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12 September 2010

September Debut

A deb donning Ceil Chapman
Fall is my absolute favorite season.  After suffering the indignities of  summer's cruel heat, it is pure heaven slipping on a cardigan and still feeling autumn's invigorating chill.  One can also return to black, navy, chocolate brown, and charcoal and no longer resemble a dark cloud of gloom lurking on the Lilly Pulitzer horizon of June.

While grey is one of my wardrobe staples, it's never occurred to me to use it in a room. When House Beautiful asked me to consider the glamour of grey for their September color issue for my first assignment for the magazine, I was intrigued.

A corner of the luxe, luxe, luxe sitting room designed by Raquet - the variations in tones and textures make it a difficult room to capture by lens

Designer Andrew Raquet was to be my guide of a New York residence he designed for a young family.  If you haven't already picked up a copy of the issue, beware - you may find yourself in a paint store by the end of the day.


My day with Andrew was months ago and I am still haunted by a Prelle silk he used.  My fellow fabric devotees know that Prelle is an ancient French manufactory producing the finest hand-loomed silks since the 18th century with the price tag to match its exquisite quality.  The lustrous lovely in question was Droguet Forlane en noir.  It's a small scale repeat of a stylized flower?berries? Whatever - it is charming.


Wallis Windsor thought so too and splashed out by covering this canape in the silk.

I've only recently gotten turned on to the thrilling possibilities of throw pillows.  As Andrew wisely pointed out, it might not make sense to spend several fortunes covering a sofa in Prelle or whatever your poison may be, but a pillow?  The world is your silk-lined oyster.

P.S.  September is also my debut as an independent design historian and enthusiast (aka Freelance).  Look for more regular EEE postings to come.

Top photo of Deyanne O'Neil Farrell by Horst P. Horst; #2 courtesy of House Beautiful; #3 from prelle.fr; #4 from the Sotheby's Duke and Duchess of Windsor sales catalogue

18 comments:

Rose C'est La Vie said...

I seem to have found myself with warm grey carpets and walls throughout my house. Possibly a little defeatist on that scale but I found I never wanted for more. Except, now, some of that exquisite prelle. And Emily, I totally agree with you about autumn and September as the perfect time of transition.

Square with Flair said...

I never thought I'd like grey for room decor, but the old house I moved into 25 years ago had pale grey ceramic tiles in the powder room. I decorated the rest of the room in pale grey, and I've grown to like it more and more with time. Grey rooms are exquisite, especially with touches of off white. This is the colour scheme of the Christian Dior salons on Avenue Montaigne since 1947, a choice of the great Dior himself, that grows better with time.

I am happy to become aquainted with Prelle. It must be one of those venerable French firms, like Sevres, Fauchon, Odiot, Baccarat, or Aubusson, that is a national treasure.

I am looking forward to more of your articles.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Square, I couldn't agree more - the Dior salon is grey done to perfection. Perhaps because I am all too prone to the Mean Reds (or what Mr. EEE has started to call the Castaing blues) that I like to surround myself with color....

Rosie, I'm sure your grey on grey scheme is super chic - although you do go to darker shores with some jazzy black wallpaper, if I remember correctly?

little augury said...

I loved this article-I think I mentioned that to you? I hope so. I am working on a house where grey is IN. In the Kitchen on cabinets in the mudrooms. Walls of Dining,& upstairs as well-coupled with blues, browns, camels.
I am a devotee of Autumn too.

Reggie Darling said...

Dearest Emily,
You may recall that our drawing room at Darlington House has gray walls, and it is a color that I find most suitable for one's interiors. For gray is the perfect base for such accents as the gorgeous Prelle fabric you feature, as well as other accents of color. I, too, am mad for the Dior salon gray, the chicest ever I think. And, like SWF, I also look forward to more regular postings from the delightful and erudite pen of the divine EEE. Your admirer, Reggie

pve design said...

city mouse
country mouse
i adore gray.
i will also adore more posts from you.
pve

magnus said...

If i recall, the color scheme of the Windsor's drawing room was blue and cream- and rather a strong blue. I've always thought that it was pretty incredible, but I read once that a tart tongued observer likened it to a "smart restaurant". The photo you have of the room reads as grey and cream to me, and adds a note of subtlty that the original may not have possessed. I also remember reading that the moldings were silvered- as opposed to gilded. I think I would "go for the gold" if I redid the room in greys and creams.

home before dark said...

As I have said before: the only thing gray at my house is my hair. I keep seeing gray in interiors and know it soothes many. Just the thought of spending time in a gray room makes me break out in hives.

ps: red is never mean!

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Magnus, How right you are! Sotheby's photoshopper must have had a horror of blue. After scrutinizing the catalogue, I turned to the web and came up with this photo - silvered moldings and what looks like aqua/robin's egg blue walls.

http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f295/tom_romanov/bluesalon.jpg

Now I am a vehement gold girl, but the silver trim does make me think of 30s brittle glamour, which I love.

magnus said...

EEE- Agree about the silvered trim- especially against the blue walls. Gold might warm up the grey though, so we should give it some thought when Mohamed Al Fayed calls us in to re-decorate.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to reading the article! KDM

The Down East Dilettante said...

A friend's summer house, done up by her sister-in-law Diane Tate of Diane Tate and Marian Hall, featured a 50's chic dining room, dove gray with accents of yellow, punched with leaf green....It was where I first learned the power of gray, and still love a gray scheme accented by Yellow (Van Day Truex used it in one of his versions of his apartment, did he not?...and a friend's Federal era dining room, in hand mixed french gray, with export china accents and good old mahogany....all so good...

On the flip side of the coin, thus inspired, I painted a sitting room in two shades of gray, accented with gilt frames, off white slipcovers, and salmon accents...so beautiful on a sunny day...the first snowstorm saw me running for new paint samples...

The Down East Dilettante said...

oh, and as long as I'm at it....there is nothing, nothing, like a french gray salon, n'est ce pas?

magnus said...

EEE:

And i just rmembered a grey and white drawing room that Albert Hadley did in a New Jersey house, probably 45 years ago. Photos of the room look as fresh today as they did those many years ago.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Magnus, Mr. Al Fayed can pay us in rooms at the Ritz. And you've hit the nail on the head with Mr. Hadley - his genius is that his rooms don't date.

Down East - Am WRACKED with envy at your insider knowledge of Tate and Hall....

Shandell's said...

Since I let my hair go gray, I have fallen in love with it. Adding splashes of color are a must, to keep it fresh and alive.

Karena said...

Emily,

Ooh such luxury. I am loving the grays more and more, and especially paired with yellow.

The silk is so fabulous, and if I could, would use it wherever I wanted even throw pillows!

Karena
Art by Karena

Janet said...

Grey is so fascinating. As a museum professional,I am constantly in awe of how versitile it is. Warm or cool, depending on how one uses it. Can't wait to see your debut article. . . I am headed to the newstand now.