Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Photos Courtesy of Broadway Books/Cover photo by Sylvie Becquet

Yesterday Joe Nye and Veranda's Lisa Newsom threw a tea for Carolyne Roehm's new tome, A Passion for Blue and White. Carolyne, a Veranda Magazine contributor, was a contributor at House Beautiful when I was there. So glad she has a new book---- voracious readers are thrilled, and Carolyne's ideas are endless. In addition to seeing old friends, I got to meet fellow blogger for Mrs. Blandings, and caught up with Lisa Newsom about the Greystone Showhouse they just opened in Los Angeles. Knowing how Joe loves to throw a party and does it so well, the event was lovely and very well attended.

Carolyne shared about her love for the timeless color combination. She is a doer in every sense, after working for Oscar she started her own fashion line with a catalog. Her can do spirit has led her to do two book series, seasonal notebooks and A Passion for Flowers, Parties, At Home with Carolyne Roehm, and Presentations about gift giving. The St. Louis native relayed her first interior design experience while working as a design assistant to Oscar de la Renta. She found a fabric she loved, Brunschwig and Fil's Verriers glazed chintz, named after a well known french chateau, and wanted to use on every surface of her first apartment. As an assistant with a budget, she found a way to achieve a similar result with a different fabric. She took blue and white sheets, a licensed de la Renta design, and hung them from the walls, ruching them and covering every surface of her first New York apartment with the pattern. Being creative on a budget is not hard, and have the confidence to just try. This valuable lesson she imparted shows that you do not need to be living on a grand scale with a stellar collection of blue and white china and objects to enjoy what design and collecting offer. A chance to develop your eye and learn about the history of design can be done with a little research, and it is worth putting the time in. Just collect what you love, even if starts with some blue and white fabrics and pillows. Make it your own and find inspiration.

288 gorgeous photo-filled pages show the color combination in her interiors, flower arranging, table settings, china and linen collection and fabrics.

Collecting on this scale takes time, patience and a decorative arts fund (!). Using and enjoying what you have is paramount.

In 1994 Carolyne studied the art of floral arranging in Paris with Henri Moulie at Moulie Savart, and added to her collection of vessels in her favorite color combination. Mixing old and new pieces,in various finishes and blue tones on a table work to great effect. There she mastered the art, and began her love of all things flowers. This antique plate is so beautiful and dainty. Blue and White with a color like orange or pink layers the colors and adds a new dimension.

Many of the shots in the book were done in the studio on her Weatherstone property in Sharon, Connecticut. She cuts the blooms from her garden and brings them on set to shoot. The house is beautiful, but not devoid of heartache. In 1999, a fire burned the 1850's home to the ground. Her art, antiques and archives were lost. But as someone with nine lives does, she got busy rebuilding. Her new endeavors include a beautiful website, Carolyne Roehm,with an e-commerce portion where she sells her favorite tabletop, private label gift wrapping, decor and bridal gifts. She also creates an online magazine, CR Style, a nice way to stay informed on her latest ideas. As a Westie fan, I am so glad that she has many dogs and they are all included in her book.

The book captures moments of the color scheme, like this one with shot against a Clarence House fabric. If you are looking for great resources, check out the shopping index in the back.

1 comment:

Michelle Parks McCourt said...

Lovely. There is something very chic about blue and white