June 16, 2015

Room of the Week: Nicky Haslam

Lately I have been obsessed with a hue one might describe as "lavender grey." Fresher than puce, but with more edge than lilac.

If everything I feel about this color could be transposed into a room, it would be this one designed by Nicky Haslam for a prominent art collector. Nicky's creative director Colette van den Thillart told me Nicky calls the color "ashes of mauve." "It's a VERY chalky specialist finish… It is indeed a lavender grey but made more ephemeral by the specialist BARELY there texture."

There isn't anything I don't love here: that it's a London residence with a country house vibe (given off by the floral curtains); the pleated lamp shades threaded through with ribbon; the ceramic asparagus; the chalky white mirrors and moldings; the slightly off-palette upholstery used on a pair of fauteuils which, as Mario Buatta taught me, makes the room look like it evolved over time; and of course the spectacular Picasso over the mantel. Here a Madeleine Castaing maxim comes to mind: that every room should have something ugly in it. Its rawness and "unpretty" earthy colors add a frisson and make the room anything but old fashioned.

Top photograph by Derry Moore for Architectural Digest. The project appeared in the December 2010 issue.
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Saying Goodbye to one of the Finest Rooms in America

When asked to select my all-time favorite American interior, one room has always sprung to mind first and foremost: Mr. and Mrs. John Gutfreund’s “winter garden” sitting room at 834 Fifth Avenue. In this lush oasis of fresh lettuce greens and delicate pinks, the hustle bustle of New York’s concrete streets outside those silk -festooned windows melts away.