When the opportunity arose to host an event in Paris during Deco Off and Maison et Objet, I thought what could be better than to have a celebration of creativity surrounded by the most talented people I know? In searching for a theme for the evening, I decided to take a cue from two of the most fascinating figures in design…Elsie de Wolfe and Tony Duquette. Gay Gassman of Architectural Digest captured the magic of the evening in the lovely article below…
The table setting for Cathy Austin’s Elsie de Wolfe and Tony Duquette-themed dinner party in Paris. Photo: Kelly Marshall
Design has taken over Paris this week with the 10th anniversary of Paris Deco Off and the opening of global trade fair Maison + Objet. Besides the massive fair, this means more than 100 fabric and furniture showroom open houses, countless pop-ups and special events, and streets festooned with oversize lampshades swinging from the buildings in the City of Light. It also means every night is jam-packed with cocktails and dinners hosted by the big industry showrooms, but there are also smaller private events. One of the most intriguing invitations of the season was the beautifully designed one for “An Unforgettable Romp in Paris: An Evening Inspired by Elsie de Wolfe and Tony Duquette,” hosted last night by Charlotte, North Carolina–based interior designer Cathy Austin of Catherine M. Austin Interior Design at the Paris home of AD 100 designer Frank de Biasi and designer Gene Meyer.
I was delighted to be included in Charlotte Urban Home this month for their Design Board feature. I am always preaching to my clients to start the design process with the art. It is a dream come true when it actually happens! For my favorite art collecting clients, I was thrilled to create the following scheme for a project we are currently working on.
In addition to the items above, we have also created a bar nook clad in antiqued mirror, and bejeweled with custom brass hardware for the finishing touches. The walls have been lacquered, the furniture and fabrics are on order and we install in a few short weeks. Of course, I am most excited to hang their works of art on the glamorous ebony backdrop to make the pieces pop even more!
Be sure to check out the entire issue featuring fabulous modern interiors by clicking here.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Melissa Rufty of MMR Interiors for my latest interiors feature for Peachy Magazine. I have been a long time fan of her work and am delighted to share more of her work and inspiration in my latest “Creative Minds” interview….
I had a successful career in advertising. I loved it but the pace was not sustainable with a family. I quit to raise my children but quickly found myself in need of a creative outlet. I had a passion for interiors and quietly started helping people. Before I knew it, I found myself in a new career.
It starts with the client and the space. I don’t have a go-to “look”. Like in my advertising career…I see my design work as packaging and branding the client. I like the home to be a true extension of them. I don’t necessarily want people to walk into a space I have decorated and say “Melissa Rufty did this room”. I would prefer it to look like a really great representation of the client. It makes my job harder but definitely more rewarding.
Our Kitchen in the swamp barn project. It had to be functional enough for a staff of caterers but also look like it had been there for a long time. It was no easy task but I think we achieved the goal. We went as far as to design an island outfitted with old wood crates to cover up the conduit but also serve as useful but rustic drawers.
My office is on Magazine street where I am surrounded by countless artists, antique stores and galleries. It takes about ten steps in any direction to get inspired. I’ll hit the street and find a piece of art or an antique rug that speaks to me and often the palette for the whole house starts from there.
There will be a collective eye roll from your New Orleans readership when I say this but – Katrina. There was so much damage that putting people’s homes together took on a new meaning. It showed me that it goes way beyond adornment. Making people’s spaces is a privilege that I don’t take for granted.
It has been a fun year. In addition to my New Orleans projects, I have worked on one of my favorite projects of my career. It is a party barn in the bayou. It is a working barn, entertaining space and guest house combined. It is situated right on the swamp complete with a quarter mile lit swamp walk that goes to the main house. I can’t imagine there will be many projects like that in my lifetime! It is so unique and the owners took great care in integrating it into the environment. I always am working on a New York apartment or two – I love mixing my Southern perspective with the edge of New York.
We are working on a beautiful old house in Monroe, LA. It is one of those great houses they just don’t make anymore. It was once decorated by Mark Hampton so it is fun to go back and look at old publications to see the differences and similarities compared to what I have done in the space.
Infusing soul in my design work. I want to achieve more than just pretty spaces.
Try to stay away from “the latest and greatest”. Learn how to discern what is a flash in the pan from what has staying power.
The list is endless…Tony Duquette for his flair, Amelia Handegan for her classicism, Bunny Williams for her layering, David Hicks for being timeless. Like I said – the list is endless.
My needs are simple – a nice beach with my family.
Watching TV in the bathtub.
Peace and quiet. I have three teenage daughters and two dogs that are frenemies…I am usually knee deep in drama by 7am.
The Rolling Stones…paint it black. I’m doing an all black butlers pantry right now and I am crushing on it big time!
Sweetgrass baskets (I’m originally from South Carolina)
Any shade of green.
I was captivated by New Orleans from the start. I feel that the qualities of the city definitely come through in my design….a little bit of gilt here, a little bit of grit there, comfort and a sense of joie de vivre throughout
There is no shortage of great spots in New Orleans. There are too many to list…from beautiful garden district homes to dive bars with plaster falling off the walls exposing the 18th century brick, the Sculpture Garden at City Park.
Thanks Melissa for a great interview!
The final day of LCDQ certainly inspired all of us to keep the fight going….I was looking forward to some of my favorite showrooms hosting events and taking in all the incredible sources that LCDQ has to offer. The new showroom of Hollywood at Home is a feast for the eyes. Peter Dunham’s gorgeous space makes shopping an absolute delight. We were greeted by the new fabric collaboration of adorable Amy Meier and Peter Fasano. The first lecture of the day included LA designers Jamie Bush, Nickey/Kehoe, Amy Meier and Christos Prevezanos discussing creating custom fabrics for their projects with particular reference to Peter Fasano. The always entertaining Robert Leleux, editor in chief of Domino, led a lively conversation with his usual panache.
The front of the showroom houses fabrics lines organized by designer and the back contains one of the chicest special event spaces I have ever seen.
One of the most highly anticipated keynotes was “The Art of Authenticity” sponsored by Milieu at the sublime showroom McKinnon and Harris. Interiors editor Leslie Newsom Rascoe and renowned interior designers Nicky Haslam and Nathan Turner discussed the definition of enduring interiors in the context of short lived nature of decorating and why some spaces transcend time.
The boisterous banter between these three was highly entertaining. Leslie cleverly dubbed the presentation “The Nick and Nate Show” and the two designers shared their advice and even entertaining tips with the group. Nathan compared the role of a designer as that of a captain and the importance of maintaining control of the ship. Nicky elaborated to never compromise your own design aesthetic because that is why the clients hire you in the first place. He also gave his secret to a great party, “Too much to drink and chocolate pudding.”
Equally as entertaining was Nathan’s precious chocolate lab Nacho, who he referred to as an “attention hound.” Nacho charmed the crowd with his personality and even had the last bark at the end of the presentation.
Next, a picnic lunch at Woven Accents complete with Moroccan rugs in lieu of picnic blankets and dueling DJs to entertain the crowd.
Ginna Christensen, Denise McGaha, Tami Ramsay, Jennifer Mehitidash
After lunch, the next keynote was “Entertaining:The Home as a Social Stage” sponsored by California Homes at the Janet Yonaty showroom. Susan McFadden, editor of California Homes led a panel with Kathryn Ireland, Lulu Powers and Russ Diamond and how contemporary entertaining styles have changed including the extinction or comeback of the formal dining room, chef inspired kitchens and indoor outdoor entertaining.
That afternoon, a flurry of book signings took place along Melrose and La Cienega. Windsor Smith, the Brentwood based design powerhouse, hosted a meet and greet to unveil her new collection at Arteriors.
Mecox Gardens hosted a group signing including design icon Charlotte Moss (Garden Inspirations), Jane Scott Hodges (Linens for Every Room and Occasion), Justina Blakeney (The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes) and Anthony Iannaci (Design in the Hamptons)
The final keynote of the day featured some of my all time favorite design talents. Hosted by the Claremont showroom, “Chasing the Muse” featured designers Celerie Kemble, Schuyler Samperton and Hutton Wilkinson and was brilliantly moderated by Stylebeat founder Marisa Marcontonio. Using the 2015 LEGENDS theme of “Where Muses Dwell,” the designers discussed where they go to find find inspiration and if modern day muses still exist.
Lindsay Fleege, Holly Phillips, Julia Buckingham, Me. Elle Toler, Rafi and Josh of Form LA, Tami Ramsay at Harbinger
Joe Lucas of Harbinger certainly knows how to throw a party especially when he combines forces with Moore & Giles and the Hearst Design Group. Harbinger is another LCDQ favorite. The showroom is always beautifully designed showcasing the latest and greatest from many bespoke fabric and furnishing lines. We always need to stop by at least twice…once to shop and once to socialize.
Holland and Sherry Rugs
Thomas Callaway Fabrics
Hearst Design Group, Harbinger and Moore & Giles Teams in front of the celebrate Moore & Giles Airstream
Jennifer of The Proper Poppy, Danielle Rollins, Paloma Contreras
The last stop on the whirlwind LEGENDS LCDQ tour was attending an intimate dinner at the home of Kathryn Ireland. This was certainly a “pinch me” moment because I have long admired her Santa Monica home and hilarious personality. Every single space from the outdoor seating areas to the guest house to the cozy nooks in the main house made you want to linger all night. Chateau Domingue hosted a stunning alfresco evening complete with craft margaritas, a mariachi band, and an amazing Mexican feast.
And to cap off a perfect night, we had a the chance to meet a favorite character from Million Dollar Decorators, Jacqueline, Kathryn Ireland’s chic confidante and right hand!
Photography by JL Photography unless otherwise noted.