A pair of double-faced silk portieres fabricated by the ladies at RoseHyll Studio separate Michael Herold’s patrician entry from Dan Fink’s deco-inflected ground floor landing at this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse. And yet the spaces flow together to set the tone for another banner year at this time-honored charity event on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Interior designer Ray Booth’s work conjures comparisons: He understands the importance of silhouette like John Saladino; the precise tailoring of his rooms call to mind a Jill Sander collection; and his color sensibility inhabits the same etherial realm as a Turner seascape hanging at the Tate.
Quite the combination.
These ideas and more are evident in Ray’s masterful new book Evocative Interiors, released last month by Rizzoli New York.
With a forward by Bobby McAlpine – whose firm Ray Booth is a partner in – Evocative Interiors features images from projects Booth has completely over the course of nearly two decades.
“Our everyday surroundings are a mark we make to claim our place on earth. The daily experiences they evoke through the combination of color, material, furnishings, and context profoundly affect our physical and emotional well-being.” – Ray Booth
Booth creates rooms meant for living – opulent and photogenic to be sure — but with a soul that portends an invitation to sit, relax, converse, and enjoy. These are rooms best categorized as supremely modern; they address our movement toward cleaner eclecticism and restorative spaces.
When I put this book down after a careful appraisal, I remembered the outspoken Polly Mellen in that scene from Unzipped where she’s in the back seat of a limousine with Isaac Mizrahi, describing his work as sublime but not fussy; in a wide-eyed moment she exclaims “Fussy — Finished!”
Sublime but not fussy aptly describes Ray Booth’s work as well.
My office is on the same block as the Rizzoli Bookstore in New York, so when I wandered in Tuesday morning, I was the first person to buy a copy of Charlotte Moss Entertains, the 10th book by the celebrated decorator and trendsetter, on the day of its release (they were just arranging the first copies on the shelves.) And after spending an hour at my favorite coffee haunt across the street leafing through its pages, I can attest that this book lives up to the title: It Entertains.
In her introduction, Moss lays out a concise (and accessible) list of suggestions for her readers, on all things pertaining to entertaining. Sending invites, the importance of flowers, creating table scapes, candles, dressing for dinner, and recording your parties are all covered.
What follows is a rich visual chronicle of some of Charlotte’s favored events, including a dinner party in Charleston, a gala for The New York City Ballet, a book party for Patricia Gaye Tapp, and her annual ‘Caftan Caucus’ – a weekend party shared with women friends at her East Hampton home.
But for me what’s most notable in Charlotte Moss Entertains – in addition to Moss’s writings – are the 200 photographs of everything including linens, china, table settings, gardens, rooms, and flowers (glorious flowers!) arranged for the guests to arrive; the images will inspire both the host and hostess for decades to come.
One final thought: I’m not sure when the idea of referring to pictures as porn, as in food-porn or tabletop-porn or flower-porn entered the popular vernacular, but those are 3 concise phrases to describe this book. And if Charlotte were to blush at those references, I would beg her indulgence, because Charlotte Moss Entertains is one of the sexiest entertaining books you’ll ever own. .
I heard Brooklyn-based interior designer Kathryn Scott speak at the AD Home Show several years ago and was captivated by the way she articulated herself, and by her personal style, unique among her contemporaries in the design industry. But it was the slide show of images of her Italianate townhouse that left me speechless – indeed a rare feat for those who know me well.
Taking the opportunity to introduce myself after the panel discussion led to a visit to Kathryn’s home…
I grew up on Cape Cod. My first official textile project was splatter painting curtains made from old sheets when I was in 3rd grade. My grandmother was a weaver in Deerfield Massachusetts. She taught me sewing, knitting, crochet, weaving, and bead weaving.
When I would visit in the summers, we would work on projects together- usually sewing new outfits. I was never satisfied with the fabric options in the store. This love of working with fabric from a young age helped me to understand that textile design is really about form in all three dimensions- not just pattern. In high school, I made my own clothes and practiced batik and dyeing fabrics…. Continue reading “(VIDEO) POLLACK’s Rachel Doriss: On Textile Construction and the Creative Process”
Susanna Salk, with principal photography by Stacey Bewkes. Rizzoli 2017
Back in the day, I had 2 overlapping generations of Norfolk Terriers: a red-wheaton named Maxine, and a black-and-tan, named Bruno, Maxine’s nephew. And if you were a customer of my textile studio you likely remember them, as they went to work with me everyday. We were inseparable.
And it’s the special relationship between designer and dog – or vice-versa as Salk tongue-and-cheekedly suggests in her title — that’s highlighted in her new book from Rizzoli New York… Continue reading “At Home with Dogs and Their Designers: Sharing a Stylish Life”
Last Wednesday, the New York School of Interior Design hosted Galerie Magazine editor in chief and honorary dean of the SCAD School of Building Arts, Margaret Russell, and me for a spirited conversation about navigating the new world of design media. We discussed shelter publications, designer websites, social media (including an excellent tutorial on utilizing Instagram as a business tool), as well as interior design book publishing.
If you were unable to attend, here is a videotape of the evening provided by NYSID. It’s an invaluable opportunity to hear one of the most important minds in the design industry share her insights.
“First, you have to be sensitive to the psychology of the room. Color plays a huge role in the emotions that are evoked in the space: use color to maximize intended emotions for the area. The furniture plan and flow are also important; not enough furniture— or too much—can kill a room’s mood. Getting the proportions of the furnishings right is also essential. For example, low furniture in a room with tall ceilings can make its occupants feel diminished and unimportant.
Next, pay attention to comfort. We’ve all seen beautifully designed chairs that feel like torture devices when one sits down. When it comes to seating, ergonomics and comfort should come first. Getting scale right is also important; you don’t want the chair to be under- or overscaled. If you want statement pieces in a room, choose something other than seating.
“Then, consider practicality. Who wants to worry about the inevitable spilled glass of red wine or water ring on the antique side table? One of the most important aspects of a welcoming space is that it has been designed to really work for the way that you live. Today, with so many terrific options in terms of high-performance fabrics, you don’t have to squirm at the smallest accident.
Using marine varnish on even the finest of antiques takes the worry out of every glass or coffee cup that gets set down on a table.”