kennedy auction
History sells. If you don’t believe it, look at the amazing experience I had recently while assisting with a Leslie Hindman sale of the contents from the Kennedy Winter White House in Palm Beach, Florida. ‘La Querida’ (which loosely means ‘sweetheart’) was purchased from the Kennedy family in 1995 by Mr. and Mrs. John Castle, including the contents. The Kennedys had owned the home for 62 years. The Castles recently sold it for $31 million, and also decided it was time to put the articles of history on the market, too.

How thrilling it was to watch the crowds (of which some Kennedy and Wanamaker family members were present!) compete in person, by absentee bid, online and on the phone for a piece of the Kennedy home that had been host to countless dignitaries and important historical events. The auction grossed nearly $500,000 by the time the last paddle went down, so now the cache of furniture, art and bibelots will find new homes where they can be enjoyed for years to come. Among the highlights: Venetianstyle walnut twin beds where JFK wrote Profiles in Courage, which fetched $20,000; an exquisite pair of period Venetian glass mirrors for $38,750; and an Italian painted hall bench attributed to Addison Mizner thought to store Kennedy beach towels, which sold for $9,375.

The home was historic in its own right, having been designed by Addison Mizner in 1923 for Rodman Wanamaker, who owned department stores that carried his name. When Wanamaker sold the home in 1933 to the Kennedy family for $120,000, it looked a bit different than the structure there today. The Kennedys purchased an additional 150 feet of beachfront and hired another famed architect, Maurice Fatio, to design an additional wing, pool pavilion and tennis court. The new owners now are restoring the home to its original Mizner design.

come-to-terms-image1come to terms with … the klismos chair
Everything we use today in home decor had its roots many years ago, sometimes centuries ago. The Klismos chair is as popular now as when the Greeks designed it well into the B.C.s. This chair is not only graceful but also comfortable, and it was the most influential piece of furniture to be introduced by Greek culture. It appears that no other culture had influence on the design of this chair, which was rare even back then when cultures were ‘borrowing’ ideas and tweaking them in order to take credit for their design or invention.

This classic design was later revived and influenced the designers of the Directoire, Empire, Regency, Duncan Phyfe and even 20th-century design styles. The mere form of the chair requires little or no decoration to enhance its pedigree, even though at times the ‘lily was gilded.’

come-to-terms-image2With a curved backboard and curved legs, the flow of the line appears continuous. Generally, a broad splat runs down the back of the chair, balanced by narrow stiles on the side. Mortise-and-tenon joinery was often used for seamless appearance. Early examples had woven leather seats or animal hides. Thanks to their light weight, the chairs could be transported from space to space.

How to use it today: The form of this piece is timeless and works beautifully in either a traditional or contemporary setting.


Pyne Hollyhock

design redux
Well it is official! I have been in this business for 32 years and now have the privilege of seeing old fabrics made new again. As you may know, fabric companies offer fabric and wallcovering showings twice a year to introduce their ‘new’ products, generally in the spring and fall. Much like in the fashion industry, a color forecast is followed, and it influences the balance of color in each pattern. F. Schumacher has the reputation of remaining relevant to today’s trend but not straying from its classic roots.

Lotus Garden

Recently Sarah Henderson, my F. Schumacher representative, presented the new spring line; it is titled Classics and consists of document patterns that have been recolored and sometimes rescaled to work with today’s trends. The patterns they chose from their archives range from the early 20th-century Woodland Silhouette to the famed 1962 Pyne Hollyhock print used by Albert Hadley for Nancy ‘Princess’ Pyne and others. This floral pattern is one of my personal favorites, and it’s now available in a new tobacco color that replicates an aged patina. For those loving all things chinoiserie, the Lotus Garden document fabric from the 1920s is back and remains a timeless classic. It only goes to prove: Everything old is new again!