Style Court

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

12.19.2009

Everything Old Is New Again (More Decade in Review)

[Miles Redd-designed room photographed by Simon Upton and published in Elle Decor, February 2009.]

Yesterday Stefan left a great comment on one of my blog posts. Basically he noted that it's really only design professionals and self-described decor junkies who notice when certain elements, for example Foo dogs, go through a spell of being very hot.

Stefan says, "You pick and chose which trends fit your tastes and then carry them with you your entire life. I don't believe in interiors as 'fashion' per say -- they should reflect your growth, through time, with items from different periods and interests of your life."

For me, the thing that's remarkable about the Redd dining room shown above is that while it's done up with pieces design enthusiasts may fondly associate with the past few years (Foo dogs, suzanis, faux-bamboo chairs with leopard-print velvet seat cushions, de Gournay handpainted chinoiserie silk wallcovering, Greek key trim on bottle green curtains), it is completely timeless. All of those elements have been around for centuries. They experienced a bit of a resurgence during the last decade but they're here to stay. And Redd has the skills to weave everything together so that the room doesn't become a period piece.

In the Elle Decor story, Mitchell Owens quotes the designer: "Life in the 21st century means taking the best of history and making it work for you."

It's not in my nature to do rankings, but if I did, the room might just be on my "best of the 2000's" list. Much more importantly, the magazine's editor in chief, Margaret Russell, included it in her new book, Style and Substance, The Best of Elle Decor.

15 comments:

Laura Trevey said...

looks Gorgeous!!

Karena said...

I love Miles Redd and his unbelievably creative work!The Elle Decor book is on my wish list!!

La Maison Fou said...

I so agree with Stefan,& you!
So true,
Leslie

Mrs. Blandings said...

If one were to read that snippet of your description, out of context, it would seem this room a horror of greatest hits. But you are right, it's both classic and clever, gorgeously timeless.

The Peak of Chic said...

So true. As is often said, it's all in the mix. There are so many classic elements in this room that it tempers any trendiness.

little augury said...

Courtney- a great reprise here-I for one love the suzani-the takeaway of it however would make it a possible room done by Sister, Hadley. of course as Stefan says (he is always on the money)the suzani is something I will be using many years from now. Immediately recognized the statement of taking historical references & making them work for you as the same thoughts expressed by architect Gil Schafer over at EEE's, note Redd is GS's designer on his personal projects. Great minds think alike and can speak alike as well-something for all design bloggers to note. GT

Renee Finberg said...

this is a wonderful subject.
redd doesn't do 'trendy.'
it is as you said,his work is
"completely timeless."

he just happens to be using what
'all of a sudden'(ha ha )
is in fashion or hot.
but it's not.
it's ancient.

xx i do love that dining room.
merry christmas

Cote de Texas said...

I too love this room totally. Yet I've always wondered about the suzani. Is it really in the room or was it added for some reason during the photoshoot? I've just wondered that. Did he think the room needed a punch? I am just curious if it was a part of the original design. I would love to ask him. It always struck me as a stroke of genius to add it with the wallpaper. Great post.

Jeremiah said...

Either a thing is beautiful or it's not. Time and trends don't have much to do with it really. Style just is. Fashion ain't.

There's a reason Foo dogs are still stylish and there's a reason the leisure suit is not. And skorts and coulottes and scrunchies and pantyhose and... the list goes on and I'm sure you get my meaning. ;'{>

lady jicky said...

Foo dogs will always be infashion with me for I have a pekingese and a shih tzu running around my house - so naturally I collect that sort of thing! LOL
Love that room- it will never date!

home before dark said...

I think the genius is in the mix, or anyone could see Redd every day. I so agree with Stefan about the well-lived, traveled, remembered life. My hope is that Stefan gets to move to bigger digs so we can get to see more of what he is making of his life.

People who follow trends will never be happy with their homes or, I truly think, their lives.

Bailey @ peppermintbliss said...

Great point! I am currently renovating/decorating my first house with my fiancee and often find myself crippled with self doubt (which to be honest is probably made worse by the fact that I know I will be blogging about the results and opening myself up to criticism from strangers) wondering if what I like is truly my taste or more about a trend. I think as long as you stay true to your aesthetic and how you live in a space rather than trying to create an award winning space, you can make a room that is really "right" in the long term rather than "right now"...But it is a struggle sometimes!

magnaverde said...

One time I had a woman tell me that she saw an antique item she loved in an expensive shop and had decided to buy it, but before she could call and put it on hold, she saw a similar new item for far less money in a popular mass-market catalog.

Her question was whether she should buy the knockoff of the beautiful original item (since it was much more affordable) or whether she should not buy either one, since it looked like it might be heading into trendy territory.

I asked her: If you knew that the thing's trendy factor would peak, die out & turn into item of been-ther-done-that ridicule among the trendy crowd--all within six months--would you still like it? If so, then buy, if not, don't. That part's easy.

But I also told her that if she did decide to buy it, she should spring for the original antique, because when its current moment in the sun was over, she'd still have a beautiful, historical, well-made piece that would bring her pleasure for years, long after the trendy crowd, with its insect-like attention spans had moved on to other things, while if she spent the lesser amount on the cheap resin copy, in six months, it would start to stink, because it would have neither fashionability nor quality going for it.

In cheap materials, trendy is deadly & disposable, but top quality allows even once-trendy items to survive the death of the trends that may have spawned them.
High-gloss plastic figures of monkeys in pagoda hats playing musical instruments will go for a song in the garage sales of 2013, but the original 18th century Nymphenburg singerie figures that were their inspiration will never lose their appeal. Trendiness--like beauty--is in the eye of the beholder. Take the long view & you can't go wrong.

Emile de Bruijn said...

It is interesting how chinoiserie has come back into fashion again and again. In England it was popular in the 1610s, the 1680s-90s, the 1730s-50s, the 1790s-1830s, the 1880s-90s (in the form of japonisme) and again in the 1920s and 30s (deco chinoiserie). Perhaps the 1990s-noughties have been another of those periods when chinoiserie/japonisme have been particularly popular?

ArchitectDesign™ said...

You chose the perfect designer for this discussion(and not just because he's my favorite!). Miles does a mix of historical (some arcane) styles as well as a fair bit of the trendy. I wonder though if he has become one of our quiet tastemakers though and introduced these things back to us from history? Which came first: chicken or the egg?