Style Court

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

10.16.2008

Personal Stories

In the previous post I talked about decorating "back-stories," or the visions and stories we have in our head that influence how we want our home to look and feel. Now I'm turning to real stories: vignettes composed of tangible things that speak to a person's history.

Shown above is Jackie O's library circa 1973, as seen in Horst Interiors. According to the book, the intimate room was filled with mementos of her life and travels. There was red-and-white hand-blocked Indian cotton on the walls and sofa pillows were made from Liberty silk scarves collected over the years. On the coffee table she placed worry beads from Greece; a delicately dried mushroom on a branch brought back from Angkor Wat; black coral from the Yucatan; and Egyptian cats in bronze.

When Candice Bergen's duplex apartment was photographed by Horst in 1979, she placed on her bedroom's leather-topped desk memorabilia including a silver mug and baby rattles. (Reminds me of this past blog post.)

New Orleans-based lighting designer Fifi Laughlin is a talent you may have read about over at Bayou Contessa. Shown below is one of her beautiful pieces.

Some of Fifi's lamps are featured in Angele Parlange's book, Creole Thrift, along with treasures like a silver-framed photo of young Fifi in a Lily Pulitzer monikini, a porringer with flowers, vintage books, and other silver trinkets. (The adorable little boy on the cover is Fifi's son Peter.)

One of the vintage books that caught my eye is The Deb's Dictionary. Click the image with the red lamp to see a bit of the book's cover illustrated by Oliver Herford. This might be a cute affordable holiday gift for someone with a sharp sense of humor. I've found original copies from the 1930s priced at $6. And the book was re-issued last year.

Below is a mini-review from The New York Times, October 1931.



BTW: If you plan to be in Southampton anytime soon, look for Fifi's lamps and vases at Mecox Gardens.

17 comments:

Brilliant Asylum said...

The fact that Jackie O. had cat figurines makes me smile. Lots of pretty images in this post.

Style Court said...

Millie, yes, I know you like cats :)

Mike said...

What a meaningful respite from the election cycle your site has become for me. Your blog and the simple act of running--to remind myself to keep moving--does so very much to ease the mind.

I use a number of vignettes to story tell in my own home. My favorite and most meaningful of all was the least expensive. I used a simple greeting card that captured an image of two leopards in a rather playful pose, that spoke to my marriage, which I framed in a lovely silver frame, off set with a little handmade wooden box topped with two little bronzed monkeys in an embrace, and a wonderful small bronze of a horse charging.

The vignette means nothing to they many people with whom we share our home on holidays and family parties, but every morning I pass it, and it begins my day with a broad smile on my face, for it reminds me of the great blessing my relationship is and they joy it brings into my life; and, all at a cost of a greeting card!

Silly, I know.

Style Court said...

Mike it's not silly at all. Sounds lovely. These are the layers of meaning that give a home soul.

Thanks for your kind words.

Pigtown-Design said...

That's Deb's Dictionary is something I'd probably find at BT.

I love that things have a story. That's why i despair at having a decorator come in and pick out everything for you. I am sure I could tell you the back story of 90% of what I own.

Style Court said...

Meg -- again, I thought of you instantly when I figured out the title of the dictionary and learned a bit about it. Go for it and keep us posted.

The Peak of Chic said...

I suppose we should all get some worry beads from Greece right now??? :)

Style Court said...

jennifer -- unfortunately, yes :(

Ivy Lane said...

Very nice post! I have little vignettes that remind me of special places or people as well.. I love how Mike describes his.. very nice comment Mike! :)

beachbungalow8 said...

cute! idea. vintage books are such a great, affordable gift and so fun to receive.

Emily Amy Gallery said...

On my bedside table is a stone (tucked away in a beautiful wooden box) that my godfather brought me back from his climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. No one else knows it is even inside the box. It inspires me and keeps me persevering. Just a little decorative object with a great story. Wonderful post.

Style Court said...

Emily -- I love that. Now I'm inspired to think of something similar I might have to keep in a bedside box. Thank you for sharing this.

Style Court said...

Ivy -- as always thanks for you kind comment!

Cote de Texas said...

C: that yellow lamp is a stunner. I've really enjoyed this series. I just need to think up my back story.

Cote de Texas said...

ok - here it is in all its embarrassing glory. I used to be obsessed with Diana SPencer, aka The Princess of Wales, obsessed. I do think that obsession had something to do with my English Country Manor house phase. plus, a friend was obsessed with the English C.M. look too and helped fuel it along. I'll never forget where I was when her wedding was being broadcast nor where I was when I heard she died. In between those times I think I read every book on the royal family from about their jewels to their castles. What a waste that car accident was. Still can't believe it ever happened. Somewhere along the way, I abandoned E.C.M. look for pure country French.

Style Court said...

Very interesting Joni! I never knew that. You definitely have swayed to the French G Bremermann look. But I bet you enjoyed the movie The Duchess.

Cote de Texas said...

um, I tend to wait for videos! just finally saw Sex in the City this weekend and sorry ladies, ooh what a stinker! I was sooo disappointed. aw well.