Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SYRIE MAUGHAM MAKES A COMEBACK

A new book on the legendary American designer Syrie Maugham was recently written by the prolific Pauline C. Metcalf for Acanthus Press, and I heard her speak on the topic at this year's Winter Antique Show.

Photo courtesy of Acanthus Press
The room that started it all: the glamorous San Francisco bedroom of Celia Tobin Clark. Designed by the go to designer of the day in 1929, this room set tongues wagging. Maugham became known as the "White Queen", for the all white palette she used in her London apartment that helped her earn the moniker. She continued the use of varying shades of cream in her work for Mrs. Clark, shown here, through the use of a Marion Dorn cut pile rug, and upholstery and trim in shades of oyster, pearl and parchment. On the walls, she placed a scrolled, stenciled pattern on a Swedish linen. The green pattern worked with the all white interiors in a space that has became known as an American masterpiece. The room is frequently referenced as such, and is groundbreaking in its use of a singular color, varying textures and simplicity of the pieces used.

James Shearron, a partner in the architecture firm Bories and Shearron, recreated the room for a House and Garden (rip) story in 2001, when he was the special projects editor. The space was recreated down to every last detail. I helped him produce the story and assisted him on the set, where everything was built from scratch. A custom rug was created by Doris Leslie Blau, furniture made to scale with mole fringe in the seams, a custom four poster bed, Minic Table, Sentimento accessories and hand printed Studio Printworks wallpaper all made room come alive. The article we did was the first time the room had been re-created in color. Those were the days when building a set like this was de rigeur.

The paper is now a mainstay in the Studio Printworks collection. The paper was recolored for Liz O'Brien's divine booth at the Winter Antique Show, with the pattern in silver. I always look forward to seeing her booth, since she creates a space you just want to move into. A Scalloped-Back Settee from Maison Jansen covered in a grey fabric is an anchor for the booth and a show stopper.

Syrie, wittily remastered, holds a card with the Studio Printworks wallpaper details.

Liz's large booth was filled with museum quality pieces like a Syrie Maugham Petite Side Table, John Vesey's Folding X-bench, and assorted Grosfield House and Maison Jansen pieces.

Lamps with palm fronds made of metal light up a chest of drawers.

The lamps lights made the silver accents of the wallpaper glow.

10 comments:

Sally@DivineDistractions said...

This proves that great design is timeless. It looks like this room was created yesterday with all the "new" techniques, textures and shapes. I guess what goes around comes around! Beautiful!

mary said...

I always love to see what Liz is doing and use her to push me forward. Thanks, Mary

Anonymous said...

Such a chic paper, and what a pretty room it was!!

peggy braswell said...

Adore her design...thanks for the update. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

Diane Bergeron said...

That wallpaper is unreal! I love everything about it. What a sight to see on a dreary morning like today!

Vickie H. said...

Simply marvelous! I thoroughly enjoyed every image and every word of this post.

The Hidden List said...

Wow! Absolutely beautiful! I love timeless design and this is a perfect example!

Colette said...

Great post - im a big fan of Liz O'Briens and since I missed the Antique show its a treat to have a peek. xcolette

Stylebeat said...

I adore Liz and her genius eye I am so glad you all do too!

Anonymous said...

FYI "legendary American designer Syrie Maugham" was born in Hackney, London and married W Somerset Maugham - doesn't get much more English than Maugham !