Style Court

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


Home Front

[Unless credited otherwise, all images in this post are from The Artisanal Home: Interiors and Furniture of Casamidy and published here courtesy Rizzoli. Jorge Almada photographed the chairs above.] 

It's too bad that there's no season three of Man Shops Globe debuting this fall. Remember during season two when Keith Johnson, the show's host, met up with decorator Michael Smith in San Miguel, Mexico? One of their shopping excursions led them to Casamidy, the contemporary-design-meets-old-world-craftsmanship furniture company founded in the late 1990s by Jorge Almada and Anne-Marie Midy.

The inanimate star of the episode turned out to be Casamidy's signature iron and metal-mesh piece, the "Manchez" chair, painted red and upholstered in an Otomi embroidered fabric. Airy and graphic, the chair is a riff on classic French forms, but also nods to traditional Mexican style. In short, it embodies both Anne-Marie and Jorge. And its role on the show made many viewers curious to see more of the designing couple's own realm.

[Photo by Anne-Marie Midy. Pictured is her home office on the third floor of the couple's Brussels townhouse.]

Now, thanks to Rizzoli's new book written by the designers, The Artisanal Home: Interiors and Furniture of Casamidy, a virtual tour of their private world is possible.

[Photo by Anne-Marie Midy]

Not only can we visit their family's homes in Mexico, but also their European digs and other projects ranging from a tiny yet chic pied-à-terre in Paris to a ranch in Sonora. (Ann-Marie is a former Martha Stewart Living art director and an interior designer as well.)

[Photo by Ricardo Labougle. Click to enlarge.]

For textile junkies, the book offers innumerable fixes: suzanis, ikats, Provencial quilts, Western florals, Saltillo serapes and of course Otomi embroideries.

[Jorge Almada]
Jorge explains that he and Anne-Marie tend to work autonomously. He is all about patina, has a penchant for iron, oak and saddle-leather, and describes himself as thinking like a furniture salesperson. In contrast, Anne-Marie can be more poetic (she once had a concept for a line of furniture that "flowed in the wind") but she knows how to collaborate with craftsmen to bring her lyrical ideas to fruition.

It's this merging of disparate creative viewpoints that seems to give Casamidy designs their charm. Well, that and the hands of the artisans who make the couple's ideas tangible. The book gives these metalworkers, glaziers, tinsmiths and upholsterers their due, highlighting each artisan by name and image.

[The Drawing Room: English Country House Decoration, from Rizzoli 2014 with photography by Paul Barker, is open to Hilles House.]

Different sorts of handcrafted furniture, layered textiles and family heirlooms can be found throughout Jeremy Musson's The Drawing Room: English Country House Decoration, an ode to what has historically been seen as a feminine space. Musson takes us through the evolution of the room, from its seeds as a "withdrawing" place to a grander site for courtly entertaining. Ultimately the drawing room becomes a place for less formal gatherings -- today a TV may even be spotted among the layers -- but each interior highlighted is nonetheless rich with color, texture and pattern.

What distinguishes this book from others in the genre is that many of the rooms have contemporary touches. All of the icons are here -- Nancy Lancaster's "buttah" yellow room and David Hicks's The Grove, just to name two. And anyone who paid close attention to the set design in Mira Nair's Vanity Fair will appreciate the twin, chinoiserie Chippendale daybeds at Stanway House (detail-oriented folks will love how the rooms are shown from multiple angles).

But the unexpected sights of 21st century life make the images especially compelling. Above, a Union Jack pillow and more recent books and magazine's are strewn about in the Long Room at Hilles House, home of the Blow family. Originally created by Arts and Crafts architect Detmar Blow in 1914, it is a cozier take on an English manor ensconced in the Cotswolds. Think "Modest Manorial," as Musson says.      

[More from Musson's The Drawing Room: Stanway House. Click to enlarge.]

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