08 March 2010

Rose Tarlow

 

The cover of Rose Tarlow’s most excellent book shows her Californian house, built with antique elements.  Notice the subtle glaze on the plaster walls, the fabulous slipped chair and those floors (to die for!) 

 

The name Rose Tarlow evokes an image of quality, impeccable taste, uniqueness, patina.    Hugely influential, Tarlow sets the bar very, very high;  the furniture she designs for the eponymous Rose Tarlow/Melrose House is unquestionably the best on the market today.   Many of her designs are based on antiques she once owned, or perhaps glimpsed in an old book.    The craftsmanship is beyond compare.   Her fabric line was one of the first that featured textiles that looked old and soft, with muted colors and patterns that disappeared as if the sun had faded this one spot and that.  Tarlow, the woman behind the name, is a mystery, an enigma even to those personally familiar with her.   She is not a well known interior designer, though there are probably only two or three designers in her league.   She calls herself an antique seller, but mostly she now sells reproductions.  Antiques are her heart, yet  some of her better known commissions have been contemporary.  She started her career in the antiques business over 30 years ago with a small shop on Melrose in Los Angeles.   She says she was embarrassed to admit to her colleagues that she was taking up design.   She could have had the biggest career in that business  - had she wanted it or sought it out.  Instead she hid from it, refusing to play the games that go with the job.   A solitary person who prefers to shop alone, the client just gets in her way.   She is a perfectionist who obsesses over every detail of a project until it is right in her mind alone -  a trait the client must be aware of to give her the space she needs.   A job may take five years, perfection never comes easy.   In contrast, building her own house went by quickly.  Of course there were no indecisive clients to slow down the process.   “I hate dealing with clients, so when I do work, I prefer to work with friends.”   Oh, the few she has agreed to work with are the lucky ones. 

 

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Miss Tarlow:  very, very few in the world of interior design are her equal.

 

In 15 years, Tarlow says, she had 5 clients, such is the level of her involvement and commitment to the work.    Not many can claim her, which only adds to the mystique.   She is more famous for the jobs she has turned down: “I never take a job unless it intrigues me.”  And there is this:  “I need to buy furniture and I only ever take on a design project if it’s one that’s going to allow me to buy furniture that I’m interested in buying.”   There are no flashy spreads year after year in design magazines.  Most of her work has never been seen by the public.  Her own house is her biggest advertisement, but one could never expect her to repeat such uniqueness.  

Her discerning eye is what sets her apart.  She doesn’t see like the average person.     She drinks in beauty as if her body craves it for nourishment.   “I try to hide from things that are not good for my eye, I only see what pleases me.”  A friend of Tarlow’s said  “I admire her enormously, though, because she has one of the most incredible eyes for beauty that I’ve ever seen.”  The friend recalls a trip to a Mississippi casino where Tarlow refused to stay, “it’s just so ugly and the lighting is so hideous.  I just can’t be in an environment like that.”   She finds beauty and inspiration in nature, in dusty antique shops,  at a dump site.  Objects speak to her, furniture especially, and more specifically - furniture made of wood.    “Wood is my favorite thing.  Someone said I must have been a tree in another life,”  she told Mitchell Owens.   

Her book, The Private House,  was written without a ghostwriter and took eight years to finish.  Filled with fascinating stories of her youth, these tales are surprising revelations, clues into what shaped Tarlow into the force she is today.  Still, it’s hard to imagine her as an innocent child, she is so focused and knowledgeable, her aesthetic is so unique.   Working with her, under her, for her, must be more rewarding than an Oxford education.   Her opinions are laced throughout the book becoming edicts to follow.   One story she retells illustrates her steely determination:

“I have always had a passion for 18th century wallpapers which are difficult to find.  Many years ago, based on my research into rare Chinese papers, I commissioned an artist to hand paint wallpaper panels for my dining room.   When the work was finally finished, the room was breathtaking.

The first evening after it was completed, we all sat for hours admiring the walls, but I could not wait to be alone there.  Later than night, when the family was asleep, I went back down, took fine sandpaper, fine steel wool, a stepladder and all of my nerve and proceeded to soften the newness of the paper by removing some of the design.   I worked slowly and carefully for hours and succeeded in completing only a small section.  I was pleased with the results.  In the morning, my husband came downstairs and was horrified.  I explained that the work had just begun, that it needed to be done, the newness of the walls was intruding on the room.”

Years later, that same wallpaper appeared again in her life.  It had been removed from her long-since sold house and a panel was taken to an auction house who were convinced the paper was terribly old and valuable.   Her opinion was sought out on its provenance.

 

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The new Rose Tarlow/Melrose House is a delight.   Its architect, Mark Appleton, designed the building in partnership with Tarlow.

 

Everyone who reads The Private House takes something different from it;  advice that Tarlow casually mentions will become ingrained in their own design process.  My personal nugget is Tarlow’s view on overhead ceiling lights: 

“Having too many recessed lights overhead can destroy a perfectly good ceiling and give any room a disturbingly commercial appearance.  While we have rather successfully combated the cottage cheese ceiling, be aware of the Swiss cheese ceiling.   An abundance of ceiling lights should be limited to kitchens, laundry room, and shoe shops.” 

I had just installed a house full of recessed lights a few years before her book came out and her words stung, my ceilings became my enemy.  I  never turned on those recessed lights again, instead I use an assortment of sconces and lamps, and now lanterns.   The Private House is filled with ideas and strong opinions like this.   And rarely, will you disagree with Tarlow.   When she tells you to mix plain dirt in your plaster, you know you can trust her.   She doesn’t advise or lecture you to do things she hasn’t personally done herself. 

 

 

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 The new Rose Tarlow/Melrose House, designed by Mark Appleton.  Tarlow started her career on Melrose and has never let the street – she just moves down a few doors every decade or so.

 

Tarlow’s style, if you could define her taste level so simply, is more like her essence, her creed, her heart.   She IS her aesthetic.   She surrounds herself with what she loves, what she finds beautiful.   Nothing in her life mars her vision.   “Quality is crucial, right down to the paper towels.   Everything you live with should be wonderful, not expensive, just good.”  She finds beauty in odd places – construction sites hold appeal.   The lesson though is not to emulate her, but instead find your own simple, interesting object to love.  “My only rule is that nothing adorn my life that is not precious to me.  I must respect its shape, color, meaning, and quality.   An object added for effect instead of affection will always look like an affectation.”  She prefers to use many shades of one color throughout a house, while accents of brighter colors comes from objects like antique fabric, a rug, a box.     She advises using a neutral canvas – “use color like jewelry, provocatively.”   In her book, written so many years ago, she was obsessed with the color green, a lasting effect from a trip to Ireland.  Bright pops of green are found throughout the images.   It would be interesting to know if she is still as connected to that color, or is there one that has replaced it now?  

Tarlow is the consummate perfectionist.   “Don’t try to be different, just be excellent.”   This attitude, the striving for perfection, is seen on each page, in each story she shares with her readers, many of which are quite humorous.   She is surprisingly quite funny in her book – her stories are told with a dry wit. Much of The Private House recounts the story of her own house,  one of her greatest creations.   It was imagined as  “an Old Californian with strong European influences.”   Most elements are ancient,  wood used inside is so old, it is almost petrified.  The house has oak beams from an 11th century church in England, there is 18th century boiserie from France.  The floors in her study are from the 17th century.   A set of four 18th century French oak doors distinguish the main living area.  The hardware,, of course  is all old.   Obviously, the house is a masterpiece.   It was designed by Tarlow at a time when she was single and able to do with it exactly as she wanted.  Soon after, she became involved in a relationship which she acknowledges would have produced a different house.    It is said another book is in the works about a house she is working on in Provence, I wait for it anxiously.  

Last year, Melrose House moved to a new location designed by Tarlow and Mark Appleton.   These days, she mostly designs furniture for her company, freed from the daily grind of running the company after selling a large portion of it.    Tarlow is now the Creative Director and not surprisingly, the sole designer.    Melrose House is her lasting legacy to design.  

 

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Inside the new Rose Tarlow/Melrose House.  Immediately, the library stairs catch my eye.

 

Recently I was approached by Tarlow’s PR agent, who lured me with the promise of high resolution images from The Private House, bait that only the strongest blogger could resist!   These images aren’t new, but the thought of having these quality photographs in my computer, and yours, forever, was too good of a dream to pass up.   I’ve added more images taken from Melrose House’s web site, where there is a great collection of press clippings all in PDF form.  Naturally,  her web site is perfection.   Few in the business even realize the importance of good, high quality PDF copies of past magazines articles – saved for eternity on the world wide web.   If Rose Tarlow is a new name to you, I highly suggest The Private House.   It’s a short and easy read, yet the priceless information contained within its pages is worth more than four years at a design school, unless you are lucky enough to have Rose Tarlow as your professor.

 

 

London

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Rose Tarlow’s London Residence.

My first awareness of Rose Tarlow came from a 1989 Architectural Digest article that featured her London townhouse, above.  I became an immediate and slightly obsessed fan.   The residence has not changed since that time.  I’m sure things have been updated, like upholstery, but the main design and furniture remains.  Why tinker with perfection?  That tea table (notice its knees), that screen (notice the patina!)

 

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 Another image from London.  Notice the wonderful book table and antique chair.  Tarlow loves quirky or unusual pieces – where either the proportions are exaggerated, or the wood has a beautiful patina. 

 

 

Los Angeles

image Los Angeles:   The house that Rose built.   Notice the beauty in the simplicity:   plaster walls have unreinforced corners which crumble easily creating a rustic ruin effect.   The walls she says “look like they were carved from butter with a knife.”   Tarlow allows her look is “masculine” and yes, there are few frilly elements here.

 

 

A close up of the plaster, iron and wood staircase.

 

 

The view from the living room into the staircase room.  A bamboo ladder holds newspapers.

 

 

 

 

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A picture taken from the pages of Architectural Digest, 1991:   Notice the beautiful antique beamed ceiling and the pair of oak doors.  This room has two fireplaces, one at each end, and two sets of bookcases on each side.  The vines are encouraged to crawl up through the 18th century French doors.  Originally the house was three rooms only, all one after another – her bedroom, the great room, the kitchen.  Later, she turned her kitchen into a dining room and built a large kitchen/eating area beyond the dining room.  Above this, two guest rooms were also added.  

 

Of her house, she told Architectural Digest:  “I was trying to prove to myself that you can create an ageless house just as I try to design furniture that has a period flavor but with its own unique personality.  Every attempt I have seen to make new houses look old has failed, so I considered remodeling the existing house on the site.  But after a week the contractor told me that it made no sense to try, and I tore it down.”

 

 

Looking towards the other side of the great room – with its own fireplace.  Above the fireplace is a Jean Cocteau.

 

 

image  And again, the same view from 1991, Architectural Digest.  The fireplace is 17th century, the art work is Jean Cocteau. 

 

 

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Looking the opposite way at the other fireplace.  There are four sets of matching antique doors that lead off this room.  There are two large bookcases built in between the French doors on each side of the room. 

 

 

imageFrom Architectural Digest, 1991, a view of the desk that divides the room into two seating areas. 

 

 

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Across the room is another bookcase.  Library stairs stand in front.   Pictured on the right is an antique Knole sofa.

 

 

Close up of another bookcase.  In front is a second original 1880 velvet Knole sofa.

 

 

 

image This sofa is now for sale at Obsolete on 1st Dibs HERE.  Interestingly, it was once used as a prop in a Helmut Newton photograph.  Notice the gorgeous silk appliques.  

 

 

 

image Looking through the doors into the bedroom with its French boiserie.   Beautiful vellum books are everywhere.

 

 

And, a close-up of the wood cart pictured above.  Notice the reeding on the legs.   Just beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

   imageThis glorious 1780 dugout chair is typical of the type of antique that Tarlow is drawn to. 

 

 

 

Another unusual and unique antique chair that epitomizes Tarlow’s style.

 

 

        image  The dining room is off the main living room.  Antique leather Spanish chairs surround the table.  The large 18th century Welsh dresser holds a collection of treen and pewter.  The large wood mortar is filled with tole leaves. 

 

 

A close up of Tarlow’s amazing collection of treen and pewter plates and 1920s French porcelain square plates.

 

 

                                                                                               image  Past the dining room is the large eat in kitchen.     The wing chair is 18th century while the wood chair is 17th century French.  

 

 imageClose-up of the rare and beautiful Louis XIII armoire in the kitchen.

 

 image In her study upstairs, a wooden staircase found in a Paris flea market reaches the sleeping loft.

 

 

 

Tarlow paints watercolors in her upstairs study.  I love all her bookstands and lecterns.   In a shameless act of copying her, for years I searched for one for my own house.

 

 

 

 

The powder room features a 17th century needlepoint mirror and a wooden sink!  Amazing!!

 

 

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The second guest room features a charming pull out canopy bed. 

 

 

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The sitting area of the guest room. 

 

 imageRose Tarlow’s bedroom is wall to wall antique French boiserie.  The only piece of furniture in the house designed by Tarlow is her canopy bed.   This room is so authentic, it defies belief that it is in the middle of Los Angeles rather than in a 18th century mas in France.  Notice the floor – so gorgeous.  I love how low she has hung the chandelier in the alcove – perfect – as is everything she does.  This room is the most feminine area in the house as it should be!  Even the sofa’s arms are sensuously curved.  

 

 

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A close-up of the fireplace and paneling in the master bedroom.

 

 

 

The pool was placed as it might have been found in nature.  The pool house’s old slate roof was brought over from England.

 

 

Rose Tarlow/Melrose House:

image For those on the design blogosphere, one of Rose Tarlow/Melrose House’s most well known pieces of furniture is the Nantucket side table.  I’m sure you will recognize it from the bedroom in Something’s Gotta Give.  Over the years, so many people have asked either Linda Merrill or myself – where can I buy that table?    It is slightly gorgeous, no?  Things That Inspire wrote a wonderful piece on this table HERE.

 

 

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The famous Something’s Gotta Give bedroom with the Melrose House table.

 

 

Cote de Texas and Rose Tarlow/Melrose House:

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 Many years ago, on one of my first big jobs,  I designed a bedroom for a client using this Rose Tarlow fabric.    On the walls, I placed the matching wallpaper, and most of furniture wore this fabric, save for the skirted table which was a Rose Tarlow plaid.   Recently I discovered a few pictures of that room filed away in a drawer:

 

 

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The headboard was tufted and upholstered in the Calais fabric as was the duvet and dust ruffle.  The walls were papered in the matching pattern.  The skirted table is a Rose Tarlow plaid.  The carpet was a cream colored flat weave with a small dot of the darker ming blue.  

 

 

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The bedroom is located in a high rise apartment overlooking Uptown Park in Houston.  The sun is treacherous up there, so the windows were covered in blackout lined curtains, made of course in the Rose Tarlow Calais fabric.

 

 

 

imageIn another client’s house – I used this Rose Tarlow/Melrose House tea table.  But I believe this table may now be discontinued – it isn’t on the web site.

 

 

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The Rose Tarlow/Melrose House Sophia Chair is another much beloved and copied piece in the collection. The lines and proportions are beyond beautiful.

 

 

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Imitation - the sincerest form of flattery?  For this client, I used the Sophia chair as an inspiration – in order to save time, I had it made in Houston.   Although the chair looks very similar, you can see that Tarlow’s exaggerated proportions were out of the abilities of the upholsterer – the copy is not quite as tall, the arms not quite as gracefully thin.   To do it over again, I would have ordered the Tarlow chair instead of trying to copy it, although I do think the chair is beautiful as is. 

 

 

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Last December, The Peak of Chic asked Rose Tarlow what are her favorite books – to read her list, go HERE.

 

To order The Private House, go HERE.   To visit the web site of Rose Tarlow/Melrose House, go HERE.   And finally, a huge “thank you” to Eric Perez for all the luscious hi-res images!

74 comments:

  1. I have long admired Rose Tarlow who I discovered through her wonderful book! Her masculine edge has had an enormous influence on my design aesthetic and I think everything she does is timeless.

    Thank you for this more intimate glimpse into such a wonderfully unique designer.

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  2. What a fascinating entry on Ms. Tarlow. I hear and see so much on her furniture line and now understand why you do not hear or see much on her interior design work.

    And after visiting her website moments ago, I admire her architectural model staircases in her accessory line-up. Actually, there are any things I love but I have a thing for models.

    The photos of your work using Rose Tarlow fabric and casegoods were such a treat. I am enjoying taking it all in.

    Very inspiring.

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  3. Thank you for introducing me to Rose Tarlow and her incredible design work. I enjoyed reading about her so much I shall have to purchase her book to find out more.

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  4. Thank you so much for this! Rose is not published enough in my opinion. She is truly a genius. I love her description in her book of a weekend spent in the Santa Ynez mountains. I live in Montecito, however, we have a ranch in Santa Ynez and she described it all so beautifully and magically. She not only creates all these lovely spaces, she also has that magic ability to describe them as well. Buy her book if you don't already own it, it's beautifully done.

    She is buying a home here and I know one of her best friends, and yes, I think I will meet her!!

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  5. Loved this post. I know I will go back and study the images several days from now (much as I did with the Cape Town hotel post). And I really enjoyed seeing some of your other design work. Oh, and yes...I bought the book.

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  6. It's those thick walls, beamed ceilings, and salvaged wood floors that really make the "European" look. It can't be all-concrete though, or she wouldn't have been able to sink the bookcases directly into the wall. I wonder how she got those single-pane French doors past the building inspector-- IIRC Cali required double pane when her home was built. Mark Appleton must know! ;)

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  8. Man, I just took a bubble bath waiting for your pictures to load ha ha!
    But it's always worth the wait.
    You know I love Rose Tarlow and her book.
    Remember when I posted on her when I was first starting out, before I got the book, and posted some wrong pictures and you and I incurred the wrath of the decor blog police ha ha!
    La Tarlow does the best version of shabby in the best possible and most elegant way.
    We have vines like hers growing into our houses here in New Orleans all the time ha ha.
    Thanks for archiving all these photos. I always meant to rectify my error and scan a bunch of pics from the book and repost on Rose Tarlow.
    I surely thought she'd be Number 2 in your Top Ten.
    xo xo
    PS Love how you use La Tarlow in your own work Joni.

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  9. Joni, I am a big fan of Rose Tarlow's style. Her taste is exquisite and Rose is one of the few people who I would trust implicitly with my decor...wish I could, wish she would, xv.

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  10. Joni, what a lovingly written post! I read "The Private House" voraciously about a year ago, borrowed from the library. I asked for it for my birthday (this week!), and cannot wait to read it again. It was full of gems of perspective on design. And speaking of envy, I envied her rich experience...

    Since she takes so few projects, I wonder if she makes a living from her design work, or is she independently wealthy? I always wonder how people like this get started - what do they work at over the years to become who they are? If I could write any book, it would be about how people "become someone" like this. She is fascinating.

    Thanks for the photos - I will check out the site too!

    Beautifully written - when is your book due? ;)

    xo Terri

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  11. Thanks for introducing those of us not in the design know. She sounds like such an intriguing woman and from what you've shown us here, she is indeed incredibly talented! The book is a must-read.

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  12. I'm not trying to be rude but she sounds like a character from Saturday Night Live. It's decorating for godsakes!

    p.s. Her work is beautiful, though, you can't deny it.

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  13. Such a beautiful piece you wrote on Rose Tarlow!!

    Thanks for the shout out at the end ;)

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  14. I bought "The Private House" when it first came out and it has inspired me ever since. Rose Tarlow is one of the most talented and intriguing designers. In addition to her exquisite furniture, books and objects, I was taken with the vines creeping in from outside and allowed mine to do the same.

    Thank you, Joni, for such a beautiful post. You put so much effort and consideration into your posts - they're obviously a labour of love! Reading them is one of the highlights of my day!

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  15. Thank you for the post on Rose Tarlow. I have her book and refer to it often. Funny, I just did a post on Michael Taylor who was very good friends with Rose Tarlow. She even wrote the introduction to his book. Go to my blog http://colorandlightatelier.blogspot.com/ to read a about Michael Taylor.

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  16. gracious! This is better than her book!
    I for one, have always been fascinated by the vines that scramble around inside her LA house.

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  17. how very, very beautiful...I love the way she said she can't look at or be with something ugly..I feel the same way..uncomfortable..I love prettiness in my life..Cynthia

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  18. I love seeing and learning about your inspiration. But seeing how you use it is even better! Terrific images as usual...

    Marija

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  19. Always luved her work and her home. Thanks Joni!
    L.

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  20. Always luved her work and her home. Thanks Joni!
    L.

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  21. Always luved her work and her home. Thanks Joni!
    L.

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  22. La Maison Fou, did you make your point, or should you post four times. Tarlow designs some beautiful pieces, but oh does she seem like a miserable person.

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  23. This just might be my favorite post of yours, Joni. (except of course, the ones you do on Mr. SlipperSocks;)
    I think Rose Tarlow is a Design Goddess!!! I love her masculine esthetic. I've adored her home since I first saw the photos published years ago... how do you forget a home with vines growing on the interior walls?!! The way she edits a room is masterful. I purchased her book last month and have been slowly savoring each page- and mentioned the book in a post only today!
    Thank you for sharing these gorgeous images!
    joan

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  24. Hi Joni,

    I have to say that I really enjoyed reading this post, so much so that while I was reading it I rang the local bookshop and ordered a copy of Rose's book. Can't wait to get my hands on it. I thought this post of yours was so well written by you. So well done! From the pictures that you have shown today Rose certainly knows her stuff. Some people seem offended that she is not all out there, but I'm just here to admire how Rose puts together her interiors, and I admire her for that. Takes all types to make the world go 'round.
    Hope your family is well Joni.
    Take care
    Janine
    XXOO
    Tasmania, Australia

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  25. Joni, What a beautifully written post as always. Rose Tarlow is in a league of her own. Some of her pieces are amazing, thank you for opening her world to us in blogland,Kathysue

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  26. That was so inspiring and so beautiful. You and she both have a new fan.

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  27. Your inspiring post on Rose Tarlow made me want to buy her book...so I did. I can't wait to receive it. I have seen pictures of her designs so I will read the book through the minute I receive it. As always you have opened up a new vision in me. Thank you for all your great inspirations.

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  28. Joni, you are such a talented writer. Everyone you feature on your blog is written about so caringly! Ms. Tarlow is for sure, one of the greats, however, most of us will never own, let alone see in person anything along the lines of what fills her homes. It can be a little depressing to know that so few get to be surrounded by this level of beauty and history.

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  29. LOVE that Sophia chair... trés FAB!

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  30. My copy of "The Private House" is torn, tattered, dog-eared, post-it covered. I use it as a reference book daily. Just love this post. Thank you.

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  31. Joni I see much of your style in the London residence. I cannot even tell you how much I love all of the images, furniture and how delighted that you honored us to share this!! ..Rose is another genius and very discerning designer.

    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  32. The picture of the London residence with the Coromandel screen behind the sofa is such a classic look, and works so well, bringing such quality and texture to a design scheme.

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  33. Rose Tarlow will be so historically important as a designer of our times. The fact that she puts her aesthetic above acclaim is amzing in these celebrity-seeking times. And Joni, this gets my vote as your best yet.

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  34. What a fabulous post, Joni! Any woman who bravely and deliberately ages handpainted wallpaper has my everlasting respect. I especially adore her bedroom and couldn't agree more with Miss Tarlow's philosophy on overhead lighting!

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  35. The interiors look like antique stores. Good inventory, but the whole effect is a little lifeless.

    She always looks like she needs a good antidepressant.

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  36. Anon. 7:54 AM, I agree with the antidepressant look. If Joni portrayed her attitude correctly, she needs to get over herself as well.

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  37. I would love to see a picture of the exterior of her house.

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  38. What I walk away with everytime I see her work is a relief of timelessness. There's not a thing I don't love from the '91 photos, just as I love the new. There's a consistency that implies "living spaces"....people belong there, her arrangement of things invite them in. It is a high bar, professionally, but so worthy of pursuing. She is inspired and inspiring.

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  39. Joni, this time I just don't get it. I was sittin' on the edge of my seat, prepared to be wowed by the pics, but was not bowled over. Miss. Tarlow may be revered in the design world, but I'd much rather have you decorate my home. I am glad that you enjoy her designs though, and congrats on getting the high-resolution pictures!

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  40. Rose's homes are lovely. I'd really like to follow her around the Paris flea markets! Where does she find so many unusual and interesting pieces?

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  41. The only thing I can say is that I love this post. Thank you so much!!! Mary

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  42. Oh to be so talented, well-known and rich!!! Her work is beautiful...simply beautiful. And Joni, my dear, you CRACK ME UP!!! Your comment had me doubled over! We were eating dinner out when I read your comment on my blackberry and my kids said, "what? what?" They wanted to read it...to which of course I denied...Ms. Potty Mouth! lol...

    You CONTINUE to amaze me with your incredible posts! What percentage of your day is devoted to your blog? It has to take up half of your day woman!

    Becky

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  43. A jaw-dropping post, Joni, thank you so much for sharing these photos and information. I love the warmth of her style, especially that it is a carefully edited collection of pieces assembled over many many years; could not go out and "buy" this kind of merchandise; it's so personal.

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  45. Wonderful feature on Rose Tarlow! I really love reading about her background and design aesthetic. A visit to her showroom is a must if you are in LA!

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  46. Thanks everyone - except the nasty anons - which I suspect are really mostly one person, pretending to be more. (let me guess which troll it is.) if you leave a nasty comment- just leave one, ok? remember, if you want to cut me down, fine- but take into account that there is another human being being discussed here, with feelings. manners anon. I can take my critics, but who I write about are guests here. jeez.

    As to the anon who doesn't get the living with beauty philosophy - there's no way to describe that. I get it though. Many, if not most of my friends live in undecorated houses and I don't get that. I never have. It doesn't take money to decorate - you know my drill, the $395 ikea white slipped sofa and $350 pb seagrass and viola - you have a great look. So it's not money - but some people just do NOT care what their surroundings look like. Others, it makes them anxious, nervous, off balanced to look at what they perceive as an ugly space. i suspect that all i.ds. look at life this way. tarlow just has a keener eye - a more sensitive eye - or not. i think my eye is just as sensitive, but no one is paying for my opinion. so...

    i remember the first time i saw her house in LA - i really wanted to bomb my own house. i was so depressed for months on end thinking about her house - how HONEST it was and how phony mine was. that was the only word that came to my mind. there was just nothing decorative about it. it was just honest.

    and to the anon who said - it's just decorating - no. it's not. her house is NOT decorated. God. that's the whole point.

    you either get it or you don't and i suspect if you get it, you already knew everything there was to know about Rose. so just enjoy the pictures one more time. I did.

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  47. Long a fan of Rose & The Private House - I, too, was stung by her words about the ceiling lights.

    She is SO right! They're just the worst in every way.
    Dimmers help with the unflattering glare - but, the Swiss cheese effect must go!

    Judith

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  48. very interesting. I wish I could refuse to go place because of the lighting. do wish she would smile though!

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  49. Joni, I have posted once on Rose Tarlow. The post was to agree with someone also posting as anon who suggested she looked like she was on antidepressants. Yes there are people for whom their homes are places to sleep each night - not places of peace and comfort. A sofa and tv seems to suit them just fine. In the pictures you posted, the nicest room by far was the bedroom (perhaps the library could be in that category as well). The rest of it looks like someone went to the auction of a California rancher. Perhaps her masculine side is just not what I am into, but I don't see harmony in these photos, only a collection of "stuff". Her own designs are far superior to anything in the photos and even then there is a randomness to her design style. The Sophia chair is certainly a sweet piece as is a mahogany console on her website. Some of her fabrics are lovely. Otherwise, I am not moved.

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  50. Correction: I stated above that I liked the master bedroom and the library. I meant to say master bedroom and the photo from the London home. With respect to random design, I meant her line of furniture. There isn't a cohesive look for the consumer.

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  51. Wonderful post, I am such a RT fan. Any idea on the price of the Nantucket table.

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  52. A wonderful post. You conveyed her essence so well. To the "anon" who said it was "just decorating", why is "anon" even reading your posts on decorating then?

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  53. Karen@ Junking in GeorgiaMarch 9, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    I now have the book on my wish list.. and I will go back and look at your post again and again.. I am so glad she cannot see my own house .. she'd be saying
    "my eyes, my eyes"..thanks for another wonderful post..the haters can go pound sand..

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  54. Joni~Thank you for your devotion, perfection, fun & joy you bring to your blog! I've learned to wait to read it in the morning with a good cup of coffee and Sunrise Earth on the TV.

    Thank you for sharing different opinions, goals & sensitivities to decorating. Thank you for showing us how to take decorating to living!

    I appreciate being challenged to see things differently.

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  55. I wish your anon would create a blog for herself....oh how I would love to see it.

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  56. From yet ANOTHER Anon...jeez, I don't dare say anything negative about Ms. Tarlow....I might get my arse kicked!

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  57. Rose definitely visited Belgium!
    xx
    Greet

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  58. Anon. 8:35am. What did you say your name was? Oh that's right, ANON.Maybe you are the one who should be blogging?????

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  59. Joni, I don't see your work as "dishonest" in any way. It charming. And I'm not sure I see Ms. Tarlow's work as "honest" except insofar as she is using original antiques and recycled materials. After all, she's not really living in a mas in the South of France, it's Los Angeles in the 21st century. So technically, what she's doing is a pastiche of the past. I'm not sure that's dishonest, but it's not exactly embracing the present. Personally, I find Ms. Tarlow's work beautiful, but oddly alienating and unreal. I never get that feeling from your work. Please don't disparage yourself or what you do!

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  60. love this post.OMG just got my april veranda and my april house beautiful...two fabulous articles on 2 houston houses by the same decorator eleanor cummings. do you know her?they are stunning!!!

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  61. I love her book and her style. I do wish we would get to see more of her. I was hoping for more pictures in the book ect. Thanks for another great post, your the best.

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    ReplyDelete
  63. wow- thanks for the intro. I had saved one of the bookshelf viney pics from Velvet & Linen a while back but didn't know much about her. Will definitely get the book and the whole undecorated thing really speaks to me. just wrote about it this week & am really trying to get there.

    Also, any idea on how to do that with the vines??? I've never wanted anything so badly in my house. I want it on my mantle wall in the LR and bedroom too. so amazing.

    one of my fav posts

    xoxo

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  64. BTW, according to this link, Melrose House is having a warehouse sale.

    http://maison21.blogspot.com/2010/03/rose-tarlow-melrose-house-warehouse.html

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  65. Joni,

    This is such the wrong place for me to write this--I thought I had your email but couldn't find it so I then thought I would just leave a comment but didn't have time to read your post then I got all sidetracked with those beautiful sophia scalloped chairs your featured...

    anyhow here's my email to you:

    Hey Joni,

    I just saw your comment today at Nesting Place and immediately had to go listen to your SRT chat, you ladies are hilarious and informative. I loved what you said about our emails to each other~ thank you so much for your support and encouragement!

    love to you~

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  66. Gorgeous post...a woman/designer who truly knows who they are. Thank you...we DON'T see enough of her!

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  67. The Sophia chair is beautiful. It begs for linen and a good book.

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  68. Wow...that house is just fabulous! The floors are to die for! Thanks for sharing such inspiration :)
    And thanks for stopping by my little blog. I'm honored that you like what I've done with my living room!!

    Take care,

    Tracey
    myhouseofgiggles.blogspot.com

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  69. her casual comfort and no-nonsense attitude, like letting vines grow on the inside, is always an inspiration. so many lovely shots here, thank you.

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  70. I loved this post! Tarlow's style is absolutely amazing. It is fifteen years later and that room from the '91 shoot is perfection to me. She has such an amazing aesthetic. As much as trends and the "latest and greatest" is so much fun, I think it's the designers that can produce timeless spaces such as hers (and yours) that are the true talents.

    And is it bad to say that reading the comments are half the fun for me? Kind of like watching a soap opera or something. :) BTW, I loved your remark on feeling anxious and uneasy. So true.

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    ReplyDelete
  72. As usual your posts are extensive,
    detailed and full of wonderful
    design history and of course the backstory. The furniture is exquisite, her choices of one of kind pieces like the chairs are like sculpture.

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