Anyone who follows me here knows that an addiction to large, gorgeous coffee table books is alive and well, and I have a new favorite…View More Presidential Residences in France
I’ve never made my way to Versailles but I know I will before the curtains close on my life because it is simply one of those places that has ignited my imagination since I’ve known about it.
I’ve skirted the presence of Queen Marie Antoinette—touching her porcelain patterns at Bernardaud in Limoges, seeing her writing table in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; and enjoying the scent with which she infused Versailles in Cire Trudon’s candle created for her—but I’ve never walked through the rooms captured so luxuriously in films like Sofiia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette and books like Sena Jeter Naslund’s Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette.
In Naslund’s story the young Queen’s world is painted with a lush and lively brush. I’ve always admired this author’s commitment to historical research, which makes her novels ring so true. I marveled that I was standing over such a storied piece of furniture at the NGA—so close I could have touched it but I dared not. It had such a presence that I felt if I listened intently enough, I could hear the scratching of Marie Antoinette’s pen as she wrote letters to her mother. This young Queen had entered the jaded world of Versailles as an innocent, but by the time her husband’s grandfather, Louis XV, lay dying, she had identified a few arch-rivals. And so the intrigue within the walls of that storied palace would play out during her reign.
The Fabric of Design
In their introduction to The Decoration of Houses, Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman, Jr., write, “In the middle ages, when warfare and brigandage shaped the…View More The Fabric of Design
My Porcelain Bucket List
When I am planning literary design adventures, I look for experiences that give me the feeling of transcendence—encounters during which I am conscious of having…View More My Porcelain Bucket List
Vigée Le Brun’s Passion for Painting
A Passion for Painting Billowing ruched fabric, pointy toes of dainty shoes visible from beneath flounced skirts hemmed in gold fringes and ornate trims. A bejeweled…View More Vigée Le Brun’s Passion for Painting
The beginning of one of Napoléon Bonaparte’s earliest letters to Joséphine de Beauharnais simply oozes sensuality: “Seven in the morning. I awaken full of you…the…View More Transitory Spaces
Heaven Shall Be Here
In the film A Little Chaos, Alan Rickman, who plays an unlikely Louis XIV, declares, “Heaven shall be here.” He’s speaking of a ballroom he…View More Heaven Shall Be Here
Dining with History
A month from Sunday, I’ll be winging my way to Paris to attend Maison & Objet, and I’m thrilled to say I’ve been invited to…View More Dining with History
We’ll Never Be Royals
Nest Nest Nest features the Alliage pattern.As I write this, I can feel the design energy draining from the Americas as the movers-and-shakers in our…View More We’ll Never Be Royals
Ally Coulter and the Opulent Salon
Ally Coulter’s grand salon on the first floor of the Holiday House NYC took my breath away the minute I entered the room. It was…View More Ally Coulter and the Opulent Salon
Summer Reading with Carmen Natschke
For those of you who think Carmen Natschke, of The Decorating Diva fame, is merely a glamorous gadabout holding court in the design stratosphere, there…View More Summer Reading with Carmen Natschke