ZEBRA'S ON YOU CHINA: SCALAMADRE BY LENOX TABLETOP DEBUTS AT BLOOMINGDALE'S

by Marisa Marcantonio

Last night Scalamandre debuted their new tabletop collaboration with Lenox at Bloomingdale's. Just up the street from the Scalamadre townhouse, they debuted Scalamandre's classic textile patterns interpreted on Lenox, American-made china. Adapting 5 iconic patterns, including the jumping zebra we all know and love, they created fanciful dinnerware and accessories for the collection. To launch with a creative bang, they asked celebrated interior designers Bunny Williams, Charlotte Moss, Richard Mishaan, Kathryn M. Ireland (who is in the midst of creating a fabric collection with Scalamandre now), and Jamie Drake to create festive windows around the patterns. And that they did. The windows were fantastic; sure to stop passersby in their tracks.

Bunny+Williams.jpg

 Photos and descriptions courtesy of Scalamandre/Lenox/Bloomingdales

Renowned designer Bunny Williams created an exuberant, tour de force homage to Lenox's Toile Tale. Adapted from Scalamandré's Pillement Toile, the pattern features a fanciful Chinoiserie landscape of enchanting flowers, fretwork, figures, pagodas and parasols. Framed by antique gilded palm trees, a carved and painted curio pagoda cabinet showcases a selection of Toile Tale’s captivating dinner plates, bowls and accessories. Suspended above, a host of multi-colored silk lanterns herald the Chinese New Year. Scalamandré's warp silk Paradiso covers the upper walls and the striped silk Sunset adorns the lower third, each anchored with elegant fretwork molding. Turkish floor cushions covered in Scalamandré's luxe Tigre finish this exotic, enticing meal for two.

Bouvier, based on a superb 18th century French design from Scalamandré and known as Jardin de Tuileries, has graced the homes of some of America’s great style doyennes, among them Jacqueline Onassis, Bunny Mellon and Marie Harriman. Designer Charlotte Moss took her cue from Jacqueline Kennedy's childhood in East Hampton and created an equestrian scene with boxwood hedges, pole jumps and an impromptu luncheon. Bales of hay serve as seating and are covered with tufted cushions of Scalamandré’s smart outdoor Boxwood Stripe. Miss Bouvier’s monogrammed quilted horse blanket is made of navy Guadeloupe with brown detailing and a monogram. An awning, also fabricated in the navy Guadeloupe appears above this sophisticated, sunlit setting. Placesettings of Bouvier and a complement of serving pieces, flatware and silver are displayed on a folding table.

 Bouvier

Richard Mishaan created a chic, urban dining aerie to showcase those iconic Zebras that once graced the walls of the late, lamented Gino's Restaurant in New York City. Lithely eluding arrows with grace, speed and endless charm, Scalamandré’s irrepressible Zebra wallpaper in the signature Masai red serves as dramatic backdrop for an intimate dinner. A complement of Zebra china, accessories and giftware is set on table with a red silk tablecloth of Scalamandré’s Shangri-la overlaid with the finely woven Herringbone di Lusso. Two cubes upholstered in the graphic Zebra linen emerge from under a console and a three-paneled screen featuring a dozen Zebra Accent plates finishes this dramatic and swank vignette. 

 Zebras

A painted English stately home with a requisite fountain and lake is the charming backdrop for Kathryn Ireland’s picnic vignette. Appointed with the enchanting Love Birds china pattern, this perennially fresh design is from one of Scalamandré's earliest and most cherished reproduction fabrics. Her inviting plein-air tablescape features pillows covered in Scalamandre's Love Birds, Bizarre, Sami Ikat and Lillian. A tablecloth in blue Serendipity is layered with a coral strié lampas, Uppsala and at the cloth’s edge, is a fetching parasol covered in Sami, in blue. A one-hundred-percent beautifully drawn linen, Baroque Floral is draped over the picnic basket. 

Love Birds

Jamie Drake selected Lenox’s striking Stravagante pattern, a hyper lush, ravishingly drawn Italian Baroque still life based on a document from Scalamandré's Medici Archives. In a distilled, graphic and dreamlike tableau, Stravagante imaginatively comes to life with five winding, serpentine stems, tendrils and leaves covered in Scalamandré’s Citrine Upcountry cotton velvet and Rasone, a solid cotton sateen. Five electric blue Morning Glory blossoms in the blue cotton Cento are adorned with butterflies and bear Stravagante plates. 

 Stravagante

COLOR KICKS THIS YEAR'S KIPS BAY SHOWHOUSE UP A NOTCH

by Marisa Marcantonio

So how do you make a modern glass box livable? That was the question many designers asked themselves as they prepared their rooms for this year's Kips Bay Showhouse. Situated in a tower in the sky with river views, two duplex apartments received the designer treatment.  With nary a piece of molding in sight, the design challenge began. The chosen participants spun their web of transformation  in a jiffy. Since these are professionals, they rose to the occasion with brilliance, creating unique spaces with something for everyone. I will delve into the design standouts over the next week, so visit the far Westside and take a look. If traveling cross town is too much to process, Kips Bay has organized a shuttle bus that leaves from the Park Avenue Armory at 66th Street.

Speaking of brilliance, the brilliant color green was big this year. It was present in  every hue, from jade to grass, the verdant color vied for attention. From Charlotte Moss covering an entire room in floor to ceiling pea green velvet (masking the soffit overhang like the lining of a jewelry box)  to Jamie Drake painting his walls a matte teal finish, the veteran designers used the color to great dramatic effect.

Todd Romano's dining room with double height ceilings and soaring windows. French Directiore chairs upholstered in Brunschwig and Fils grass green silk matched the Dodie Thayer pottery he set on the table.

A massive pineapple welcomed us. Designed by Horacio Madrigal Terra Cotta, it is from Claremont,  in case you were wondering. The color matched the aubergine walls.

To say I have a fondness for Thayer Lettuceware is an understatement. I adore it. You can always count on Romano for Porthault linens and gorgeous china.

Charmer alert! A miniature vase of carnations at every place setting provided a warm gesture of hospitality.

What Kips Bay room would be complete without a handmade lamp by Christopher Spitzmiller?

Bringing the natural world inside, Charlotte Moss's room appealed to all the senses. She covered a wall in boxwood, the facing wall had blown up images of manicured French gardens, and swathed everything in varying shades of green.   The darling round-backed Charleston Slipper Chair and white cut corner table are two pieces

 from her new Century Icon's Furniture collection. The scale and amount of detail on them are just perfect, and I think my apartment would agree.

  The Natchez Camel Back Sofa has Fortuny Pillows from David Duncan on it to add a little shimmer.  To further enhance the greenery all around, the sounds of chirping birds created a transporting experience.

Photos by Eric Striffler

Working with her new Fabricut collection, she covered the room in velvet and upholstered pieces in her green florals and prints. Getting creative with the wall space, she hung antique engravings at eye level and placed a Vladimir Kanevsky Porcelain Hollyhock on a gilded decorative bracket.

Catching everything in its reflective glow, the walls of Thom Filicia's lacquer box.

His Vanguard Copake Eagle Console held sway on one wall.

On another wall, his cool modern Abstract Lines artwork from Soicher Marin were hung above a bench he designed for Vanguard.

Brian del Toro is a name you may not know but you should. He is enormously talented, having worked for some of the best in the business.  He was a senior designer when I was at David Kleinberg's office. His has impeccable taste. Spring green cushions in F. Schumacher's Prestwick wool sateen in shamrock on parchment club chairs from the 1960's mirror the clean lines in the wall treatment.

To counter the pop of green, French blue walls were treated with linear paneling. There were many great takes on how to treat walls this showhouse.

A rarified old world vintage Longchamp desk set and lamp tied the shades of green together. How civilized. Desk sets are making a comeback. I think the luddite in everyone is emerging to counter our obsessive ipad use.

What can I say? Jamie Drake just knows how to style a bookcase. He too used interesting horizontal panel detailing in more of a forest green/teal combination.

Beautiful porcelain flowers nestled amongst the books.

Scott Sanders created The Cabana, a room  that is ready for summer. Incorporating a classic Scalamandre  resist print recolored in a green, blue and yellow floral pattern. 

Meshing mid century modern and the way we live today, Sanders artfully crafted a fun hang out space. 

Phillip Jeffries Juicy Jute grasscloth in split pea added requisite zing on the walls teeing up the pair of fluoro Warhol pop art cows.

THE RELEVANCE OF DESIGN BOOKS AND A NEW ONE: ROOMS TO INSPIRE IN THE COUNTRY

by Marisa Marcantonio

The other day Potterton Books sponsored an interior designer gathering at Kips Bay. The round table discussion included design books, their reason for being and purpose today. All the designers agreed books are better than ever, they read refer to them daily and their libraries are overflowing with new one's they cannot resist buying.

Photo by Tim Street-Porter


Annie Kelly, whose new book Rooms to Inspire in the Country, is shown below, moderated a lively talk between Jamie Drake, Anne Pyne of McMillen, Jeffrey Bilhuber, Bunny Williams and Juan Montoya.
The first question was about Bunny's runaway success book, Affair with a House. In its 10th printing (a big number for design books), the book has the winning formula which she thinks is due to its personal nature. Relatable recipes, real life entertaining relaxed living resonate with the reader, as it is a window into the way Bunny and her husband John Rosselli really live. She shared that the house was a long undertaking, and decorating and renovating happened in stages--- not in a year or two like client's projects. Musing on the power of books she ended with this: "my last penny I would spend on buying a rare design book--it is our education". No doubt there is much to glean from historic texts and images.
Anne Pyne of McMillan is working with Acanthus Press on a book about the history of the legendary firm. Her approach is much more academic, with footnotes and a lot of archival research. She is clear she wants the book to be an historically accurately account of the work and times of the firm. For a visual, she brought a stack of books that are her reading essentials. She recommends Frank Alva Parsons (founder of Parsons) Interior Design and Decoration: Its Principals and Practice from 1931, The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard from 1958, Cecil Beaton's The Glass of Fashion from 1921 and The History of English Furniture by Percy Macquoid and Ralph Edwards.
Juan Montoya wants his books to inspire, not just teach. He feels that books as oppose to magazines stay true to a designer's vision, since they have the say so and final approval on how their rooms are photographed, styled and written about.
Jeffrey Bilhuber recently came out with his fourth book, Defining Luxury. It's large format with brightly hued interiors is fresh and magazine- like, with its use of vignettes and close up shots. He shared that he feels books are a barometer of change and evolution that document societal changes. He uses design books daily as references for upcoming schemes and to share history and ideas with the clients. When discussing magazine editorial versus doing a book, he likes the fact that "you can control the process and edit through your eyes--you know what's there" but that "the camera will never capture what the eye sees." Being there in person is the next best thing.
Jamie Drake has Bloomberg as a client and has worked with Madonna. His book covers the first 28 years of his firm. His comment about magazine photography was, "you see see so much but you really see so little", referring to the closeness of many of the shots, styling by editors and omissions of what tells the interior's story. In a book you can show a whole room, and break it down into moments, which is a great platform for complete interiors.
What is next for this group? Bunny is working on A Scrapbook for Living about the essence of rooms and what makes them special, while Jeffrey is exploring how he gets from concept to completion of an interior and what inspires him.



Photos Courtesy of Rizzoli
A green painted bedroom fireplace with blue and white apothecary jars lining the mantel

In her follow up on Rizzoli's Rooms to Inspire, this new book delves into the homes of tastemakers and colorful characters who enjoy the country for relaxing, entertaining and renovating. A variety of design perspectives from new modern ruralism to over the top decadence are seen through the lens of Annie's photographer husband, Tim Street- Porter. The duo once again brings together a collection of covetable homes from around the country. I think people will start to use bright paint hues creatively after a good read of this tome!


Decorator Henry Davis Sleeper's nautical dining room in the seaside town of Beauport, Massachusetts has teal paint accents and a great collection on antique green china.


Molly Duffy and Hugh Burns Southampton LI beachside escape mixes Chinese Chippendale and light hearted lanterns with pastel lilac walls.

Steven Gambrel's Sag Harbor, LI sailors cottages from 1790 are filled with nautical details. Here, a melon hued bedroom has framed artwork of a boat that was made from antique wallpaper. What a clever use of color and material, especially if the rest of the wallpaper was damaged or not usable.


Steven Gambrel has a casual living room with crisp white bead board siding and reclaimed wood beams.


The breakfast room has pastel walls with French rush chairs surrounding an 18th century Belgian table

Ally and Jock Spivy's Victorian dining room in Kinderhook, NY. A 19th Century antique sideboard in rich burled wood pops against the bright pink wall.

Charming! In his garden Tim Street-Porter created a garden folly after John Fowler's original in England.

Tony Duquette's Malibu ranch guesthouse with layered fabrics and textures in coral gold and green.