Style Court

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


Next Up: Chinese New Year

Windsor Smith loves her chinoiserie, as seen in Inspired Styles, published by Assouline 2007.

Mrs. John L. Strong chinoiserie pagoda place card.

Chinese New Year begins on February 7, 2008. No pressure -- for Westerners at least -- but ample opportunity to do up a festive table. Whether you opt to learn more about this traditional Asian event and participate in an authentic celebration, or you just want an excuse to use your decorative Chinese objects for a loosely related supper, it's a nice date to remember.

Earlier I shared the image above: designer Han Feng's contemporary Chinese New Year table for Martha Stewart.

In the 90s, my friend Carson and I burned ourselves trying to make Martha's French chocolate fortune tuiles. Maybe you'll have more success. Party supplies are on hand at China Sprout or Pearl River. Plum Party is always worth a look too, and great Asian-inspired vases are available from Jayson Home.

For everyone celebrating tonight, have a safe and fabulous time!


A New Design Crush

Well, a furniture crush to be specific: the green console table in Suzanne Rheinstein's elegant dining room, as seen in Inspired Styles.

This week, with my Christmas gift magnifying glass in hand, I'm pouring over all those recently purchased design books. Rheinstein's table was an unexpected surprise. Something I've not seen in other photographs of her home. I'm completely enamoured of the green contrasted with gold "chain-link" detail. Now I'll have to scour my old reference books to learn more about this style. In the meantime, if you are familiar with the table, I'd love to hear from you.


Presents and Past

Above, vintage Russian malachite box followed by Tony Duquette's signature malachite printed tablecloth as seen in the new book, Tony Duquette, published by Abrams, 2007. Below, for a holiday card, Domino selected Colefax and Fowler's "Jubilee Rose."

This week I received some lovely gifts and cards with direct connections to past designs and current trends. So I thought I'd quickly share a few pairings. Both the malachite and floral cotton have been around forever, but peaked in fashion at various points during the 20th century. (Think 1980s, for one.)

It will be fun to see if these earthy-yet-refined looks, and others such as woodgrain, stay strong through the end of this decade. (Hope everyone is having a great day. Stay warm!)


A Package from California

Thought you might enjoy seeing Coleen & Company's incredibly elegant gift wrap. (This box was probably the most impeccably packed parcel I've ever received too.) I'm going to maintain the charade and wait until Christmas morning to be "surprised." My grandparents, who bought the Chinese figure on the left, would've absolutely loved Coleen's chic ribbon and paper.

If you are signing off for the holiday week, I wish you a truly magical and safe celebration. But if you plan to spend some time online, please visit again on Christmas.



One Day You're In, The Next Day...

Janet de Botton's home as seen in Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People, published by Knopf 2007.

Unidentified room seen in Domino, December 2008.

I new the day was coming. Suzanis placed at the foot of a bed have become so overexposed that The New York Times just put them on its "Over?" list. (See Fairfax's post for details.) Of course, it's important not to take lists like these too seriously, but it seems sad when centuries-old pretty textiles are lumped in with pink resin deer. (And, yes, I know a lot of those new brashly colored suzanis weren't so pretty.)

For everyone who's a genuine fan of the embroidered pieces -- or just spent a small fortune on one -- I thought I'd share a few supremely timeless rooms with suzanis draped on tables.

Carolina Herrera, Jr. also loves textiles; Above, her Madrid bedroom photographed by Eric Cahan for Domino, spring/summer 2005.

Carolina Irving's dining room photographed by Simon Upton for World of Interiors, September 2007.

See also Carolina Irving Textiles.

Avery Noll

A new online shop specializing in vintage just came to my attention: Avery Noll, based in Silver Spring, Maryland. Among the offerings, I spotted some chic tables at very reasonable prices. This may be a store to watch. Definitely seems worth a virtual visit if you are in the D.C. area. (But I believe they ship most everywhere.)


Ivan Terestchenko

The Paris property of Japanese designer Kenzo

Marie Antoinette's bedroom at Trianon, as seen in World of Interiors, December 2006

LouLou de la Falaise's Paris apartment as seen in Elle Decoration

Lisa Fine's Paris Apartment as seen in Elle Decor, August 2000

Some of you may know that I'm a little obsessed with textile designer Lisa Fine's Paris apartment. (Glamorous meets exotic.) So, I was excited to recently hear from the talented man who photographed Fine's home, internationally respected Ivan Terestchenko.

Terestchenko shared with me links to a fascinating article in the International Herald Tribune about the sale of Kenzo's Paris residence, and to his own professional site, and to his blog. Check out all three to see more of his stunning work.

All images above copyright Ivan Terestchenko


Every year I dream of having an abundance of paper whites blooming at once. Of course, never have I had the bounty seen in Antony Todd's arrangement, above in silver. And rarely do I have even several pots going at once, as Sue Balmforth does, above in the urns. I'm lucky to have more than one bulb blooming in just one pot. Still, I'm always optimistic.

What are your favorite holiday flowers? This year I'm also growing an ultra dark red amaryllis. Maybe it will be blooming by Valentine's.

Colcha, the Next Suzani?

Handbag from 2006 Kate Spade collection.

Colcha throw as seen in Elle Decor, January-February 2008, photo by Grey Crawford.

Image of headboard spotted at Palmilla from Megan Samuels. Earlier this year, over at design*sponge, the headboard fabric caused a sensation.

Have you noticed these bold embroidered birds popping up more frequently? Colcha, or colcha-inspired, is the term you've probably seen used to identify them. Their heritage is Spanish. And although this colonial style of embroidery is centuries-old, I can't help wondering if it is poised to become trendy.

These days "colcha" is often synonymous with bed covering or wall hanging. But textile enthusiasts may use the word to define a specific embroidery stitch. I've read that the Spanish who developed colcha were probably inspired by flora and fauna seen on East Indian chintz.

Apparently if you are traveling in South America it's easy to find throws or textiles like the ones pictured above.

Update 7.5.08
Click here for other sources.


Image via Martha Stewart

Swallowtail's holiday windows in San Francisco, via Robyn Pope

Tiffany's Atlanta window

Image of Petah Coyne's work via Cool Hunting

According to Wendy Goodman's book, Tony Duquette, author Danielle Steele commissioned the maximalist designer to do her daughter's lavish debut party. For the occasion, the famous snow scene from Doctor Zhivago was re-created complete with a ballroom within a ballroom, made entirely of French windows. Some of the windows were broken with dead tree branches poking through.

"Snow was everywhere, outside and inside the ballroom, all white and crystalline. Even the votive lights on each table were made to look like shards of ice lighted from within by flame."

Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be an image of the party in the book, and I can't find a good one of the film scene either. (I'd love to hear from someone who has attended a party similar in design.) A few years ago at the High, we had a dramatic installation of Petah Coyne's neo-baroque, incredibly decadent sculptures. Although I doubt it's what she intended, the exhibit made me feel as if I was in the movie.


Flipping Through Elle Decor

In the new January-February issue of Elle Decor, a very glamorous Suzanne Rheinstein and Markham Roberts share their picks for most stunning side tables. Rheinstein is especially enthusiastic about one I just love: a collapsible version of an Indian-style octagonal table with bone inlay, available through Mecox Gardens.

I also want to congratulate Atlanta-based Vagabond Vintage on yet another mention in the magazine. The company's interpretation of an antique birdcage, crafted from recycled metal and sustainably harvested acacia, is featured. Fabulous green color. To purchase, contact Mothology or Providence Antiques.

Remember the birdcage in Miranda Brooks' apartment, as seen in Bright Young Things?

(Her cushion fabric was a sign of "trends" to come too.)