Rose Cumming. A name and a style to conjure with.
En route to England in 1917, where she was to be married, she found herself stranded in New York due to travel restrictions precipitated by the Great War. In need of something to do and possibly an income, she sought advice from her friend Frank Crowninshield, the editor of Vanity Fair, who asked if she wanted to be a decorator. Perhaps I would, but first tell me what it is, she replied.
Twelve years later, she would not only know what a decorator was, she would be the personification of the very word.
...It requires primarily that one be an expert in color, design, period, and the placement of furniture. Most of us have added some knowledge of architecture to our equipment as decorators, so that being conversant with the laws of proportion, line, et cetera, we can intelligently interpret the original design of the architect. A decorator should, in addition, be blessed with a sixth sense -- a kind of artistic alchemy which endows the articles of furniture with that elusive quality of livableness which transforms houses...No amount of training or schooling, I believe, can teach you this. Either you have flair or you don't...
A Door Always Open by Rose Cumming,
The Finest Rooms by America's Great Decorators
Rose Cumming's ugly room, her reaction against the preconception of prettiness in decorating. Absolutely perfect.
Seventeenth-century Corsican rugs help to balance the room. The painting over the mantle is by Jean Baptiste Oudry, from his black period. Which I suspect is in fact a romanticisation of a particularly dark painting that may have been just in need of a good clean.
John Audubon's seldom seen prints from the Quadruped Edition (1845-1848) hang above the sofa.
Now playing on iTunes: Violent Femmes - Ugly