Veere Grenney

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Interior by Veere Grenney:  This is a pink a man could love!  The blinds, with their voluminous use of silk taffeta, are to die for!  The natural textured rug tones down what could be an over-the-top dressy room.

Veere Grenney, interior designer born in New Zealand, now practicing in London recently launched a gorgeous fabric line.  As of now, there are only five patterns in his line - each in four color ways.  The linen fabrics are very muted in the way that only the English know how to properly do.   Available colors are an unusual choice in such a small line:  Aqua, blue, brown and pink.   Grenney, who at one time headed up the highly regarded company  Colefax and Fowler,  is apologetic about adding another fabric line to the already saturated market.   Defending the launch, he says he only designed his line to fill a need for fabrics he could not find elsewhere.  Regardless of the reasons, the fabrics are wonderful and hopefully he will soon be expanding  the line into a full service one. 

To see Grenney's London apartment, pick up this month's World of Interiors magazine.  And, two fellow bloggers featured Grenney before moi - please be sure to stop by and read their impressions of him:

Studio Annetta and Desire to Inspire

I could not find anyone in the United States who is carrying his fabrics yet but if interested, here is the information to get in touch with Grenney to place orders: 

info@veeregrenney.com or
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7351 7170

 

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Fabric #1:  Ferne  Park in aqua. I love the way Grenney trimmed out the canopy here.

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Grenney's London apartment:  master bedroom with Ferne Park fabric in aqua.  Robert Kime fabric covers the club chair. 

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Fabric #2 - Soundess in pink.

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Greeley's apartment with chairs covered in Soundess.  I love the demi-lune chest under the mirror and find it strikenly similar to a reproduction piece that has lately been featured in magazines, ad nauseam.

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Niermann Weeks obviously took its inspiration from antique pieces similar to the one in Grenney's apartment.  Whereas the NM piece is painted wood, Grenney's piece actually has a carved, raised, gilded relief over wood tooled in a pleated effect to create the criss-cross appearance.  The detailing of the antique is exquisite.  Additionally, Grenney's piece has a marble top. 

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Here Cindy Rinfert, designer from Connecticut, uses the NM chest in a two-toned finish, further reducing the elegance of the original inspiration piece.

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Veere Grenney's Fabric #3:  Burley in brown.

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Here, Burley is in blue on the chair and Soundess is on the sofa in pink.

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Fabric #4: Temple in pink.   Grenney describes this fabric as a homage to David Hicks.   

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Here  Grenney uses Temple as a wall covering in his dining room.  Notice the scalloped wood trim on the chairs.  The chairs are from a set 50 made in 1790 for a Viennese palace.  Gorgeous!

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And Fabric #5 is Berrydown in brown. I love the way a "handle" is upholstered into the back of this chair .              

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And finally, my favorite fabric of  Grenney's is Ferne Park.  Here is another view of his master bedroom with the bedding in Ferne Park.   I would love to use this fabric in either aqua or pink in a new project.  Anyone interested?

Annie and the Queen

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Detail of Annie Leibovitz photograph

A few nights ago Barbara Walters hosted a special on the Queen of England using footage from a BBC documentary based on a year in the life of the Queen and her family.    As it turned out, the most fascinating segment of the two hour special was a photo session with famed American photographer Annie Leibovitz and the Queen Elizabeth.  Leibovitz was hired by the Queen to take her official portrait to commemorate the royal visit to Jamestown in celebration of  its 400th birthday.  The documentary captured a few tense moments when Annie asked the incredulous Queen to remove her tiara because "the garter robe is so.....," Annie paused, and the Queen snapped back "Less dressy?  What do you think this?" while angrily pointing to her over-the-top garter robe.  This exchanged caused a major controversy in England when the BBC's aired the special. In the BBC version, the camera cuts to the Queen storming out after the exchange with Leibovitz.  It then shows the Queen testily saying  to her Lady-in-Waiting:  "I'm not changing anything.  I've had enough dressing like this thank you very much."  Someone at the BBC was actually fired for showing this scene out of context.  Barbara Walters got the context correct.  The scene with the Queen stomping out and refusing to "change anything" was actually filmed as she was walking INTO the photo session with Leibovitz not OUT of it.  British Fleet Street had a  field day with the BBC's deception and Barbara Walters wasn't about to repeat the error. 

Regardless  of all the uproar over the photo session, the actual footage of it was amusing and it showed the Queen acting "human" in front of  the cameras for the first time in memory.   What is not surprising is that Leibovitz' resulting photographs  are stellar.  Leave it to Leibovitz, more used to photographing rock stars and actors,  to capture the Queen as she has never been captured before.  The photographs are moody, regal, dark, atmospheric, and mesmerizing.  Rarely has the Queen been successfully shown both artistically and beautifully.  Most artistic portraits of Elizabeth to date have been downright hideous.  Leibovitz released four pictures from the photo session.  Each is fascinating.

 

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Critics of this Leibovitz photograph say the Queen looks like a vampire. Instead, I find it hauntingly beautiful.

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Contrast the above Leibovitz picture with this official one taken by the Queen's brother-in-law, Lord Snowdon.  Nice, but utterly boring. 

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Another photo from the Leibovitz sitting.  This one was inspired by the portrait of Queen Charlotte that hangs in the National Gallery in London (below).  The room is regal enough, but the windows look like they were stolen from a government building.

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Queen Charlotte, Leibovitz' inspiration for the  photograph shown above.

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The third Leibovitz photograph:   The Queen in her garter robe, taken

right after she was asked to remove her crown.   I love the composition here with the Queen to the right while the room takes up most of the space.

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Contrast the above Leibovitz photograph with this one of the Queen in her royal robes taken by Calder.  Leibovitz' pictures look like paintings rather than photos.   Here, the Queen looks like she was just told a funny joke.

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This is a still taken from the documentary at the exact moment Leibovitz asked the Queen to remove her tiara.  " Say what????? "   She doesn't look too pleased with Leibovitz here!   The Queen's main concern was how her hair would look if the tiara was removed.

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The final photograph released from the photo shoot.   Again, this picture seems more a painting than a photograph.  Art critics raved about the photos, while the public was mostly appalled by them.

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The Queen painted by Lucian Freud, one of the world's most famous and accomplished artist.  The public severely criticized this portrait, but the art critics loved it. The Queen was said to be not amused.  Knowing what a Freud looks like, she should not have been surprised.  Note:  She's wearing her tiara here!

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This commissioned portrait painted by Rolf Harris, was more accepted than Freud's and Leibovitz' images of the Queen.  I think it's just terrible and doesn't even look like her.

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The Queen as a cabbage patch doll by George  Condo.  Believe it or not, this actually hung in the Tate Museum of Modern Art.

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The Queen,at her coronation photographed  by the great  Cecil Beaton.  The contrast between Beaton's style and Leibovitz' style could not be greater.

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Royal portraiture from another age:  The first Queen Elizabeth painted by Damley.        

 

Which is your favorite image of Queen Elizabeth - and don't say  The Cabbage Patch Doll!

Dream Hotel

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Fields of lavender near the Hotel Crillon de Brave

It was so gorgeous in Houston today - the sun was warm and bright - that I really got spring fever, which can only mean that summer is just around the corner.  We vacation at the beach every summer and sometimes I like to think where we'd go if we ever did go someplace new, someplace exciting, someplace like Provence in the south of France!  And so, if I'm going to play that game, where would I stay?   Obviously, since it's just a game, money is no object.  After some searching around, I finally found a hotel that looks like a place I could spend some time at, relaxing by the pool, reading, and eating some really, really good food (no Wendy's salad in France!)  My pick:   The Hotel Crillon le Brave Provence.  It's a Relais & Chateux hotel, so you know it's going to be fabulous and charming.  Located in Provence on a hilltop in a tiny village, the hotel actually consists of seven centuries-old buildings clustered around a central courtyard. The rooms are housed in a former school building, a stables, a Priest's house, a grocery store, an artist's studio and several houses.  Together they now are all part of the Hotel Crillon le Brave Provence.  Care to join me there this summer?  Care to pick  up the tab, as well?

 

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The hotel sits atop a ridge at the foot of Mont Ventoux .  That's the complex with the tower pointing upwards.

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The seven restored buildings that make up the hotel.

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The Maison Reboul with vistas to the valley.  I love the courtyard with the grass growing between the stones.  So, so charming!

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Check in at the Maison Philibert building.

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Outdoor massage by the pool.

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Reception area.  Everything looks so authentically restored.

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Breakfast in the courtyard under a romantic umbrella.

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Breakfast in the main garden.

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The lower terrace swimming pool.  This terrace looks like it was carved out of the limestone.

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Views of the valley and Mont Ventoux.

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The Maison Roche houses the restaurant and several bedrooms.

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A salon in the Maison Roche.  I love the oval portrait on the back wall.  The colors - terracotta and sage green are so beautiful together.

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You can have dinner in either the garden or the stone vaulted restaurant.  Aren't these chairs wonderful?

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The view of the Mont and the valley at late afternoon.

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Rooms in the Maison Salomon were renovated in 2007.  Black and white photographs are of the property and surrounding countryside.

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A suite in the Maison Salomon.  I love the blue door with the number plaque.  The ceiling is wonderful, as is the old tiled floor. 

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A Maison Salomon dressing room with a french day bed.

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A room in Le Jas, one of the smallest houses on the property.  This room is so lovely with its print and checked fabrics.

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A room in La Maison Reboul.  I adore the bathroom open to the room.  Great for the newlyweds.

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Another room in La Jas, the small house.

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A Maison Philibert room.  The blue walls are a departure from the brighter yellows and oranges found elsewhere.  The windows add architectural charm here.

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La Maison Reboul suite with matching tubs overlooking the valley and Mont Ventoux.

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A charming country French styled room in La Maison Berton de Balbe

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La Maison Philibert - guest room.

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The bedroom of the suite in La Maison Berton de Balbe.

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Another room in La Maison Berton de Balbe.  I love the light colored terracotta floor used in this building.

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What is you favorite "dream" destination and hotel?  I would love to get your suggestions!