I’m currently having a coffered ceiling for a client in Russia painted in cyan blue lacquer – just the inside of the coffers. It’s much chicer than clouds or some Adamesque confection and I do take my ceilings very seriously.
When I did the salon for London’s famous couture house Bellville Sassoon (dressmaker to Madonna, Helen Mirren etc.) I created a baroquey confection on the ceiling of torn paper reminiscent of plaster. I was thinking at the time of the success of the ostrich feather pelmets I created in my room at Eton which were a positive sensation! For the salon, I had the inside painted silvery, mauvy, magically moody as you can see in my watercolour.
This Vogue article makes me think that cloud ceilings are not a dead end…and since we are always trying to look from different vantage points I’m not ruling something like this out…a projection ceiling perhaps??
Of course if one goes completely mad and dramatic, like the ceiling of Colette’s dining room below, then I couldn’t argue against clouds in that case either. It’s beautifully Sert-esque, and brave too.
We ‘fur’ a lot – throws, rugs, tassels…you name it! Fox or faux…really don’t mind and you’ll notice it a lot in our interiors shots.
These wildly colored faux fur for example, from Leroy & Scarpa, are a terrific find and are making their way into our current designs.
I am also eagerly awaiting the return of my Scandinavian colleague Beata, who I hope is going to tell me that Saga Furs is still in business so I can get my hands on a pair of this totally fabulous mink sailor jacket…are you kidding me! Must have.
And these fur coveralls? Just cannot get enough!
In fact about the only thing I can’t abide by is fur in my teacup, which may have amused Meret Oppenheim, but slightly creeps me out.
Do you remember when you first discovered Parkstead House and learnt that the original William Chambers temple was sitting unloved in crates on the property? And you didn’t skip a beat but swore you would do everything in your power to raise the money to restore and resurrect it? I was in like a shot…ruins, 18th Century treasures, parties, well yes, say no more!
You planned the event and we made this vignette with the ruins and packing crates, and we tea stained Chambers drawings that we obtained from the V&A (copies of course!) and tea stained the edges. And dare I say you were pretty close to tears that night. It was terrific, and you did it, and the temple now stands in its glory. We just received the December issue of Vogue where this party is featured.
Back in balmy June, the Savoy approached me and asked if I would consider reviving last year’s cabaret I did at Bellamy’s to celebrate the re-opening of the fabulous Beaufort Bar. The room is to die for, black with gold niches, the smartest room in the Savoy, certainly was after I had finished moving the furniture and rearranging the cushions – once an interior designer, always an interior designer!
The invitations alone could be used as uber chic cladding, black satin embossed with electric green lettering announcing SAVOY. Last night was the opening night and 80 guests came including the wonderful Cilla Black, Barry Humphries, Gary Kemp and Dave Gilmour. I performed (note: not sang, am only too aware my talents lie in interiors and not singing!) the magical songs by Cole Porter whose lyrics have such depth, I simply adore his music. The Savoy mixed a couple of special cocktails for the night: a spin on my favorite ‘An Old Fashioned’ and produced ‘A Nicky Newly Fashioned’ (blows your socks off!) and a chic champagne blend ‘Sheer Opulence’ in honor of my book.
Gordon Ramsey joined in briefly as he was at the opening of the Savoy Grill and as you can see from the photo Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber came along too. Utter bliss, to be surrounded by ones friends who all enjoyed themselves and the staff at the Savoy are such a joy to work with, will be sad when my Savoy stint is over, but what fun!
Joseph on Sloane Street has put up some charming window fronts using photocopies of architectural drawings which is a format we all know and enjoy. (And don’t even get me started on those dishy Balmain clothes, all of which look like gilt leather – that’s another story!) Since Bebe Berard did that terrific shop interior for Institut Guerlain in the 1930’s this genre has never ceased to delight. I sometimes wonder how so many designers claim to be inspired by Jean Michel Frank and yet completely miss the point of ‘wit’, which is prevalent in most of his interiors.
If by chance you did not grow up like me – on a steady diet of Free to be…You and Me…and dreams of being Marlo Thomas – you may have never seen this delightful set that was used for the Michael Jackson (still young and sweet) and Roberta Flack singing ‘When I grow up’. It’s quite hard to find pics but I found it on YouTube – the long shots of the sets are enchanting. (The DVD is still available if you really want to indulge.)
My colleague Jena Quinn is working on a room in this genre right now so…watch this space.