Wednesday, 28 November 2007

The House in My Head

An interesting and detailed look at the process of building one's dream house. Though the end result may seem a tad dated today, the process, which has not changed much, is very well documented. Unfortunately, I think Mrs Rodgers was more suited to the role of designer, rather than decorator. Had Mrs Rodgers left the decorating to another, I think the end result would have been very different.

Somehow, all the textiles and wallpapers chosen for this house do not work as well as they could have. Rather than being the smart modern country manor it could have been, the house merely has the feel of an executive's suburban home. The fashions of the day also seemed to play too large a role in the decision making. There was no sense of the long and celebrated traditions of the decorative arts being employed (as one would expect from a decorator) in creating this house. Design wise, it is nothing less than a triumph.
Had the decorating been done by say the likes of George Stacey or William Haines the house could have been a masterpiece and a worthy foil for the Rodgers' stellar art collection. An excellent example of this would be the house William Haines did for Ambassador and Mrs Anneberg at Sunnylands. To use her own words of her epilogue, " If only..."

All that said, this is still a wonderful book if only for the menus and recipes and the fact Mrs Rodgers was delighted with what she had created.

Thanks to Fairfax for letting me know about the article, The Lady is a Champ, about Dorothy Rodgers. This article hits the nail on the head on why I found her decorating lacking, "the wifely homilies". This quality translates into her choices and her view of the world. There is nothing wrong with that, it is just part of who she was.

Now playing: Bette Midler - In My Life
via FoxyTunes


Pigtown-Design said...

I think that the process of building a house from scratch was the most interesting thing in this book. BTW, there was an article in the NYTImes last week, I will see if I can catch it before it disappears, about 60's entertaining and it referenced one of Mrs. R's books.

HOBAC said...

It is amazing but scary. She must have been one tough cookie.

The Peak of Chic said...

Can't wait to read this book. Loved "My Favorite Things". I just love that she invented the Johnny Mop!

HOBAC said...

PoC - the menus are fabulous!