It's not often that one attends a lecture that can be described as fizzy and fun, but that's just how I would characterize Steven Stolman's talk last week at ADAC. The recently appointed President of Scalamandre is an avid fan of old movies just like many of us. His presentation, "Iconic Interiors of the Silver Screen", spanned decades of cinema and included images from such films as Indiscreet, Auntie Mame, Valley of the Dolls, and The Women. If you ever get the opportunity to attend Steven's lecture, I urge you to do so. Not only will you see images of the chic interiors from these movies, but you will also get Steven's humorous commentary too.
When Steven mentioned The Women, it jogged my memory of a 1940 House & Garden article that profiled the Greenwich, Connecticut summer house of Henry and Clare Booth Luce. It was the latter who wrote the Broadway play The Women, later produced as a movie in 1939. If you've never seen the movie, do so soon. You just might reconsider running with a pack of women!
The Luces' Connecticut home, built around 1905, was described in the article as a being a "modified Georgian design." According to H&G, the entire house as well as much of the furniture was designed by Virginia Conner with the exception of the master bedroom. That room was given to Luce's friend Dorothy Draper.
The home's interiors look quite glamorous although there are some elements that seem a little gimmicky. (I'm referring to the dining room's serving table that was suspended from the ceiling with white metal ropes.) If you ask me, the interiors are a combination of the chic yet proper style of Mary Haines (the Norma Shearer character in The Women) and the flashy and brassy look of her man-stealing rival Crystal Allen (played by- who else?- Joan Crawford.)
Probably one of the most famous rooms of the house. The living room was mostly pale beige except for the curvy sofa that was covered in a blue green fabric. The article does not mention whether the mirrored screen was purchased from Syrie Maugham or simply inspired by that in her music room on Kings Road in London.
The other side of living room that looked out over the garden. The loveseats were upholstered in diagonally quilted seaweed green fabric.
The master bedroom that was decorated by Dorothy Draper. The walls, draperies, bedspread, and carpet were all in shades of ice blue. Draper's beloved cabbage rose chintz was also used.
The sitting area of the bedroom was delineated by folding screens. I'm fascinated by those unusual pelmets.
The dining room and the unusual serving table. The walls were soft pink while the ceiling and rubber floor were white. The pine chairs were covered in pink and cyclamen colored fabric. The colors were chosen from a Raoul Dufy painting.
In the hall, the walls were Chinese red and the sofas were covered in Prussian green satin. (Don't you wish that you could see the photo in color?)
The powder room wallpaper was gunmetal, pink, and coral, while the dressing table skirt was made of pink voile.
The library in which most of the room was sand-blasted oak. The ceiling was painted turquoise, and the rug was beige Astrakhan.
All photos from House & Garden, June 1940.