Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shaun Smith

A couple of years ago, a very good looking stylish young man came into the shop I was working in. He came in several times, sometimes with his mother. He always gravitated towards the most interesting and best pieces. He purchased a vintage painting, a pair of iron deer heads, and a champagne color cow hide rug. His name is Shaun Smith.

Shaun Smith interior designer

A year or so later he opened his own home furnishings shop, something that did not surprise me in the least. I featured him in a column I wrote for GoNola naming him as one of the "Designing Men of Magazine Street".  His beautiful shop is successful and his reputation as a designer is growing. Most recently his home (which he designed of course) is featured in CUE Magazine (photos by Greg Myles, story by Lee Cutrone).

I love Shaun's style, clean and fresh, mixing masculine and feminine elements, deftly mixing modern, vintage, and antique pieces. Enjoy this little round-up of photos, and go to his web site to see more of his work, and most definitely check out his shop in New Orleans (tell him the Vamp sent you).

Shaun Smith living room

The vintage painting I sold to Shaun Smith

Shaun Smith master bedroom

Another view of the master bedroom - I love how he styled the throw on his bed

Shaun Smith kitchen - The white floors throughout the house are gorgeous - He has an equestrian thing going in the design of his home, echoed in the barn style kitchen cabinet doors

Shaun Smith - breakfast area

Shaun Smith dining room - Love the mix of rough table paired with the French chairs covered in blue velvet, the rock crystal chandelier, the blue and white Chinese pottery, and the modern painting


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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In Search Of Billy Baldwin

It's no secret that I among countless others are influenced by the great American decorator Billy Baldwin. His work has never gone out of style, and he remains a mentor for a the latest crop of designers and decorators and bloggers.

"Foliage" or "Fauve" or "Arbre de Matisse"?

Recently I ran across a remnant of fabric from Brick House Fabrics that got my pulse raising. It looked like the brown and white print Billy B. and his lifelong friend Woodson Taulbee designed and manufactured for Woodson's New York apartment.

I found a precious and affordable remnant at Brick House Fabrics

The photo of this apartment is beloved and it has been featured in every book on Baldwin. In "Billy Baldwin The Great American Decorator" the caption reads: "The New York apartment of Woodson Taulbee. The Henri Matisse drawing was a gift to Taulbee from Baldwin. Together Baldwin and Taulbee developed the design of the cotton fabric 'Foliage.' that is used on the sofa and slipper chair".

From the book 'Billy Baldwin The Great American Decorator" - Get it! (Thanks Sara)

In another fascinating and dishy book on Baldwin (thanks Mitchell), "Billy Baldwin An Autobiography", Billy B. himself says, "It was one of those marvelous one-room apartments in New York, and the decoration of it was based entirely upon a beautiful Matisse drawing I bought for nothing from Kurt Valentine in 1965. The drawing was of two women sitting in front of a table on which there was an open book, and behind them there was the most magical black ink tree, I said to Woody that I thought the tree wood make the most marvelous wallpaper as well as a fabric. He was terribly excited by the idea and got to work. The result was a tour de force, and we covered the furniture in his apartment with it. It was such a wild success that Woody manufactured it through the entire color spectrum, from black and white to pale pink".

This room  designed Billy Baldwin  circa 1965 is a case study in modernity  - Baldwin was instrumental in helping his friend Woodson Taulbee start a wallpaper business "Woodson Papers" - Together they designed this print called "Foliage"

I found a snip of a  discounted Clarence House fabric called "Fauve" that looked so much like the print Billy and Woody designed together. I had the best upholsterer in New Orleans, Leonels, make me a couple of pillows. I love them!

My Billy Baldwin pillow made by Leonels

As I continued to research the fabric that Baldwin originally used, I realized the vintage "Fauve" print was an expensive elegant knock-off done by Clarence House! Every source seems to attribute the print that Billy Baldwin used to a Quadrille (China Seas) print "Arbre de Matisse Reverse".

The Arbre de Matisse Reverse fabric attributed to the famous Billy Baldwin room done for Woodson Taulbee


Still I am happy with finding my vintage piece of fabric made by Clarence House. It is just one more thing in "My Billy Baldwin Living Room", that continues to cement my creative relationship with Billy B. I'm not a rich girl, and my house is humble, but I think Billy Baldwin would like my home.

Clarence House "Fauve" fabric

The "Arbre de Matisse" tree trunk is drawn slightly different than the "Fauve"

Here's a round up of some photos of the very popular fabric inspired by Billy Baldwin and Woodson Taulbee, still very much in use and never ever out of style. Be on the lookout for vintage Clarence House "Fauve" on eBay and sites like Brick House Fabrics.

This current fabric from Clarence House would make a nice companion to "Fauve" or "Arbre de Matisse" - The faces look like the Matisse drawing Billy Baldwin gifted to Woodson Taulbee


Window shade in kitchen is "Arbre de Matisse Reverse" - design by Lindsay Reid

Martha Stewart used "Arbre de Matisse" wallpaper

Bill Barr had the fabric made for his client

Club chairs in "Arbre de Matisse"

This room featured in House Beautiful has many takeaways from the original Billy Baldwin room

A sweet little bench upholstered in the Matisse inspired fabric -  You could do this if you find a remnant

From The World of Interiors - White piping is used with "Arbre de Matisse"

Tory Burch used blue 'Arbre de Matisse"



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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Henri Matisse Interior Decorator

I have been researching prints by Henri Matisse for a project, and I was delighted by how many paintings and drawings he has done of interiors. I am sure he made somewhat faithful depictions of the rooms he was painting, and I am also sure he took artistic license to rearrange rooms and introduce furnishings and accessories and colors to make a room more attractive, much in the same way an interior decorator would do.

Here are a few examples I found that I think will charm you, and I am sure you will agree that Matisse could have been an interior decorator or designer if had chosen to do so.

Lovely little drinks table - note the chevron pattern on the floor

The stripes are striking and love how the coffee table is styled

Animal print rug and modern table

The drapery tied back across the door adds depth

Art and flowers and a mix of furniture styles - how modern

Pattern play is his forte

This looks like a mood board that all bloggers and designers love to do

You know I have A thing for interior shutters

Love the portieres

So Suzani looking, and love the matching print on the walls and fabric - very Billy Baldwin

A lady at her vanity

Kind of inspiring don't you think?

Been away for three weeks taking care of my sister who had  shoulder replacement surgery. Trying to get back to blogging. Hang in here with me please.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

House of Fifty - The Fashion and Decor Issue - Debra Rapoport

The streets of New York City are like a fashion runway. Certain stylish people are spotted over and over again, becoming known for their great style. Ari Seth Cohen started an amazing blog a couple of years ago were he focused on taking street fashion pictures and interviewing fashion mavens from age 60 and up. He called it Advanced Style.

Artist and life coach Debra Rapoport is a regular fixture on the-streets-as-runway in New York, and she has been featured many times on Advanced Style. I was very attracted to her one-of-a-kind style, and her life philosophy. So when House of Fifty tapped me for a column about the correlation between fashion and home decor, I thought of Debra.

The fabulous bohemian decor of Debra Rapoport - photo by Ryan Mellinger, styling Maria McBride

Debra is like so many New Yorkers, living in the same compact apartment for over 30 years. Her fabulous fashion sense spills over into her home decor, creating a colorful bohemian space. I wanted to fly to New York to see her apartment, photograph it, and interview her. In a perfect world this would have been possible. But in these budget conscious days, road trips are not happening.

Debra Rapoport is featured in House of Fifty in the column Advanced Decor - photo Ryan Mellinger

So I tapped my friend and colleague Maria McBride who lives in New York, and is an extraordinary editor, author, and stylist, to help me out. She and her daughter, the photographer Ryan Mellinger set up a photo shoot with Debra, and made some beautiful pictures. Debra and I connected, and the result is my Advanced Decor column in the Fall 2012 issue of House of Fifty (starting on page 90). Please take a look and read the article. Debra is a very interesting woman, and her outlook on life is wonderful.

Debra Rapoport makes her jewelry and accessories that become home decor - photo Ryan Mellinger

Debra Rapoport in her kitchen - photo via Advanced Style

The Fall 2012 issue of House of Fifty dedicated to the connection between fashion and home decor - Don't miss it!


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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Little Luxuries - Brick House Fabrics

Gorgeous designer fabric can be so costly. There are some Clarence House fabrics that I love that cost over $1000. a yard. Unless you are part of the one percent, or have clients that are the one percent, most of us will never get to use these beautiful fabrics.

A little bit of luxury fabric on a stool is something everyone can do when you get it discounted from Brick House Fabrics


Gorgeous Clarence House Velvet in a tiger print is over $1000. a yard

That is why I am so excited to share a source with you. It's a small company in Maine called Brick House Fabrics that sells small yardages of all kinds of luxury and designer fabrics. While we may not be able to afford to make drapes, or upholster a piece of furniture, we can afford to get just enough fabric to make a toss pillow or two, or maybe cover a chair seat, or do some other crafty project.

A small touch of a designer fabric you might find at Brick House Fabrics could cover a little chair seat

I'm showing you just a few things they have. I bought a large piece of vintage Clarence House fabric that Billy Baldwin designed. I'm going to have a couple of toss pillows made from it.

A piece of this fabric would make a wonderful toss pillow

This Clarence House fabric is dynamic and you can buy a small amount of it at a great price at Brick House Fabrics

From the Brick House web site:

"Most of our fabrics are first quality, new on the bolt, from the manufacturer. But, we also go on buying trips several times a year where we are able to pick up some unique out of print fabrics as well as some vintage fabrics.
We carry Braemore Fabric, Covington Fabric, Duralee Fabric, P.Kaufmann Fabric, Ralph Lauren Fabric, Robert Allen Fabric, and others. We look for Kravet Fabrics, Laura Ashley Fabrics, Greeff Fabrics, Schumacher Fabrics and others.
Our specialty is novelty home decorating fabrics. We are constantly expanding our lines, and adding new items. We import many fabrics directly from the mills in Europe. While our main emphasis is printed fabrics, we also have an interest in lace curtain fabric yardage, both full width and cafe lace, which we also import directly
We appreciate how difficult it is to buy fabric on the net. While we make every effort to make descriptions as accurate as possible, and pictures as true to life as we can, colors differ on monitors. Please buy samples if you need to co-ordinate a fabric to an existing one.
And, send us pictures of final projects! We love to see how the fabric is used! See the Postcard section to see some of the things people have done with our fabric!"


How cute would this embroidered fabric be for  small project in a nursery

Brick House Fabrics has a great selection of toile

Brick House Fabrics has a great selection of toile

This modern greyhound print is so dynamic

Crewel is so fabulous, and this charming animal print is timeless

Brick house has some great Ikats and global prints

Brick House Fabrics has a great lace collection - A panel of this as underpinning for a window treatment would be so cute in a nursery or child's room

There are some unique graphic prints - How cute is this for the fashionista!

I have a weakness for newspaper print fabrics AND Audrey Hepburn


This is a project one of the Brick House Fabric customers made from a small cut of luxury fabric

The inside of that fabulous bag

And here's the lady who made the bag and this amazing coat from the fabric she got from Brick House - her name is Sabina

So put Brick House Fabrics on your radar and data base. I am sure that one day you will find just that perfect piece that will add the perfect little grace note or finishing touch, a little touch of luxury that we can all afford.

And when I get my Billy Baldwin fabric, I will show you what I do with it.

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