Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


John Robshaw Holiday!

I couldn't be more thrilled that John Robshaw is offering Christmas stockings and Christmas tree skirts this year, in both linen and silk dupioni.

Robshaw is known for romantic, hand block-printed designs inspired by the textile traditions of Southeast Asia. But he lends his own contemporary viewpoint to the patterns created at his workshop in Jaipur, India. Below is a new collection of Robshaw's baby bedding, "Parrot," and a collection of pillows, "Pichhwai."


Japanese Screens

If you are drawn to the beauty of Japanese screens, you may enjoy browsing the site of London art dealer, Gregg Baker. Baker is said to have the largest stock of Asian screens in Europe, and a wide sampling can be found on his site along with a brief history of these decorative and functional pieces.

Shown above, Baker's pair of Taisho period, two-fold paper screens painted in ink and color on a buff and sprinkled gold ground, with sparrows flying through a forest of white cedar, lacquer and chestnut trees. Signed: Shunsui.

To learn more, Collecting Japanese Antiques is a good resource too.


Designer To Watch: Kelly Crago Hansen

With her crisp cabana-like party vignette, Kelly Crago Hansen was one of the fresh faces who made a big impact this week at Dining By Design, Atlanta, to benefit DIFFA. She stuck with a simple navy and white color scheme but used many sophisticated dressmaker details in her beautifully constructed tablecloth, upholstered ottomans and cabana curtains.

Both the napkins and outer layer of the curtains were made from Paradiso, a hand-print on linen/cotton by Lulu DK, shown below. Paradiso features birds and fish, which Hansen echoed nicely with the dramatic pair of fish vases on the table and the oh-so-lovely pair of bird and vine panels that served as a backdrop. It was all about classic symmetry and balance.

Sorry to report Hansen has no website yet. Hopefully we will see a lot more from her soon. Many, many thanks to Alli for the images above.


China Chic Hits Home

Images above courtesy of that always stylish marketing master, Alli.

Those enchanting Asian-inspired tables, designed by Elle Decor Editor in Chief, Margaret Russell, finally arrived in Atlanta this week as part of Dining By Design 2006 to benefit DIFFA. No disappointments here. In fact, I thought Russell's tablescapes were even more sumptuous in person -- yet, interestingly, not excessive.

All the vignettes created for Dining By Design 2006 are supposed to be fun, over-the-top fantasy. Still, it hit me that Russell's scheme could translate to a real dinner party. One could actually enjoy a meal and see other guests at her tables. It was all delightfully maximal and functional.

Kudos to Alli for capturing the allure of the high gloss lacquer tables and luscious mix of colors. The turquoise vases used on the tables, and shown below, are available from Jayson Home. The plates are by Robert Dawson for Wedgwood, in the After Willow pattern. The small hand-made candle holders, also shown below, are from John Derian.

More on this event to come.


A Candy and Cake World

For the look of her film, Marie Antoinette, Sofia Coppola has said she wanted to conjure up a girlish fantasy, a "candy and cake world" inspired by Laduree's legendary, colorful, mouth-watering macaroons. The idea was to avoid the dusty-musty look often seen in period movies. Light, bright, succulent colors suggest youth and decadence, and are actually more representative of Marie Antoinette.

The lush visuals in the trailers have definitely caught my interest: I've revisited a few of the books on my shelves and flashed back to some papers I wrote in college. If you are curious about Marie Antoinette's aesthetic -- the fashion, the interiors, the gardens and the residences -- or want to learn more about Versailles, here are several good titles:
The Private Realm of Marie Antoinette
Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution
Marie Antoinette: The Journey
Palaces of the Sun King: Versailles, Trianon, Marly: The Chateaux of Louis XIV
Views and Plans of the Petit Trianon at Versailles

And BTW: Domino online has a fun little video about their Marie Antoinette-inspired photo shoot for the November issue.

Above, September cover of Vogue. Both the cover and a lavish feature story focused on Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette, marking the first time in 25 years that a magazine was permitted to photograph inside Versailles.


Another Sumptuous Miles Redd Apartment

The November issue of Elle Decor features a truly fabulous apartment designed by Miles Redd, with another to-die-for bedroom covered in de Gournay chinoiserie wallpaper. It's a must see!

New Lulu DK Wallpaper

I've written before about my disappointment that Lulu de Kwiatkowski's upcoming book, Lulu: A Designer's Notebook, is not expected to be released in time for Christmas. So, I was excited to see a few new wallpaper and fabric patterns have been released. Shown top , "Palm Springs" in chocolate and "Minnows" in mocha. Visit to see all of the colors available.

Steven Sclaroff

There are many antique and vintage furniture dealers out there selling similar, newly refurbished Regency-style pieces, but I do enjoy browsing the selections at Steven Sclaroff to see the fabrics and finishes Sclaroff chooses. For example, I love the red-and-ivory linen candy-stripe on the chair seats of the 1960's black tub chairs above. Red with black can be extremely heavy, however opting for the linen stripe -- as opposed to say a red velvet -- gives the chairs, I think, a crisp Audrey Hepburn feel.

The seats of the black faux bamboo armchairs, also above, have been covered with Lulu DK's "Chant," a geometric hand-print in brown with white. I've seen this fabric often on white painted chairs, but I would not have guessed the very dark brown would look so good mixed with glossy black. What a great look.

BTW: Sclaroff worked with Kate and Andy Spade on their New York apartment.


Alexander Girard at San Francisco MOMA

Over the weekend, the exhibition Alexander Girard: Vibrant Modern opened at San Francisco MOMA. Both Kate Spade and Jonathan Adler say Girard, a playful mid-20th-century designer, has influenced their work. Girard rocked sleek modern design by mixing in optimistic eye-popping colors, and stylized Mexican and Indian motifs. When I look at pictures of Adler's Parker Palm Springs, I think of Girard.

Trained at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London and at the Royal School of Architecture in Rome, he served as director of the Herman Miller textile division from 1952 to 1973. One of Girard's most famous projects was La Fonda del Sol Restaurant in New York's Time Life building, with its prominent sun motif and an adobe bar. Shown above are lively matchbook covers for La Fonda, ca. 1961, from the San Francisco MOMA exhibit.

Also during the swinging 1960's, Girard created a groovy color palette for Braniff's fleet of planes, along with new fabrics for its aircraft seats and the corporate logos. The exhibit in San Francisco continues through Sunday, February 25, 2007.

Image above of yellow plane is from Braniff Pages. The re-issued Girard Merry Christmas design is printed on uncoated felt weave paper and is available online through the San Francisco MOMA gift shop.


The Happy Movement

[Above, Steven Gambrel is a master when it comes to creating cheerful rooms that are not too happy.]

[ Miles Redd and a few of his interiors.]

A few weeks ago there was an article in the New York Times about the whole "Happy Chic" movement in decorating. The piece focused on the psychological impact of color, and the current interest in old school decorators, such as Dorothy Draper, who used bold, upbeat color.

For the most part the article dealt with two extremes in decorating: the beige and black "sophisticated" room versus the in-your-face wildly colorful, "fun" interior. Although designer Miles Redd was cited as one who can deftly use candy colors in bold strokes without being too sugary sweet.

Of course, along with Redd, there are a host of other designers who have always used clear, cheerful colors without going too garish or saccharine. For example, the Joe Nye-decorated beach cottage, above and below, which was featured in House Beautiful, 2001, has a very strong Sister Parish vibe. It's optimistic and cozy, and it doesn't take itself too seriously. But, to me at least, it is not ridiculously whimsical.

(If over-the-top whimsy makes you happy, though, follow your bliss!)