I definitely have a little bit of staircase envy going on. I always assumed that my future would be filled with staircases considering I spent my youth on my grandmother’s magnificent staircase. My grandmother’s staircase was the centerpiece of her house. Wide steps, mahogany with a green runner, deep landing with massive stained-glass overhead, overlooking the foyer with a banister that was perfect for decorating and sliding down. The staircase was so remarkable that my mother even got married on it. I think her sisters did as well. Little did I know that this staircase was basically my last. We moved from Missouri to California when I was finishing the six grade and ever since I have really never had a staircase. Well, I mean, I’ve had a staircase but not a staircase! Isn’t it weird and don’t you feel bad for me?
If I were to ever build a house, my designs would start with the staircase. If I were to ever shop for a château, my choices would revolve around a staircase. A girl can dream can’t she! Second to a grand staircase, my favorite staircase is a freestanding winding staircase. I have two favorites. The first one is slightly hidden at the Louvre behind Napoleon’s dining room in the butler’s hallway. The second is at my favorite perfume shop in the gardens of the Palais Royale, Serge Lutens. Take a look…
Okay, now let’s take a look at some other remarkable staircases.…
Amazing, right? I don’t even know which one I would choose! Another favorite staircase of mine is designer Timothy Corrigan’s at his Château du Grand-Lucé. I love it because he put sisal/seagrass as the runner! A little bit of California in France! Très chic. Take a look…
As always, I have put together a Staircase/Stairs Pinterest board. Click HERE to see. Inspiration galore!
Okay, now that we have the foyer and staircase all figured out… It’s time to get into the heart of the house. Where should we start? Let’s go big and start with the living room, shall we? Stay tuned…
*Something you don’t know about me? When Gracie was in elementary school and before I had my own antique shop, I took interior design classes at Santa Barbara City College. I took a drafting class, lighting design class, space planning class and the very best class… The History of Furniture. The History of Furniture class was the greatest year of my life. My professor started the class with the first known piece of furniture up until the 1970s. She taught her class as if she was telling a story and I was hooked. I was definitely that annoying teacher’s pet who was genuinely interested in every word she said. “Please Prof., tell me more about that French Empire daybed.”
I don’t care if you think that I’m a big fat snob, I’m going to tell you the truth. The truth is that you can go to all of the interior designing classes that you want but you will never be a good interior designer unless you have good taste. At that, my friends, you cannot learn in school. If I want to be a total brat I would say that one is born with good taste or shall I say born with a good eye but I also think that with exposure good taste is possible. Exposure to museums, historical sites, foreign cultures, brilliant architecture, talented designers and individual homes is key. The best education you can give yourself is to travel and keep your eyes open. You cannot always trust shelter magazines to help you with your interior design education because they are not always spot on. I’m still completely confused as to which idiot at Architectural Digest gave the go-ahead for this one house that was a complete joke. Nautical themed with patchwork quilts with lots of yellow and pink and royal blue… And red. The thought of that house still upsets me. You can educate yourself up to a certain point and then you either have it or you don’t. Money doesn’t buy good taste either.
Do you want my advice? I think I heard a “yes.” Get yourself to the Marché aux Puces, the flea market in Paris. It is better than anything a school could offer.
Do you want some more advice? Here is a teeny tiny preliminary list of my favorite designers for you to check out to give you some inspiration…
Timothy Corrigan Miles Redd Michael S. Smith Chahan Minassian Craig Wright
Mary McDonnell Rose Tarlow Jean-Louis Denoit Richard Shapiro Jessica Vedel
Kelly Wearstler Kathryn Ireland Jeffrey Allen Marks Gilles et Boissier
Alex Papchristridis Dan Marty Martin Lawrence Bullard Studio Ko Jacques Garcia
Bunny Williams Charlotte Moss Suzanne Rheinstein Roman and Williams
Joseph Dirand Christian Liagre John Saladino Axel Vervoordt
Ready for some more advice? There are some excellent interior design books that you should invest in as part of your education. Even though basically everything I own is tucked away in storage in Los Angeles, if I had to choose one thing as my “must have” it would be all of my decorating books. For you, because I love all of you :-), I have put together a cohesive compilation of must have interior design books through my Have Some Decorum Bookstore. Click HERE. Start with The Finest Houses of Paris as your first choice. My mother and I call it the Bible.
My other guilty pleasure is to watch Suzanne Salk’s Quintessence (phenomenal blog) video series. I binge watch it. Click HERE to start your decorating video education.
Now that I have opened this interior decorating can of worms… Forgive me if I get a bit obsessive. Interior design feeds my soul. Even though I have ALS and should be “preparing for my demise” I just don’t feel that way. You are going to laugh but the other day I actually felt like I wanted to “go back to work.” I don’t have time for ALS. Next week I will tell you what I really want to do… And yes, it involves decorating… and Paris.