Sunday, May 26, 2013

Remembering Angelo in Key West

Richard Peacon House, Eaton Street, Key West, FL
Happy Memorial day weekend!  We were recently down in Key West for the weekend, and I couldn't resist snapping some of my favorite places in Old Town.  Above, the historic Peacon House, built in 1885, at 712 Eaton Street.  Angelo Donghia bought this in 1974, and had Fred Cole restore it in 1975.  It was then published in AD.  In the early 80's Calvin Klein bought it for the then huge sum of $975,000.00  I've always admired this house.

I tried to get close in to show the historic marker in the front garden...

This is the north side of the house, love the aqua colored shutters.  I think they were painted white when Angelo lived there.  This partially octagonal house is known in the vernacular of KW buildings as a "bow front" house.  Below, some other conch houses I was intrigued by...

 If you want to visit Key West, which is only 90 miles from Cuba, I suggest staying at the Marquesa Hotel, on Fleming Street.  It's directly across from the elegant Duck and Dolphin  Antiques, one of my favorite shops in Old Town.  ENJOY!  DF *****

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Barroux Model, F.P. Victoria

From House Beautiful, March 2005
One of my all time favorite chairs, the Barroux model, from trade source F.P. Victoria, New York- is shown here.  As readers of Dean Farris Style may recall, I was fortunate to work with the late Tice Alexander, a good friend and classmate- from FIT days, who previously worked as a decorator at the famed Parish-Hadley Associates...without any digression, I could probably talk about this chair, and how it relates to a certain period of my life, for HOURS!  But I don't think I have the time right now!  If you want more info on the Barroux chair, go on the site and click on bespoke, then chairs, then scroll down... the above image is from a 2005 Stephen Henderson article called "Rising From The Ashes" - which was produced by Senga Mortimer, with stunning photography by Don Freeman.  (March 2005)
After this important estate was damaged in a fire, designers Albert Hadley and Harry Heissman accepted the challenge of re-designing the house- reconfiguring some major rooms, changing fenestration, and it was also decided to switch from wood frame construction to stone.  The re-built house is now built to commercial codes, and should last forever.  Sited on 300 acres in Litchfield- the fabulous grounds were also featured in the January 2005 House Beautiful!
When Tice and I designed another estate, in Houston, Texas, we again used the barroux model- flanking the fireplace in the grand living room- where I recall windows were bricked in to allow for furniture placement on that elevation.  We also took out a stone floor and replaced it with wood.  I wish I had a picture of that room-to share with you- it was all done in the classic Parish Hadley mode, with a Russian chandelier over a center table- and hundreds of yards of Cowtan Tout chintz.  The silk velvet sofas were from DeAngelis- with custom embroidered skirts.  The carpet was an Aubusson.  The Barroux model is very luxe comfort- it is 30.5 wide, 42.5 deep, and 34 high, and has down cushions.  Think of it as a sort of easy chair for moguls- and do visit the FPV site, it has a great modern look and feel- the essence of old New York!  ENJOY! DF ***** 

Monday, May 6, 2013

F.P. Victoria, 80 Years of Elegance

Many years ago, I was given a copy of this book, and now, F.P. Victoria is celebrating it's 80th anniversary.  With  forewords by Olivier Bernier, Mark Hampton, and Anthony Victoria- it's a fantastic reference for those interested in the art and history of the chair.
The late Tice Alexander and I often sourced this company for our projects- and I was very glad to hear that they are still going strong.  Enjoy!  DF *****

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Classic: Mercedes Benz 280 SL

1970 280 SL
Lately, I've been lusting after a classic Mercedes, known as the 280 SL...when you google this particular model, certain words come up, such as "classic", "Beverly Hills, Southampton, Palm Beach" and "John Travolta, John Lennon, Audrey Hepburn, and Sophia Loren". Since these cars have become very collectible, the price has doubled in recent years, and I could have bought one in good condition for $22,000.00 but it now appears that they are much higher- (depending on the condition)- but I did test drive the baby, and I loved it.  I also recently bid on one on ebay- but the reserve was probably $45K.  You see a LOT of these in Naples- we have relatively flat roads here, and they are the perfect car for tooling around a small resort town such as Naples.
My friend, Stephen, has one, but then, he has other modes of transport, and you really don't want this for a daily driver- the parts are hideously expensive.  Of course, Stephen is the sort of guy who spends his Summers in a flat in Mayfair, London. 
Having owned in the past two BMW's, three Mercedes, and one Porsche, I'm not so sure I want the headaches attached to owning something so undeniably precious- since the love affair can be so terribly emotional- but if the right one comes heart may win!  Now, if I can just decide what colour I want... DF*****