Style Court

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


Top Chef

Documentary filmmaker Bailey Barash was kind enough to send me a link to her film about adventurous spirit Edna Lewis. When you have a moment, click here to learn more about Miss Lewis' inimitable style and the legendary Cafe Nicholson. Lewis' essay, What is Southern?, is excellent too.

Working In Style: Karen Carroll

Southern Accents Editor in Chief, Karen Carroll, candidly admits that her office desk is usually buried under layouts, product catalogs, and scouting shots (she ascribes to the "cluttered desk is the sign of a creative mind" philosophy) but she is currently obsessed with Mad Men and loves the whole idea of glasses and decanters at the ready. Since these days all that gin and scotch is frowned upon, she would however have to sub in sweet tea and lemonade.

[Black glass and nickel plated brass tray from Mecox]

[Sterling tray from Tiffany]

One gracious touch Karen does maintain in the office is a silver tray for stashing business cards (a la the old calling card idea in the front hall). If you want to emulate Karen, here are a few varied examples, most in the eight to eleven inch range. Note the Mecox tray shown above is larger and scaled for glasses or decanters.

Pewter from Williams Sonoma

Silver plate from Madison

Silver plate from Ralph Lauren

Stainless and galvanized options, scaled for barware and priced under $40, from Crate & Barrel

Calling cards are from Crane


Working In Style II

Inspired by Suzanne's interest in bringing flair to her office -- and I'm sure influenced a little by Mad Men -- I can't resist posting this image from Tiffany Table Settings. Coincidentally, this mid-century "executive's desk luncheon" was staged in a corner office at the then new Time & Life Building.

Note that each executive has his own silver coffee service. The table setting also includes crystal tumblers weighing two and one-half pounds each, cocktail glasses used to hold pencils, and of course a square silver cigarette box accompanied by a round silver ashtray. Blue-and-green plaid Thai silk napkins complement the chair upholstery.

Working In Style

Suzanne Karotkin, Dallas-bred Senior Design Editor at InStyle, often finds herself in the offices and homes of some of the world's most style-savvy people. For her own office, she tweaked a few simple things to create the ambiance of a fashion-forward "European bureau." Little details that bring flair to the workplace include: a faux snake skin tray, (I've heard Suzanne's is a $36 version from Two's Company that is identical to one in the office of this chic woman) glass bottles rather than plastic, a red drinking glass from Charlotte Moss, stationery from Mrs. Strong, and the blowout item -- a glamorous brass lamp from lum in New Orleans.

I love how Suzanne's personal stamp comes through in this vignette. Whatever your own style is, I hope this editor's tastemaker tip inspires you to choose utilitarian objects that speak "you," and bring a daily smile to your face. Or to paraphrase Billy Baldwin, create a space that looks like it was a joy in the making.

The tray image I've used here is from Jayson.


Fanny's Flea

Sometimes work and recreation overlap. In September, for Atlanta Intown Paper, I'll be writing about Fanny's Flea, the fiftieth annual market organized by the Forward Arts Foundation. Mark your calendars for Friday and Saturday, September 26 through 27, and get ready to hunt for treasures among the books, silver, and antiques.

BTW: this market is named for Frances Floyd (Fanny) Cocke, a name probably familiar to frequent High visitors. During the almost 101 years of her life, Fanny Cocke was admired as a philanthropist and energetic volunteer. It was her idea, back in 1958, to create a Parisian-style flea market in Atlanta with proceeds benefiting our visual arts community.

Update: 5.04.09
Also of interest, Brilliant Asylum's blog post about "Fanny's Room" at the Creek Ranch on Lake Hatchineha.

Images courtesy Swan Coach House


Book of the Week and Other Updates

[Shown above, Stem cup with dragon motif, Min dynasty, mark and period of Hung-chih (r. 1488-1505) Porcelain with yellow and green enamel glaze, National Palace Museum, Taipei. Image © National Palace Museum, Taipei.]

If you've been reading the August Vogue, you may have noticed that an adventurous spirit in her 90s mentions a favorite book, The Odyssey of China's Imperial Art Treasures, and says, "It's like a paper chase -- it ought to be a movie." I'm intrigued and plan to add it to my list of books to read before summer ends.

For everyone interested in Clint Smith's fall lecture, Love The House You Live In: Personal Decorating, Atlanta Style, at Emory University, October 23 from 7 - 8:30 p.m., online registration should be available the first week of August. In the meantime, contact Josh Kim at (404) 727-5519. Course catalogs should be in homes within the next two weeks, according to Emory.

[Smith image via 1stdibs]


A Mom's Request

A reader with two girls ages six and eight is struggling with the decoration of their bedroom -- a place both share. Each has a newly purchased canopy bed and the plan is to hang white curtains from these. But the sisters have different favorite colors and want to outfit their own beds accordingly. The mother wants our input on how to keep things unified yet give the girls creative expression.

My first thought was to use multiple blocks of colors in the room, in an attempt to make the concept of mismatched twin beds work. Perhaps the coverlets could be white and each sister could select her own soft shade for sheets and pillow cases; stronger tones could come in with blankets and ottomans (as in Reed Krakoff's daughter's room shown at top). The second Joe Nye-decorated bedroom (House Beautiful, 2001) also came to mind but obviously neither has twin beds. The pictures are just for inspiration. What are your ideas?

BTW: the sketches above are Bill Blass. Be sure to click to enlarge and enjoy the details. Krakoff image is from Elle Decor, roughly seven years ago.

Below, beds with white curtains and varied colors for bedding.

Peter Dunham in Western Interiors.

Gerrie Bremermann, 1990s, perhaps SA.

A bedroom at Oscar de la Renta's Casa de Campo as seen in House Beautiful, June 2002.

As a side note, Oscar and his family do island bedrooms like nobody's business. ( Joni just did a comprehensive post.) Below more from my personal inspiration file. Again, HB, June 2002.


Setting Up Camp

Inspired by Charlotte and Shelby, and by Anthropologie's Hideaway play tent, I whipped together the beginnings of a bedroom for two little girls.

The bedside tables are from World Market, the linens are from Leontine, and the blanket is from The Pashmina Store.

"Bubble" lamps from Lum.

Two twin beds with simple upholstered headboards from Ballard-- perhaps in "Benson" stripe from The Silk Trading Co.

Or maybe instead, twin beds done up as India Hicks' dad did them. I like the mix of rustic and refined elements here in this holiday house. (Image is copyright 2004 ©David Hicks 1970 Ltd.)

To see other tent fabric options visit Lucy & Michael.


Open Doors

[Image of Irish door via Mari.]

Gracious and curious Jessica Condatore over at The Love List is organizing a fall tour of homes -- a virtual one to be exact. She is inviting design bloggers to open their doors and share a little decorating advice. Jessica's blog posts related to the tour will include pictures, commentary, and details on how to "get the look."

This is not a contest. Jessica's objective is simply to share inspiration and helpful tips. Apartments, huts and even cabanas are welcome. She simply requests that contributors have active blogs that are at least three months old. The full scoop is available here. (I've heard though the grapevine that some very stylish and respected bloggers have already agreed to participate, and the more the merrier!)

Now some weekly finds: budget-friendly handcrafted Indian linens from Saffron Marigold. A set of six dinner napkins costs about $35.

[Above, note the candle sleeves on this hand-forged and hand-painted wrought iron coral chandelier from Anne Coyle.]

[A sample of the many candle covers available through Antique Lamp Supply.]

My Atlanta resource of the week is Aaron's Lamp & Shade, 3529 Northside Parkway. I mentioned this place and the great selection of candle sleeves quite a while ago. But recently I invested in some of their covers with a "melting" look.

Usually designers stick with plain sleeves for a crisp, clean look and go with the "melting wax" for a more textured, antique feel. Anne Coyle, who is known for mixing traditional and modern elements, opted for dripping wax on the whimsical coral chandelier above.

A limited selection of candle covers is available at most hardware stores and at Home Depot. Aaron's helpful staff will trim the covers for you on-the-spot, for a precise fit.


Cover Story

Over the weekend I picked up a 1940 edition of a Hemingway novel published by Scribner's Sons. Obviously it's a classic addition to any library, but I won't lie: the vintage linen cover sold me. The aesthetic appeal of books has been a reoccurring theme on this blog. (Remember Andy Spade's exhibition of covers?) So it seems like the most celebrated American book jacket should receive at least a small mention here.

Francis Cugat, the Spanish-born brother of bandleader Xavier Cugat, painted the Art Deco work that was used for the original 1925 cover of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Countless scholars have written about the thematic connections between Cugat's painting, with the famous haunting eyes, and Fitzgerald's story. (You were probably assigned a paper about it in high school.) And the dust jacket image is widely available in poster form too.

While teaching at the University of South Carolina, Charles Scribner III, a member of the legendary publishing family, wrote a fascinating article about the Gatsby cover.

The covers shown above are other examples of Scribners many alluring 20th century dust jackets. When a cover has graphic appeal -- and the book is something you actually want to read -- these vintage books bring instant flair to a room. Billy Baldwin said, "The best decoration in the world is a roomful of books."

To learn more about vintage and antique books, visit Fine Books & Collections.

Images above, except the magazine cover, are courtesy Princeton University Library.