29 March 2011

making magic


Michael's Way

 The Garden Room of Mrs. Stanley Dollar decorated by Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor found the naturalistic white metal banquette and pouf  for this room at Frederick P. Victoria & Son- along with other pieces for the Garden Room.  Four full scale metal trees- 3 made by Jansen- were added to the room- Victoria making the fourth. Elsie de Wolfe had purchased the forest from Jansen for her 1938 Circus Ball held at her Villa Trianon at Versailles. Both the designer and the client were enchanted by the idea of pulling the white trees into the room -setting the magic that their towering presence must have made.

some things-I never forget.
a room so exquisite, so beautiful- You see it. You don't forget. Many things you do.This you don't.
Design stagnates, it lags.
Some designers are good, some are very good- some are excruciatingly great.
Michael Taylor was.
He was- one of those great designers that could create a uniquely beautiful room-an unforgettable one. He knew where design originated, where it had been. This was just one of the small-but crucial elements that gave him that edge-that would give anyone an edge.

Yes, his clients were rich, but they recognized a spark- a brilliant spark.
This one was that brilliant spark- One we never should forget. This room was too- it was his.
He made magic.

and it's not easy to make, ask her.

 before I read the charming words of Hamish Bowles-another magic maker-
I spotted Magic.

Hamish Bowles from a Lunch Celebrating... here

Chilled pea soup was served in little ramekins in the conservatory. It matched perfectly the moss-green cushions on the Jansen banquettes (you will remember these from Elsie de Wolfe's Circus Ball), and indeed the bright green moss bedding out the exuberant potted succulents. That is the fastidious attention to detail of the Trevor Trainas for you.

Elsie's Way

the Triana Way

The conservatory of Trevor and Alexis Traina
The home of the Triana's has been decorated with the assistance of Alexis Triana's godfather, Thomas Britt, and family friend Ann Getty. Ann Getty has added these special seating pieces to her ANN GETTY HOUSE collection. I love the little benches.

seating by Ann Getty House here

Yes! of course-all inspired by Michael Taylor.
the pillows-Michael Taylor.
the  apple green- Michael Taylor
and the settees-Michael Taylor.
and the Magic- it reflects design history, but it's fresh.

when the clients do the homework- it has to be unforgettable.

in green below- excerpts from Hamish Bowle's Ode to Love in  Vogue here

The Trainas also looked to some iconic tastemaking neighbors for inspiration. It is an impressive roster. There is madcap Dodie Rosenkranz, whose villa was decorated by Michael Taylor in a style that Britt characterizes as "palace in Calcutta."

Trevor in turn applauds his wife's "fabulous and whimsical eye," informed by legendary decorators including Tony Duquette, Michael Taylor, and Thomas Britt.

Trevor's childhood homes were concocted by his vivacious mother, Dede Wilsey, in collaboration with the innovative Michael Taylor—dramatically pretty backdrops for dramatically pretty Impressionists.

another Taylor post-and the Dollar rooms happen to be my favorite of all the designer - here.
another  Frederick P. Victoria story here
more LINKS-
Ode to Joy by Hamish Bowles at Vogue.com here
San Francisco Luxury Living. com here
Ann Getty House here
Frederick P. Victoria and Son here



  1. Marvelous post. I was not familiar with the Dollar living room. Sublime. One really is green with envy. I admit it. Not for one's primary residence, perhaps--but rather for a house one owns and returns to from time to time, as in a dream...

  2. With all the differences, still - in snyc.

  3. Not to be pedestrian, but it's how we did things back then. The Dollar block in San Francisco's financial district, encompassing California and Pine, Sansome and Battery Streets, was assembled by an original shipping fortune in the Far East trade, and exceedingly well known to me because the family was my first client in real property. They could certainly have been ostentatious, but as you noticed, this was not in their mind. The quaint flag of the line, a white Dollar sign on a red field, flew over the greatest concentration of banks in the city, and hangs in my guest bathroom in Virginia; as a jest. My last client, still quite flourishing in the financial district, employed Michael Taylor for their country house on the Peninsula. Although almost unimaginably serene, the house was so luminous that it lent a great warmth of informality. I brought my last bottle of La Tache 1961 there for Thanksgiving one year; we saved it for New Year's. There were no spills.

    Mr Taylor left what I hope is a lasting imprint on his generation, for as things may change, a manner of blitheness is a necessary "taste." Its essence is refreshment.

  4. What a fantastic post, PGT. And very accurately researched - thank you for the mention! Tony loved seeing the lead image of some very familiar pieces. Making that full-round tree for Micheal has to have been one of my father's favorite projects. You have now set him on a mission to find photos of an installation and party he had on our old 5th floor where he set up the contents of Elise's Circus Room after he bought them! Will send them if he finds.

  5. Some people have all the fun....
    Sorry, did not mean any disrespect.
    Just beautiful and engaging! What great designs.
    Knowing one's history! And playfully using this! Wunderbar!

  6. To you Miss Tapp, it is well done as it is always done. Your style is refreshing and provocative and insightful. I do like the sphinx in your banner and the portraits of you fair lady p.
    A most ardent admirer.

  7. Reggie, I do love it. The living room with the yellow couch makes me love Yellow-and that is an effort-but with the black screen behind it -it is sublime. I was feeling a little green too.
    There is something special and unique about each setting of the 3 rooms. xo, Gaye

  8. G. It is very much in sync. well said. And didn't Elsie do it well!

    Anon.- blushing and humbled.

    VictoriaArt- It is all so true. It only makes sense to study it out. If everyone would do so-there would be many beautiful rooms- and I do mean that in the truest sense- to been seen , or not. Making sense of a room -it is missing from interior design today in a bad way.

  9. Laurent, I do love it when you are "pedestrian" You always have the perfect bottle for the occasion! You might find the Michael Taylor book MT Interior Design by Stephen Salny of interest, perhaps that house is in the book. Thank you for bringing the "refreshments",Gaye.

  10. Freddy, thank you for the additional view of the pieces. I hope to see others. I am always in admiration of the exquisite taste of your family tree. As I have said-there is more than one of my very favorite rooms with Frederick P Victoria pieces in them. I added the FPV inc. Link to the post and also a tag-from another post I did about your parent's bedroom. Best, Gaye

  11. Gaye, this post is just plain heaven, start to finish

  12. I've had this image on my desktop of the Traina's conservatory since I first saw it in Vogue. I LOVE the Ann Getty benches and I'm happy to see they are available. And, Elsie's Way... well just perfectly perfect. Your knowledge and eye take us on splendid adventures. One after another! Incredible. ; )

  13. Michael Taylor had a white with green phase early on, so I think he could have appreciated the fresh crispness of the conservatory. Ann Getty has great taste and was wise to choose such a stylish Elsie de Wolfe model for reproduction.

  14. Down East, thank you- the rooms do the talking I think.

    Christina- yes, heavenly!

    Dog-Eared- You know I did not even see it the first time in 2009 when HB wrote about it for Vogue then- I have stopped subscribing since this year-and do not miss it. there website is pretty wonderful.

    DC- I love that crisp look and his modern design is attractive-I prefer some of these more formal MT rooms. The Ann Getty pieces are very beautiful- she has compiled a great collection.

  15. The Taylor inspired furniture is truly divine...and that column as tree, or is it tree as column, wow!

  16. Z.could not agree more and the trees are magical. pgt



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