Beautiful interiors and showhouses just go together, and I’ve seen so many lately. My daughter Eleanor Niermann and I have been on the road, and designers have kindly sent us photos from places we haven’t been.
To set the scene for the next two images, remember that Joe originally designed our Loire Bed for our own Manhattan pied-à-terre as a piece of bedroom sculpture. (Don’t be distressed by the numbers on this image; they’re code known only to Joe, so I ignore them.) The Loire is our most popular bed and lends itself to many different interpretations.
In the DC Design House, Barbara Franceski created a bedroom in which our Loire Bed served as a central architectural element. That’s also our Venetian Lantern hanging in the center of the ceiling. Barbara’s curving lines pleasingly repeat themselves in the swags of our bed, our lantern, the chair, and the ottomans. Giving me yet more pleasure, her pale pink draperies remind me of my mother’s linen draperies that we schlepped from home to home throughout my childhood.
I loved the crispness of this bedroom, but then I also loved Barbara Ostrom’s very different bedroom in Kip’s Bay this year. She created a pale blue fantasy, swathing our basic bed as part of the ensemble.
No one piece of furniture stands out, but the entire space would let me sleep restfully. Our Loire Bed has become part of her overall ‘feel’. For me, that’s the beauty of any well-designed piece of furniture. You can dress it up or down, and it always adds to the esthetic.
Returning to the 2011 DC Design House, Camille Saum presented many of our pieces in her formal dining room. Camille posed with Dennis Hunt of Nancy Corzine and my daughter Eleanor Niermann.
Our Palissy Lantern radiated shimmers throughout the space, including on our Lucchese Mirror over the mantel and our antique mirror covering the dining table. In the photo below, you can see Camille again in one of her fancy hats flanked by our Zinc Wall Lanterns.
In the library, Nancy Colber used the killer Stella wallpaper by Studio E, whom we represent in our DC showroom. This paper is hand-made in new York with bits of mica embedded in the finish. Whatever colorway you choose, the mica make the paper come alive.
Iantha Carley flanked her master bed with our Neapolitan Sconces. Joe designed them in 1989 and they just keep looking fresh in interior after interior. The warmth of Iantha’s lime green makes a pleasing contrast to her grey walls.
I also admired the hallway by Liz Levin with a pair of our Annecy Chairs. I really admire the ability of an interior designer to turn an unfriendly space into a very welcoming one, which is what Liz did here. She started with a long, blah hallway and transformed it into a charming oasis.
Samantha Friedman created a very colorful Secret Garden Bedroom, making Dennis Hunt happy by including a pair of Nancy Corzine’s Murano Gold Sphere Lamps.
Nancy has these glass lamps custom-blown for her on the Ventian island of Murano. Since the year 1291 all Venetian glass blowing has been done on the nearby island of Murano. I’ve been to the factories there to watch the glass maestros working their magic with the scarily molten liquid glass. Visitors are not allowed to photograph within the foundries, but at the Barbini factory Guido Barbini liked me because of my hair. It’s red as his had once been.
My new friend Guido proudly showed me his family’s genealogical tree dating from the move to Murano in 1291, and allowed me to take his photo. By looking at this chart from the bottom up, the Barbinis can prove they have continuously operated their factory on Murano. On the very top line Guido’s son and nephews are already inked in. Because his son is a priest, the business will devolve to the nephews to maintain. It’s hard for me to imagine so many centuries of family activity, since my own family tree in the US began in the mid-19th century.
But let’s return from my digression back to the American showhouses. Just last week my daughter Eleanor returned from the Stately Homes by the Sea Showhouse in Rumson, NJ, which is open till Jun 12. Eleanor’s voyage took her on
the ferry from lower Manhattan to Atlantic Highlands, NJ, where Betsy Berner and Tara Sutphin of Berner-Sutphin gave her a ride to the Showhouse. Remember before 9/11 when the twin towers of the World Trade Center dominated lower Manhattan?
At the showhouse dark-haired Tara and blond Betsy anchored one wall of their library with our Venetian Secretary.
They placed our Fantome Occasional Table on the other side of the room.
Here’s a detail of the table top, with their insert decorative top sandwiched under our glass top.
They also found a space fo Joe’s favorite accessory, our muscular Volpone Sculpture.
And rounding up this bouquet of lovely interiors, Mary Sfarra lit her great all-seasons room with our Monteverdi Chandelier. My cats and I would happily nest in there for hours.
Now that I’ve gone down memory lane with this blog, I’ve had as much fun remembering these beautiful rooms and gracious designers as I did in visiting them. I thank them all for using Niermann Weeks to such great advantage!
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