Sunday, May 19, 2019

TABLESCAPE : David Hicks

David Hicks Interior Design

I've had this image in my file for quite some time now as a source of inspiration for today's post- The famous London designer David Hicks had written about the tablescape in some of his books and I've always found them to be a topic of great interest- When I was a student in New York under the former Parsons school of design faculty at FIT one of our assignments was to create renderings of tablescapes- we learned that one can design and edit any surface- and it was a great exercise in the education of the eye.  It's also a lot of fun!  Try it!  DF

Saturday, May 18, 2019

MUSE: Carmen/Louis XV


The model Carmen has always been an inspiration to me as she represents total New York glamour  and sophistication- I believe that I saw her in the show room of Clarence house at the D&D in New York many years ago and that reminded me of how Temo Callahan had introduced me to the fabulous world of silk velours gaufre'  (stamped silk velvet) - ooh la la - It's New York Meets Paris elegance at its peak of chic- So I thought if Carmen asked me to help her create a sitting room for her in Manhattan I would suggest aubergine lacquered walls with a statement pair of chairs in a cerise silk velvet- With perhaps an Andy Warhol portrait of her above a gilt Console (rococo) - Inspired!
I sourced her chairs from Cedric DuPont in West Palm Beach- sensational!  DF

Friday, May 17, 2019

STYLE: Jane Engelhard

Jane Engelhard

Billy and I were driving out to Boca grande to see our client Mrs. Labrecque, and my phone rang -it was Albert Hadley calling- Of course I was delighted to hear from Albert and I told him where we were going and I'm sure he was familiar with it since Parish Hadley did a lot of work for Charles and Jane Engelhard- They kept an estate on the island known as Gasparilla which was called Pamplemousse and Bunny Williams had shared a funny story about going there one time and not bringing dinner clothes but of course Mrs. E saved the day-

I found this vintage image of Jane so compelling as it shows several elements of timeless and classic decor including the pair of Louis XV armchairs- In reading social history I've learned that Jane and Brooke Astor both started their lives in China and I found this an interesting coincidence and also that  Janes daughter Annette was very good friends with Brooke Astor- The Engelhards owned seven homes around the world and many of them were decorated by sister parish -they were also involved in the world of horse racing- in a major way -

Notice the Chinoiserie screen in the corner -another timeless element which has become extremely fashionable in the 2000s- Wouldn't it be fun to own that screen and be able to say that it had belonged to Jane?  Similar to the story about the couple who attended bunny mellons auction and bid an outrageous  price for a sculpture of a bunny rabbit that had been bought in a gift shop for very little money- !  The couple was quoted as saying because it had belonged to bunny they had to have it-

To read more about Jane and Charles check out "the devoted classicist" by my friend John Tackett who once worked at Parish Hadley -he did a very interesting post on Cragwood - the far Hills estate belonging to the Engelhard family - Which Jane sold after (he) died prematurely and subsequently she moved to Nantucket where she died of pneumonia. RIP DF

Thursday, May 16, 2019

DFID: Enlightened

Dean Farris Interior Design

Here's an interesting shot of the morning light coming into my Naples living room -I always get a kick out of seeing the different effects that the sunrise makes-  Namaste! DF

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

COTE JARDIN: Decorative Delight

Cote Jardin Antiques via Tone on Tone
So yesterday I was reading a favorite interior design Blog called "tone on tone" -And came across this fabulous image that Loi had posted from this beautiful Georgetown shop- located in a hidden side street off O Street -

Before I moved to New York City I had a very darling apartment on Q St. near Dumbarton Oaks- I remember how fortunate I felt to have found the apartment- It was an English basement in an Italianate revival townhouse and I painted the floors white and the walls were white painted brick everything was white- it was quite glamorous!  Louise and I used to haunt this cute place on Wisconsin Avenue called Au Pied de Cochon - (foot of the Pig) And I enjoyed my time in Washington very much-  but NYC was calling!  DF

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Naples Beach: Charming Pastels

Dean Farris Interior Design

Continuing with my post from yesterday here's an image showing Loreen's living room in the Parkshore area of Naples- I came up with the brilliant idea of installing a pair of false mirrored French doors between custom bookcases to balance the opening from the oval shaped foyer opposite-

Vintage sofa in Ralph Lauren Home silk tweed.  Chairs Jacques Garcia for Baker.  Ottoman Hickory Chair.  Pair etagere tables Milling Road.  Ebonized coffee table, Ralph Lauren Home.  Contractor, Tony Felice.

We created this charming apartment 17 years ago and it is still exactly as I left it!  Recently Loreen inherited an 18th century house in Litchfield County, Connecticut and I look forward to helping out with that one as well - DF

Monday, May 13, 2019

LUNCH: Notes on Living Well

Signed copy!

Yesterday I had a delightful alfresco lunch with my dear client and friend Loreen- We started out with a rose'Prosecco-
and a fabulous cheese with fresh fruit- Our main course was a lovely quiche Lorraine with a beautiful green salad and fruit cup- !  All this while sitting on the terrace overlooking the beautiful gulf of Mexico which was the color of a pale aqua marine jewel-

This past winter Loreen had attended the Naples Tables event at the Ritz Carlton and it was sponsored by the League Club- where 70 designer tables were created to raise funds.  Designer and lifestyle guru James Farmer was the keynote speaker and he very kindly signed Loreen's copy of his latest book shown here-

Then she surprised me as she often does by suggesting that she submit me to the League club as a possible entrant for the upcoming event next season!  Of course I was delighted!  Another charming and very flattering thing about Loreen is that I had decorated her condo 17 years ago and it's still exactly the same as I left it !  A true tribute to my talent taste and style and it's always encouraging that Nancy Porter of Albert Hadley's office had referred her to me 17 years ago and that's how we came together!   Thank you Loreen!  Thank you Nancy!  DF

Sunday, May 12, 2019

STYLE: Georgia Peach

My mothers portrait by Joseph Wallace King

Happy Mothers Day- ! Like the soft pink petals of the rose a mother never fades away she becomes a beautiful potpourri of memories and love - And I'm certainly very grateful and fortunate to still have my lovely mother-

In a funny aside, many years ago I had this oil sketch done of my mother (as a gift for my father) by the late artist Joseph Wallace King, who at that time was the only American to have painted Queen Elizabeth -!  I guess I figured if he was good enough for the queen he was good enough for my mother LOL !

An interesting fellow with an interesting background we met through Leigh Rose when I did the foyer for the Shakespeare Festival decorator show house on Arbor Road- Leigh and her husband Selwyn had moved to Winston-Salem from Beverly Hills, California where Leigh drove a Rolls-Royce - with a gold key - she told me it was in the shop more often than in her garage- through Leigh I became friends with Joe's second wife Deborah, who divided her time between homes in Florence, Italy and Winston-Salem.  Deborah and I also participated in the Gourmet Gala - which was another fundraiser charity event back then and it was a lot of fun.

Another eccentric and funny thing about Joe was that he only had one arm- imagine a one armed portrait painter !  But no one thought anything of it- he was very talented - and his first wife, Earline King, was a classically trained sculptor- they had this glamorous  house at the end of Arbor Road across from JoAnn Reynolds' estate- that rambled on and on like something out of a Hollywood version of a Connecticut country house and the most interesting thing to me was it had a very serpentine curved pierced brick wall that wrapped around the entire property which was hung with Ivy- it was amazingly beautiful- DF

Saturday, May 11, 2019

NEWPORT: Quatrel on Market

Restored and inviting Ogden Codman masterpiece offers every modern amenity and comfort. Exquisitely detailed interiors flow beautifully for entertaining or just relaxing at home. This historic property includes a two bedroom carriage house. Bailey’s Beach and the Cliff Walk are a short walk away. Absolute perfection! “Quatrel” was built in 1853 and was originally known as “Fairbourne”. It was built for Earl P. Mason of Providence who was the president of the Rhode Island National Bank. The house was designed by Providence architect Thomas Alexander Tefft in the style of an Italianate villa. In 1880 the house was sold to New York lawyer and art connoisseur Egerton Winthrop. In 1903 Winthrop engaged architect Dudley Newton and Ogden Codman, Jr. to enlarge and remodel the house in the Classical Revival style. Many of Codman’s architectural drawings for “Quatrel” are in the collection of Historic New England and include elevations, details, and plans for the dining room, hall, library drawing room, and the garden and trellis. Codman was a friend of Edith Wharton, the 19th century writer and taste-maker who wrote several design books including The Decoration of Houses which was co-authored by Codman. In 1949 the house was sold to Louis and Elaine Lorillard who renamed the house “Quatrel”. The Lorillard’s were the founders of The Newport Jazz Festival. Only six families have owned “Quatrel” since it was built. You can see more here.

I found this room on "the Glam pad "yesterday and I wanted to focus on the drawing room because it represents an opulent Newport look that I've always admired- the house itself is over 150 years old and sits on famed Bellevue, across from "Rough Point" the former Doris Duke estate- inspiring!  I was drawn to the sunny color scheme and the mix of damask with chintz- so elegant and refined !  DF

Friday, May 10, 2019


Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club

Yesterday my associate the decorator Ruth Condit loaned me her copy of the kips Bay catalog from New York, she had just been there for the weekend to see the show house- So I was delighted and surprised to see that two pages were given to the kips Bay Palm Beach show house where my dear friend Louise had done the beautiful Loggia (pages 34-35) !  There's nothing quite as exciting as kicking off spring with a visit to the kips Bay decorator show house in New York City- I remember going there back in the 80s every year and the Rigaud candles would be burning like mad- so fabulous and so inspiring!  DF

Thursday, May 9, 2019

GLORIA: Inspiring Forever

Gloria Vanderbilt via VOGUE

MY MODERN MUSE GLORIA VANDERBILT IS SHOWN ABOVE IN HER FORMER GRACIE SQUARE APARTMENT, NOTICE SHE IS HOLDING A FAN IN HER HAND!  The beautiful chintz on the walls and her headboard was obtained from my old friend Ron Grimaldi at Rose Cumming in Manhattan-

This image reminds me somewhat of the time I had to go over to the Park Avenue apartment of
Anne Ford to look at the carpet in her bedroom- In researching Ms. Vanderbilt I discovered that many bloggers have written about her including Heather Clawson of habitually chic and Mark Sikes- No surprise as she is an eternal inspiration- But I also came across this fabulous Interview
with her from interview magazine online- a very interesting follow -up to the video I had posted on her a few days ago from Wendy Goodman of The Cut - enjoy!  DF

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


Dean Farris Interior Design (c) 2019

This evening view of the east end of my "cottage" living room also known as the penthouse living room features a beautiful porcelain bust reproduction by Maitland Smith-

And as mentioned before I've had quite a bit of fun with my pillows and Chinese fan and the overall placement of the furnishings in this grouping- Which includes the teal painted Louis XV style open armchair in creamy white Jack Lenor Larsen Linen with the gold lame' under backing-(from Albert)  empire style pedestal and turquoise damask pillow from Blaze Interiors, Miromar Design Center.  DF