You know how there are those families that don’t use their living room? Like how they only use it for company? I am not from that type of family. We use our living room, always have. My grandparents ruled the roost from their living room in their big fat formal house in Missouri. My grandfather sat on one side of the living room in his Pierre Deux slip covered armchair, smoking, handing out chocolates to his grandchildren from a sterling silver box, always wearing a gray suit, legs crossed, talking politics. My grandmother sat on the other side of the room playing cards, drinking sweet tea laced with vodka, wearing her pearls, talking to her friends on the telephone about their antique shop and watching Wheel of Fortune.
My parents were constantly entertaining so our living room was always well used and well loved. It was always the center of the house and the room my mother always put all of her attention towards. The good news is that my parents never cared if we came into the house and plopped our messy teenage selves on the sofas. I never heard from my mother, “Get your feet off the sofa.” (I’m sure it was implied though.) She would never even care if we ate a slice of pizza on her baby grand piano during our piano lessons. Even though our living room was formal (my mother decorated our living room in Malibu like Coco Chanel’s apartment) it was always welcoming.
My own living rooms have always been smaller than my parents or grandparents but I feel like my living rooms are cozy, inviting and where all of my best stuff is. I will become clinically depressed if any living room that I have does not have a fireplace. I need a focal point! I like to always have in my living room tons of books, tons of candles, lots of pillows, beautiful curtains, my best accessories, a beautiful mirror, vases of flowers, a little bar, clever paintings and always always always some sort of pet… Large or small. I am in a bit of a “predicament” with my apartment here in Paris. It is the perfect living room with the quintessential marble fireplace, gilt 19th-century mirror, point to point hardwood floors, beautiful molding with skyscraper windows but the only problem is that I don’t have all of my “stuff.” 90% of everything I own is in storage… In California. My books, my blue-and-white vases, my sofas, my coffee tables, my side tables, my candlesticks, my rugs, my paintings etc. so I am having a very hard time! I have had to “resupply” bit by bit here in Paris. Don’t worry, I’ll make do. :-)
Let me state for the record that I hate the word, the concept, the reference, and the thought of the two words “great room.”
Okay, let’s take a look at some inspiring living rooms…
I have put together yet another board on Pinterest (I have a lot of time on my hands) solely dedicated to living rooms. You can follow it HERE.
The next room we are going to explore is my favorite room… the kitchen. Stay tuned.
*Something you don’t know about me? I never forget a house, a book, a piece of furniture (or the price), a hotel, a painting, a museum… Anything that has to do with interior design. Once I see it, it goes into my vault in my memory and I never forget it. The first time that I saw my friend Diandra Douglas’ house in Montecito, I soaked up every inch of the house. I remembered everything. There was that pink salmon colored house in St. Tropez that I saw when I was 21. There was my friend Andrew Bossum’s English dandy townhouse on the Upper East Side of New York that I stayed at when I was 22. There was my friend Eric Wachmeister’s copper kitchen in his apartment on the top floor facing the Metropolitan Museum in New York. There was that German real estate gentlemen’s house in Mallorca, Spain with the Moroccan tented room. There was Susan’s California Monterey beach house in Laguna. There was my friend Eleanor’s English cottage in Montecito. There was that Bugatti chair I saw at the flea market. There was that hotel in Rome with the old floral wallpaper. There was Philippe Bigar’s old family beach house in the Hamptons. There was that Francis Bacon triptych at the Pompidou Museum. There was my parent’s Balinese house in Summerland. There was that bed-and-breakfast in Florence, Italy with all of the fields of olive trees.
There were also houses that I remember that literally burned my eyes. That Russian woman’s apartment in Paris with the modern tubelike crystal chandelier that touched the ground. There was that house in Santa Barbara with the round Chicago Bears rug. There was that other house in Santa Barbara with the burgundy Scarlett O’Hara drapes. There was that faux Tuscan house in the middle of Missouri. There was that faux Château in Beverly Hills with the infinity pool. There was that Colombian’s house in Mallorca where every single thing was monogrammed. There was that expensive house in Newport Beach in the subdivision with all the furnishings from Ballard Designs and Tuesday Morning.
I don’t forget a thing!
I can hear some of you right now thinking, “She is such a snob.” Newsflash… I am not. I just happen to remember beautiful things and on the flipside I also happen to remember horrible things. I decided years ago to put these superpowers to good use and draw on them when necessary. For example, we looked at a new apartment in Paris today that happens to be half the size of our current apartment. No problem because I remembered a certain magazine article in Elle Decor featuring a pint size apartment that knocked my socks off. Like I’ve said before, it’s not about how much you spend but how you spend it. Thank God for Pinterest so now I can file some of these memories away that is somewhere tangible. Now I have some free memory space to load up new pictures in my head. Do you guys ever do this… Keep memories of houses… Or am I the only freak?