Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cool Modern Chairs

You've picked your sofa, and now you need that pair of chairs to sit either side, or maybe you are setting up a cozy sitting area for that cup of tea and a chat with a friend.

Dwell Magazine - Philip M. Isaacson Home

A pair of modern chairs will get you that cool vibe. There are the usual suspects, like Mies Van Der Rohe or Hans Wegener, and then there are the unusual. Whichever you go, it will be fun to see what you can find at auction. 

Both these pairs of chairs are included in the Stair Galleries auction coming up in Hudson, NY December 4th. The top set are the classic Barcelona chairs by Mies Van Der Rohe/Knoll, and always a perfect cool modern statement. These are Lot 39 and have an auction estimate of $800 - $1,200. On anything like this, I recommend some internet research to find out what might be the right top bid. 

I like the pair of Italian contemporary chairs in white leather very much. They're a bit different, and an equally cool modern statement. These are Lot 48, and have an auction estimate of $500 - $700.

Wright has an auction set for December 14th titled Important Design. It's full of terrific modern design with all the names you would expect. I love both these sets of chairs by Italian designers (I love ANYTHING Italian!). The top photo is Lot 171, and they were designed by Giovanni Zoncada (1954). I love the shape and the buckle detail on the back. They have an auction estimate of $5,000 - $7,000.

The black and white leather chairs are by the incomparable Gio Ponti (1952). These are Lot 183 and have an auction estimate of $10,000 - $15,000. A bit pricey, but don't you just want to sink in to them and make your mid-century modern statement?

The Christie's Interiors sale in New York in December includes a good selection of modern chairs. I like these two sets. For that bit of color pop, the top pair of mid-century French metal and turquoise faux lizard chairs (Lot 506) would fit the bill. These are attributed to Marc du Plantier, and have an auction estimate of $800 - $1,200.

The second set of chairs were designed by Phillipe Starck and are described as 'Len Niggelman' lounge chairs (Lot 534). I love the graphic upholstery that reminds me of the Gio Ponti chairs at Wright, but at a more modest auction estimate of $1,200 - $1,800.

You can have lots of fun experimenting with style, or stick with the classics of modern. Either way, these chairs make your cool, modern vibe statement!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sensual Art Nouveau

If you've been to Paris you will have seen the wonderful Metro station designs of Hector Guimard, so sensuous with their curls and swirls.

Hector Guimard's style epitomizes Art Nouveau for me. I want to run my hands over those shapes!

Art Nouveau flourished as an international style movement from about 1890 - 1905, and is characterized by it's organic, floral and curvilear motifs. The style includes the likes of Jugendstil (Germany), the wonderful output of Liberty in London, the work of Tiffany studios, and one of my favorites would be the Glasgow movement of which Charles Rennie Mackintosh was the top!

There are some interesting ways - big and small- to add some Art Nouveau curves to your home at upcoming auctions!

This wonderfully simple French Art Nouveau mirror is being offered in the next Christies Interiors sale in New York December 16th and 17th. It has an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500 and is offered without reserve. It's 39.5" tall x 29.25" wide. I love the proportions and subtle curves, along with the carved floral touches. 

This lovely French Art Nouveau salon suite, circa 1900, would be even more of a style statement. This fruitwood settee and two chairs are included in the Bonhams 20th Century Decorative Arts sale, and they have an auction estimate of $4,000 - $6,000. The backs are wonderfully shaped and have fantastic carved detail.

This French Art Nouveau plum-pudding mahogany chest of drawers, circa 1900, is included in the next New York Christies Interiors sale. It has subtle curves, wonderful handles, and two great spaces to display an Art Nouveau vase or two! It has an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500. I see this is a living or dining room.

These Continental Art Nouveau fruitwood stands could fit in anywhere. They have lovely carving and stand 45.75" tall. They could sit either side of a sofa with some wonderful lamps on them. These are included in the Bonhams 20th Century Decorative Arts sale in New York, and have an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500.

Bonhams 20th C. Decorative Arts - Lot 4065

I just had to end with some knock out color. This pair of Tiffany Studios leaded Favrile glass and faceted" jewel" windows is being offered in the Bonhams sale. I include them just because they grabbed my attention. They are way out of my price range with an auction estimate of $10,000 - $15,000. They are just gorgeous!

There is so much about all the Art Nouveau styles that were practiced around the world to love. Add some curves to your home at auction!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The modernity of Neoclassical style

Neoclassicism was very much a reaction to over the top ornateness of Baroque and Rococo styles. It was a movement to return to the 'purity' of classical (Roman) architecture and decorative arts. It started in Britain and France, and moved across Europe, and encompasses the styles of Directoire, Empire, Biedermeier, and Federal in America - among others.

Neoclassical furniture fits perfectly in to our modern sensibility. The furniture of these styles is wonderfully simple and elegant, and doesn't need to shout at you to make a statement.

Elle Decor - Designer: Paula Caravelli 
Elle Decor - Tribeca loft of artist Nabil Nahas
Both of these contemporary rooms use Neoclassical style with modern effect - Biedermeier style (top photo) and Empire (bottom photo). The warm woods and clean shapes are perfect for mixing styles of old and new. 

Doyle New York American Furniture Sale Nov. 18th - Lot 121

This is a positively gorgeous example of American Neoclassical design. The curved arms and the detailed carving of the mahogany are so elegant. Love those paw feet! This sofa is offered in the Doyle New York American Furniture sale with an auction estimate of $1,200 - $2,000. It's 2nd quarter 19th century. 
Doyle New York - Lot 189A

This is another wonderful example of American Neoclassical. This is also in the Doyle New York sale, and has an auction estimate of $600 - $900. Again, the shapes are to die for. The curves of the arms, the angle of the back, and the intricately carved legs make this a work of art that you can sit on!

Biedermeier is probably my favorite style in this category. The blond mixed with the black ebonized wood is so chic. They look almost Deco to me, and have such an artistic quality. This example (a pair) of Biedermeier bergeres from the 1st half of the 19th century were sold at a Christie's auction in New York for $4,541. They are made of fruitwood and ebonized wood.

This pair of Biedermeier walnut side chairs from the mid-19th century sold for $2,706 at the most recent New Orleans auction. The winning bid was well above the auction estimate of $45 - $700 which is a testament to the popularity of the style. The curve of the back and the color f the wood set these chairs off.

This pair of Biedermeier fruitwood chairs is offered in the upcoming Bonhams sale November 21st in San Francisco. They have an auction estimate of $400 - $600. Aren't the curly cue backs marvelous?

This is a lovely, simply designed Italian neoclassical carved giltwood mirror. It's offered in the Stair Galleries sale of Dominick Dunne's estate November 20th. It's 39.5" tall x 12.75" wide, which makes it a great shape for narrow spaces between things. The carved laurel leaf is the perfect neoclassical touch. This has an auction estimate of $400 - $600. 

Elle Decor - Designer: Darryl Carter

I've had this photo in my blog before, but it is the perfect closing example of using Neoclassical in a modern room. Darryl Carter's book The New Traditional outlines exactly the ethos of mixing modern and traditional, or in this case Neoclassical!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fashionable folding screens

Are you looking for a big design statement? A folding screen may just do the trick. It's big, decorative, and can just stand in the corner or pop on your wall.
Coco Chanel's apartment - Photo via Blog: The swell life

Coco Chanel collected Chinese screens and used them all over her Paris apartment. Coco was a great trend setter!

You can see in Lars Bolander's interiors a recurring screen theme. These are simple but very decorative. They fill a corner fashionably.

I love this bold statement above the fireplace. It adds 'architecture', color and lots of interest.

This Directoire style stenciled birds eye maple screen is just the thing to add chic styling to any room. It's being offered in the next St. Charles Gallery auction November 20th and 21st. It's two panels, so not so big, and opens to 80" tall x 60" wide. It has an auction estimate of $200 - $400. This would be perfect in that boring corner to add pizazz!

This neoclassical style screen is so very decorative. I could see this either in the humble corner or mounted on the wall. This screen is being offered in the Bonhams San Francisco auction November 21st. It's oil on canvas and opens up to 50" tall, and 54" wide. It has an auction estimate of $400 - $600. 

This huge screen sold at a Christie's auction in New York for $1,063. It's a Spanish painted and stamped leather late 19th century screen. It has 8 panels, each of which is 138" tall x 35.5" wide. It's probably too big for most homes in one piece, but you could split it up and share it with a friend! It has great color and interest. This would make a wonderful headboard for your bedroom, among other things.

This classic Chinese screen has a wonderful gold lacquer ground with these fantastic flying cranes. This would lighten up a room with the color and movement of the design. Just love it. This screen is offered in the next St. Charles Gallery auction November 20th and 21st with and auction estimate of $300 - $500. I would mount this on the wall for full effect. It's 72" x 72" when fully opened.

Look around your rooms and you'll see just the spot for a screen in the corner or on the wall! It will add color, interest and pizazz!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Going for baroque... with mirrors

Mirrors with great frames are the perfect wall art. They look great as decoration, and they can fill up a dark place making it lighter by reflecting back at the observer.

Baroque and rococo styles represent those wonderful almost over the top decorative periods from the late 16th century through the 18th.  The Victoria and Albert Museums exhibit on Baroque in 2009 called it the 'first Global style' because it's influence spread to every continent.

Metropolitan Museum: Dining room from Kirtlington Park, Oxfordshire, 1742–48

The plaster work in this room at the Metropolitan Museum is a wonderful example of the exuberance of the style.

While you may not want a whole room of baroque or rococo style, mirrors are the perfect way of adding drama and decoration. There are some terrific offerings at auctions coming up.

We went to the auction preview of the upcoming November 20th auction of Dominick Dunne's estate at Stair Galleries in Hudson, NY this past weekend where I took these photos. 

The mirror at the top is a great example of the ornate carving you can expect of baroque, which in this case is Spanish colonial style. This is Lot 132 (44" tall) with an auction estimate of $300 - $600. The frame is a wonderful statement piece and work of art. 

On either side of the painting above the mantle are a small pair of Spanish colonial style mirrors (16.5" tall). These are Lot 252 with an auction estimate of $100 - $200. This is a good example of mirrors used as decoration since they really aren't positioned as a looking glass. They are just wonderfully ornate gilt carvings placed on the wall as decoration!

I can't resist another couple of examples from the Stair auction. This one on the left is another Spanish colonial style mirror (37" tall) with a richly carved frame. The silvered look is a nice break from gold gilt. I can see this anywhere, but might try it in a small bathroom to give it some wow factor. This is Lot 174 with an auction estimate of $400 - $600.

 These delicious confections are also Spanish colonial style. They are called mirrors but really are just beautiful decoration. They are parcel gilt and painted, 29.5" tall and have an auction estimate of $400 - $600. They are Lot 33. I think they are very smart and would dress up anything when put either side.

This is a fun example of the rococo style which distinguishes itself from the baroque with it's asymmetrical designs. This mirror is Italian and is being offered in the next St. Charles Gallery auction November 20th and 21st. It's Lot 503, 48" tall, and has an estimate of $1,200 - $1,800.

This impressive Florentine gilt wood carved mirror is baroque style made in the 3rd quarter of the 19th century. It's 76" tall, and has an auction estimate of $1,500 - $2,000. It's Lot 499 in the St. Charles Gallery auction.

Traditional Home - Designer: Janet Simon
Mirrors are a decorative element that you can afford to go a a little crazy with in terms of over the top styling.  Baroque and rococo inspired pieces are just the thing. Make a statement with a great mirror. It will liven up the place.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Add (little) architecture to your home

I have been trawling the latest on-line auction catalogues and some very chic offerings caught my eye!

Architect's models are wonderful sculpture. They look fabulous sitting on a table or shelf in any decor. Bill Blass's apartment had several, and who had better style than Bill Blass.

Dillon Kyle Architecture via desire to inspire

I happened on this example of an architect's model sitting on a coffee table on the blog 'desire to inspire' from the portfolio of the Texas based architect's, Dillon Kyle Architecture. 

 Metropolitan Home - Designer: William Sawaya

In this entry a Palladian style birdcage takes pride of place in the apartment of designer William Sawaya.

This terrific example is included in the Stair Galleries auction of Dominick Dunne's properties to be held on November 20th. It 24" tall and has an auction estimate of $200 - $300.

This is actually a Victorian style birdcage, but it does the trick as an architectural model. This is included in the next St. Charles Gallery auction in new Orleans being held November 20th and 21st. It's made of metal and wire and is 49.5" tall with an auction estimate of $300 - $500. I see this on a console table with candles in it, lit at night for romantic architectural mood!

These are my favorites! The Italian loggia model is tres chic. This is included in the New Orleans auction. This is Lot 525, 9.5" tall and has an estimate of $150 - $250. The chapel model is Lot 522, 24.5" tall and has an estimate of $250 - $400. 

 House Beautiful - Designer: Cristine Gillespie

In this case the Eiffel Tower is a wonderful focal point on the mantel in this living room designed by Christine Gillespie. While I look for things to buy at auction, maybe you might just bring back a souvenir from your next trip!

If you have a small apartment or house imagine adding architecture on a table top!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Small entryways revisted

It was only about a month ago that I blogged on Chic little consoles for small entryways, but I have to revisit small entry spaces! We went to the Kips Bay Decorator Show House (through Nov. 11th) in New York, and were captivated by this wonderful small nook of a space.

Kips Bay Decorator Show House 2010 - Designer: Rod Winterrowd

So many of the rooms in the show house are a bit over the top, but this little area caught our eye. My husband's comment was 'it's yet another example of the smaller the space, the better it looks if you cram it full of wonderful things!' The lovely little console table is topped with flowers and vases, and the sculpture on the floor adds even more interest. The oriental style lantern is wonderful and the sconces bring more mood lighting options. The walls were a wonderful deep blue lacquer.  I could go on!

I thought I'd 'decorate' a few entryways with a wonderful console table and a great light fixture from auctions.  Just add a vase of flowers and a few decorative objects, and you have a good start to a great entryway!

Art Deco

This chic Art Deco style console table is made of iron, steel and stone. It's French and sold at Doyle New York for $3,750. The subtle detailing is wonderful. Pile it high with vases and flowers to draw the eye to an entryway or down a hallway.

This Art Deco glass and metal chandelier would make a great pairing with the console table above. This sold at a Christie's Interiors sale earlier this year for $125! It had an auction estimate of $1,500 - $2,000 so it went for a song!


The last St. Charles Gallery in New Orleans would have been a perfect place to start for the Asian inspired console table and lighting. This wonderful Chinese bamboo console table is from the 1st quarter of the 19th century, and sold for $861. You may remember my blog on 'Faux bamboo chic', but this is actually the real thing. Very smart looking.  

At the same St. Charles Gallery auction this Chinese rosewood birdcage, converted in to a lantern is 32" tall and sold for $215! This is the height of chic and I can't believe it sold for that. If you paired this lantern with the console above, you might have money left over for a buddha statue or maybe a wondferful Chinese vase to put on top of the console!


When it comes to classic antiques I have a soft spot for Neoclassical. I love the tailored lines. This early 19th century Continental console table sold at a Bonhams Los Angeles auction for $2,440. I love the carved heads, paw feet, and marble top. It also has a mirror in the back so that you can check out your skirt hems as you enter!

I would pair this console with a classic lantern. This is a simple example of a hall lantern and was included in a Bonhams auction in San Francisco. This is late 19th century Louis XVI style, 31" tall, and sold for $1,708.

The entryway sets the tone of your style for those entering your home. Have fun with it, and don't be shy about cramming it full of wonderful things!
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