Style Court

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


All I Really Need

Despite her closets filled with couture, it seems that Jackie O usually favored capris or jeans, sandals, and a classic sweater. In the end, that was all she needed. This makes me wonder, what are the domestic equivalents of white jeans, a navy turtleneck, and strappy sandals?

Or more to the point, what are the essentials that matter most? The answer is different for each of us, and this is where all those magazine tear sheets and design books come in handy. Recently I poured over my own saved pictures looking for common threads. This time I wasn't searching for English furniture or Asian ceramics -- or even certain colors -- just really broad strokes that, for me, equal a rich life.

Four-poster beds with white linens make the final list of good things. Although I prefer color on my walls, I might be content in the room above, if I could add a wing chair or bench upholstered with a large-scale print.

Built-in bookcases are another must. Of course for books, but also for small works of art and collected objects.

And finally, a pretty garden courtyard or patio. I've always been partial to the brick courtyards of New Orleans (like Patrick Dunne's featured in the March-April Southern Accents) but I think these images from Los Angeles are pretty enticing too. I always return to them.

So, for me it's patios, art, large-scale prints, bookcases and four-poster beds. What's on your short list?

Credits: First image, Simon Upton for Southern Accents March-April 2009; Second and fourth images, Francois Halard photographs of Julia Reed at home, for Vogue; Third image, Brigitte Singh block print from Aleta online; Sixth image is via Town & Country; Seventh and eighth images show Tim Clarke's house via Elle Decor ; The last image is Schuyler Samperton photographed by Paul Costello for domino, April 2007.

Patrick Dunne is the owner of the antiques shops Lucullus in New Orleans and Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.

Afterthought: I also want to throw in the image of Diane Cash's little slice of Indian paradise outdoors in Dallas. (Patios can be exotic or down-home.) A passionate collector, Cash has treasures brought back from around the world. The intricate patterns here remind me of some of the references in J. Crew's spring inspiration board.

Cash's home photographed by Tria Giovan for Southern Accents, July-August 2006.

Just to bring in a bit of related art history, but deviating from my original point about sticking with essentials, a sliding marble screen (a.k.a. "jali") that was part of a suite of marble screens and frames commissioned by Doris Duke in India on her honeymoon in 1935. Photo by David Franzen, courtesy of the Doris Duke Foundation.

And another follow up image that perfectly illustrates my essentials -- four-poster bed, white linens, bold textiles. The bedroom is ensconced in Lulu DK's Moondance.


GrannySmithGreen said...

This must be one of my favorites from you! I like looking for the common thread.

I think for me, the must haves are:
-lush gardens
-beautiful wood grain

You've got me thinking. If I keep going I may come up with 100! Thanks for such a thoughtful post!

Mrs. Blandings said...

Family pieces, a bit of black and things that have a story behind them.

stacy said...

What a great idea! We just moved and the urge to purge is strong, before I dump it all it would be great to pick out my own top 10 list.

I can do just 4, I'm too greedy!

Grant K. Gibson said...

Perhaps we could live together?
I think that the same things come true for me- the crisp white bed- the bookcases filled with books and a charming outdoor space (I live in California and I don't have outdoor space- so sad- as I love to garden- thank goodness for my window boxes at the office!)

Susanne said...

On the top of my head: oriental carpets,a good reading chair,bookcases,good textiles(I've had two Persian antique cushion covers framed as art),my pet,good quality scented candle. I'm sure Jackie O had a signature scent.

tartanscot said...

I've always thought that there is something so visceral about the place where one sleeps. And the need for that sense of haven and safety. I'm a huge fan of a fully draped four poster bed, though sadly, it just overpowers the space I'm in at the moment. ah . . someday.

And I've gotta have some tartan in my environment somehow . . . lol.

hansaxel said...

... I would say light first (because otherwise, whatever the decoration, it feels gloomy on a rainy day), then closets for clothing (clothing messes up a home if it's not hidden), bookcases (because it always looks so chic) and comfortable armchairs...

Style Court said...

Oh thank you Granny Smith Green. I appreciate that! Your list is perfect.

Style Court said...

Grant -- you would be such a great roommate :)

Style Court said...

Tartan -- I think you and Social Primer are soul mates. I agree with your thoughts on beds by the way.

Style Court said...

I'm happy to notice books and light popping up on everyone's lists. You are all sensitive and creative!

Things That Inspire said...

I often read about people in old age, whose favorite home was not the big 'I have made it' mansion, but the tiny hungalow they had when just starting out.

Although there are so many non-material things that contribute to a home filled with happiness (health and strong relationships being key), if I were to think about the essential architectural or decorating items in my own home that make it a place I love, I would say inspiring art, a wonderful and well tuned piano, and a feeling of lightness and airiness, whether achieved through colors, natural light, or lamps/chandeliers.

Style Court said...

Things that Inspire -- well said! Lovely thought about the piano.

Leslie Rowlands said...

A good block of time in a day to "think" & review one's wants / & one's needs........

great bedding that welcomes you at the end of a whopper of a day,

An assortment of things that surround you that mean something to you personally ( pedigree or not)

Some type of great smelling daily bursts...soap, candle, perfume, or even the whiff of flowers as you sonder by....

lamaisonfou blog

pve design said...

essential recipe to me-
blank paper

annechovie said...

Beautiul post, Courtney. I love the way you have mentally paired down your essentials.
Mine would be:
Plenty of natural light
Touches of bold color
Plants and/or flowers
Comfortable slipcovered furniture

Style Court said...

Thanks for the kind words Anne. Everyone is continuing to add great things. I love it!

jamey said...

Miss Courtney,

I have been working on my resolution to "dream bigger" this year and on my morning walk I have been trying to pick out what my "dream house would look like". i settled on a beautiful house that had all of my specifics: side porch & courtyard. grand entrance. looking through my clippings today i realized that my dream house was the 2007 cottage living idea house! i guess i have officially upgraded my dreams. I would fill the house with:

a new orleans courtyard garden w/ flowers, fruit, herbs & veggies
crisp white bed linens
fluffy white towels
simple everyday dishes & glassware
a bit of animal print
ethnic textiles
built-in bookshelves & books!
my grannie's chifferobe
family photos
lovely scents (incense, candles)
(and a kitchen like the black Regency one you featured wouldn't hurt)

Style Court said...

Jamey -- you paint an enticing picture with words!

Tricia said...

Desks, desks, desks! My favorite piece of furniture since I was four!

Cote de Texas said...

like Things said - after you say good health and happiness of course - I think - what I do always want for my clients?

Full, lush curtains
cotton/linen/silk only
fireplace and candlelight
and a garden, a patio, a terrace - somewhere to go sit outside.

it's always the same.

And though jackie liked to dress down, she always bought multitudes of what she liked - 20 t shirts the same, or 30 in different colors. Though I'm not that extravagant of course, I do find myself ordering the same thing over and over again and wearing the same shirt or pant over and over again - just clean pairs. so you need more than 2 or 3. iow I can relate to her method.

Great Dame said...

I'm joining in a bit late, but for me it boils down to:
1) a place for books
2) a quiet spot outside in the sun (to read!)
3) natural light
4) and, of all things, dogs! I've been living with at least one canine, sometimes more, for all of my adult life, and living with a dog is part of my vision of 'home' now.

So Haute said...

Crisp white bedding is a must for me too! Other musts that help make my life feel more rich are amazing pillows, a cozy sofa, lots of books, the little treasures scattered about that I've picked up on my travels which remind me of some of the beautiful places I've been fortunate enough to see...and fresh flowers as often as possible.

balsamfir said...

I'm very late, but I love reading everyone's posts. Like almost everyone else I need/prefer:

Sunny light filled rooms
Comfortable old furniture particularly...reading chairs
Book cases filled with mostly books
A place to garden and read outside (the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens worked as great substitute when I lived in Brooklyn)
Some old textiles
The art and objets that we accumulate over a lifetime
My Jack Russell
Since I live in the north, a wood fire(stove, fireplace).

Julie at BV said...

I would like to have or have more of

Turkish Towels
Cotton/silk white linens
Hermes china
vintage Moroccan Beni Ourain carpet
A cozy backyard
Some 5 or 6 extra hours
vintage ceramic china
fresh flowers every time and in every room
And always my espresso in the morning.

s. said...

What fun!

- sunlight (but I don't mind a few dark rooms that I can turn into sexy libraries, dining rooms, etc.)
- wood burning fireplace
- at least one item made with brown leather, preferably old and slightly cracked
- a comfortable sofa
- blackout curtains/shades for the bedroom