Monday, May 2, 2016

Madeleine Castaing Captivates a New Generation

Tory Burch recently posted this image of her vanity table on Instagram, and I fell madly in love with it all, particularly the wallpaper. It is Rayure Fleurie by Madeleine Castaing, and Brunschwig & Fils recently brought it back into their showrooms.


Madeleine Castaing, France’s grande dame of decor, became an instant success in 1940s Paris with her signature style that was a unique blend of neoclassicism, Proustian romanticism, and whimsy. Having previously carried select Castaing fabrics, Brunschwig & Fils has reissued the line—now encompassing matching wallpapers — confident that the patterns will connect with a new audience.  
Brunschwig & Fils' Madeleine Castaing collection, via Architectural Digest
From left, Rayure Castiglione and Rayure Fleurie fabrics, Feuillage wallpaper (shown in two colorways), and Lola Montez wallpaper border.

My favorite, Rayure Fleurie, encapsulates Castaing’s philosophy of bringing the outdoors in. She created the design while planning the winter bedroom at her family’s country house near Chartres, deciding she needed a fabric that would echo the allée of sycamores seen from the windows.


Castaing’s winter bedroom in Lèves, France via Architectural Digest.

 Jacques Grange for Mathilde Agostinelli via Habitually Chic.

Strict adherence to a color and pattern vocabulary made Castaing’s rooms instantly recognizable. It also established her as a pioneer in the world of branding.  “I use three colors: red, sky-blue, and the green of the gardens,” she explained

Photograph by Francois Hammond for The New York Times via Little Augury  
Madeleine Castaing's home, Maison de Lèves.

The Tory Burch flagship on Rodeo Drive channels Madeleine Castaing... 

as does her Madison Avenue flagship...

and her Paris flagship.

You can read more about Madeleine Castaing via Architectural Digest, The Telegraph (UK), The Peak of Chic, Little Augury, and Habitually Chic. There is also a wonderful book, The World of Madeleine Castaing, available through Amazon. Her fabric and wallpaper collection is available through Brunschwig & Fils.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Design Crush: Eric Ross Interiors

Based in Franklin, Tennessee, Eric Ross Interiors embodies that traditional Southern style I simply adore. I have followed Eric for some time on Instagram, and after reading his charming Q&A with my friend Paige at The Pink Clutch, I was eager to see more of his work.

Eric has been decorating rooms all his life, but professionally for over 15 years. In 2009, he began his eponymous firm working with clients in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and beyond. When asked how he describes his design style, Eric explains, “My personal design style is traditional, but my job isn’t to design what I like – It’s to listen to clients and help them discover what they love and respond to. I do believe that ALL good design is informed by the past.”

I couldn't agree more! Eric has also stated that he is single handedly trying to bring back florals and ruffles... Eric, consider me your partner in crime! Let's take a look at a few highlights from his portfolio...





As featured in Southern Style, Spring 2016








This sunroom, featured in Traditional Home, was designed for a client who shared a mutual adoration for the late Charles Faudree. 



2015 Junior League of High Point Showhouse

Isn't his work amazing?! To learn more about Eric Ross Interiors, please visit his website where you will want to watch this delightful video interview (click on ERI Master Series: About Eric Ross). You can read a Q&A with Eric at The Pink Clutch, and please follow him on Instagram and through his new blog... He always has the best posts.  Now let's bring on the florals and ruffles!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bowood Chintz - and The Glam Pad - in Vogue!

For several years, I have been writing about how chintz is back in bloom, and I could not have been more delighted when I saw The Glam Pad mentioned by Vogue for my recent feature and Instagram posts on Bowood by Colefax and Fowler!

As Vogue explains, iconic Bowood, created by designers Sybil Colefax and John Beresford Fowler, practically has a cult following. Colefax and Fowler have come to epitomize English country house design style, a style Fowler is credited with originating in the 1930s. Here is a look at a few of Vogue's favorite Colefax and Fowler­–inspired Instagrams...

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea / @theglampad

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea / @theglampad
Margaret Kirkland Design, image via Atlanta Homes Magazine 

Photo: Courtesy of Susanna Thomas Interiors / @susannathomasinteriors
I cannot wait to see this room finished!!! 

Photo: Courtesy of Vanya Wilkinson / vanya_wilkinson

Photo: Courtesy of Over the Moon / @otmblog

Photo: Courtesy of Marisa Marcantonio / @stylebeatblog

Photo: Courtesy of @sylloges

Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland / @aliceinherpalace

Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland / @aliceinherpalace

Photo: Courtesy of LB Originals / @lboriginals

To see the rest of Vogue's favorite Colefax and Fowler­–inspired Instagrams, click here. And for more elegant English style, I recently featured Alice Naylor-Leyland (included above) here and here. You can read my original post on Bowood chintz here. Thank you Vogue for including me! What are your thoughts on chintz, and are you happy to see it return? I am thrilled!! 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Lycette Designs Is Bringing Needlepoint to the Millennial Generation

Needlepoint is making a comeback! Over the last few years, companies such as Jonathan Adler, Tory Burch, and Furbish have released darling needlepoint pillows, and needlepoint smoking slippers, such as those from Stubbs & Wootton are all the rage. This spring, Gucci launched a collection of the prettiest needlepoint bags you ever did see! However, according to the National NeedleArts Association, the average age of a needlepointer is 61... This is a statistic 25-year-old Jessica Chaney, founder of Lycette Designs, is working to change. Born in New England and raised in South Florida, Jessica began to needlepoint at age 12. As a student at George Washington University, she worked part-time at a needlepoint shop where she met other young women curious about a pastime their grandmothers enjoyed, but unable to find canvases that sparked motivation. This inspired her to design hand painted needlepoint canvases that are colorful, cheeky, and fresh.

I met Jessica about a month ago via Instagram and fell in love with her whimsical Palm Beach style. She was in the process of launching Lycette Designs - a needlepoint design company dedicated to traditional pastimes with a modern, playful elegance - and I was intrigued to learn more. After confessing that I had never tried needlepoint, Jessica offered to teach me. I was a little intimidated, but after just one afternoon together, I am officially hooked! Various studies have suggested the repetitive action of needlework can induce a relaxed state like that associated with meditation and yoga. These meditative qualities can lower blood pressure and decrease heart rate. In today's 24/7 digital world, I find it is truly the most relaxing way to unwind and decompress... all while creating a lovely work of art.

"Lycette is the girl who finds humor in every situation, tries to be polished, yet always spills on herself, thinks flaws are endearing, and a smile is contagious. Lycette values homemade gifts over gift certificates, and snail mail over email." 
Jessica Chaney, founder of Lycette Designs 

With a history dating back to 1500 BC, needlepoint has enjoyed a following amongst royalty and First Ladies including Princess Grace, Barbara Bush, Betty Ford, the Duke of Windsor, and Marie Antoinette. Other notable needlepointers include fashion designer Jules Reid, author and design blogger Jennifer Boles, blogger and designer Jenny Schnabl Brewster, and pop singer Taylor Swift. Renowned interior designers and society ladies such as Elsie de Wolfe, Mario Buatta, C.Z. Guest, and Bunny Mellon famously incorporated needlepoint pillows with witty sayings into their classic, old-school interiors. They add a sense of irreverent whimsy and serve as conversation starters.

C.Z. Guest's collection of needlepoint pillows, recently purchased by Madcap Cottage.

Elsie de Wolfe was known for her “bon mots” and she had a penchant for proclaiming them upon needlepoint pillows... via Lynn Byrne

Determined to ensure this art form - which was passed down to Jessica from her great grandmother, Edyth Lycette, continued to her generation, Lycette Designs was born. "I developed the concept of Lycette by creating a company that reflected the values of my great grandmother, grandmother, and mother. Lycette is a combination of humor, grace, whimsy, intention, sass, and elegance," said Jessica. 

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

A:  All sorts of places, Pinterest, classic interior design, and travel are probably the three main places that provide me with my subject matter; however, I also find inspiration in the humor that derives from difficult situations, and difficult people. The best stories, and sayings, come from cringe-worthy situations.

I was also inspired by designer Mario Buatta’s use of sassy needlepoint sayings in almost every room he decorated. Needlepoint accessories (pillows, stools, rugs) are a staple of classic interior decorating. I wanted to create canvases that would hopefully inspire others to use needlepoint in their own interior decoration.

via Lycette's Instagram 

"Not Tonight"... says Mario Buatta.

Mario Buatta, Kips Bay Showhouse – 2006
(On pillow: Missing: Fisherman – Husband and Dog.  Reward for Dog)

Q: How old were you when you first started to needlepoint? What is your favorite creation to date?

A:  I was 12 when I first began to needlepoint, and it was then that I stitched my favorite project. I competed in show jumping, and the chicest competitors sported needlepoint belts (think Georgina Bloomberg and Jessica Springstein). When their horse glided over the jump, their show jacket would elegantly lift to reveal a colorful needlepoint belt. I was enticed by the glamour of it! Of course, being a preteen and wanting to mimic these elegant women, I immediately bought a belt canvas with a flamingo design. I still have that belt! In fact, I secretly rejoice when I get the stomach flu, because afterwards I can JUST buckle my 13-year-old belt.

Jessica's custom needlepoint belts

Q: Are there any famous needlepointers (living or deceased) who you admire?

A:  There are so many, it’s hard to choose! Having managed a needlepoint shop, and now as a canvas designer, I find that needlepoint and strong women go hand-in-hand. My favorite needlepointer is Princess Grace of Monaco. For me, she is the epitome of demure elegance, classic beauty, and silent strength.

Princess Grace, via Lycette

Q: What are your goals for Lycette?

A:  I would love for Lycette to become synonymous with an elegant, cheeky lifestyle. Late night barefoot dinner parties, colorful silk scarves knotted around tan necks, champagne splashing onto an embroidered caftan, and needlepoint pillows that become ratty with love. I hope to bring back pastimes that require devotion of time and intention. Pastimes that show and symbolize love through the final product, whether it is a gracious thank you note, a needlepoint pillow, or a dinner menu reflecting your guests’ favorite foods.  More than anything, I want Lycette to encourage other women to start their own businesses embolden by their passions.


Q: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in taking up needlepoint for the first time?

A:  Patience, a sense of humor, and a glass of white wine (clear liquids won’t stain the canvas)! I would look for a larger mesh canvas (13 is preferable), and little to no shading. As a beginner it is important to remember that perfection is subjective, and mistakes create flaws that are quirky and enduring. Your first piece will not be your most beautifully stitched, but why would you want it to be? That leaves no room for improvement!


Q: Once a needlepoint project is complete, how do you go about turning it into a beautiful pillow, belt, bag, etc.? Any tips?

A:  Finishing needlepoint on one’s own is tough! I refuse to attempt it, as I am convinced I will end up with a twitch. However, one’s local needlepoint shop is available to finish all needlepoint projects! For leather goods, I recommend Hilltop Leather. They are fantastic! They create reasonably priced keyfobs, belts, and coasters in a plethora of colors.

via Lycette's Instagram 

via Bunny Mellon's estate

Needlepoint pillows available from Tory Burch, inspired by ones in her childhood home made by her parents. 

Q: What are your favorite hobbies outside of needlepointing?

A:  Although I am 25, most of my hobbies can be found in the pamphlet of a retirement home. I enjoy painting, horseback riding, croquet, tennis, and decorating. I love basking in the sun, whether it be on a chaise lounge, in the saltwater, or upon the saddle of a horse. However, my absolute favorite hobby is entertaining. I am most radiant when planning a menu, choosing linens, and organizing a vase of fresh flowers.

via Lycette's Instagram 

As you can see, Jessica is an absolute doll, and I am eternally grateful to her for introducing me to needlepoint. It is a delight to meet such a lovely young lady dedicated to maintaining "old fashioned" traditions. I can also attest that Jessica is an excellent cook and writes the most beautiful handwritten notes... in cursive, and on engraved paper. And she is in the process of renovating her first home - an adorable Palm Beach chic pink bungalow! I just love her! Thanks to Jessica, I am nearing completion on my first needlepoint creation, and next on the agenda is a custom belt for my husband and a pillow for my son's nursery.

Hand painted canvases from Lycette Designs are available for purchase through Bloomin' Stitches, Needlepoint.com, and your local needlepoint store. Jessica will reveal additional designs next week, so stay tuned! For daily inspiration, you will want to follow Lycette on Instagram and Pinterest. And you won't want to miss Jessica's blog, which truly showcases her sparkling humor and witty personality.
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