30 September 2011

Gentlemen's Club

When I opened the most recent issue of Inside Out magazine, I fell instantly in love with the NYC apartment of sisters Hollister and Porter Hovey (names like that belong in a Wes Anderson script). Their style (evident in the first two pics) gives me a chance to tout the glories of the "gentlemen's club" aesthetic -- a style I have long admired for its unapologetic masculinity and for the fact that it reminds me of England. To be clear, we're not talking about strip club decor. The gentlemen's clubs in question were first established in the West End of London in the eighteenth century. They were members-only clubs for upper-class men to socialize, play parlor games, dine, and sometimes retreat for the night. Dark walls, shelves full of books, lit fireplaces, leather club chairs, ancestral art and animal skins and antlers are all welcome in this environment. These are rooms for retreating from a rainy day or an unrelenting winter. They are spaces to sink into with a favored book and a hot cup of Earl Grey while noshing on shortbread.

Images: Inside Out magazine, July-August 2011 issue. Living etc magazine, September 2011 issue. Simply SeletaDecoratualma.

02 September 2011

Film Interiors: Tara Road

Before The Holiday -- in which Kate Winslet owns my all-time favorite movie house -- there was Tara Road. Marilyn (Andie MacDowell) is struggling with her son's sudden death when she decides to escape her Connecticut home and swap places with Ria (Olivia Williams), a Dublin wife and mother whose husband has just left her for his pregnant girlfriend. In Connecticut (Cape Town makes a beautiful but unlikely stand-in), Ria revels in the peace of Marilyn's sprawling house and pool. The sparse modern furnishings and few bright decorator accents are a break from the messiness of her life at home. While in Ireland, Marilyn is confronted by Ria's family drama at every turn and realizes that her marriage is worth trying to save despite its new reality. Ria's house on Tara Road is a character in itself that comes under threat and helps to reveal the full extent of her husband's treachery.

The Connecticut house and pool -- very little adornment.

The Connecticut living room -- the furniture is all right angles
 with the art and accessories adding precise blasts of color.

The Connecticut kitchen continues the house's color scheme of blue, orange and yellow. Pool tile adds shimmer to the walls and the lack of upper cabinets leaves room for art. A decorator's hand seems to have guided the entire house and very little of Marilyn's personality can be seen in the space. It gives Ria room to rediscover herself and her passion for cooking.

The house on Tara Road is shot from below to highlight its importance in the characters' lives. Though it has an imposing presence, the first scene shows Ria being greeted by her kids at the door and we understand that this is a happy home for them.

I've always loved a house with a proper entryway. Here the original tile and doors are offset by modern lamps. Red is the dominant color in this house.

The living room on Tara Road -- red walls bring the focus to a gorgeous black marble fireplace. The large mirror over it makes the room seem even bigger, yet the furniture makes the space feel cozy.

The kitchen on Tara Road -- three walls of counter space and a big kitchen table. This is the heart of the house, where Ria has clearly cooked many a meal for her family. Decorative plates add detail to the walls.

Here are a few items on the market that echo the warm family vibe of the house on Tara Road.

Black Marble Fireplace Mantel from Jamb.

Gold-Leaf Mirror from Jean-Marc Fray.

Handmade Lampshade from House of Chintz.

Vintage Greek Plate from 216 Stitches.

Bench from Primitive Passions.

Farmhouse Dining Table from Hastening Antiques.

Film Images: Noel Pearson Productions.
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