Style Court

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


Library Chic

There are some exquisite antique and new magnifying glasses out there, but they tend to be quite pricey. I think Anthropologie's Oceania magnifying glass, $18, would make such a cute gift. Depending on the recipient, either on its own or combined with a new fall release such as Hamish Bowles' book, Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People.

Or, for a rare friend, a first edition of David Hicks on Decoration with Fabrics, available through Paris Hotel Boutique.

B.D. Jeffries sells resin tortoise-handled magnifying glasses. $130.

If you look closely you can see a beautiful bamboo-handled magnifying glass on this Domino editor's coffee table. Photo by Jennifer Schlechter, May 2006.


The Tale of Silk

I love the border on this Hermès cashmere and silk shawl.

Art above © Hilton McConnico

Only on view a few more days -- through October 7 -- at the Shanghai Art Museum is an exhibition, “The Tale of Silk,” featuring work by Hilton McConnico. The artist makes connections between Asia, homeland of silk, and Hermès, which has been printing the material for seventy years.

Elephant Jalli Quilt

For the collector with a soft-spot for elephants and a love of Indian textiles: a vintage mid-century Jalli quilt available through Pat McGann. $650.

And here's a round-up of previously posted, small related pieces. J. Crew's new white elephant charm bracelet. I've seen it in person -- very chic. $125.

Two more favorites: Kate Spade's charming letterpressed elephant calling card, available through Crane, and William Arthur's elephant holiday card.

This blue-and-white elephant vase is one of my past Saturday afternoon finds. I'd prefer to find a great all-white one similar to Krista Ewart's below.

Above, Krista Ewart's bedside table, with elephant vase, photographed by Melanie Acevedo for Domino, June/July 2007.

Leather elephant made by the small British company, Omersa. Mecox Gardens stocks these too.

Illustration by Jacqueline Duheme shows Lee Radziwell and Jacqueline Kennedy riding elephant, Jaipur 1962.

Fine Living II

All images above photographed by Ivan Terestchenko for Elle Decor, August 2000. Image below, Vogue Living, fall 2006.

A while back I mentioned that I'm working to bring you more images of Mississippi-born textile designer Lisa Fine's exquisitely embroidered headboards, or other samples of her work. In the meantime, I can tell you that Fine and Carolina Irving will have a big launch of their hand-embroidered blouse collection at Charlotte Moss the week after Thanksgiving. The following week, Nathan Turner will host a similar event in LA. Fine told me their fabrics will include Ikats from Uzbekistan, silk satin, linen, and cotton.

Above, again, are images of Fine's sumptuous 7th-arrondissement Paris flat. Travels to India inspired her lush color choices -- pink with orange, a few hits of pistachio-green. Turkish and Moroccan styles were incorporated too. (Click pictures to better see details.)

Below, on my TV screen, is Fine's Indian-inspired headboard as seen in HGTV's one-hour special, Homes of Paris.


Buddha in Paradise

"Buddha Shakyamuni," Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton, Eastern Tibet, 1800 - 1899, Collection of Rubin Museum of Art.

Coming soon to Atlanta are 16 intricate, centuries-old Tibetan paintings, part of Buddha in Paradise: A Celebration in Himalayan Art, October 13 through November 25 at Emory's Carlos Museum. This exhibition is on loan from the Rubin Museum of Art, to celebrate the upcoming visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Reader Search: Lady de Rothschild Apartment

A reader tells me she has fallen head-over-heels for this Michael Smith-designed kitchen. It's Lady de Rothchild's, seen in the designer's book, Michael Smith Elements of Style, as well as in a past issue of Elle Decor. The question is, which issue?

We need to know because the reader seeks a source for the understated tile not mentioned in the book. Tear sheets of the amazing dining room, top, are all I saved from Elle Decor (kitchen happens to be on the back -- no tile source). As I recall this was a cover story about four years ago.

If you know the scoop, fill us in!

Photography above via Elle Décor. Wallpaper is 18th-century Chinese bought at auction.


Inspired By Films

Some consider 1991's Raise the Red Lantern to be among the most visually stunning films ever made. Image via Tong Chen.

In March I mentioned Miranda Brooks's bedroom, seen in Bright Young Things, and the inspiration she took from Raise the Red Lantern. Another visual feast, The Last Emperor, (Michael Smith's pick) has been discussed here too. But I wanted to share more weekend viewing ideas, so I asked film buffs Brilliant Asylum and Cote de Texas for suggestions. Here's a list of sumptuous movies filled with rich Asian color:


Empire of the Sun

Farewell My Concubine

In the Mood for Love

Eat, Drink, Man, Woman

The Painted Veil

Memoirs of a Geisha

Lost in Translation

Seven Years in Tibet

Passage to India

A Little Princess

Brilliant Asylum also recommends any of the James Bond series filmed in Asia: You Only Live Twice and Octopussy. She read that Kelly Wearstler is inspired by James Bond movies too.

A reminder: Buddha in Paradise: A Celebration in Himalayan Art, opens October 13 and continues through November 25 at Emory's Carlos Museum. The exhibition honors the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.


A Little Decorating Trivia

Above, the most photographed home in Atlanta, the 1920s Swan House, designed by architect Philip Trammell Shutze. All images courtesy of the Atlanta History Center; Swan House Dining Room also courtesy of Jonathan Hollada.

Alumnae of a certain Southern women's college have probably heard Ruby Ross Wood's name linked with journalism (she was the ghostwriter for Elsie de Wolfe and wrote for Vogue and House & Garden.) And I suppose serious design history buffs know Georgia-born Wood as the decorator who mentored Billy Baldwin. But I'm not sure if Ruby Ross Wood is a household name. Archival photos of her work don't often pop-up in shelter mags. Did you know she collaborated with architect Philip Trammell Shutze on the interiors of Swan House?

I've read that Wood's touch is especially seen in the Swan House dining room, with its pale Aubusson rug, chinoiserie wallpaper and bright plaid silk curtains. If you want to see for yourself, public visiting hours are Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. House tours are included with general admission.

Related reading, Atlanta at Home.

2007 SCAD Show House

The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) hosts its Alumni Design Show House, October 6 through November 3, at the Bartow House, 126 W. Harris St., in Savannah's National Historic Landmark District.

For the event, innovative alumni designers and artists were offered an essentially blank canvas -- the circa 1839, early Greek Revival-style Bartow home. Visitors can expect to see contemporary pieces juxtaposed with the old bones of the residence. Furnishings and artwork on view in the house will be available for purchase.

Hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., and noon–4 p.m. on Sundays. The house will also be open on Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 8, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Bartow House, at the SCAD Box Office, 216 E. Broughton St., or charged by phone at 912.525.5050.

Struggling to juggle fall's exciting happenings and your new contacts? Vivre's chic patent accessories make organization a little more fun.


Inspired By Matisse

"Algue rouge sur fond bleu ciel," Henri Matisse's paper cut-out, executed in 1952. This work sold for £624,000, through Christie's, February 2005.

One of the most magical experiences I ever had involved a private late night viewing of a large Matisse exhibition (a great perk of being a docent). Seeing the artist's energetic work up-close, in an empty museum, was mesmerizing. I can't imagine what it was like for the clients of Sister Parish, Albert Hadley and Billy Baldwin, who lived everyday with original Matisse's, Picasso's and Gauguin's.

Above, this Sister Parish print, "Burma," is I think intended to resemble Indian hand-blocked fabric, but the repeating design also reminds me of Matisse's iconic, abstract frond of seaweed.

A few weeks ago, I posted this Matisse-inspired chocolate-and-white pillow from Pieces.

Related reading: Matisse, His Art and His Textiles.