Style Court

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


Allan Arthur

If you are planning to do some weekend antiquing in Atlanta, don't forget Allan Arthur Oriental Rugs on Bennett St. Arthur is currently offering 20-40 % off all antique, vintage and contemporary rugs. And for a wide range of informative links and sources, visit his site Cyber Rug.

Shown top is a Turkish Oushak, circa 1930, followed by a contemporary Anatolian and a mid-20th-century Persian.

BTW: Arthur has a great selection of small rugs. Perfect for layering, or grounding an eclectic room as Ruthie Sommers did in this oft-posted bedroom from InStyle Home spring 2007.

Barrie Benson is also a fan of these patterned rugs, as seen in domino.

Country Houses 101

Four hundred years of British country houses, beginning with the era of Henry VIII, are discussed in the V & A's 15-minute online video. A host of other short videos related to decorative arts are available on the Museum's site too.

Crown Jewels

I'm drawn to lush colors. This little malachite box from Coleen & Company is one of my favorite things. And I love the jewel tones chosen by Atlanta-based Turq Jewelry for their spring/summer 2008 collection.

Although they are fresh and modern, these pieces remind me of the insanely lavish colors and intricate details seen in The Other Boleyn Girl.

Shelter mags seem to be emphasizing richer hues too. Do you believe intense greens, (think the famous Atonement dress) saphires and ruby reds will come back to interiors with full force?

Film images copyright Sony Pictures 2008. For more English style visit the V & A.


Seeing Green

I have to add my voice to the chorus of praise for Michelle Adams' striking new fabric line, Rubie Green. As you no doubt have seen in the March domino, ecco-friendly never looked so chic -- or unapologetically pretty. Look for an expanded website showcasing the line to debut soon. Visit Michelle's blog to learn more.

JA's Bamboo

I think many of us are fans of the Jonathan Adler wallpaper, "Bamboo," used by designer Betsy Burnham in the dining room of Pushing Daisies creator, Bryan Fuller. So I thought you might like to be reminded that this pattern is in stock and available for order. Burnham selected a custom blue but "Bamboo" comes in the standard colors, chocolate, green and silver.

Another great JA geometric wallpaper is "Nixon." Visit Adler's site to see more.

Photography, Barbara Davidson for Los Angeles Times, Adler product images courtesy Jonathan Adler.

For the Design Library

Released not too long ago, Plants and Their Application to Ornament has already received attention from Vanity Fair, O at Home and Vogue Living. The beautifully produced book is based on 19th-century graphic designer Eugene Grasset's original primer and features three artistic variations on each of 24 flowering plants, ranging from lily-of-the-valley to the iris.

Grasset, who designed furnishings for the Parisian night spot Chat Noir, was a key figure in the Art Nouveau movement. So this volume will especially appeal to fans of that style. But I do think the book would be a nice addition to the library of anyone passionate about art history, textile design and decorative arts. Grasset shows a creative progression from flowers rendered naturally to blooms in a very stylized, abstract form.

As David Becker of the MFA, Boston points out, Grasset also takes care to demonstrate many practical applications of the floral designs to wallpaper, ceramics, architecture and so on. The casual pics I've shared here don't do justice to the lush colorplates.

Wouldn't it be interesting to see the design process that led to Quadrille's stylized floral, "Contessa?"

And rounding out this week filled with Tulane references, here's a piece I used to see countless times per week at the High. Part of the Museum's Virginia Carroll Crawford Collection, it's a circa 1910 vase with abstract flowers from Newcomb Pottery, New Orleans; thrown and fired by Joseph F. Meyer and decorated by Anna Frances Simpson.

Personal Art II

This will no doubt sound suspiciously similar to a few past posts, but advice offered yesterday by Adrienne Casbarian prompted me to again promote personal art. Casbarian said, "The expression of a room really comes from the smaller items (art, lamps, accessories). So go scour your mom's attic for those treasures!"

These days it is all too easy to end up with a home that looks just like your neighbor's; hanging paintings or sketches done by a grandparent, brother, aunt etc., offers a way to be more distinctive. Student art shows, estate sales and antique markets are other great places to find attainable but unique works.

Again, I love how India Hicks used a very personal, unpretentious art collection in the first incarnation of her island master bedroom.

(And yes, now all I'm thinking is that I need drum shades in my bedroom.)

Hicks' photo by Arthur Elgort as seen in Vogue, 1998.

Melissa Rufty

Since Tulane women have featured prominently this week (Jane Scott Hodges, Adrienne Casbarian), I thought I'd post a reminder to be on the lookout for another alum and New Orleans-based talent, decorator Melissa Rufty.

More than seven years ago Rufty and Hodges collaborated on a very stylish, tiny nursery with chinoiserie overtones. (I mentioned it last year.) Bold color livened up generations-old antiques, and Hodges' company Leontine Linens created an unexpected monogram for the baby's linens. Other highlights included a red bamboo chandelier and a found bamboo rocker also lacquered with gutsy red.

Photo shown top by Katherine Slingluff


Talented (and very busy) West Coast designer Vanessa De Vargas is expanding her range of services to include "E-decorating." Via the Web and working primarily with digital images, she will consult with clients who live anywhere. Essentially prospective clients will send De Vargas information about their budget and personal style, along with photos of their home, and room by room she will help revamp their interiors. She says details will appear on her site shortly.


Drum Shades, Youthful Southern Style, and Rooms with Soul

"There are only so many variations on sofas and chairs. The expression of a room really comes from the smaller items (art, lamps, accessories). So go scour your mom's attic for those treasures!"

-- Adrienne Casbarian, founder of New Orleans-based Lum Lighting,

Adrienne, a Tulane grad with style to spare, says she found herself surrounded with inherited antiques. Lovely things, but pieces that did not reflect her youthfulness. To invigorate her home, she "threw some cheeky red lamps in and --presto--I had a little sass in the room."

Impressed by the timeless glamour of Adrienne's lighting, I asked for her stand on shades:

"No other shade will get you as far as a straight drum shade. An 18" drum shade works on 90% of my lamps. They are so versatile...they can tone down a crazy lamp and make it look more stately. They can also re-invent an otherwise maw-maw lamp and make it a little more current. I prefer silk or linen."

She adds, "If you have a great pair of lamps, a lined shade can help cast the light down on the lamps to showcase them more. That simple thing makes more difference than you can imagine..."

And Adrienne says, " Go oversized! Part of what I love about vintage lamps is their large scale. They just don't make them like that anymore. A large lamp or pair of lamps can really fill up a space (especially with our 14 foot ceilings here in New Orleans). Lamplight is more flattering -- for you and for the room."

She continues, "I must say -- a lot of my inspiration comes from this city. Whether it is music, food or decorating...New Orleans doesn't do it like anyone else. The city really nurtures creativity and entrepreneurship. We have beauty at all levels whether it is that perfect po boy sandwich or that divine meal at one of the greats...same goes for art.

My favorite painting is from a street artist who sits on the street corner outside of St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter. Chain stores and restaurants have never done very well in New Orleans (Houstons and Starbucks have both gone out of business here) because everybody here honors the little guys....the street performers, the mom and pop antique shops, the hole in the wall restaurant run by a husband and wife. The city is full of character (and characters). There are treasures everywhere here!"

Architecture images courtesy New Orleans Online


Lum Lighting

Adrienne Casbarian, owner of New Orleans-based Lum Lighting, has a great eye -- and wit. The shop is brimming with distinctive, high-end vintage lighting and accessories. Here are just a few chic samples that drew me in. (Unfortunately the red dragons have sold.)

Currently Casbarian is donating a portion of proceeds to New Orleans area not-for-profits. Shipping is available at a flat rate of $50 per lamp and $20 per shade.


Speaking of Dragons...

C. Bell currently has in store a pair of vintage, circa 1988 McGuire chairs with double dragon turquoise-and-white cushions. The teal blue ceramic table with camel's leg base is from Marseilles circa 1917.

Reminder: Gotheborg is a great resource for learning about symbolism and common motifs, such as the dragon, in Asian design.

Spring Looks at Leontine Linens

Custom luxury linens purveyor, Leontine Linens, (the brainchild of Southerner Jane Scott Hodges) has done a little spring cleaning over at their website. Although there is no e-commerce, new product samples are online for viewing. In addition to bed and table linens, some adorable baby items are part of the 2008 collection.

Update: the plate shown above top is Royal Crown Derby and belongs to Jane Scott. Often her exquisite things are incorporated into Leontine's product styling. "Traditional Imari," one of several Japanese-inspired Royal Crown Derby patterns, is available through Michael C. Fina.