Thursday, 30 August 2007

More chinois chic

Here are a few more 'chinois chic' images that I've had on my mind lately. This interior belongs to the Melbourne manager of Brunschwig & Fils. It has a masculine feel about it, and I love how he's mixed styles as well as the origin (some of the furniture is Japanese, some is Chinese).

Bedhead is upholstered in Gaston y Daniela's "Tap Astorga", wallpaper is "Orientala on Bamboo & Cotton" also by Brunschwig & Fils.

Bedroom chair is covered in "Bandipur Silk Texture" from Brunschwig & Fils.

Chair is covered in "Balthazar Silk Velvet Stripe" Brunschwig & Fils, cushion is "Leopardo" by Rubelli, and the stunning wallpaper behind is "Yunnan", also by Brunschwig & Fils. This is probably my favorite of all the images. The combination of the wallpaper, chair (and those fabrics) and the chinese cabinet is perfection.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Chinois chic

I've had this image in my mind lately, even though it's quite old, because I've been thinking about whether or not (and if so, how much) I would incorporate a chionois style into our decor when and if we buy a place here in Hong Kong. I think this is a great example of how chinois style can be done tastefully. I love this combination of colours too - so I thought I'd share!
If anyone is interested, the wallpaper is "Loyang" from Brunschwig & Fils.

Image from Vogue Living (Australia) September 2005.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Beale-Lana Interior Design

I discovered the work of New York design firm Beale-Lana on one of my favorite blogs, Desire to Inspire, this week. Here are a few images from a living room in a Manhattan apartment they did. I really love how they have used so many traditional elements together and yet managed to create a room that is not old or stuffy, but still warm and cosy. They've used a great mix of fabrics, really modern graphic designs and what I would call "granny" designs, with an Aubusson rug. I certainly would not mind coming home to that sofa with all those cushions every night!

Monday, 27 August 2007

Parisian prints

I thought I would share some images with you all of some art that I finally had framed over the weekend. I bought these prints (actually, they're lithographs) at a flea market in Paris - over a year ago - and I got to hang them up last night. As you can imagine, I was pretty excited! Heavens only knows why it took me so long, but they're up now.

Saturday, 25 August 2007


I have recently discovered, and fallen in love with, the work of a mid-century design firm from L.A. – Monteverdi-Young. I’ve never really been much of a fan of mid-century, I could never understand all the hooplah about it, much preferring design from a decade or two earlier. But the work of some American designers is making me understand why there are so many fans of that era. I didn’t like the Jetson’s- like futuristic looking style of some mid-century, and I still don’t really, but I’m realising that there were designers who still worked with classical lines, but in a more modern and refined way. 1st has been a great source of information for me, especially about less written about designers or firms, and I have learned a lot since I’ve started perusing their weekly updates. Monteverdi-Young is one of the firms I’ve discovered this way. I have not been able to find out much about them (so if anyone reading this has any please pass it on!), except that they were conducting business under another name until the 1950’s, they were quite a well respected producer of furniture, and they were Italian modernists – well, the Monteverdi part of the partnership was at least! I see some details that are reminiscent of Andre Arbus (see the legs on the red sofa and the mahogany buffet), but also a modernism that is quite unique. I’m noticing more and more of their work on 1st Dibs and other antique sites, and they are still quite reasonably priced. I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that perhaps those prices won’t last for long. Considering the prices ‘designer’ modern furniture can fetch these days, it’s only a matter of time that lesser known designer goods will be the next big thing. My favourites of this design house so far are:

This chair was designed for Monteverdi-Young by Maurice Bailey in the 50’s. Its very modern, but it’s uniqueness is what is so appealing to me. The ebonized wood legs with brass sabots are classic, and I love the faux-croc leather.

A mahogany coffee table from the 60’s is very mid-century modern, but very versatile. I especially love those highly polished brass legs.

Mahogany buffet from the 60’s (love those legs!), with leather-inlay handles. Stunning!

Button-tufted settee covered in mohair from the 50’s. Again, love those legs. Very sexy, and I think this could work is a lot of different interiors too.

Another sofa that I love, it has great lines, and I love that wooden base.

All images from 1st

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Thomas Hamel

The apartment of Sydney-based interior designer Thomas Hamel and his partner, antiquarian Martyn Cook, was featured in this months Vogue Living (Australia). It definitely has a very masculine feel about it, and I'm loving their ensemble of mixed antiques and the neutral colour palette. This to me has an Australian feel (although not uniquely) about it - the furniture is from various parts of the world - and the colonial pieces definitely look right at home.

In the living room two gild Italian Neoclassical side chairs (c 1790) and a French bureau (c 1890) in front of an imported 19thC Chinese wallpaper panel.

A syrian teak and bone inlay coffee table on a woven leather rug from Nth Africa. Portuguese mahogany bureau (c 1750), flanked by a pair of Anglo-Ceylonese carved ebony armchairs (c 1880) on the back wall.

Four antique doors open up the living room to the sitting room. On the far wall is an English neo-gothic bookcase.

18thC chandelier hangs above the dining table, behind is an English George III neoclassical mahogany chest on chest.

English Goerge III giltwood mirror (c 1750) hangs above the fireplace. Wing chairs are French, and upholstered in linen.

Sth African mask sits on a wicker chest in the guest bedroom. The hanging lamp is Recency style.

The guest bedroom features a 19thC Anglo-Portuguese carved ebony bed which is flanked by custom-made georgian-style bookcases. The bed sits in a niche that was created to showcase a 1730's map of Paris printed on cork (what an ingenius idea!).

This article got me thinking this week about how many stunning homes we see featured in magazines around the world that are owned by gay male couples. I love that magazines feature interiors based on the style, regardless of whose they are, but I'm beginning to wonder why I have never seen an apartment owned by a gay female couple. Where do they all live? Do they not have equally the same style as their male counterparts?

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

R & Y Augousti

Yesterday's post, the Carre Settee in particular, got me thinking about another of my favorite furniture companies, Augousti. Run by a husband and wife team, Ria and Yiouri, who are based in Paris, Augousti also uses shagreen and bone inlay on modern furniture - with just a hint of deco. They actually started out making handbags from other luxurious materials and have progressed into furniture and home accessories. If you are lucky enough to live in New York you can buy their goods at Barney's. I'm coveting one of their chest of drawers, covered in ivory coloured shagreen, just like the one in the image below.

This image is of a model apartment Kelly Wearstler did for the new Eastern Columbia Lofts in L.A. It certainly helps that it has been paired with other beautiful objects, but this chest is a classic. Clearly, Kelly likes this chest too, so much so that she used them as nightstands in her bedroom in her previous home, as seen in the image below.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Going down to LONA-some town...

I recently discovered the Toronto-based furniture company, Lona Design, which was founded by Interior Designer Katherine Newman. Their furniture designs are modern and traditional, and somewhere in between which is why I like them so much. Here are a few of my favorite pieces...

Carre Settee - This is absolutely my favorite. Its covered with shagreen and bone inlay. I love the lines of this piece, so Jean-Michel Frank. I want one for me!

Mara Bookstand - This is a very handsome bookshelf/etagere, I think this would look fabulous in a traditional or a modern home.

Sojourn Chest - this feels very Tommy Parzinger to me. Great lines, and I love the contrast between the dark wood legs and the white lacquered chest.

Anabasis Desk - I love the simple lines of this, and the rich colour of the wood. This could be used as a console or in a living room, not necessarily just the study.

Lumiere Console - this glass and bronze credenza is so pretty. I would love to use this in a bathroom actually!

Prezio Desk - I love this too...It is very elegant but not too feminine. Could still be used as a dressing table, or a desk. Love the macassar ebony and bronze sabots.

Gracie Dining Table - I love the simplicity of this and I think it would work in pretty much any type of interior.

Rondo Ottoman - Love this too. I have a bit of a soft spot for round ottomans, not sure why. The wood base and legs give this a sturdy look and would make for great extra seating for cocktail parties!

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Emma Jane Pilkington UPDATE

Just found this on 1st Dibs, as I'm sure most of you have. But, just in case....enjoy reading this interview with the girl from down-under.

Modern Colonial?

I found this image on 1st Dibs a few months ago and it got me thinking about colonial/campaign style furniture, architecture and decor. As a rule, I'm a big fan of the style, so I spend most days here in Hong Kong lamenting that more of the colonial era architecture was not kept (there is barely any left now), in place of modern skyscrapers.

I've seen a few modern pieces in this style lately, and it got me to thinking if there was a bit of a resurgence of this style. It looks a bit Kelly Wearstler -ish to me. What does everyone else think?

Campaign style chair from a Hong Kong based store, Hamptons Furniture. Very similar to the style of chair in Emma Jane Pilkington's living room.

Image of a sketch by Andre Arbus from 1963, from the book by Yvonne Brunhammer.

Lobby of the West Chamberlain Hotel, in West Hollywood.

Black lacquered campaign chest at top, image from 1st Dibs.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Flea 'n Cents

So I started a new job this week, and I've been having fun checking out some of the shops in my new neighbourhood. One in particular, which I discovered today (had heard of, but not been able to find the address) is a little second hand goods shop. A second hand shop is probably not sounding terribly exciting to you all, but its a bit of a rarity in Hong Kong. Asian people in general are not particularly big on second hand stuff, they much prefer newer items as they're viewed as a bit of a luxury. Most people don't want stuff that's old or pre-used, otherwise you look like you can't afford new stuff! I am generalising of course, but as a general rule, its true. find a mini flea market around the corner of my office was very exciting. It's called Flea and Cents, and they carry all kinds of designer goods, some new, some vintage, and goodies from all over, that vary in age. They have some amazing looking 1950's lamps in on consignment at the moment, one of which looked like a green ceramic version of a Billy Haines horse head lamp. Veeeery groovy. I wish I had a pic to show you, but I don't, so here is the original that I think it was based on.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Diamonds are a girls best friend

One particular design feature/motif that I particularly like, and one that I never seem to tire of, is diamond buttoning on upholstery. I'm not sure what it is about it that I like so much - maybe its the fact that it seems to give a piece instant history (or suggested history), or maybe its the fact that it makes furniture look so plump, comfortable and therefore inviting. I found plenty of images around of old and current examples, so I decided to do some reading about the history of diamond buttoning. My trusty library very rarely fails:

"Diamond buttoning has been used since the Victorian era (circa early 1800's) to fix and decorate fabrics into chair seats and backs. During the 1950's buttoning became fashionable again, partly as a decorative feature, and also as a method of holding fabrics into a compound shaped piece". - from 'The Upholsterer's pocket reference book', by David James.

A few recent examples I found were from the new collections of Poltrona Frau, and the Spanish designer Jamie Hayon. I love their interpretation of a modern take on a traditional style.

Poltrona Frau - Regina chair

Jamie Hayon sofa for BD Showtime collection

These images show the resurgence of diamond buttoning as a decorative feature and as a method of attaching fabric to curved shapes, dating from the 1920's to 1950's. I particularly love the Edward Wormley slipper chairs and the headboard. Such timeless designs.

Edward Wormley slipper chairs, from 1st Dibs

1960's Slipper chairs from 1st Dibs

James Mont armchair from 1st Dibs

Tufted settee (source unknown)

French Canape from 1st Dibs

Andre Arbus Dining chair from William Switzer

Ottoman (source unknown)

1920's leather settee from 1st Dibs

1940's silk headboard from 1st Dibs

Diamond buttoning as a motif has gained so much popularity that textiles and wallpaper designs have been produced with a faux-buttoning design, I'm guessing mainly as a buget option for a look that can be labour intensive, and therefore not cheap. I love the wallpaper. I saw a photo of it used in a very girly boutique in Sydney, and it looked fabulous.

Fabric from Kravet (pattern 9091)

"Harlow" wallpaper from Evans & Brown

These interior shots, to me, prove that diamond buttoning never goes out of style. Miles Redd is the master, of course!

Interior image from Beach Studios

Interior by Nicholas Haslam

Image from Kor Hotel group

Interior of Miles Redd's Living room