vrijdag 29 november 2013

Charlotte Moss: A Flair for Living

Gorgeous rooms, but extremely grand and over the top, May 24, 2008
By Decorating Diva (New York)
I've been a great fan of Charlotte Moss interior design (beginning with my exposure to her Lexington Avenue shop in the 1980's/1990's) and books from her very first, Passion for Detail, published in 1991. Her last, Flair for Living, is a beautiful, over-sized coffee table book with spectacular photos of rooms she designed for her newest home (New York City townhouse) and others she designed for clients.

While I recommend this book based on the gorgeous photos of absolutely stunning rooms, I am a little disappointed because I feel her style has over time become extremely grand and essentially beyond anything anyone who is not exceptionally wealthy could possibly hope to achieve. (As she, herself, states throughout this and earlier books, she is married to a very high-profile investment banker -- he is named in all of her books and, if you're curious, do a Google search!).

There is quite a lot a name-dropping in Flair for Living and more than a little ego. Unlike her earlier books (for example, Passion for Detail, Creating a Room, Winter House), Flair for Living, cannot really be seen as a "how to" book, unless one's resources are quite unlimited. The text is full of references to her purchases of fabulous furniture, one-of-a-kind collector's items, accessories and art once owned by, for example, Jackie Kennedy, Doris Duke, the Duchess of Windsor, famous decorators Nancy Lancaster, Elsie DeWolfe, Madeline Castaing -- even Marie Antoinette! Her life-style -- the "Flair for Living" that is the title of this book -- does not come cheap: she writes in the impeccably landscaped garden of her New York City townhouse, she has a "drawing room" full of Louis XVI furniture, she entertains in a dining room with floors that are "antique parquet de Versailles, salvaged from a chateau in France", she has a "breakfast room" with a domed ceiling painted with morning glories, she sleeps in a luxuriously curtained "lit a la Polonaise", she bathes by the candle-light emanating from gilt-bronze candlesticks, in a specially commissioned free-standing polished nickel tub, bath towels stacked nearby on an antique gilt-wood chair, and so on. Nothing is beyond her resources and the book is full of references to custom-designed items ("Sometimes I can't find the kind of mirror I want, so I'll have it made".) But her taste is impeccable; her eye (for example, "custom-made embroidery on the pale green silk faille covering an eighteen-century French fauteuil") is a sharp as her as her pockets are deep.

Do you detect a note of envy on my part? Of course, you do and I freely admit it -- my fantasy is to have a home designed by Charlotte Moss, but a fantasy it will be until I'm a sole Powerball lottery winner (a mere million or two would be inadequate!). Bottom line: buy this book as you might buy a coffee table book on Versailles -- with photos to dazzle and delight the eye, to sigh or salivate over, but not for real inspiration in decorating your own home -- unless your financial position allows it (in which case, you may as well go ahead and hire her to do it for you!).

http://www.amazon.com/Charlotte-Moss-Flair-Living/dp/2759402657/ref=pd_sim_b_5

http://www.charlottemoss.com/

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