07 September 2011

Inspiration: something other than a boring thing of wood.


The staircase  rails of this recent project were inspired by the stunning staircase of Liane Bettencourt's 1951 built French Villa.

The Villa at Neuilly

The Staircase of the Andre & Liane Bettencourt House in Paris designed and built in 1951. The Villa's  stylish interior design was directed by Mme Bettencourt who grew up in a Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann designed house. Her father was founder of the L'oreal cosmetics-and his daughter inspired by Ruhlmann- moved to hire Serge Royaux when she began to embark on some redecoration in her home.

 The Villa Interiors from International Interiors- AD

Our staircase of wood-rather than grand marble indicates the more relaxed vibe of my project. Other than the iron grills of the stair-little else resembles the Bettencourt residence-however I was struck when recently leafing through the Architectural Digest International Interiors pages dedicated to the Bettencourt interiors- how there are similarities in today's project and the clean lines executed in the  1950's Villa.

Words like- Cool, Calm, Collected-come to mind- and these are the catch words I always referred back to when mulling over ideas and concepts for my project. They reflect the intent of the house and the makeup of my client.

A stair not worn hollow by footsteps is, 
regarded from its own point of view, 
only a boring something made of wood.  -Franz Kafka 

There are many vivid  and lively accents...(from AD's International Interiors on the Bettencourt interiors)

...there is a feeling for quality and disdain for the superfluous. (from AD's International Interiors).

the Master Bath walls are covered with a handpainted shagreen paper- above
while the walls of the entrance hall are covered with a horsehair paper-below,

Without being in the least somber, the house maintains the dignity that relies of pure quality and not passing fashions. (from AD's International Interiors)



  1. I love YOUR vision come true! Beautifully rendered with Historical touchstones that a Brilliant Visionary can only possess....Singular!

  2. G...this is a wonderful post. I'm in love with the photo of the beautiful staircase railing with the three pastels behind.....stunning. k

  3. The iron railing pattern was truly inspired. Not only does it accord with the woodwork in the clerestory, it avoids the "jailed in" look that unrelieved vertical iron bars can give. It is a beautiful design that adds another touch of class to that home.
    --Road to Parnassus

  4. I love to get glimpses of your work! What lucky ducks they are to have you as their designer -- the house looks wonderful, and it's so interesting to know whence your inspiration.

  5. Beautiful! I appreciate how the staircase complements the window panes in that first photo! A very nice touch. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your work!

  6. thanks to you all! appreciate the compliments greatly. PGT

  7. Love it all! so understated!
    this is the secret of people being comfortable and comforted by their houses!
    Love this......it meets all the needs of a family!

    I recognized one of my very fave repro sconces by Niermann Weeks......(the antique mirror sconce.....oval......it is so divine...most people would never see it....which is the point!)

    thank you so much for your wonderful blog.

    I am hesitant to post comments now......got into a really bad kerfuffle.....over at "Cote de Texas!" It wasn't her fault! but Wow! so much vitriol!

    you peek if you have time..it was the post" Ikea II"!

    I am now creeping out from under the rug!

  8. The best thing about blogs......to me.....Is that people who would never ever see our work.....do!

    and they comment on t!

    I was dragged......by darling Brooke , of Vetvet and Linen.....to write a blog. I still love commenting....but it is the real beauty of the internet...to bring like "souls and minds" together. It sure does!


  9. "beautifully rendered" Sorry to repeat....I just couldn't improve on that! This is a blog that brings historical references with great beauty.....(no one teaches that anywhere I know of)....distills it....and makes it totally understandable for any age group!

    You are the teacher I have insisted did not exist! But you do! I will tell all young people who ask what to do? Go to school?

    Subscribe to "Little Augury"!

    Do you have a list you could recommend to these students?? Blogs, not "classes" I do not believe in classes!"

  10. I adore that someone called your clients "Lucky ducks"

    Exactly my thought!!


  11. "A feeling of quality...disdain for the superfluous"---exactly what I strive for; not so easy a task. Can we have more glimpses of your work? the staircase is gorgeous. Thanks. Mary

  12. Love The railing ...so nice to be able to read your blog again

  13. Penelope- You are the limit! in a great and exuberant way. you are right about ALL and ALLways welcome here. PGT

    Jones, I have a spot now in the sidebar titled My Design Life along with work there are philosophy posts too.

    Kaveri- thanks.

  14. Am just seconding and thirding all that is already here - wonderful.

  15. VT, and Mrs B. I do appreciate the feedback. mostly the client is happy, but I am glad that the project is pleasing to others too. we have been working on some aspects of the living room and I will add some pictures of that in the fall. pgt



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