Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Decorative Richness, Rose Cumming

I finally received my fabulous copy of the new Jeffrey Simpson book called "Rose Cumming Design Inspiration" - (Rizzoli) !  What a delicious treat.  This is a great history and Roger Comeau of Dessin Fournir, has saved the company- Christopher Petkanas also did a fabulous piece on Rose in the NYT...
The drawing room

Colour Story

Another beautiful room by Rose Cumming
I felt a personal connection to the new book, since I knew Ron Grimaldi, and met Mrs Cecil, the sister of Miss Rose.  Too, Albert used to talk to me about knowing Rose, and of course, I was also exposed to her by another fab mentor, Tom Britt...and when I was a young man of about 17 or so, I very serendipitously discovered her ancient and mysterious shop, on Park Avenue, near 53rd Street- (since demolished). And- my friend Marcy, has a sister, Mary Jo, who married into the Cecil family- related to the Vanderbilts by marriage- as in BILTMORE...
Biltmore Estate, property of the Cecil family

I recall Ronald or someone telling me that Gloria Vanderbilt, (whom he helped to decorate her Sutton Place apartment) once paid about $16,000.00 for one pillow, and I adore shocking my clients and customers off the street with this little tidbit of decorating trivia!  I also was most interested to learn that my idol, Michael Taylor, placed a large order for "Carisbrook" and that is what launched the revival of Rose's fabrics after her death in the sixties, fostered by Ron Grimaldi and Eileen Cecil.

Tom Britt's drawing room

Carisbrook, by Rose Cumming, through Dessin Fournir
  The beautiful and exotic birds in Tom's upstairs salon, once hung in Miss Rose's "Ugly Room" a space she created to show how anything from nature was valid, and to express her unique point of view- there is a colour plate of this room in the famous book "The Finest Rooms" and I would urge you to reference the book, and the image I am describing, to get the full impact of how special the work Miss Rose did really was.  Enjoy the day, wherever you are! DF *****

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Nate Turner In Naples!

Margaret Russell and Nathan Turner
Good News! Designer Nathan Turner, of Million Dollar Decorator fame is headed our way! He'll be here at the design center on Thursday, November 8th at 11:00 am.  And, speaking of the Miromar Design Center, my friend Mark Fanta - of Webster and Company- is hosting a trip to Paris next year, for designers only! Check it out, and enjoy the day!  DF *****

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kelly Sweeps Floors, And So Do I...!

We've been in a heavy mode of Carolinas influenced design lately, having just come off of the High Point Market, returning as well from South Carolina for a client in Greenville, and our long time clients in Charleston have listed their South of Broad house on the real estate market.  And, fellow designer and South Carolina native, Kelly Wearstler, lately of Los Angeles, has been on our minds too!
Continuing in the vein, our Charleston clients are using Brunk Auctions, of Asheville, NC to dispose of their collection- which they have spent their lives amassing.  Andrew Brunk recently left his post (after five years) at Christie's New York as head of American Decorative Arts, to return to Asheville and work in his family owned auction business.  Designer Kelly Wearstler, shown here sweeping up for her One Kings Lane sale this past Summer, is a great natural talent, and her mother also owned a business dealing in antique furnishings.  Sometimes, if you want something done, it's better to just go ahead and do it oneself!  Any good decorator knows this, and I've seen the best of them get down and dirty, and I am no different.
                                          Andrew Brunk, Brunk Auctions, Asheville

Here's the Charleston drawing room in its latest incarnation.

Here it is as we first designed it, and we had submitted it to Architectural Digest, but decided to not publish it, and it was also submitted to The World of Interiors... That's Lord Byron over the mantel, the house dates from 1830, and is on Saint Michael's Alley, behind the famous church which had its steeple blown askew by hurricane Hugo.  The man who straightened it back upright was our contractor on this extensive remodeling and restoration project, which took over two years.

While shopping in Monaco, at the biennale des antiquaires there, we saw this beautiful paint colour on some shutters, and were able to order the same paint from a French source for our shutters...

Here again, is beautiful and uber talented Kelly Wearstler, a native of Myrtle Beach, SC! Kelly recently launched her own clothing line, and has built a very strong brand for herself, comparable to Tory Burch.  I'm thrilled that Naples is getting its own Tory Burch boutique.  Don't you just love this shot of KW?  Kelly, aka Mrs. Brad Korzen, also has four design books published, one of which I show below, she is a tour de force of talent, as well as the mother of two sons!  Can you say "Steel Magnolia" ?  Enjoy!  DF *****

Monday, October 15, 2012

Beautiful Boca Grande

One of the "secret" places in Florida- very hard to reach by car, and unknown to all but the most discerning of Florida travellers, Gasparilla Island- also known as Boca Grande- is the most charming and "old Florida" of towns in an island setting.  We took some friends there for the day on Sunday, had a fabulous lunch at the casual restaurant called The Pink Elephant -"The Pink"- and Dickie and I had black grouper "sliders" with a Sonoma Cutrer chardonnay...then we all mosied over to the hotel, known as the Gasparilla Inn, a very interesting old building from 1911- 
Nothing is more pleasant or enjoyable than sitting on one of the rockers on the front loggia of the hotel.  First owned by Barron Collier, then Bayard Sharp, and now the William Farish family, the hotel has been freshened up and is ready for the upcoming social season.  Boca Grande is also known as the tarpon fishing capital of the world.  The decor is like a screaming old money Palm Beach-Greenbrier look- all butter yellow walls, pistachio green carpets, and pinks and blues on seating pieces.  The lounge called BZ's (after Bayard Sharp) was my favorite, done in a very updated tropical look, with murals, seagrass, rattan, and a stunning pecky cypress ceiling, with killer views of the golf course and the back bay.
Here, (above) is the old train depot, from when old Boston society would come down in the early part of the 20th century and stay a can still see the tracks behind this building.

The boys insisted I get a shot of this adorable pink fuel pump- only on Boca Grande would you see this, the islanders are often seen cruising the village in their golf carts, complete with the golden retriever riding on the back.

This chair, from Hickory Chair, reminds me of the wall colour at The Gasparilla Inn...notice the small parsons table, a gift to me from the late Albert Hadley.  Rose Cumming banana leaf print in taupe on vintage chairs, small bouillotte lamp I got in the village in NYC.  Garden seat from Naples Lamp Shop, Naples.  The standing lamp behind the chair was a gift.  If you ever come and see me in Naples, maybe we can visit the island, a most charming place to visit...

Billy and I consulted on this house on Gasparilla Island, along with Carleton Varney, the New York designer, and two ladies who are the Brooke and Mimi of Boca Grande...many of the older properties on the island were designed by noted architect F. Burrall Hoffman, who is also credited with Viscaya, in Miami.  Hope you enjoyed this glimpse of an enchanted place, DF ***** 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Neo-Georgian Dream House

I'm most excited to share with you some progress shots of the new house we are helping to design and build in the lovely "up country" of South Carolina...for dear clients I have worked with for over thirty-five years, who are also dear friends after so many years of collaboration.  Bill and I just returned from the job site- and we had a very nice time while working on site with the builders, architects, and other contractors...
This clubhouse building is one of our inspirations for the new house, which comprises over 11,000 square feet of living space. 

The sunroom on the rear side of the house will be similar to this


I took this shot by pointing my camera straight up the elevator shaft

We liked this cabinet by Fairmont for one of the eight bathrooms

Stay tuned for more coming soon to a screen near you! DF *****
P.S.   Check out the Bespoke Bloke blog... it's fantastic!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Room of the Week, Atlanta

While researching the Swan House, an Inman family residence, now a house museum, I came across this image of what I assume is the library- the warmth, the classical proportions, and the cohesive interior design appeals to me greatly. Not trendy, but based in a tradition of classicism- this room will never be "dated" as decorators like to say, nor will it ever be called the dernier cri, (the latest thing) or seen on a makeover show on's elegant ambience reminds me of private clubs I've been to, such as the Georgetown M street club, the Old Town Club in Winston-Salem, NC, and the fabulous old New York private clubs...and also the home of Edsel Ford II - in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI which I was exposed to while working with the late New York designer, H. Parkin Saunders, of Saunders and Walsh, Inc. 
This room could be the work of David Richmond Byers, III - a noted Atlanta decorator who also worked on the White House.  If you, dear reader, know who the designer of this "room of the week" was, I'd love to know. Just post a comment below.  Enjoy!  DF *****
David Byers flanked by Julie and Pat Nixon, 1971