brown leather furniture, and heavy velvet drapery. 

Built in 1927, this tudor is one of the Stockbroker Tudors, houses popular with the Wall Street contingent of generations past, in Westchester, a bedroom community of Manhattan. The young couple who purchased the house wanted to freshen the imposing, dark Tudor, modernizing its appearance and floorplan. The house had separate servant's quarters and family area, which no longer made sense for a modern family. The kitchen and dining room, though adjacent, shared no common door to connect the two rooms. Designer Steven Gambrel modernized the outdated floorplan, the exterior half-timbers were painted light blue, and much of the heavy wood interiors were painted in light taupes, blues, and modern, light greys.

Gambrel removed much of the original dark paneling and painting much of the wood accents that remained. In the photo above, Gambrel moved the main dining area to the stunning but seldom-used reception hall, making the old dining room a casual family den next to the kitchen. Imagine how the reception area would look without the oak staircase and beams painted a light, fresh color. The chandelier is vintage; the English fruitwood table is from the 1930s; the Louis XIV chairs have cowhide seats; the Persian carpet is from the 1920s.

Below, the foyer's wood vaulting is now light and modern, and the beautiful front door interior is painted blue-grey. The antique light fixtures were purchased at auction; the mirrors are from Paris; the console is vintage; the lamps were made from 19th-century French urns; the silk runner is from ABC carpet.

Below, the library, one of the few instances of original oak paneling in the house. Actually, it had been painted red, and it took a team of three artisans five months to strip and restore the oak. The plaster design ceiling and stain leaded glass windows are original.

Another view of the library below. The built-in bookcase is original to the house; the Swedish alabaster chandelier is circa 1895; the sofa, banquette, and ottoman were designed by Gambrel.

A view of the second-floor hall, below. A Hunt Slonem painting, Gold Butterflies, is the second-floor hall focal point. The bench is antique English; the vintage side table and lamp are from Europe. I just love this vignette!

A beautiful example of a modern kitchen with clean lines that stays true to its historic roots. The cabinets are custom made; the coffered ceiling is new; and the counters are marble; the refrigerator is Viking. The leaded glass is original to the house.

Below, the master bath. I just love the look of the cafe curtains on the original diamond-pane leaded-glass windows.

Again, original diamond-paned leaded-glass windows, below, in the master bedroom. The headboard is custom with fabric by Bergamo; the bench is antique; the French chandelier is circa 1920.