Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes


Megan's Pick: Chinoiserie

Above, magnifying glasses have 14-karat gold Victorian parasol handles; Below a sampling of accessories and furnishings available at Suzan Fellman Showroom.

Today lovely Megan, over at Beach Bungalow 8, wrote about yet another chic L.A. home-furnishings boutique: Suzan Fellman Showroom, specializing in vintage chinoiserie. I had to spread the word.

BTW: Dawn Jacobson's Chinoiserie is still the best book I've found on the subject.

Back to the Future

Does this silver giraffe remind you of a certain charismatic potter-designer's long-necked creature? My friend who owns the Atlanta boutique, Providence, found the little 1970s guy at Scott Antique Market. We think it looks a bit like a precursor to Jonathan Adler's iconic animals.


Family Photos

Above, India Hicks' dining room photographed by Arthur Elgort for Vogue; Sittings Editor, Hamish Bowles.

"There are no rules in decorating," Margaret Russell once said. Decorators do tend to contradict each other -- and themselves -- quite often. I've noticed this after years of reading design books and shelter mags.

Currently, some opposing views are presented in Domino's August issue; editors constructively share diverse opinions from top designers and look for areas of agreement. On page 53, the hot button topic, "where to put the family photos," is tackled. Sixty percent are vehement about keeping the pictures in private areas and forty percent say "display tastefully." (Tastefully being subjective.) So, I couldn't resist posting this image of India Hicks' fabulous, family-photo-laden dining room.

Hicks says that her dad, legendary David Hicks, advised never hanging photographs. Hence the shelves. She does have her black-and-white pictures grouped together, but otherwise India seems to prove that, in decorating, flair trumps the rules.


Chair Fetish

Master thrifter, makeover artist and owner of Blossom Home, Sylvie, just introduced me to the flickr group, Chair Fetish. If you have a thing for chairs -- antique, modern or contemporary -- check it out.

Related reading: Chairs: A History.

Furniture Bank

Above, Windsor Smith's dining room photographed by Miguel Flores-Vianna for Domino, August 2007.

Need to make room for a fabulous new cabinet or chairs, like the pieces above from Windsor Smith's debut furniture collection? Consider donating your gently used furnishings to an organization such as the Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta. When this non-profit picked-up a large cabinet from my home, things went seamlessly.

Donated items go directly to people seriously in need of furniture: women and children who've fled domestic violence, formerly homeless families rebuilding their lives, the medically fragile. Some of the most needed pieces are beds, dining tables, sofas and storage cabinets. A complete list of accepted furnishings is provided on the Furniture Bank's site.

Tailored Bohemian Mix

Photography above, Pieter Estersohn for Southern Accents; interior design, Michelle Nussbaumer. Below, Windsor Smith's bedroom photographed by Miguel Flores-Vianna for Domino, August 2007.

When I first saw Windsor Smith's seersucker-clad bedroom in a Domino video, I was reminded of Michelle Nussbaumer's striped oasis. It's interesting that both decorators have ties to Texas and California, and both effortlessly mix exotic bohemian elements with tailored, stately pieces and dashes of Hollywood Regency.


On the Hunt

Okay, I realize I can be heavy on the Chapman Radcliff-related posts, but this small painted zebra chest, on a brass stand, is too fabulous not to discuss. Currently available via 1stdibs, it would be perfect for a small corner of my bedroom, offering flair and function. Not to mention being a "forever" piece that would work in a jillion different settings. Although this chest is beyond my budget at the moment, I think it has inspired me to hunt for (or make) something similar. Any thoughts?

Dhurrie Rugs

Rug above is available through Dash and Albert; rug below is from Wisteria.

A reader contacted me in search of a bold striped dhurrie rug similar to the one seen in the island home of Bunny Williams and her antique dealer husband, John Rosselli. (Shown above in Fritz von der Schulenberg's photo for Town & Country.) Wisteria and Dash and Albert offer these in great color combinations. The flatwoven rugs are reversible and said to be highly durable.

Thanks friendly reader, CSS, for the Dash and Albert reminder!


Sommers' Mirror for Sale

Currently up for grabs on Ruthie Sommers' antique English mirror, once seen on Domino's premiere issue. I envy the lucky buyer who will take home this "forever" piece.

Bushnell Home Makes Cover

Not too long ago, Bibliostyle told us about Margaret Russell's soon-to-be released book, Elle Decor so Chic: Glamorous Lives, Stylish Places, from Filipacchi. Well, it looks like Candace Bushnell's oh-so-photogenic home will be on the cover. Her place made such a memorable impression when it was featured in Elle Decor, 2005. Remember those flowering branches? I never could find any as lush.

Related past post:
Moroccan Chic II.


Kari's Rendering

Above, design student Kari Fisher's marker and colored pencil rendering of the beautiful (and apparently very popular) loft decorated by Sara Ruffin Costello in a palette of sea-foam blue, split-pea green, chocolate and maize yellow. Below is Paul Costello's original photo of the room, from Domino's archives.

Talented Kari Fisher, a graduate student at Florida State University, sent me this amazing rendering of one of my all-time favorite interiors: the Costello living room. Of course I had to share it. Isn't it spot-on?

Kari can be reached at

Chair Complete

Many thanks to the team at Atlanta Craftsman Interiors for their excellent customer service. They just delivered my old Louis chair newly upholstered in KWID's citrine "Imperial Trellis," and Silk Trading's citron "Shingu Suiting." I'm thrilled with the results. If you are in the Atlanta area and looking for an upholsterer, I highly recommend them (404.352.4400,, 1735 DeFoor Place, Atlanta).

Hopefully in the next few days I'll get away to grab some fresh flowers and "style" better images of the chair in different settings around my home.

Seeing Red Again

This red-lacquered cabinet is currently on sale at The Silk Trading Co., Atlanta. I love the fretwork and slim proportions -- perfect for a small space.


John James Audubon: Drawn From Nature

John James Audubon's Carolina Parrots illustration

John James Audubon: Drawn From Nature, a documentary about the artist who spent 18 years painting life-size portraits of every bird known to exist in the United States in the early 19th century, begins airing on most PBS stations tomorrow, July 25. Looks fascinating.

It's interesting that Anthropologie currently has a series of bird prints inspired by drawings from 18th century traveling biologists, shown above.

Chinoiserie in Small Doses

Interior design, Mary McDonald, as seen in House Beautiful, October 2002.

I've always liked how Mary McDonald used low doses of chinoiserie in the relaxed pool house above. One of my favorite pieces is the black-lacquered box on the coffee table. Serious collectors can find similar antique chinoiserie boxes at The Gables Antiques, on Miami Circle in Atlanta. Below is an exquisite example: a 19th-century box from England with ivory ball feet (price: $3100.)

Less expensive, not-so-old options can often be found at flea markets and through online shops such as Wisteria.

Related reading: Chinoiserie

An Alternative

Photo above, Joshua McHugh, as seen in Elle Decor, July-August 2007.

Yesterday, I mentioned how I adore Charlotte Moss' brightly colored, high quality leather albums displayed on bookshelves in her shop. Great inspiration for a home library, but not inexpensive. Kate's Paperie has a fab budget-friendly alternative: the Tribeca collection of man-made colorful binders, priced $25-$35 each, below.

Target's Real Simple office collection offers an even lower priced option. Their magazine holders and expandable file boxes, shown below, are about $12.90 each. These could be used to create shelves with graphic impact similar to the Moss bookcase above.


Leather-Bound Books at Charlotte Moss

Photo above, Joshua McHugh, as seen in Elle Decor, July-August 2007.

If you love the rows of luscious leather-bound albums and books arranged on shelves in the Charlotte Moss Townhouse, but can't get to New York, you can now purchase these items online. It's hard to pick a favorite shade, isn't it?

Sommers Summer

Photography above, Lisa Romerein for Coastal Living; interior design, Ruthie Sommers.

Fall catalogs are starting to arrive in the mail, but we still have a few weeks of summer left to enjoy. This crisp beach cabana done up by Ruthie Sommers definitely speaks fun-in-the-sun, so I'm posting it again. When the cabana appeared on Coastal Living's cover in 2006, I was drawn to the old school use of symmetry.

The actual cabana structure was designed by architect Tony Gwilliam, who now sells the pavilion in a kit. To order visit, or call 805-646-7355.


That Orange Box

Above, this set of four Hermes boxes is currently available on eBay.

Above, I think I spot an orange Hermes gift box discreetly placed on the bottom of Schuyler Samperton's bookcase; photograph by Grey Crawford for Elle Decor, November 2003.

Below, Princess Grace carries "the Kelly," the legendary Hermes bag named for her; image from a July 2007 Harper's Bazaar
spread celebrating the 170th anniversary of Hermes.

Iconic orange Hermes boxes used for display storage: cool or contrived? A few years ago, Elle Decor featured a room where masses of these chic boxes were exhibited on open shelves. (The homeowner happily admitted that many of the boxes had been found on eBay.) Since then, I've noticed the fashionable containers popping-up in room after room. Personally, I love the signature orange with brown trim, not to mention the subtle nod to Grace Kelly. But do you think use of the boxes as accessories could become ubiquitous, like status shoes "casually" dropped on the floor and Taschen's oft-seen Cabinet of Natural Curiosities? Or are some items just classics?

(BTW: I'll confess that I once bought a bundle of Hermes ribbon at an antique market.)

Below, included just for fun, a framed vintage Hermes scarf in Ivanka Trump's Park Avenue apartment, originally decorated by Emma Jane Pilkington, and published in House & Garden, January 2005.


Peter Dunham Podcast

Bedroom above -- a personal favorite -- designed by Peter Dunham, with a liberal use of his own textiles, for House Beautiful's Celebrity Showhouse, 2003.

Recently, I discovered a nice House & Garden podcast featuring Peter Dunham. The interview is lovely. Definitely worth a listen. If you have iTunes access, go to design podcasts, then look for the House & Garden series.