Friday, 11 July 2014

Architectural Digest August 2014 Review

Just as I was going to do a July review post, 
the latest August issue popped up on my iPad!

After going through the issue I think that the era of taupe and simplicity is definitely over!

There was a pleasant and apolitical feature on the Texan home of President Bush.  

It is not a strongly stylized home and seems to focus on the comfort of the family instead of trying to make a certain impression.  
I guess as a former president he has that luxury.

I thought it was interesting that for a man of his wealth that 
he would bother with reproduction Audubon prints 
instead of the original items.

It is rather refreshing.  Even though President Bush comes from a well established and wealthy New England family along with his own financial successes, his home has a certain simplicity.

If this home didn't belong to the Bushes, 
I doubt this house would have made the cut.

This issue didn't include any more homes of famous people but instead featured editorials of the premier league of interior decorators who are now celebrities themselves.

When the decorator Molyneux put his touch on a Californian villa, it essentially means you can do whatever the heck you like because California villa doesn't really have its specific formula yet.

For Molyneux, he mixes up classic French and Chinese furniture with strong pattern to punctuate already capitalized features.

Scalamandre material on the sofa differentiates what could have been a very nice but ordinary living room.

This is a richly pigmented and textured bedroom but more important he has made a very attractive solution to
 most couple's decor problems.

The end of the bed hides a pop up TV!

Would you give carte blanche to a decorator?
Any decorator?
A Houston couple let Miles Redd do whatever he wanted.

There are quite a few designers I would let have free rein except I would want to do one room but with their administrative help as I am finding I have completely run out of steam on my own house and things are still left half finished and partially decorated.

This living room makes a visual impact and and will surely make the rounds on Pinterest.
Only critique would be that the four armchairs are all in identical fabrics which for a designer like Redd seems like an easy way out.  If he was going to mix up fabrics and motifs then he should have gone all the way IMHO.

Like red?
 I don't know if I would get any work done with the strong vibrational pull of this color.

Miles Redd looked like he had so much fun doing this house and really experimented.

To make up for the watercolor tableau of a study he went classic in the kitchen with replaceable and changeable kitchen stools.

The color and fabric choices in the dining room are quite polarizing. I can't imagine having a neutral opinion.

Only thing is that I can't see a consistent theme other than "color" in the house.  This family room below while strong in impact doesn't have the same outlandish streak as the other rooms and can't quite see the cohesive link.

But perhaps I shouldn't study the work of designers too deeply?

What a refreshing hallway to walk through.
So far this is my favorite space of the house other than the main blue living room.

His bedrooms are also not spared his strong touches.
Imagine trying to go to sleep looking at the wallpaper on the ceiling...

I think Redd is trying to bring back apricot 80's decor.

I admire how Redd isn't afraid to do a gallery wall on already adorned Chinoiserie wallpaper.

Having said that, I think the red accents in this bedroom completely overwhelms the space and you can't appreciate all the other lovely elements.
But then again, it is probably a very personal problem as I had a complicated relationship with the color red.

Jean Louis Deniot is sure on a roll.

He decorates in a way that makes you sit up straight and improve your posture.

Another star decorator Thomas Britt's project in San Francisco featured. 

 He isn't afraid of pattern and color either.

 While President Bush had Audobon reproduction prints,
 the winemakers Swanson seems to have invested in the original.


I would not mind leopard print carpet although it might take some time to convince Mr CSW.

 While this dining room arrangement is absolutely charming, 
I do wonder where the line should be drawn 
when decorating for a residential project as 
this could be confused for a Parisian hotel lobby.

This bedroom also looks like a suite in a stuffy European 5 star hotel that is about to embark on a two year refurbishment.
Which is perfectly nice for those who are into that sort of thing mind you.

AD managed to pack in another superstar decorator that is 
Nicky Haslam.

I love the paint color that lifts the classic decorating formula.

Haslam uses trimming to successfully bring a pinch of color.

Isn't this bedroom so much fun?

I love the cornice edging.  
I had been thinking about using passementerie on walls and 
I think this room might have just swung the argument 
to now convincing Mr CSW!

Hope you have all been well! x


  1. Always love seeing others' houses, however to me so many of the really lovely objects are completely overpowered by 1. too many other lovely objects 2. the riotous colour.

    Funny though, I have had a hatred of blue and yellow together yet I really love the Miles Redd blue room with the yellow curtains..though maybe it's the fabulous painting i.e. object ..

    This just goes round and round.

    1. I love looking at homes too - even empty ones! But this seems to be a backlash against decades of minimalism? But it just really goes through circles and in the next decade it will be all empty rooms with one vase...

  2. I love the ikat print, that was my sofa before its present incarnation, it's due another redo as it's been 16 years. I am so braindead just now, can barely read a magazine let alone book these days.

    1. Ikat can't go wrong can it? Just leave it though bc it is probably going to be super chic next year Tabs!!

  3. Good lord - that Miles Redd house is just horrendous. I really think that an Interior Decorator, who has been so lauded, when given carte blanche and a seemingly unlimited budget will produce a self indulgent excessively over decorated space. You really don't get a sense of the owners personality… and there is not a calm space in the house. I suspect they'll redecorate within a few years with some other hot decorator.
    Honestly, most of what is in AD is dreadful. They pull out one good house an issue on average, and that makes me keep reading. Most of it is excessively decorated, in fairly poor taste and displays conspicuous Consumption by the Billionaire owners and Celebrities.
    I feel very jaded by AD. Just read the July issue, and thought most of the houses dreadful in that too….
    Found your commentary very funny. I'm not exactly looking forward to reading the August issue now though! xx

    1. I think that Miles just wanted to experiment and almost used that house as a guinea pig to see what works and what doesnt...But I am so with you that the couple will definitely redecorate in a few years bc that house won't age too well. AD is a little inconsistent. I was thinking that there aren't many celebrities in the issue but now the decorators are themselves such superstars! I think M Russell is still finding her way and while I respect all these designers I think it might be nice to show a unknown and not famous decorator home once in a while? xx

    2. It's sort of like AD needs to show houses where everything is at a level of cost that it is way out of the realm of remotely normal. While you see houses featured in other publications that are grand, or have obviously cost a lot of money, there's a 'newness' and a wholesale decorating in most of the houses that sets it apart from other publications, in my opinion. I'm not sure if MR has successfully been able to make changes to AD, I had high hopes after her time at Elle, but AD seems to be on the same completely inaccessible path (and not in a good way).

  4. Is it just me, or does everything look like an over decorated.hotel room?

    1. You must stay in some fancy hotel suites Curator.

    2. It does seem like there is a trend to make your home look like a hotel!

    3. Superfancy GSL! I put the F in F-ing fancy!

      N, don't you think they all look so soulless?

  5. Interesting looking at those colour combinations. I don't think that red library will have anybody doing any serious reading in there. Nicky Haslam's rooms looked the best of those other over the top absurdities. The Bush's house actually looked like a home and I'd say because they are from a well established New England family that they tone it down and quite tastefully in my view.

    1. Nicky had a nice balance. But I do get that the Bushes are WASPS so there can be holes in curtains, sofas, and jumpers but the art tends to be real! But each to their own and they are out in a ranch in Texas and they don't seem to be interested in that much culture so it falls into place I suppose...

  6. Well that was pretty obnoxious to my eyes...all that busy, busy, busy. Like you my favorite was the hallway. I would never give full control to any decorator. Those people must be so sad.

    1. Editing would be a job in itself! While I understand some people are time poor etc but that miles redd house definitely looks like he had a turn key project with no input at any stage!

  7. Very interesting Naomi, your take on all things decorative is really skilled, I'm wondering that you didn't become a designer instead of going into the law? Your eye is great. All that colour popped my eyes out, good thing I'm in England and I can go out into the soothing green garden with stone walls and grazing sheep on the distant hills as far as the eyes can see...very surprised at the Bush choice of reproductions rather than art especially considering that painting is the retirement hobby of George W. Bush? Maybe he just pulled down his paintings and replaced them with prints for the photo shoot, too personal etc.
    I hope you're well Naomi, thanks for this I always enjoy "reading a magazine" with you! xoxDani

    1. Must agree Dani...Naomi has a great eye for interiors and style/design in general.

    2. Too kind guys but I am just really enthusiastic is all! But interesting point about the art being a reflection and it could seem a bit too intimate! But still interesting that it was those that were chosen...hope you are enjoying the north!! Xx

  8. Naomi
    Welcome back from the spa life; and I’m glad to see you are as witty, charming, and insightful as ever. Regarding Bush manor, do you think that it’s simplicity is simply a function of a politician being too afraid of being too daring? After all, living too far on the edge might mean losing a vote or two. Just a wonder on my part…

    1. Well he was quite daring as a politician so I thought it was funny to see how calm and neutral his home was!

  9. These rooms make me dizzy. I saw touches that I liked but not all of everything in one room. The Bushes probably really live in their rooms so they need space for their real stuff of life. Those designer spaces are already so cluttered that the owners would have to have an empty room to keep the stuff for daily living so they could see them!

    1. Well yes if you spun around you would realize there wasn't a neutral corner in any of the rooms. But yes I think the Bushes purpose built that house so it suits their lifestyle and they don't really have to prove any point right?

  10. Welcome back!! I was not a fan of either of the Bush men - the second one was a disaster for this country - but am surprised that the house is not as overblown as you'd expect. Quite endearing. Some American places have five kids of chintz just in one corner.

    1. This made me think if the interiors do reflect one's personality or not at all! Their bedroom looked so neutral that if this was a game of through the keyhole I would have lost the game!!

  11. Wow, there's a few rooms there with an eclectic mix of designs. What happened to magnolia lol? An interesting peak in to the Bush's home, in fact their home appealed to me most - I like minimalism. If I had lots of rooms in my house I'd certainly like to experiment with one room and just go wild with bold colour and busy decor like Thomas Britt. Have a fab weekend xx

  12. Hmmm....I see what you mean about the days of taupe and simplicity being over. Can't help feeling that some of those rooms need some time detoxing at the Mayr clinic. ;)

  13. @Colleen - I would like a bit of minimalism but as I get older that it is not my natural style so I must embrace my chaos! xx

    @Jen - thanks!

    @silkannthreades - oh we might have to wait another decade for taupe and simplicity comes back!!

  14. This is George and Laura's retreat, thus it's fairly low key . . . their main residence is in Dallas.


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