Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What About Lavender

What do you think of when you think of the South of France?  Besides Cezanne and ratatouille and bouillabaisse and limestone villages with verges of broom along the roads?  I always think of lavender……great fields of it….

With the air around it all perfumed.  Whenever I smell lavender, it makes me remember France and how much I love it.  I must be Nancy Mitford at heart.  And thinking about lavender makes me think of the colour, lavender, that most quintessentially French of all colours.  Lavender as walls…..

 Mario Buatta’s 1984 Kips Bay House Master Bedroom
Photo credit Architectural Digest

Everybody loves this room with its beautiful blue and white curtains and the lovely, airy bed hangings, but did you realize the walls are lavender?  Yes.  It’s the lavender walls that set off so wonderfully those same blue and white curtains.  What genius!

And so are the walls in the two rooms by Katie Ridder shown below.

Pictures by Elle D├ęcor Magazine

Those rooms above had painted walls, but what if the walls were hung in lavender and white striped paper?

Or in a lavender toile?

It’s such a versatile colour that you can use a little or a lot.

A little...
Fabrics  by Cowtan and Tout
Or a lot...

Those were rooms with a lot of lavender, but notice how the little bit of lavender in this whimsical pattern by Clarence House perks up the pillow on the almost white settee.

Fabrics by Clarence House

I love lavender in linens such as these from D. Porthault available at my boutique in Palm Beach (e-mail betty@lafinpb.com)

 Pois de Senteur 

And if Porthault is too staggering for your budget, then look at these really nifty linens which Matouk has made in collaboration with Lulu D. K. (Lulu de Kwiakowski)—so chic and also available at my store.

Or you could have a desk set including a wonderful lamp from one of our companies which I love the best, Isis Ceramics in Oxford, England.

Picture courtesy of Leta Austin Foster Boutique

I love antique porcelain such as this dressing table set—an early 19th century English one—you could find beautiful ones like this at Sotheby’s or Christie’s, or if you don’t like auctions, go to James Robinson or Bardith in New York City.  They have all sorts of beautiful antique porcelain in lavender.

I love lavender glassware such as these “olde” French glasses from Ballard Designs.

And I can’t help but love this little shield lamp shade from Abat Jour in New York (although I would not have used shiny passementerie on it).  Put in a little dressing room with lavender and white shirting-stripe walls—over a lovely dressing table with a skirt of dotted swiss,  I mean, how could you not?

April is my birthday month, and its flower is a sweet pea—my favourite and the best smell.  Long Live Lavender!!


P.s. While I love lavender, do not—repeat—do not use lavender coloured candles in hurricanes—yuck!  And for those of you who want to read the really “French” books in Nancy Mitford’s oeuvre, they are

The Pursuit of Love
The Blessing

Don’t Tell Alfred

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Outdoor Rugs

I usually hate artificial things—I am your old-fashioned Luddite in love with silk and cotton and cashmere.  Well, who wouldn’t love those?  And when it comes to rugs, I am absolutely Miz Sisal, Miz Wool, etc.  but  now, there are new rugs on the market which really have to be considered.  They are the new outdoor rugs from almost everybody—everybody good, that is.

I think credit for the Really Big Idea and Marketing of these has to go to Dash and Albert

I love this company—their outdoor rugs truly look like cotton throw rugs, and they come in jolly wide stripes such as “Catamaran”, shown here in denim and ivory.  This pattern comes in several colours, including a really bold coral for those of you who want to really say something.

Catamaran by Dash and Albert

They make wonderful multi-stripes too, and over-all patterns.  Go to their website, and go to Outdoor Rugs.  And when you are finished the rugs, you will even find Outdoor poufs.

And if it were your desire, Outdoor Woofs, which are really great looking dog beds.

Just great!

I am working on my project of redecorating The Hillsboro Club in South Florida, and I noticed how tired and stained the rugs in the great Living Room and Reception were.  This is a heavily trafficked area, since the guests come here to read and chat and have tea in the afternoon and cocktails before dinner.  I spoke to my dear, dear friend, Luis Ventura, at Stark Carpet down in Dania, because he told me that Stark was making some wonderful polypropylene carpets for indoor/outdoor use.  I begged for samples.  Luis drops into our office every Thursday, but I am not always there.

Anyway, a month passed—no samples.  I called up and grouched.

“But I brought you those samples a month ago,” protested Luis.

“But where did you put them?” I replied.  He told me that he had laid them on a small stack which I had right by my desk chair, and he had.  There they were.  I just thought they were sisal samples, and didn’t go through them right away.  That’s how real they looked.

Here is one used on an outdoor porch at the Hamptons Show House

 Room by Christina Murphy, Christina Murphy Interiors. Photography by Marisa Marcantonio, stylebeat.com

Stark has great sisal designs, with patterns woven in them, but you will need to go to your Stark Showroom (you will need a decorator or architect for this), since they are not yet on their website.  It will be worth the trip, I promise you.

When I finish the big Living Room at Hillsboro, I promise I will post pictures of it, and you will be able to see for yourself how great the rugs are.

Now, look at these rugs.

You can get really almost whatever colours you want, and there is a plethora of designs.  Just remember, don’t go over the top—what you would have like indoors is pretty much what you would like outside.  And don’t get cute.

And remember Astroturf?

It doesn’t have to be like that anymore.