Markham Roberts "Decorating the Way I see It."

If you only buy one decorating book this year, make it  Markham Roberts' new book "Decorating the Way I See It," published by the good folks at Vendome Press (2014).  Flying below the general public's radar for years, this book brings Markham Roberts' understated but highly admired work into the public eye.

Markham is a decorator's decorator: in a league with his mentor, Mark Hampton. Markham is brilliant at delivering unpretentious and refined interiors in a broad range of styles from traditional to contemporary; yet his projects never look the same.  As Senga Moritimer says in the forward: "there is never a recognizable stamp for which so many decorators become known", except a "distinct refinement that runs through all of his work."  It is as if he absorbs his clients personality and gives their style animation through his designs.  

Markham Roberts in his 
NYC office
Decorating the Way I See It strikes the perfect balance between text and photos; heavy on pictures, with just enough text to leave you wanting to hear more of Markham's terrific insights, humor and charming wit -- I laughed out loud reading about his almost yellow room.   I also learned lots about Markham that I did not know, including the fact that he is a talented photographer whose works hang in a number of his clients' homes (which he modestly mentions only briefly) and that he and his partner, furniture and art dealer James Sansumhave a very chic connected office/gallery space in NYC (33 East 68th Street on Manhattan's Upper East Side).

Markham's book starts out illustrating how the designer approaches a project-- he moves seamlessly  from floor plans, color schemes, discussing bespoke furniture  and choosing art.  The second part moves into architecture and finally the book concludes with my personal favorite -- images of his own homes.  The organization of the book makes it easy to digest and he offers lots of helpful pointers on adding the details that finish a room and make it look and function better.  For instance, his use of custom throws illustrates the perfect blend of practicality and luxury.
Markham Roberts is responsible for the understated design and the wonderful photograph (which is his own) hanging above the table in the dining room of a client's Sagaponack house.
Markham Roberts dressing room in his Clinton Corners home -- sophisticated and understated 

One of the things I love about Markham's work is how he mixes fabric patterns/textures and pulls furniture from different periods together in a way that relate well and play off each other.   This mix is perfectly illustrated in his homes that blend some of his favorite objects, inherited and collected over the years by Markham and his partner, James.  

This is Markham Roberts' Clinton Corners home, eclectic, layered in personal history 
and refined in a relaxed and understated way
Markham Roberts demonstrates a wonderful American style of decorating -- casual, inviting and not overly decorated but oozing with worldly good taste.   This book reinforced my  I belief that Markham Roberts is one of the most talented American decorators of our age -- unpretentiously blending different periods and styles for a new generation.  Decorating the Way I See It  is a must for the library of any design aficionado. You can get it here.


Hillary Thomas' Showhouse Sunroom

HIllary Thomas' Napa Valley Showhouse Sunroom, via Traditional HomeTraditional Home and Ms Thomas.
These pictures are from Hillary Thomas' Napa Valley Showhouse Sunroom that were published in October 2014 Traditional Home….I like the room, but especially love the wallpaper -- which is Meg Braff Designs "Ferns."  I have seen this print in Sunrooms and Powder rooms, but think it would nice in a bedroom as well.  While the whole room is great, my loves in Hillary Thomas' room are those knock out vintage rattan chairs, the mirror and the wallpaper. 

 I am also really liking that mirror  that walks the line between casual and glam.  You could dress up that mirror, it is brass, but it looks right at home in that sun room.  Also really like how she layered it up with the two rugs -- Moroccan wool over sisal.

Can we talk greenery for a moment?   I really like succulents and that the flowers were not overdone…I think flowers in decorating have the best impact where they are low key and look like they came either  from your yard or that you just picked them up from the market.  Succulents are so under used and they are crazy low maintenance. Despite my black thumb I can manage to keep them alive for quite some time.  Regarding the fiddle leaf tree... I confess, although fiddle leaf are ubiquitous, I still adore them.

It's great when the designers include the before pictures so you can really see the transformation of the space.



Meg Braff Ferns Wallpaper

I just adore this wallpaper, "Ferns", by Meg Braff Designs.  I was reminded of it as I was flipping through Traditional Home this month and spied it in a showhouse sunroom designed by Hillary Thomas (pictures to follow, I promise).  In person the paper is really wonderful and you can tell it is hand printed.  This picture was taken in a spectacular Locust Valley home that will be in Meg Braff's upcoming book (due out in about a year). What you don't see in this picture is the fantastic games table on the other side of the room and the very sexy light fixtures, but I guess you'll just have to wait for the book  : )  Enjoy this beautiful day!
Meg Braff Designs, Wallpaper is "Ferns"


Before and After Bungalow Living Room

  A little paint goes a long way…This 1939 Bungalow was dark and dreary.   Too much wood, a drab and uninspired monochromatic color scheme and not enough upholstery made this room cold and uninviting.  But with a little Benjamin Moore paint (Horizon 1478), some new Brunschwig fabric and a few other tweaks; presto --  a new room (well almost).

I am a big fan of skirted upholstered pieces like the settee above, it helps ground the room in tandem with a floor covering.  Bruschwig Shishi (below) was my inspiration for the room and the jumping off point: I love green and blue and I have to restrain myself from using too much of it. 


Markham Roberts Book Signing

Markham Roberts is one of my favorite living decorators and will probably go down as one of the greatest interior designers of his generation.  That is why I would not miss his appearance in Locust Valley for a book signing on October 2nd and neither should you!

If you are in the area, please visit Meg Braff Antiques and Decorations in Locust Valley on October 2nd -- some time between 5-7pm -- where you can meet the great Markham Roberts.  The added bonus is that many of the decorating stores in Locust Valley will be open for visitors, so you can meet Markham, shop, mingle and drink wine. All good.