Style Court

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


Classic Weekly Finds

Molly Worth, founder of Chairloom, believes that people and furniture deserve second chances. Browsing her many reinvented chairs and benches, this low stool with stately legs jumped out at me. Timeless leopard is such a smart choice. A small hit of animal print in a room almost never looks dated.

More classics arrived recently at Atlanta's Acquisitions, 631 Miami Circle. For me, one of the standouts is this handsome secretary. When I saw it, I immediately thought of Katie's and Carson's recommendations.


Spring at Providence

At the moment Providence Antiques is brimming with seriously chic, unique finds. As always there is original art available at accessible prices, along with interesting coffee tables, vintage chairs, and outstanding mirrors.

If you plan to be in Atlanta during the next few weeks, be sure and stop in. It takes multiple spins around the shop to really take in every detail.

Afterward, stroll over to Alons or Yoforia.

Click images to enlarge and better see the details.


Designers' Investments: Betsy Burnham

We already know West Coast designer Betsy Burnham is an ace at mixing old with new, high with not-so-high, and serious with lighthearted. But I was curious about some of her first personal buys -- pieces she felt had proven to be great investments.

She says she has quite a few favorite antique and vintage items. But if forced to mention only one, it might be her son Will's faux bamboo bed found almost ten years ago at Tod Carson's in L.A.

Back then, Will was graduating out of his crib and "There was no way I was going to buy anything typical or toddler-esque," explains Burnham, "so I found this gorgeous vintage piece, which was a lot of money for me at the time, was an odd size (we had to have a mattress custom made because it’s a 'european twin' -- somewhere between a twin and a full) and was admittedly sort of precious. "

Still, Burnham adds, "I’ve never fretted much about form versus function, because a lot of the things I like are vintage or antique. My philosophy is just to enjoy them and use them as much as possible in everyday life. So the bed was a purchase I’ve never regretted. Will is still sleeping in it, and maybe he can even give it to one of his kids one day."

No snob, Burnham is fine with the Pottery Barn Kids sheets that happen to be on young Will's bed at the moment.

These faux bamboo beds are certainly classics. Not too long ago, San Francisco garden designer Robyn Pope acquired one for her daughter. The example shown above top is a 19th century French piece available through Lauren Copen.


Blue Velvet (Or Cotton, Linen and Silk)

Blue, an exhibition that looks at the meaning of indigo hues on textiles, continues at the Textile Museum through September. Included are blue textiles ranging from Greco-Roman and pre-Columbian tunic fragments to contemporary creations.

Shown top, a cotton fragment from India, possibly 17th century. Shown second, a 20th century Chinese-Indonesian cloth.

More From Anne Coyle

Here's a little Thursday treat: Anne Coyle has updated her site with new projects. I think you will notice her signature use of lavender (she was ahead of the curve on that) as well as her beloved black-and-white graphic stripes (zebra and vertical). The interiors are timeless but, as always, youthful and glamorous. I'm coveting the powder room above.

Sometimes the influence of Frédéric Méchiche's work can be seen in Coyles' projects. Above, stripes in a bath at the Méchiche-designed Hotel Le A.

Méchiche's dining room, circa 1996. Image via CNN.


Slate: Save The Mount

For the past few weeks I've mentioned at the close of some posts that Edith Wharton's former Massachusetts home, The Mount, is facing immediate foreclosure. Always resourceful Meg just sent me a link to an excellent Slate article that covers Wharton's residence in detail -- its place in design history, why it is relevant today. Brilliant slides accompany the story too.

Audrey and Charlotte

Pamela Keogh, author of the new release we discussed last week, What Would Audrey Do?, was kind enough to send over these pretty spring images of her book displayed at Charlotte Moss' Townhouse.


The Garrick Bed: A Little More History

The 18th century had celebrity couples too. It seems London's most fashionable was actor David Garrick and his wife Eva. Like the rest of their chic British peers, the couple craved chintz imported from India (originally a hand-drawn, resist-dyed cotton).

Notes Rosemary Crill in Chintz: Indian Textiles for the West, this fresh, lightweight, exotic fabric caused such a sensation in Europe that traditional English weavers faced financial jeopardy. In response the British government imposed a ban on chintz, but the fashionable crowd continued to buy it from smugglers. The Indian chintz shown at top, bought by David and Eva, was initially confiscated by customs officials.

Apparently though, the performers' clout enabled them to get back their precious fabric because it was hung on their Chippendale-made four-poster bed, and today belongs to the V & A.

The second image above shows a detail of a 17th century cotton bed cover imported from the Coromandel Coast. Here animals and flora associated with China and India have been interpreted for a Western audience.

To learn more see Crill's book. All images copyright the V & A.

I'm thinking of adding another Crill title to my library, Textiles from India: The Global Trade. Does anyone already own it?

Speaking of Greek Key...

This tiny table is one of the first antiques I ever bought for myself. One Saturday, years ago, Carson and I spotted it on Bennett Street and I went back to look at it quite a few times. Then it seemed like a perfect first purchase -- character and elegance in a pint-size package that would fit nearly anywhere. (The top is about the size of placemat.)

I still love the looks of it, and its small scale has made it an ideal pretend "restaurant" table for my little niece. But now I know it is not as versatile as a piece like Mallory's chest. Since I do live in a small space, the table needs to perform a function; it always either has a lamp on top or a stack of books, and this hides the striking inlay that drew me to it originally. (And it feels a bit too delicate to serve as a stool.)

So if you are pondering a first investment, I recommend a small chest, with decorative interest on the front, that can be used as storage and in myriad other ways -- end table, bedside table, bar etc.

But back to Greek key. If you want to wow your mom this Mother's Day, wrap her gift with flat trim. Last Christmas I received a gift purchased from Coleen & Company. The wrapping, shown above, was exquisite. Atlanta's Lewis Sheron offers Greek key trim in many colors, priced about $10 per yard. (I know. This is for a luxurious touch.)


More Elephant Gift Wrap

There are so many pretty things in Atlanta's Erika Reade: mirrors, antiques, art, linens. It can be easy to miss the smaller items. But beautiful ribbons and cool papers are always stocked. Over the weekend I picked up this Indian-inspired paisley paper with an exotic elephant detail in the pattern. The boutique is located at 3732 Roswell Road.


French and African

Do you think David Hicks -- or India Hicks -- would like this chair? The unexpected African Kuba cloth on the antique French gilt chair reminds me of the Hicks family. It's part of the vintage collection offered by Chicago's Jayson Home.

Yesterday Jayson opened its European Flea Market, scheduled to continue through April 20. Online shopping begins April 25.

A Visual Writer

In high school I was encouraged by a brilliant teacher to read more Wharton. "Her vivid imagery, her visual nature, and her passion for houses will appeal to you," the teacher said.

I never forgot the advice, and I recently began reading the new reprint of Edith Wharton's 1904 book, Italian Villas and Their Gardens. It includes numerous lovely illustrations by Maxfield Parrish -- art that apparently frustrated Wharton because she deemed it to be too disconnected from her text. (Parrish refused to travel with her or collaborate.) But critics think Wharton's descriptions steal the show.

It's a bit like a travel book, although Wharton shares no details on how to find the gardens. And it is not a practical gardening manual. Really the focus is what Wharton calls "garden-magic." The beautiful relationship between those not-so-flowery Italian gardens, historic houses, and art. She explores in great detail villas throughout the country -- Florence, Rome, Genoa, Lake Como, Siena. Residences surrounded by "enchanting" clipped greenery and stone.

The 1904 edition was published without a dust jacket, so, true to Wharton's interest in decoration, an Italian 18th century brocade was used as background for the reissue jacket.

Originally, a portion of the proceeds from sales of this edition were slated for ongoing restoration of Wharton's beloved Massachusetts estate, The Mount. Unfortunately, The Mount is now facing foreclosure. A blog has been established as part of the Save The Mount Campaign.