12 July 2015

HOME, and books

Books, books, books. I am surrounded by them, design books, fiction, biography. I am reading, and even as I do so, I am falling behind in catching up.
I think you must know what I mean.




In fashion designer Andrew Gn's late 18th century home vases, objects and walls harmonize in a Wedgewood color palette, photograph © Guillaume de Laubier


Added to Reading, I am now writing a book, and with that comes a new understanding of these things that fill my house and Home. One recent book called A HOME IN PARIS Interiors- Inspiration, reminded me what I look for in books without even opening it. "Inspiration"-that's what caught my attention. It's easy to add to any book's description, and if you peruse your shelves you'll find it often written on the spines.


What inspires us? As we gaze on page after page of beautiful pictures and white page with words accompanying them, what do we take away? Is it beauty? Just a quick fix for our insatiable appetite? What makes us dog ear a page, or book mark it? It's important to think about, otherwise our books go unopened, or at the very least un-used. If we haven't delved a little deeper before moving on to the next thing we are uneducating ourselves. We've the internet to thank for our neglect of real books that really inspire.  While I appreciate the now-genre unto itself-designer's monograph-I'm less inspired, the rooms are often stellar, but staged. How do these people actually live? How do they decorate? It's a question I've posed ever since I began this blog. Equally so-what inspires us? That's why the blog is often somewhat schizophrenic-a complaint-or perhaps just a comment I often hear. Why? Can we just truly be inspired by rooms, or interior design? If so, we are handicapping ourselves- we are blinded to the fragility of a flower, the seam turned inside out so perfectly executed that it deserves to be seen, the downy fur of a tabby kitten's shade of tabby orange slick from its mother's tongue that eludes the artist  regardless of his skill.

One thing I like about the book by Catherine Synave and photographed by Guillaume de Laubier is the range of interiors within it, and their ability to appreciate-to be inspired by-such design variations that fill the book. If you look beyond its surface beauty, the book opens our eyes to something our sense of beauty might not recognize upon sight.

What is it that makes me go back to page 199, the living room of Michelle Joubert? It might be the washed ocher of the wall just beyond the frozen-pink Ibis whose fragile neck is lost within the wall, or the the bird colored  book-set beside its mate. Maybe its the chair- similarly Ibis colored-set against the room's sooty gray mantle?
But it's all these elements converging, from chair to book to bird to wall, that are bound by alchemical design DNA that inspire.
Look closely, photographer Laubier captures its essence.


photograph © Guillaume de Laubier




Designer Veronique Lopez's home built in 1860 has a windowless facade, with brilliant light flooding the bedrooms and stairway. No apostle of yellow, these sunflower walls can but inspire me. Along with that, a glimpse beyond -has me wondering about the garden. A simple country dressing table staged with a pair of beguiling silhouetted figures has me imagining just such a sight on the large ground floor dining room.

photograph © Guillaume de Laubier

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In interior designer Charles Zana’s dining room- built in period cabinets are juxtaposed with modern  chairs and table, and contemporary objects float on the table and on shelves in the window. These brave choices are beyond a decorated interior-but rather reflect Zana's utterly personal aesthetic.

© Guillaume de Laubier

The book includes 34 homes-all with something to offer and to inspire. The books' cover is the home of Pierre-Jean Chalencon's Empire inspired apartment. Andrew Gn's apartment is dear, and the closest to what I love in my personal rooms.
 An apartment inspired by Madeleine Castaing is another favorite, with riotous color and context. Fashion designer Alexandre Zouari's Wedgwood blue apartment walls are paneled and stenciled to resemble old Saint Petersburg.

 © Guillaume de Laubier


Another interior where color is saturated in much the same way as the Zouari apartment couldn't be further from it as far as decoration goes, but antique dealer and interior architect Florence Lopez is a master with color in her Bauhaus inspired flat. She changes the furniture and wall colors every year. There must be a book in the works that will illuminate all the apartments of Florence Lopez. I hope so.

 © Guillaume de Laubier

Books that offer us variation are the most inspiring for me. As an art major, learning to appreciate Art-for Art's sake, was enlightening, learning to appreciate the many movements in Art, taught me to look beyond my personal Likes. Books like A HOME IN PARIS Interiors- Inspiration do the same- if only we open them.




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