Style Court

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

8.23.2008

Good Things

Nearly every shelter magazine does some variation on "things we love" (features with iconic furnishings or accessories) and of course Martha Stewart has her Good Things. So, I won't pretend this blog post is completely original; this run-down no doubt includes elements you are very familiar with. But that's sort of the point.

Last week Mrs. Blandings shared a striking image of her classic chair. With one strong vignette she captured multiple good things: tall black boots, animal print carpets, chic leather foot stools, timeless red-and-white prints, and gutsy sinuous wing chairs. Her picture promptly made its way to my mirror.

Mrs. Blandings' aesthetic, like her idol Steven Gambrel's, is quintessentially American but the layers shown at top also remind me of the Herrera women and their Old World passion for toile. In particular, Mrs. Blandings' mix of the feminine red-and-white fabric with more masculine animal-related elements reminds me of Carolina Jr.'s estancia as seen in the 2008 fall/winter issue of Vogue Living.

And this brings me to another great thing: inspiration boards. I would buy a book filled only with inspiration boards put together by my favorite tastemakers. Let's take a closer look at Carolina Jr.'s.

Tufted leather sofas also make the list of domestic icons. I love Hollister Hovey's below.

Simple, old fashioned children's toys, globes and oxford cloth shirts are more good things. Here a Ralph Lauren display from a department store.


The world of Hermes is an endless source of inspiration. Below, a 1997 Paris vignette followed by last year's ad campaign.


A wonderful way to bring a touch of Hermes into a room is to use one of their chic, colorful ashtrays for keys or other loose ends.


These, unfortunately, are not inexpensive. An alternative is to copy Rubie Green founder, Michelle Adams, and use a small plate or saucer with the Hermes pattern Balcon du Guadalquivir. (Click here or here to see the pattern used elsewhere.) When it comes to styling a room with layers of meaning, Michelle is an ace.


Anthropologie sells small bowls, just $14 each, with a different pattern but similar graphic appeal.

One of the first library-dining rooms I posted back in the summer of 2006 was Eliza Reed Bolen's via HB, March 2004. Note the contrast of the turquoise chair seats with the jewel-tone walls. (Clearly I did not own a scanner then.)

Library-dining or library-breakfast rooms are definitely good things. Below is Kaki Daniels', decorated by Suzanne Rheinstein, followed by Suzanne's own L.A. breakfast room. Note the black chinoiserie lantern, another icon, and more wing chairs.

Illustrated children's books with crossover appeal for adults must be included too. Meg did a great post on artist Miroslav Sasek and his "This Is..." series. Right now the title This is Hong Kong, originally released in the mid-1960s, looks intriguing.


And a silver candelabra used outside. Tailgating season is just around the corner after all. Image courtesy Southern Accents.


One more Blandings' item has to be here too: chunky Chinese turquoise beads.

27 comments:

GrannySmithGreen said...

Lovely "good things". I have a notebook full of my favorites--but seeing them out everyday on a mirror would be so much better!

Style Court said...

GSG -- I think I'm at risk for putting too many pictures on the mirror!

Thanks for stopping by.

Cote de Texas said...

I loved that picture of Mrs. Blanding's too - could have been from a professional stylist - great post! love these things.

Style Court said...

joni, you have a great critical eye, so that's a complement!

simply seleta said...

These are very good things. I'll take the ashtrays for my keys and doodads and those chunky chinese turquoise beads, please.

Lovely goodies here.

Style Court said...

I wouldn't mind having the beads myself. Glad you like these picks Seleta.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Sakes, Courtney, you're making me blush. What a post - you can take the rest of the week off after this (but please don't.) All of your favorites are on my list as well. Loved seeing the Rheinstein lantern (with Le Lac, heaven.) I must order Designing Women today.

Many thanks for your kind words; it makes me strive to be deserving.

Style Court said...

Patricia,
You already are deserving. You have such great taste and the dreamhouse is oh so fun to look at. Glad you were pleased with this.

Annie Empiric said...

ha. you will be amused by the post I wrote friday evening set to publish tomorrow. In fact, i almost want to postpone it for fear you start to worry I am "stalking". I assure it is a coincidence and a funny one at that!

Suzy said...

I'd never seen that "This is Hong Kong" book, I might have to track down a copy!

Style Court said...

suzy -- what a perfect book for you!

Annie -- now I'm curious :)

Pigtown-Design said...

Thanks for the mention! I adore that series of books and am constantly on the look-out for more to add to my collection. Of course, I am only looking at Book Thing, so it's a bit limiting. But the hunt is what's fun!

Anonymous said...

Fancy the eye and warm the heart. Lovely post. Ginny

porter hovey said...

It's the best buy we ever made. The couch is just amazing!!!!!

Style Court said...

Porter -- I just love it!

Meg -- your hunts are worth the effort, always such great finds.

Ginny -- thanks!

Laura said...

What a wonderful post. I would absolutely buy a book of designers' inspiration boards--what a great idea! Maybe you should take that on :)!

Thank goodnes my brief riding career left my mother with a pair of riding boots for display in her guest bedroom. Unfortunately she ended up with about ten pairs of old pointe shoes, too!

Style Court said...

Laura you should take them back temporarily to style something in your own home :)

bussbuss said...

I LOVE M. Sasek's This Is...series. They're soo cute! I've gotten them for myself and for my niece (New York, San Francisco, Texas). The illustrations are the best and I even get them before I travel to someplace new because they give you that childlike wonderment that we all tend to lose when we're about to head out on a trip (why stress?). I just got This Is Hong Kong and am heading there for the first time in a few days - it's the only travel guide for HK I've gotten so far - oops!

I've gotten a bunch on Amazon if anyone's interested:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=m.+sasek

Style Court said...

BussBuss -- thanks for letting us know!

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Think you're onto something with your inspiration board book. I'd buy it, too!

Great post, thanks.

Style Court said...

Thank you E & E1

pve design said...

Very inspirational indeed.
I have some old photos of my husband when he was a small boy - in black and white.
They always make me smile - tucked into a mirror. Lovely post. That Mrs.Blandings has a way with styling as well as with words.

Alkemie said...

Courtney, you have such beautiful items in this post I didn't know where to look first! I don't even smoke but those ashtrays look divine!

Karen

Style Court said...

Thanks Karen! I don't smoke either.

Typicalenglish said...

Great looking Chesterfield

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Style Court said...

Wow -- thanks anon!