This month I’m stepping into the fantasy world of European designer decor for our round-up of interesting books. These books all look inside the homes of European designers and even when the style is not exactly to my taste, I can’t help but admire the joie de vivre!
Valentino at the Emperor’s Table
Valentino is best known as a fashion designer, designing glamorous clothes for some of the most famous women in the world. But the Italian designer’s new book goes behind the doors of Valentino’s own home… or should I say HOMES! He has five of them, in Rome, Paris, London, Gstaad, and New York. He also has a yacht. He entertains lavishly in all those places and the book looks at his dining rooms and table settings. It also includes recipes by his personal chefs. For example, Lime-Basil Cream Puffs with Raspberries. (Yum!)
The book isn’t out till October 1, but I bet it will be a big hit for holiday gifts among the fashionistas. As Valentino says in the introduction: “I am in love with beauty.” This photo from the book gives a colorful idea of what he means.
French interior designer Robert Couturier likes mixing up Old World elegance with other influences. For example, he might bring together an antique French Louis XVI commode with a 1960s vintage lamp. He’s a man after my own heart! The Paris-born designer opened his New York firm nearly 30 years ago and in the book he gives us a tour of his country retreat in Kent, Connecticut. As well as his own designer decor filled with European furniture and art, he also shows us some of his luxury projects for clients. Designing Paradises is a good title because Robert Couturier designed the tropical Mexican hideaway Cuixmala for tycoon Sir James Goldsmith. The lush 25,000 acre private estate is now a fancy eco-resort with guests including Tom Cruise and Madonna. It really does look like a romantic paradise!
Modern Originals: At Home with MidCentury European Designers
Just as the name says, this recently-published book looks at the designer decor created by mid-century European designers for their own homes. Many of these houses aren’t open to the public so it’s great that author Leslie Williamson gives us an exclusive peek inside the private spaces of famous designers like Le Corbusier and Robin and Lucienne Day. Each chapter looks at a different house, from Studio Achille Castiglioni in Milan to Finn Juhl’s Scandinavian farmhouse. It includes all kinds of design styles from the era, not just Mid-Century Modern. For example, the photo below shows Italian designer Carlo Mollino’s sitting room in his Turin apartment.
The elegant design transcends time, doesn’t it? You might be interested to know that one of Carlo Mollino’s furniture designs set a world record price for a piece of 20th century furniture. In 2005, a Mollino oak and glass table dating to 1949 was sold by Christie’s in New York for a staggering $3,824,000!
It was a simple and streamlined trestle style table and one of four glass-topped tables Mollino created between 1948 and 1950. Nobody knows where two of those tables are now… they’ve got lost somewhere along the way. So keep looking out, you never know where those two multimillion dollar tables might turn up!
Aimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with Aimee on Google+ Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.