Friday, July 30, 2010

To Mr. Drucker, a love letter

Dear Stephen:

When I heard last spring that you were leaving House Beautiful to take over (and make over) Town & Country, I'll admit I was a bit surprised -- and even more skeptical. Wasn't that just a step down? House Beautiful has long been my favorite interiors magazine. I anxiously await its arrival each month and, when it does finally arrive on my doorstep, I read it slowly, savoring every image, every word. Town & Country, on the other hand,...well, it started showing up at my house unannounced a few years ago and every now and then I'll flip through it, but I never would have paid for it.

T&C seemed to target a wealthy, high society, New York-centric audience that struck me as ridiculously dated. The magazine seemed more like an extended advertisement for this narrow lifestyle and rarely included any articles of substance. To be crass, I thought T&C sucked.

But then you came along and breathed new life it. You gave it a clearer voice and more substance. Who would have thought my favorite home of the year would be featured in T&C? I nearly gasped when I saw the feature on Miles Redd's Atlanta chateau. Not only was the home beautiful (and beautifully photographed), but the copy was entertaining and well written as well (yes, I always read the stories!).

So thanks for giving me another magazine to look forward to every month. And keep up the good work.


Averill at Odi et Amo
* * *

Okay, enough of the mushy, sycophantic stuff. Let's get on with the house ogling, shall we? The reason I love this house so much is because it's so quintessentially Miles (colorful, traditional with lots of chinoiserie touches, plenty of animal print, lots of lacquer), but with a good dose of Southern style and architecture thrown in for good measure.

Check out the gorgeousness that is this atrium. I love the classical architecture paired with the chinoiserie wallpaper and cheeky cheetah slipper chairs. There's something grand and yet playful and even cozy about this room that seems perfectly suited to the young family that lives here.

The living room's slate blue and orange rug really blows me away. What a wonderful color combination! It's bold and current, but also very livable, and I love it paired with the camel-colored furniture in particular. I also love the modern art paired with the more traditional furnishings and architecture.

Another shot of the living room. Isn't that dental molding incredible? I also like that they went for a softer, yellower white for the trim. It creates less of a contrast against the blue than a strong white would and it works beautifully with all the natural light flooding in from the large windows.

The Butler's pantry. Like a powder room, these small, infrequently used spaces are a great opportunity to really experiment and go all out. The ceiling of this space was inspired by the zodiac ceiling of Grand Central Station (my favorite spot in all of NYC, after the NYPL). The bold turquoise continues onto the cabinetry and even the marble. The hits of brass in the fixtures brings a warmth and contrast to all the blue that nickel fixtures never could.

For me the oxblood study very, very Miles. It actually reminds me of a room in my grandmother's house, which was painted out in a similar shade of red and with plenty of gilt (my grandmother loved gilt). The brass trim on the built-ins adds such a sense of luxury -- and lightness to the room.

When you're working with a strong color like this, I think it's best to follow Miles' lead and keep everything as monochromatic as possible. It keeps the room feeling more calm, despite the brilliant red walls. The real interest here comes in the plays of texture and subtle patterns. I'm particularly fond of the pairing of the paisley print sofa, with the ikat pillows. Because the scale of the sofa's print is so much smaller (and more subtle) than the bolder, larger ikat print, it really works beautifully.

What Southern bedroom is complete without monogrammed linens? And what Miles Redd bedroom is complete without wall-to-wall cheetah carpet? [Hint: the answer to both questions is "none".] Of course I love all the soft blues here, the coolness of which are cut by the tans and browns of the walls and carpet. But what I love most is how sumptuously this bed is dressed. The thick duvet, the velvet coronet and bedskirt (all trimmed out in satin). Yummy.

What I wouldn't give some days for my own closet -- let alone my own dressing room! And how soft underfoot must that patchwork pony-skin be. Sure, it's probably not especially practicable, but on a cool morning, fresh out of the shower, how luxurious it must feel on your bare feet. Another great detail here is the tray ceiling, which is wallpapered in a beautiful de Gournay print of trees and birds. I'd take this idea and put it in a bedroom: it'd be like looking up int a forest canopy every night before bed. Very peaceful.

The lady of house enjoys not only her own dressing room, but her own bath, luxuriously appointed in Carrera marble (naturally). Note how Redd painted the bathroom door to mimic the veining of the marble. Isn't that fun? The wallpaper and the fashion drawings are both so wonderfully feminine but the color palette of soft blue and tan ties it all in with the adjoining master bedroom.

If this is the kind of aspirational living that the "new" Town & Country is intent on giving its readers, then I say "yes, please, and more!". After all, who couldn't use a little more fantasy material?

All images courtesy of Town & Country and via The Love List.


Flourishing Networks said...

great pictures of beautiful styles it thank you

Liz @ It's Great To Be Home said...

I could not live in this house, but it is lovely. I must admit, I've never picked up an issue of T&C!

Erica @ Decorica said...

Great post Averill. The red room is not usually my style, but I'm somehow drawn to it! And that landscaping, wow!

Janell @ Isabella and Max said...

Oh, your original assessment of T&C echoes my sentiments exactly! I haven't seen the newest issue, I will approach it with an open mind! Janell

Fran said...

Wonderful post, Averill. I remember hearing the news of S. Drucker moving to T&C and was a little baffled. And, I couldn't agree more with your commentary and how this month's T&C definitely did surpass expectations! Miles Redd's design in this home is stunning (to say the least).

Pink Wallpaper said...

so pretty! i love that last picture. hope you have a great weekend averill!

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Perfectly said...on all accounts!!!

Kathysue said...

Averill this is a little over the top for my own personal taste BUT as a design study it is wonderful and well executed for sure!!I love you commentary it reads like a wonderful magazine article. Maybe Mr. Drucker should hire you. I was saddened when I heard he was leaving also. I had the same feeling about T&C maybe I will have to give it try, only because Mr. Drucker is now there at the helm,Kathysue

ashlina {the decorista} said...

gasp! its all so gorgeous. thanks for sharing all the lovely images...
have a great weekend averill!!! XOXO


I love your letter and S. Drucker. I knew he was only going to do good things at T&C. My favorite part of this house is the butler's pantry. This one has totally inspired me to do something with mine. And Grand Central and NYPL are two of my favorite NYC spots too! :) The ceiling at Grand Central knocks me out every time! Have a good weekend, Averil!

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

Averill, my assessment of T&C was about the same.....a mag I'd flip through in the airport if I had NOTHING left to read and time to kill....just to see the funny wedding photos in the back. But, I have to say that this month's issue showed up at my home unannounced....and I have to say I won't complain if it happens again next month! Some of that home was a bit over the top for me....but I really LOVE that dressing room...esp. the fashion prints. Have a great weekend.

Mackenzie {Design Darling} said...

I couldn't have said it better myself.

P.S. Why DOES it just show up unexpectedly? The same happens to me.

casey at loft and cottage said...

Wow, so inspirational! I'm going to have to give T&C another look. Thanks for sharing!

Sarah Klassen said...

Haha, love your letter, Averill! And, I couldn't agree more... over the years, I have picked up the odd issue just because there might have been one feature that I liked. But now? Loving the changes that I see, and hope that this improves their readership greatly. Sophistication, with a little more... something... but, whatever it is, it's working for them :)

Hope you have a wonderful weekend, and thank you so much for your kind words the other day,


Evelyn said...

Hmm, I'll have to give T&C a second look next time I'm sitting at Barnes & Noble with my giant stack of books and magazines. I too have always ignored the magazine and even though the majority is still too rich for my style, there are a lot of shots that are inspiring. Thanks for the heads up!

The Zhush said...

Ha! I got this delivered to me unexpectedly as well...but now I have to say, very pleased to receive used to seem more like a giant ad campaign for high end jewelry, (which was fine with me:) ) but the heavy doses of glam interiors is even better! Great post.

Haven and Home said...

I agree, he is doing a great job!

Rene said...

I must admit you had me going for a moment with your original take on T & C because you precisely described my impression. Note to self: revisit T & C with an open mind.

Thank you for the sweet note about my little kitchen, by the way.


Kim@Chattafabulous said...

Oh my goodness I must get a subscription to the revamped T&C. I never did enjoy it at all but if this is any indication I'm in! Loved my first visit to your blog, and excited to be following!

Hello Lover... said...

I saw this home over at MFAMB a couple of weeks ago and totally agree - it's lovely. Portions are a little over done for me but overall its stunning and the details are amazing!

I may just have to add T&C to the long list of magazines I subscribe to!

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