Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Hermes Effect: Leather Interiors

Have you noticed how leather is quietly slipping into interiors? Over the last few years I've seen more and more leather emerging in both home accessories and interior design, including bathrooms (leather baths and leather walls), kitchens (leather handles) and bedrooms (leather headboards). Some of it is very reminiscent of Hermes' designs, other elements are evocative of Louis Vuitton's vintage collections. And yet other 'looks' are very equestrian. I love the dark leather handles that some designers are using on kitchen cabinets, which I first noticed at Margaret Porritt's (owner of Feathers' boutiques) beach house in Portsea a decade ago. I'd love to incorporate them into our house, but I'm not sure how they'd look after prolonged use? Then again, they'd probably be as beautiful as a leather handbag is after it's aged a little.

Here are a few of the luxe leather looks I've seen lately. (Sorry, little too much alliteration there.) Oh – and the image above is of the glamorous Anouska Hempel-designed Blakes Hotel in London, which has just had an amazing renovation. More details on this place later today or tomorrow.

{NB Some of these images were without credits when I found them. If you know their source, do notify me and I'll amend them.}

Leather tiles and a leather vanity in a powder room. Rich and masculine.

A hand-stitched leather bathtub. Not sure how it fares with hot water being splashed down the side, but clearly luxurious. {Via Superius and Butler}

The library and the suites of the Gild Hall Hotel in New York. I've always loved this hotel. The library bar is beautiful. Pity it's so far from anything, down there in the financial district.

The Kentucky weekender of New York fashion designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka. This house has been featured in several blogs, but it's still beautiful. Their love of all things equestrian is very much evident. {Via Elle Decor}

Via Habitually Chic. Heather loves the equestrian look. And her design eye is always spot on.

Kendall Conrad. 
(I've just realised, upon closer inspection, that these wingbacks might be fabric? But wouldn't they be beautiful if there were dark leather, against the clean white lines?)

Tina K Home. {Via Elle Decoration}

Margaret Porritt's former beach house at Portsea. {My image}

Steven Gambrel. {Via Habitually Chic}

Stuart Membery's Lodge Ottoman. {Via Stuart Membery}

JK Hotel, Italy. {Via JK}

And Ms Windsor Smith.

{Just to assure you all, these ottomans are not made from real zebra skins. They're cowhides printed to look like stripes.}

Friday, September 28, 2012

Navy and Cobalt: The Romance of Blue Hues

We continue to be enchanted by navy here in our house. We were both navy lovers when it came to fashion, with wardrobes saturated in blue hues, however it took us a long time to realise the colour translated well to interiors, too. Now, our bedroom and dressing room are as beautiful as a midnight sky over Paris, while our kitchen and sunroom have gone from black and white to black and blue.

I feel embarrassed posting photos of these spaces as the rooms are still works in progress (cheap lamps, no curtains, completely amateurish decoration!), and I don't want to bore you, so I'll leave a show-and-tell for another day.

For now l'll just post some truly beautiful (professionally decorated) rooms in these truly lovely hues. And some spectacular clothes, too. {Source of image above unknown}


Windsor Smith. 

Mary McDonald.

Pottery Barn.

Ralph Lauren.

Ralph Lauren.

Jil Sander.

Morocco / Elle Decor

Robert Couturier / W Magazine.

Tessa Proudfoot.

The Queen Mother.

The Queen and Prince Philip.

Manolo Blahnik. 

{Source of portraits: Snowdon Blue exhibition and book.}

John Coote / Vogue Living.

Charlotte Casiraghi

Candice Bergen.

Greg Natale / Adore Magazine.

Couture Kaleidescope.

Kate Spade.

{Source unknown}

I don't know where these images have been collated from but I love the combination of gold and navy blue.

{Source unknown}

{Source unknown.}

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Library Love

I owe you all a sincere apology. I've been a little subdued lately. When writers are sequestered in a room on  their own for months on end, day after day, week after week, they tend to become a little, well, quiet. What's that old saying? You can learn anything locked in a room on your own, except for life itself... I always loved that quote.

Lots of writer suffer from the isolation. I remember reading that Stephen King believed that it was important that all writers stop after 2000 words each day and go outside to remember the world again. Hemingway was religious about stopping at midday and going out fishing or drinking. (Not that I will be doing that, but Key West would be a fantastic place to ride a bike around the bars!) Even Maggie Alderson now closes her computer and does drawing classes in the afternoons. I don't know how they do it. I feel guilty if I not still writing at 2AM each night.

But I'm planning to enrol in some courses with some friends this spring. The old CAE has some fantastic ones this season:  Macaron Making; Botanical Art Workshops; a course on The Californian Bungalow Home; The History of The Orient Express; Melbourne's Hidden Architectural Secrets; Photographing Melbourne; Laneways of Melbourne, and (my favourite) The City of Literature course, which takes you to the city's hidden bookshops. They sound fantastic, don't they? Details here – 

In the meantime, here are some lovely literary visions to inspire you all, in the form of some truly delightful libraries.

Diane Keaton's library, which wowed the design world when it was featured in Architectural Digest. When Ms Keaton bought this Spanish Colonial Revival-style home in Beverly Hills, she immediately turned the entrance into a library. It was a savvy move. Now, the first impression guests receive is a welcoming and intelligent space, rather than a room full of boots and a painting or two. She's since sold this home, and bought another to store all her books in. Hopefully the new owners have retained this space as a library. It would be a shame if they converted it back to a boot room!
I love Diane Keaton, and not just for her architectural knowledge. I'm looking forward to her two new films, Darling Companion and The Wedding, scheduled to appear in October.

Fashion designer Paul Smith's library. Another bibliophile, Paul often incorporates books as part of his stores' merchandising.

Anna Wintour's library at her Long Island / Hamptons hideaway. I do wonder if Ms Wintour ever has time to read?

Karl Lagerfeld's library in his Left Bank residence. Now Karl does make time for reading! Have you seen the photos of his bedroom? There are books instead of pillows.

Sarah Jessica Parker's library. This room is in a New York house that she and Matthew Broderick are selling. The magazine stand is an intelligent touch.

The Manhattan library of book publisher Suzanne Slesin, owner of Pointed Leaf Press. When I saw this space recently, I recognised it from an old ad I loved as a young girl. It was a Pottery Barn ad that was set in a library. I didn't know what Pottery Barn was at the time. (We don't have it in Australia.) I just loved the library! Here's the ad, below. Look at the initials – ABC – above the left door.

I'm not sure what this extraordinary library is? Does anyone know? It is a metaphor for the destruction of trees for the publishing industry? (Or even the demise of the publishing industry itself?) Is it a stage set? It's all very mysterious...

Diane von Furstenberg's library at her Connecticut home, Cloudwalk. We drove past this recently. Such a gorgeous part of the world. BTW, there is an incredible story about DVF here, from the LA Times. I do feel that the writer has betrayed confidences somewhat, but it's still interesting. 

A beautiful olive-green library from the book Decorating With Books. I love this space, clutter and all. It looks very English.

Chateau de Groussay's library, photographed by Cecil Beaton. Many library lovers consider this to be the most beautiful private library in the world. 

Here's another angle of Chateau de Groussay's library, from the Sotheby's catalogue.

Bill Blass's library. {Source unknown.}

Jackie Kennedy's library. 
{Again, source unknown. Forgive me. If anyone knows the credit, please notify me.}

A library in a kitchen. I love this. We're considering installing a library in our kitchen / sunroom, if I can persuade my darling hubster to build it. {Source unknown.}

Lindsay Coral Harper's library, as featured in Atlanta Homes. Love the ottomans and the plum colour.

And my absolute favourite, although, once again, the source has been lost in the dreaded tumblr mess. (I fear the photos in the future: crediting is becoming a lost art!) Isn't this the sweetest library? Look at the little daybed near the window, the spiral staircase, the lovely mezzanine... I could happily live in this library.

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