Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes


Classic Weekly Finds

Molly Worth, founder of Chairloom, believes that people and furniture deserve second chances. Browsing her many reinvented chairs and benches, this low stool with stately legs jumped out at me. Timeless leopard is such a smart choice. A small hit of animal print in a room almost never looks dated.

More classics arrived recently at Atlanta's Acquisitions, 631 Miami Circle. For me, one of the standouts is this handsome secretary. When I saw it, I immediately thought of Katie's and Carson's recommendations.

Outstanding Customer Service

Yesterday some of you asked about the durability and feel of Rubie Green's earth-friendly fabrics. (I'm told RG uses the same organic cotton upholstery fabric that Lee Industries uses to upholster their green pieces.) Today I can report that Rubie Green also offers excellent customer service. I've never received any fabric so quickly before. And it was impeccably packaged.

Michelle Adams, the woman behind Rubie Green, was wise to include a zig-zag print in her line. The geometric has been around for centuries. Above is an 18th century example highlighted in The Majesty of Mughal Decoration.

Hopefully in a few days I'll be able to share images of some newly covered dining chairs. Stay tuned...


Spring at Providence

At the moment Providence Antiques is brimming with seriously chic, unique finds. As always there is original art available at accessible prices, along with interesting coffee tables, vintage chairs, and outstanding mirrors.

If you plan to be in Atlanta during the next few weeks, be sure and stop in. It takes multiple spins around the shop to really take in every detail.

Afterward, stroll over to Alons or Yoforia.

Click images to enlarge and better see the details.

Instant Gratification

I love dining chairs with easily removable seats because they can usually be reupholstered quickly at home, DIY. And even if you do opt to have a pro recover them, the job is less costly than reupholstering a wing chair, for example, because less fabric is needed and the labor is not too complicated.

Currently I'm using a couple of my grandparents' klismos style chairs at a small table for two. Over the years they've sported quite a few different colors and patterns. Now I think they are ready for Rubie Green's eco-friendly chevron, "East Village," in raspberry.

The zig-zag pairs well with the dominant print in the room, Brunschwig & Fils' "Dzhambul."

In a very indirect way, I was inspired by architect Gil Schafer's use of a zebra print on his Regency era klismos chairs.

Oh, and speaking of zig-zag, don't forget the Madeline Weinrib sample sale in NYC starting May 2 at ABC Carpet & Home.


Designers' Investments: Betsy Burnham

We already know West Coast designer Betsy Burnham is an ace at mixing old with new, high with not-so-high, and serious with lighthearted. But I was curious about some of her first personal buys -- pieces she felt had proven to be great investments.

She says she has quite a few favorite antique and vintage items. But if forced to mention only one, it might be her son Will's faux bamboo bed found almost ten years ago at Tod Carson's in L.A.

Back then, Will was graduating out of his crib and "There was no way I was going to buy anything typical or toddler-esque," explains Burnham, "so I found this gorgeous vintage piece, which was a lot of money for me at the time, was an odd size (we had to have a mattress custom made because it’s a 'european twin' -- somewhere between a twin and a full) and was admittedly sort of precious. "

Still, Burnham adds, "I’ve never fretted much about form versus function, because a lot of the things I like are vintage or antique. My philosophy is just to enjoy them and use them as much as possible in everyday life. So the bed was a purchase I’ve never regretted. Will is still sleeping in it, and maybe he can even give it to one of his kids one day."

No snob, Burnham is fine with the Pottery Barn Kids sheets that happen to be on young Will's bed at the moment.

These faux bamboo beds are certainly classics. Not too long ago, San Francisco garden designer Robyn Pope acquired one for her daughter. The example shown above top is a 19th century French piece available through Lauren Copen.


Blue Velvet (Or Cotton, Linen and Silk)

Blue, an exhibition that looks at the meaning of indigo hues on textiles, continues at the Textile Museum through September. Included are blue textiles ranging from Greco-Roman and pre-Columbian tunic fragments to contemporary creations.

Shown top, a cotton fragment from India, possibly 17th century. Shown second, a 20th century Chinese-Indonesian cloth.

More From Anne Coyle

Here's a little Thursday treat: Anne Coyle has updated her site with new projects. I think you will notice her signature use of lavender (she was ahead of the curve on that) as well as her beloved black-and-white graphic stripes (zebra and vertical). The interiors are timeless but, as always, youthful and glamorous. I'm coveting the powder room above.

Sometimes the influence of Frédéric Méchiche's work can be seen in Coyles' projects. Above, stripes in a bath at the Méchiche-designed Hotel Le A.

Méchiche's dining room, circa 1996. Image via CNN.


Slate: Save The Mount

For the past few weeks I've mentioned at the close of some posts that Edith Wharton's former Massachusetts home, The Mount, is facing immediate foreclosure. Always resourceful Meg just sent me a link to an excellent Slate article that covers Wharton's residence in detail -- its place in design history, why it is relevant today. Brilliant slides accompany the story too.

Audrey and Charlotte

Pamela Keogh, author of the new release we discussed last week, What Would Audrey Do?, was kind enough to send over these pretty spring images of her book displayed at Charlotte Moss' Townhouse.


The Garrick Bed: A Little More History

The 18th century had celebrity couples too. It seems London's most fashionable was actor David Garrick and his wife Eva. Like the rest of their chic British peers, the couple craved chintz imported from India (originally a hand-drawn, resist-dyed cotton).

Notes Rosemary Crill in Chintz: Indian Textiles for the West, this fresh, lightweight, exotic fabric caused such a sensation in Europe that traditional English weavers faced financial jeopardy. In response the British government imposed a ban on chintz, but the fashionable crowd continued to buy it from smugglers. The Indian chintz shown at top, bought by David and Eva, was initially confiscated by customs officials.

Apparently though, the performers' clout enabled them to get back their precious fabric because it was hung on their Chippendale-made four-poster bed, and today belongs to the V & A.

The second image above shows a detail of a 17th century cotton bed cover imported from the Coromandel Coast. Here animals and flora associated with China and India have been interpreted for a Western audience.

To learn more see Crill's book. All images copyright the V & A.

I'm thinking of adding another Crill title to my library, Textiles from India: The Global Trade. Does anyone already own it?

Speaking of Greek Key...

This tiny table is one of the first antiques I ever bought for myself. One Saturday, years ago, Carson and I spotted it on Bennett Street and I went back to look at it quite a few times. Then it seemed like a perfect first purchase -- character and elegance in a pint-size package that would fit nearly anywhere. (The top is about the size of placemat.)

I still love the looks of it, and its small scale has made it an ideal pretend "restaurant" table for my little niece. But now I know it is not as versatile as a piece like Mallory's chest. Since I do live in a small space, the table needs to perform a function; it always either has a lamp on top or a stack of books, and this hides the striking inlay that drew me to it originally. (And it feels a bit too delicate to serve as a stool.)

So if you are pondering a first investment, I recommend a small chest, with decorative interest on the front, that can be used as storage and in myriad other ways -- end table, bedside table, bar etc.

But back to Greek key. If you want to wow your mom this Mother's Day, wrap her gift with flat trim. Last Christmas I received a gift purchased from Coleen & Company. The wrapping, shown above, was exquisite. Atlanta's Lewis Sheron offers Greek key trim in many colors, priced about $10 per yard. (I know. This is for a luxurious touch.)