Even though my daughter is a thoroughly independent young adult with a job and apartment I still harbor the idea of having her around as much as possible. Towards that end I’ll attempt to lure her with food and a lovely room overlooking the swimming pool. And feeding this fantasy is a bit of Our Daughters, Ourselves-making the room as an IDEA of a daughter’s room, a daughter’s room say from between the wars in a comfortable English house. Something for us both (yeah, who am I kidding?!!!). Her room and my son’s room have been carved out of a larger space to fit in the new bathroom between them, the bathroom of the Ming green sink and toilet. The rooms are now identical in size with a hallway that opens left to her room, right to my son’s and center to the bathroom. A sweet little Jack and Jill situation.
I’m going to paper the walls with a new Nina Campbell paper called Swan Lake. I fell in love with it in this particular hue. Thrillingly, there is a companion fabric; how’s THAT for a fabulous nostalgic look. On both the paper and fabric the silver color (look closely at the trees) are actually metallic; on the fabric the silver has even a glittery look. I love how the pattern is reeking of nostalgia but has a sly modernity to it.
I’ll be using a turn of the century white painted faux Louis bed that I bought for $25.00 in the 70’s and a couple of assorted vintage tables I’ve picked for their splendid shapes and wonderful white painted finishes.
There are also two cool old chairs, one dating from my childhood, a real Little Miss Muffet slipper chair and the other another white faux Louis piece ( so beloved by Ogden Codman, Edith Wharton, and ME). To view the best of this charming species of furniture take a tour of the cottages in Newport, R.I. The bedrooms are filled with great examples. Somehow they speak to the fancy French side of things with a distinct cottage accent. Lastly there will by an item that’s always included in both my and my daughter’s decor, a dressing table. When she was a small child I loved the fact that she called her dressing table her “beauty desk”.
Beauty desk plus Louis and Little Miss Muffett chair
So where to use that matching fabric? Not sure I want to smother the room with matchy/ matchy. But the beauty desk could surely look fab with billowy curtains of Swan Lake. I also love the idea of valances on the three wide windows in her new room, so old-fashioned but yet could catch what Nina Campbell did so remarkably well with her Swan Lake pattern, tweaking the frumpy with a wink.
Recently, on a beautiful spring day I visited Walter Parker at his shop in a converted schoolhouse in Dudley, Mass. Walter is a prodigious enthusiast, plumber, and collector extraordinaire of old plumbing fixtures. A visit extended itself into a three hour show and tell and tutorial on his fixtures in his shop, which included every kind of sink, toilet, faucet, shower, towel rods, and gas stoves. We clambered up to an attic chockablock treasures and into dark crawl spaces, all filled to the gills with tempting stuff. I asked him about finding some fittings for my kitchen sink-I have in mind a faucet, a filtered water tap and also a spray and he conjured up a variety of magical old faucets that could be customized and adapted to the various uses. For instance for the spray he produced a lovely curved neck faucet and then found an original piece of black rubber hose and a selection of exquisite old spray nozzles.
One to be converted to spraying, the other for filtered water
I also fell in love with a 1920’s sink and toilet colored in what he called “Ming” green, a perfect cloudy green forming a sort of demi-parure. I’d love to use them for the bathroom we’re constructing between my childrens’ two bedrooms. The sink even has the original Ming green faucets.
There was an intriguing wood and galvanized metal garden sink that I thought could work for the laundry room and also a selection of inexpensive marble topped sinks to set upon another vast collection of decorative sink brackets.
Rare Rib Cage Shower
And then, on the dearer side, are the major pieces, possible thoughts for the master bath, and and all too possibly only in my dreams.
For those of you who have never encountered the wallpapers and fabrics of Neisha Crosland you’re in for a treat. I stumbled upon her store, then in one of the nether pockets of design that seem to be planted around London. She could only be English; you could say that there’s a bit of a 20’s influence, perhaps some nod to the 40’s or even to the 60’s, but really she’s a true English designer, galloping off to her own delightful drum roll.
I just love English design in all its forms and all its eras: there’s almost always hints of irony, informality, a carelessness, a drunken quality of design in free fall that is beholden to no one. So different from our American dogged adherence to good taste.
Good taste in the US sometimes seems to have become another acolyte of fundamentalist religion. Austerity, uninformed adherence, and a herd mentality seems to deform our design sense.
To the left are some of the Mauny wallpapers I’m considering. First contender is the teal parrot paper but I’m starting to lean towards the green parrot with the mauve background. I like the possibilities of using that wonderful green. Pictured below is Neisha’s Moire Lurex which in person looks metallic silver with flashes of green. Might be quite interesting covering the seats and backs of these 50’s Thonet-like chairs.
The scheme would be too sick-making ( I quote Evelyn Waugh) if the fabric were really this green.
More examples of Neisha’s unabashed aesthetic:
Definitely, not yet, a pretty picture
- At One End
- And at the Other End
These were two small bedrooms, one hogging the fireplace. With great good fortune the engineer discovered that the stars were aligned and that the beams were running in a propitious manner. It was no big deal to tear down the long wall between them to create a long elegant rectangle of a room.
On the left side of the right photo I’ll put the sectional sofa I had made some years ago for lallygagging about while we watch TV and I’ve determined that we’ll have a projection TV system with as big a screen as feasible for the geometries of the room, possibly using simply and elegantly a piece of canvas applied to the wall as the screen.
On the other side of the room, lying languidly in front of the fire in the picture on the left I’ve settled a beautiful long chaise I’ve had by a triple window in our current master bedroom. I love the idea of covering it with Designers Guild’s Maitland Nabucco, a velvet with a cut pile in the pattern of alligator. The colors are a dream of lushness. Hard to choose…maybe mix the black and the lime green.
Designers Guild Maitland Nabucco-Too Beautiful to Make a Choice
Adding to the my fantasy mix is a Victorian ceramic mantel that could be a devastating coup-or not. How would it look to substitute that big beefsteak of an existing mantel with this?
Shiny pitch black enamel paint walls and bookcases, a great backdrop for all this?
NB-To all those lovers of over-the-topness with high notes of post modern cool- get to know the work of Tricia Guild, the brilliant designer behind Designers Guild.
Aren’t we lucky to have this lovely place for a breakfast room? The exposure is a perfect Southeast. The casement windows long to be opened in warm weather. Attracting birds is in order.
Search and destroy a wall on one side now occupied by dispiriting pantry shelves and close up a space leading to the dining room
and there will be a small room which will create a light-filled T shape with the kitchen. It’s quite a skinny little room so one needs to think carefully about scaling the table and chairs to make the room feel as expansive as possible and comfortable to move around it. I am strongly considering taking out the radiators here, as well as in the dining room and kitchen and installing radiant heat. It will release precious floor space (banish those radiators and their ridiculous covers) and provide that delicious enveloping heat only radiant floor heat can provide.
And it’s just above the basement! Easy peasy access.
I have been holding on to an Edwardian rise and fall lamp that a client didn’t want-a gain for me. Adding a flimsy silk “curtain it will resemble this:
Or perhaps a cottony fringe will look the best, the old-fashioned kind that doesn’t have that nasty acrylic sheen that so many modern fringes have. I prefer the dry look.
Mauny Wallpaper for breakfast room
There is, most fortuitously, a flowering magnolia right outside.