Style Court

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


For Keeps

[Click the image above to enlarge. Photo credits follow below.]

So I'm wrapping up the decade by paraphrasing Stefan's words again: Pick and chose the styles that continually speak to you and carry them with you your entire life. There may be moments when a certain fabric or piece of furniture is so popular that it starts to feel trendy, but if it's well-made and rooted in classic design, it will endure. And as Jennifer says, a timeless room is all about the personal mix.

Many of us are attracted to disparate styles. I think Windsor Smith's ability to mix -- really mix -- was one of the reasons a lot of traditional design enthusiasts developed a crush on her work during the last several years.

[Above, Windsor Smith's house photographed by Miguel Flores-Vianna for domino, August 2007. Below, Victoria Pearson's photograph of Smith's dining room as seen in House Beautiful, September 2009.]

She hung on to the best of that breezy-California-casual-meets-English-country look (think white slipcovered wing chairs) and injected it with super-refined Hollywood-Regency-inspired fabrics from Kelly Wearstler and, sometimes, a bit of midnight David Hicks glamour. The variety, choice, and emphasis on recycling offered by myriad designers were some of the best aspects of the 2000's.

Ruthie Sommers is another mix-master who also raised the bar for vintage furniture makeovers.

[Above, Ruthie's "before" and below her gorgeous "after" as seen in Stewart Shining's cover photo for domino, April 2008. Shining also photographed her work in image five, above, from the same issue.]

Furniture makeovers are eco-friendly, usually pragmatic, and insanely gratifying. The only caveat to add here is that every piece doesn't always need a radical transformation. Lee Kleinhelter built a business giving new life to vintage finds, but she is quick to say that a coat of paint is not always appropriate. For a while there seemed to be a fever for dramatic before/after results. This sometimes makes for good TV or photography but not necessarily the best long term investment. The makeovers highlighted here in my guest blog series for d*s, were, to my eye at least, major yet still classic.

I hope in the new decade we'll continue to have fun recycling and reinventing, and expressing ourselves with eclectic mixes of art and furniture, while still heeding Rose Tarlow's advice that truly great design never has to be updated.

[Image above ©Alabama Chanin ]

Alabama Chanin's homegrown influence continues to expand (she's certainly been on Vogue's radar). I'm curious to see how her textiles impact interior design in the next few years.

Thinking way back, HB's June 2001 story about the KWID bungalow, with photography by Jonn Coolidge, was one of my favorites at the start of the decade.

And here's my first favorite of the new year (from the January 2010 Town & Country on newsstands now). Kelly Wearstler's terrific gallery-style mix of her sons' art with "fine" pieces. Photographs in the story are by John Huba.

Credits for collage at top: Top row, left to right: Stewart Shining's cover photo for domino, April 2008; a spread from Domicilium Decoratus; Emma Roig's Kensington dining room, photographed by Simon Upton for Elle Decor, April 2007, with interior design by Blathnaid Behan; Carolina Herrera, Jr.'s ottoman covered in "Le Zebre," photographed by Eric Cahan for domino, spring/summer 2005.

Middle row,
left to right: Victoria Pearson's photographs of Windsor Smith's house as seen in House Beautiful, September 2009; Dining room with green chair by Kristen Buckingham photographed by Simon Upton as seen in Elle Decor, March 2009; Ingalls Photography, domino, November 2008; Chloe Sevigny and her decorator, David Cafiero photographed by Francois Halard, House & Garden, January 2007; Ruthie Sommers bedroom photographed by Ngoc Minh Ngo for In Style Home spring 2007.

Third row:
Stewart Shining's photo for domino, April 2008, design by Sommers again; Victoria Pearson's photo of Windsor Smith's house as seen in House Beautiful, September 2009; Patrick Demarchelier photo of Peter Dunham design, Vogue Living, fall/winter 2007; Eric Cahan photo of Carolina Herrera, Jr.'s bedroom for domino, spring/summer 2005; my picture of tearsheets that show Tria Giovan photos of Suzanne Rheinstein's L.A. house as seen in Southern Accents , September-October 2007.


little augury said...

A great mention-Natalie Chanin- it would be great to see more of such out there. GT

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Darling, you are too kind!! It was a thrill to be mentioned here really. I adore Windsor Smith and you are so right -her work is all about the mix. She has an eye.

Style Court said...

Stefan, hope you have a wonderful new year and keep us thinking with your insights.

Gaye, I truly have my eyes peeled for all sorts of embroidery, more hand-painted fabrics.

Style Court said...

Sorry, meant to type a warmer, more enthusiastic Happy New Design Year Stefan, Gaye, and everyone!

Karena said...

Courtney, a great mixture of style and tastes, I love all of the images!

Kelly Galvin Robson said...

Terrific post, Courtney! You're right, the last ten years focused on mixing styles and periods to create a uniquely "modern" look. Some people nailed it and others didn't. I think that good design DOES endure and Windsor Smith really is a great example of that. It takes a discerning eye to see it, and she's got it. :)

Happy New Year!

Style Court said...

Karena, Kelly,

Thanks! Glad to get your input and happy you noticed all the images :)

Transformations Home Stylists said...

This post is so in tune with our mantra that I quoted some of your key words and posted a link to your blog- Happy New Year and keep on reinventing! Robin