Monday, December 14, 2015

The Golden Room

One of the major highlights from our recent grand tour of Spain was a visit to the exquisitely opulent, Casa de Pilatos in Seville. While touring the magnificent indoor spaces and outdoor courtyards, I was dazzled by a set of rooms that were built in the early 16th century by Don Fabrique Enríquez de Ribera, a Spanish noble and the son of Pedro Enríquez de Quiñones who began the construction of the palace in the 15th century. The rooms consists of an outer rectangular gallery or entrance hall, with the main room being perfectly square. The walls are ablaze in a way of warm, yellow ochre walls with white red painted borders. Adorning the spaces are an extraordinary array of Roman antiquities. Many of them dating from the second century A.D. which Don Fabrique collected during his sojourns to Italy. Aside from the collection of antiquities and the striking colors, the beauty and uniqueness of the rooms is the combination of Mudejar and Rennaissance Revival elements. In fact the rooms were named for the intricately patterned carved wood ceilings that are separated from the walls by an equally complex frieze of carved plaster. For a truly fascinating and more in depth story on the Casa de Pilatos be sure to visit Christopher Worthlands blog (here)

A striking vignette including a beautifully detailed marble console, Roman bust and a massive carved plaque

A view from the main room to the gallery, which is flanked by marble doric columns

A collection of Roman architectural fragments in the portico before entering the rooms

Perfection! Atop the center table rests a massive carved Roman helmet in marble

Looking up at the intricately carved wood ceiling in the main room

All photos by Michael Hampton

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Paris in my Heart

We have been devastated to hear about the ongoing tragedy in Paris. With every day my heart hurts a little more for the victims and the amazing and resilient Parisians who will hopefully find strength and comfort in one another. I simply love Paris! It is my most favorite of all cities. A place that shall always be in my heart and continue to inspire me no matter how many times I go. Paris was really where my education and passion for design, furniture and architecture began and is a place that formed the foundation of so much within me. Were sending all of our thoughts and prayers to everyone in Paris, for you are always in my heart!


Friday, November 13, 2015

Living with Art- An Extraordinary Sale

Last month, Christies held an impressive sale titled, Living with Art, which included an incredible selection of furnishings and art from two significant properties. A Oklahoma estate designed by Stephen Sills and the legendary, Villa Hesperides in Montecito, California. There were a number of items that were surprisingly affordable, given their provenance and exquisite quality. In fact, I was beyond thrilled to acquire the set of four French mahogany fauteuils below for my own home. How wonderful it is to own a set of chairs from such an extraordinary collection by one of my all time favorite designers, Stephen Sills!

I always like to see the furnishings in situ, which bring them to life and create a sense of context. The Architectural Digest article on Villa Hesperides left an indelible impression on me when I was a young design student and helped shape my love for classical interiors, architecture and antiquities. 


A Northern Italian painted brown and pace gilt mirror
Early 18th century

A set of four French Empire mahogany fauteuils.
Circa 1810

A Pair of Directoire grey painted and parcel gilt chaises gondole
18th century

A Pair of Queen Anne grey painted center tables
17th early 18th Century

A pair of monumental crystal chandeliers by André Arbus
20th Century

A pair of South German painted console tables
Circa 1740

A set of four Italian white marble columns with urns
20th Century

A pair of Queen Anne style mirrors

All photos above by François Halard and are featured in Stephen Sills Decoration


A pair of Italian Carrara marble terms on pedestals
19th century

A pair of Northern Italian painted and parcel gilt armchairs
Circa 1820

An Italian gilt wood pier mirror
Tuscany, late 18th century

An Italian painted and parcel gilt daybed
Early 19th century

Photography by John Vaughan for Architectural Digest

Interior Design by Craig Wright

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Design in Detail- A Dramatic Before and After

Spring has been an exciting time for me between my travels, work projects and to have the opportunity to participate again in the 2015 DC Design House. This was my third time Ive designed a room for the Design House and it was a first to be in McLean, Virginia this year. The house was inspired by local farmhouses in the area and was thoughtfully designed and executed by Artisan Builders

When I first went to look at the house to select a room I didn't have to look any further then the library located in a sunny corner of the house next to the living room and terminating a long gallery- hallway at the rear of the house facing the gardens. I was immediately drawn to the intimate scale of the space and adore designing libraries so it was a no brainer for me. 

I thought it would be fun to share the before and after photos and also my I took for the design.

Here is the library in its very raw state on the first day I saw it. The walls are covered with plywood but I could already get a sense of what the room could be. 

For the paneling and built in bookcases I knew I wanted the room to have a more relaxed and less formal feel, which I felt respected the farmhouse architecture of the house. So I chose a quarter sawn oak with beautiful and consistent graining. Here is the oak paneling in its raw and unfinished state. It was a great experience and process to work with Artisan Builders on the design. 

I worked closely with the finisher to achieve a lighter color for the stain. I did not want the room to become too dark or masculine. I also wanted it to coordinate with the reclaimed wood mantle in the adjacent living room as well as the field stone walls and rustic beams on the other side of the house. Creating a connection and consistency between both sides. The junction boxes for the wall sconces and picture lights have yet to be installed. 

Here is the first stage of installing the room with the gorgeous chinoiserie painted panel by John Rosselli. It was one of the first pieces I found for the room and knew it would be the perfect focal point. Knowing early on that I was going to use the painting I was able to have the recessed panel made to fit the painting perfectly. So you could say we literally built the room around it. The painting truly inspired the color palette and overall mood of the library. I wanted to use paler versions of coordinating greens throughout with punctuations of complementary reds as my accent color. 

The O Henry House sofa, also from John Rosselli, upholstered in a faux bois patterned fabric by Jed Johnson fit the space between the windows perfectly!

The installation continues with accessories, books, petite reading lamps and an amazing leather club chair from Minton Spidell. Its one of the most comfortable chairs I have sat in and it has a lovely bleached oak finish with a lightly distressed leather and gold tooling. It has a very "Jansen" feel to it. 

And ta da! Here is the finished room, photographed by Angie Seckinger. Flanking the sofa are a pair of bleached oak pedestals from my own collection, topped with a magnificent pair of bisque painted rooster jars from John Rosselli. I avoided the expected side tables with lamps and went for something more dramatic. The red in the jars, the tole chandelier and the chinoiserie console on the opposite side of the room were the perfect complementary accent color I was looking for. 

To take full advantage of the built in window seat I used a tilt top table from the Michael Smith "Jasper" collection and surrounded it with the most incredible klismos chairs (which are probably coming home with me!) I wanted to create another functional seating group where a group could amuse themselves with a card or board game and to also have an intimate dinner for four. 

All of the printed fabrics in the room including the curtains, London shade and most of the pillows were from the Elizabeth Hamilton Collection. A favorite source of mine for printed fabrics. Elizabeth's husband, Peter Fasano, made the hand screened ceiling paper, which resembles a refined grasscloth. I finished the edges of the ceiling with a nailhead trim from Samuel and Sons. The "Greek Key" benches are a part of the new collection I recently designed for Salvations Architectural Furnishings. I liked how the Greek key in the benches and John Rosselli, marble topped cocktail table  give a subtle nod to the Greek Revival details found throughout the house. 

I wanted the room to have a relaxed formality to it and for it to have a sense of history. As if the objects within had been collected over a long period of time. 

For the floor I chose a hand tufted Oushak rug from Galleria Floors and layered it with a diamond patterned sisal rug underneath. The pale blues and celadon greens coordinated beautifully with the fabrics and accessories. 

The six framed 18th century mezzotints of aloe plants from Susan Calloway Fine Arts in Georgetown were made by a German botanist and scientist. They have such a great graphic feel and the perfect punch of leafy greens. The Chinese parchment trunk underneath the Minton Spidell "Lyford"console is from my friend, Loi Thai's fabulous and inspiring shop, Tone on Tone Antiques, in Bethesda. 

A vignette showing the window seat, porcelain jars and the printed fabrics from the Elizabeth Hamilton Collection. If you haven't yet done so, please be sure to visit the 2015 DC Design House before it closes on May 10th. Hope to see you there!