Thursday, October 15, 2009


If I had to chose one design element that I have a weakness for, it would be chairs. They are simply irresistible to me. I guess there is a very good reason for this passion of mine....a room has little character with simple upholstered pieces...yes, they make a room inviting and comfortable and every room needs them, but for the most part, they add little personality to the setting. One can completely change the look of a room, simply by changing the chairs. Just ask my husband!! We have a room that I love to redecorate----I have done this most frequently by changing one pair of chairs with another (over and over and over!).

Living room

Living Room

Living room 3

You get the idea. The next time you look at what I like to call a "character chair" i.e. one that is not fully upholstered, think about how it might change the entire look of a room. I like to add chairs to my furniture collection that will work in many different interiors.

Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about:

No. 104 Syrie chair No. 110 Gigi chair
JSC Syrie chair JSC Gigi chair

No. 104 Syrie chair Living room
JSC Clark chair JSC Carleton chair

Keep in mind that these are not always the most comfortable chairs in the room...they need to be reasonably comfortable, but you will have plenty of other seating in the room for that purpose. These chairs are all about making a statement----although I would never make a statement with a chair that is also an instrument of torture!


Francis Elkins loop chair Klismos chair
the iconic Frances Elkins Loop chair late 18th c. Italian Klismos style chair
Loop chair JSC Daphne Chair
JSC Loop dining chair JSC Daphne chair


Hollywood Regency faux bamboo chair Warm Silver-Leafed Chairs

purple French 40's Style Chairs

So, remember, when putting together a room, don't forget the character chair. It will be the element that makes your room memorable {other than a wonderful piece of art!}.

This is a good time to mention buying sustainable furniture. As you can see, some of my favorite chairs are over 200 years old. I continue to be appalled at the number of people who should know better but continue to buy furniture that will be disposed of within the next 5-10 years if not less!

I love the old Chinese saying "BUY THE BEST AND ONLY CRY ONCE." What an amazingly true statement. I might add, buy second or third rate, and cry every time you try to sell it or have to rid yourself of it.
Remember---quality does matter---it always has and always will.

I have a few other things on my mind this month....


---ok, ok, I know I'm obsessed but it just gets better and smarter every season. The clothes, the sets, the acting and most especially the writing!! I was recently asked which current movies were inspiring to me and I simply could not think of anything that is more inspiring to me on every level than this show. If you aren't watching, rent the first and second season which is a great way to see it with no commercials to fast forward through. You can also download it from iTunes on your laptop---fun to watch when you're on a plane.

I love Burt Cooper's office with the Rothko, Japanese screen and Hollywood regency furnishings with Asian influences. Betty and Don Draper have just redecorated their living room---it is 1963 when Hollywood regency was all the rage.

Mad Men office

Man Men

FASHION---love the great dresses this fall that have been inspired by MM!!

---can't wait to see the Kandinsky show at the Guggenheim and Georgia O'Keefe's abstract show at The Whitney along with two interesting and creative new shows at the Dallas Museum of Art called All the World's a Stage and the Performance/Art show.

kandinsky Living room
Kandinsky's Several Circles - The Guggenheim O'Keeffe's Series I-No. 1 - The Whitney

Pietro Paolini, Bacchic Concert
Pietro Paolini's Bacchi Concert - DMA All the World's a Stage

Yinka Shonibare - Un Ballo in Maschera
Yinks's Shonibare's Un Ballo in Maschera - DMA Performance/Art

DALLAS CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS---it's finally here!! Dallas has an arts district that is simply stunning with the Winspear Opera House designed by Norman Foster and the Wyly Theater by Rem Koolhass to add to the Dallas Museum of Art, the Meyerson Symphony Hall and the Nasher Sculpture Garden. If you don't live in Dallas, there has never been a better time to come.

inspear Opera House

Wyly Theatre

TWO BY TWO BENEFITING AIDS AND ART----The art this year is better than ever and, I am happy to say the event is sold out. Dallas continues to support the arts. My daughter, Elizabeth Showers, and I are co-chairing it this year. It will again be in the amazing Rachofsky House hosted by Cindy and Howard Rachofsky who are two of the most dedicated people I know---they are truly remarkable and give so much of themselves to both the Dallas Museum of Art and amfAR.

To see all the art that will be up for auction, go to You will find works from Brice Marden, Francesco Clemente, Marlene Dumas, Olafur Eliasson along with over 100 other works. You may place a bid online, so enjoy!!

Francesco Clemente

Francesco Clemente's Allegory

A Pair of Norman Cherner armchairs, 1958

a pair of Norman Cherner armchairs, c. 1958

Rachofsky house
The Rachofsky House


In addition to my book, Glamorous Rooms, I am so excited about several other books by designers that will be out this fall. Nancy Corzine, Kelly Wearstler, Suzanne Kasler and several others will be available later this month. I plan to buy copies of all of the above to add to my library.

I just returned from a book signing party in New York that was held in the beautiful A. Rudin showroom at the D & D building. It was a lovely party and lots of people attended. My furniture collection is now represented by this showroom. By the way, if you live in New York or you are going to be there on October 29, be sure to go by and see Margaret Russell, editor-in-chief of Elle Décor. She will be signing her new book, Style and Substance at 11 a.m. that day. While you are there, be sure to check out all of the wonderful furniture lines that are represented!

Nancy Corzine Kelly Wearstler
Suzanne Kasler Margaret Russell

THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE---I know most people went to see this movie to see how much Anna Wintour is like the Meryl Streep character in Devil Wears Prada, but they came away amazed at what it takes to put a magazine issue together. Grace Coddington is a revelation and creative genius (as Anna admits at the end of the movie). If you love art, how can you not love what Grace does on a monthly basis?

The September Issue


Not too many this month....already mentioned furniture that is not sustainable and that is disposable. Most of you already know how I feel about wenge wood and cheap finishes that require no craftsmanship as I have written about this several times in the past.

REALITY TV SHOWS---sorry, I simply cannot get excited about watching these shows with manufactured dramas. Why watch them when you can watch shows that are well written with great production values? We as a society need people to admire. Who wants to watch a train wreck? By the way, don't Hollywood producers have any new and creative ideas----how many shows and magazine articles can they do on the Dallas stereotype (big hair, bad accents, shopaholics, ect.) which is totally unrepresentative of that city?

Margaret Russell

DOOM AND GLOOM ATTITUDES---we will never have a good recovery from the current recession if we cannot get away from listening to talking heads 24/7 with this kind of attitude. Yes, we all need to save and that is a good thing, but to not spend at all will keep our economy stagnant. I cannot even talk about the negative radio/tv commentators that irresponsibly stir up hatred and fear with no regard for the consequences of their actions.

More next month on getting ready for the holidays with some new and interesting ideas for gifts, decorating for the holidays and much more.

And, please, enjoy fall---look around and appreciate all that this season has to offer.