by Marisa Marcantonio

Photos courtesy of Liz O'Brien
Very few people have an eye like Liz O'Brien. Her discerning eye sought out now iconic pieces from the likes of John Dickenson, Billy Haines, Karl Springer, Jansen and Line Vautrin, twenty years ago. This collecting foresight put her way ahead of the curve, and hers is the go-to gallery for the world's best interior designers in search of incredible statement pieces. But she is more than that. Not only is she the author of two noted books on designers Samuel Marks and Billy Haines, she has just debuted a line of stunning furniture called Liz O'Brien Editions. Capturing the essential elements of classic pieces from the past, she has updated them for today with perfect scale and fluid lines. A collection like this makes you realize the purity of great design. At its essence, it's all about form.
This dazzling debut is hot hot hot, so start collecting it now.

The gallery was all aglow for the launch party

I love a low, sexy perch. Very chic.

Glazed linens in candy colors on the tufted Frances Chair

Blow ups of malachite and lapis patterns provided a fresh and dramatic backdrop

The Albert Mirror is wrapped in fabric printed with malachite, travertine, onyx and lapis patterns.

The Albert Tables
"Inspired by fabric wrapped furniture of the 1970s, the Albert table is a jewel-like object that can be used as a telephone table or grouped in multiples." - Liz O'Brien

The James Table
“The James Table is sleek and smart, with a trim drawer. Perfect as a bedside table or as end tables on either side of a sofa.” – Liz O’Brien

The Michael Table fabric wrapped with a lacquer finish.
“The perfect coffee table, generous in proportion and simple in design. A great complement to a traditional sofa or a modern interior.” –Liz O’Brien

The Billy Chair
"Crafted to emulate a mid-century classic, the Billy Chair is both slim in proportion and rich in comfort. The tapered legs provide a sleek silhouette." -Liz O'Brien

The Frances Chair
Inspired by the style of Frances Elkins.
Side chair in ivory translucent glaze with upholstered button tufted seat and back.

The Jayne Lounger
"The Jayne companion lounge chair is sensual and inviting. Perfect for reading and conversation." - Liz O'Brien

The Pamela Settee

The Pamela Sofa
"Inspired by the style of 1930s cafe society, the Pamela sofa is grand in proportion and elegant in design. This graceful beauty harkens to another time yet fits in a contemporary interior." -Liz O'Brien

The Jayne Sofa
"The Jayne Sofa is sensual and inviting. Sublime and comfortable, best used floating in a room or in pairs." - Liz O'Brien

The Sister Pouf with Turkish corners and double cushion is a party piece.

The Sam Table
“Glamorous and light-catching, the character of geometric acrylic legs evokes the dazzling interiors of midcentury taste-makers. The Sam Table can be used as a side table or cocktail table, alone or in pairs.” – Liz O’Brien


by Marisa Marcantonio

A new book on the legendary American designer Syrie Maugham was recently written by the prolific Pauline C. Metcalf for Acanthus Press, and I heard her speak on the topic at this year's Winter Antique Show.

Photo courtesy of Acanthus Press
The room that started it all: the glamorous San Francisco bedroom of Celia Tobin Clark. Designed by the go to designer of the day in 1929, this room set tongues wagging. Maugham became known as the "White Queen", for the all white palette she used in her London apartment that helped her earn the moniker. She continued the use of varying shades of cream in her work for Mrs. Clark, shown here, through the use of a Marion Dorn cut pile rug, and upholstery and trim in shades of oyster, pearl and parchment. On the walls, she placed a scrolled, stenciled pattern on a Swedish linen. The green pattern worked with the all white interiors in a space that has became known as an American masterpiece. The room is frequently referenced as such, and is groundbreaking in its use of a singular color, varying textures and simplicity of the pieces used.

James Shearron, a partner in the architecture firm Bories and Shearron, recreated the room for a House and Garden (rip) story in 2001, when he was the special projects editor. The space was recreated down to every last detail. I helped him produce the story and assisted him on the set, where everything was built from scratch. A custom rug was created by Doris Leslie Blau, furniture made to scale with mole fringe in the seams, a custom four poster bed, Minic Table, Sentimento accessories and hand printed Studio Printworks wallpaper all made room come alive. The article we did was the first time the room had been re-created in color. Those were the days when building a set like this was de rigeur.

The paper is now a mainstay in the Studio Printworks collection. The paper was recolored for Liz O'Brien's divine booth at the Winter Antique Show, with the pattern in silver. I always look forward to seeing her booth, since she creates a space you just want to move into. A Scalloped-Back Settee from Maison Jansen covered in a grey fabric is an anchor for the booth and a show stopper.

Syrie, wittily remastered, holds a card with the Studio Printworks wallpaper details.

Liz's large booth was filled with museum quality pieces like a Syrie Maugham Petite Side Table, John Vesey's Folding X-bench, and assorted Grosfield House and Maison Jansen pieces.

Lamps with palm fronds made of metal light up a chest of drawers.

The lamps lights made the silver accents of the wallpaper glow.


by Marisa Marcantonio

Vintage furniture enthusiasts, well - wishers and interior designers gathered at Liz O'Brien's uber chic new gallery space at 306 East 61st Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues to celebrate the launch of a new book from Acanthus Press on Syrie Maugham by Pauline C. Metcalf. Known for her signature all white interior she designed in 1927, Syrie's creativity and inventiveness knew no bounds. If you have not yet been to Liz's new space, you need to go go go there! Vaubel, John Dickenson, and Karl Springer design awaits you.

Flowers arranged a la Constance Spry were out of this world. After I attended the Constance Spry Show in 2004 at London's Design Museum, I never forgot how groundbreaking her circa 1930-40's arrangements were. She took London by storm, arranging the flowers for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation and wrote thirteen practical books on flower design.

Pauline signing books

Another stunning work of art in flowers

More on the book soon. Stay tuned...


by Marisa Marcantonio

Photo courtesy of Quadrille
Summery design and warm weather interiors are made more fun with kicky fabrics and accessories that channel a tropical lifestyle. Batik from Indonesia, traditionally created in indigo, dark brown and white for the Hindu gods is also embraced by cultures in Malaysia, Japan, India and Africa. Combining the natural beauty and allure of the Indonesian island of Java, batik has the allure of the handmade and the naivete of pattern from the wax-resist dying technique that makes for a carefree, relaxed feeling in any type of setting.

Photo courtesy of Liz O'Brien
Is this table the best, or what? Liz O'Brien has this vintage circa 1970 Karl Springer Glazed Batik Low Table that ads history and style to any setting.

Photo courtesy of John Robshaw
John Robshaw's Ink bed is a mix and match plethora of batik- inspired textiles.

Photo courtesy of Royal Hut
Mary Vinson of Royal Hut has been offering West African made batik options for years, using the textiles in exotic resorts like The Goldeneye Resort in Jamaica.

Photo courtesy of Mar y Sol
If all this color is so inspiring you want to wear it, grab Mar Y Sol's Omre Dyed Raffia Clutch in batik- inspired colors.

Photo courtesy of Sundance
Red and white stripes make this Amba Batik graphic pillow from Sundance Catalog is a well priced accessory to transform a room into summer.

Photo courtesy of Oomph
Oomph's Navy Batik Lumbar Pillow is a jazzy accent to a slipper chair.

Quadrille has a wide selection of batik fabrics that are as bold as they are beautiful. Here is a selection of China Seas fabrics to get you in the mood for tropical paradise. Turtle Batik in hot pink multi

Turtle Batik in melon multi

Tropicana II in azalea multi

Nikit II in new turquoise in tint

Malay Batik in navy multi

Malay Batik in watermelon and blue

Malay Stripe in watermelon

New Batik in new brown new navy on tan

New Batik in french blue navy on tan

Balinese Batik in orange cream on white

Balinese Batik in navy cream on white