The Skirted Roundtable with Annie Kelly

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The Skirted  Roundtable

 

We have a new Skirted Roundtable discussion up – with guest Annie Kelly.  Kelly who writes books with her husband, photographer Tim Street-Porter talks about their latest collaboration, Rooms To Inspire By the Sea.  This book is the latest in a series that includes Rooms To Inspire in the City, the Country, and just plain Rooms to Inspire.

For this newest book, they have picked a variety of houses near the ocean to show here – some fancy like Richard Shapiro’s gorgeous place in Malibu and some not so fancy like Chris Mead’s house in the Hamptons.  Other houses shown are Joe Francis’ in Mexico and India Hicks in the Bahamas. As always, the photography is stellar and the choice of houses shown is a most interesting mix.

 

Annie Kelly and husband Tim Street-Porter

 

The latest in the series.

 

 

 

 

I love the cover of this book and keep it out on my coffee table.

 

 

Love this fireplace – the color green mixed with blue and white.

 

 

And the original series of “Rooms to Inspire”

The couple also have two books on Mexican interior design and one on Litchfield style homes.  To order their books, Amazon has a special Annie Kelly Books page HERE.

To listen to Annie Kelly, please go to The Skirted Roundtable at www.skirtedroundtable.blogspot.com

 

ANTIQUE SHOPS AND DESIGNERS

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The new issue of one of my favorite magazines – Antique Shops and Designers – is out and is now available online HERE.  I like to show this magazine’s highlights on the blog because it’s printed here in Houston and many of you might not get a chance to read it otherwise.  The magazine keeps getting better and better and this issue kept me happily engaged for a few hours.  Two articles in particular stood out – Barbara Carlton’s townhouse and Megan Megas’s house.  Both have close ties to two of Houston’s great designers, as you will see:

 

Barbara Carlton is the mother of Renea Abbott, owner of Shabby Slips in Houston. I always talk about the designers I think are instrumental in starting the “Houston Look” but somehow I don’t mention Renea enough. Her store is now 20 years old – amazing – and when it opened, it was a very casual place to go get your furniture slipcovered in loose linen. That didn’t last long though. Shabby Slips quickly became one of the better antiques and decor stores in Houston who just happened to slipcover custom furniture in tight, tight slips – some were impossible to even tell that they were slipcovers. Renea has a special mix she uses – White linen, black accents, modern tables and lamps, gilt mirrors, and fancy antique chandeliers. It’s a look where the antiques are covered in white, casual fabric and mixed with contemporary art work. Lots of zebra and leopards are mixed in to create her look. Her mother, Barbara, also has excellent taste and it’s easy to see where Renea inherited her own aesthetic from. Barbara’s style is more casual than Renea’s glamorous look. She’s more into white interiors than Renea.

 

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Pictured in this issue is Carlton’s new townhouse.  I’m loving this first picture – the sofa was “too white” so she had this loose slipcover made for it out of linen.  Wow!  I LOVE this and want to copy it!!   What a great idea to have a second set of slips made like this for a quick change out.   Walls are white, there’s a zebra rug and a black table.  The French chair, one of  a pair,  is dressy in its gilt frame but made accessible in its friendly white fabric.  The antlers are antique.  And notice the pillows  - two centered in the middle.  That’s a great idea, you never have to move them when you sit down.  Shabby Slips makes the BEST pillows in town.  They are soooo overstuffed with down, it’s insane.   

Photography by Jack Thompson

 

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Dark  floors, white walls and seagrass – mixed with white chairs, ottomans, and a linen sofa – all slipcovered.  Again, loving the two pillows.  As always – there are antiques mixed in to create that friction – here a dressy black coffee table – sits up high.  An antique chair is angled off to the side.  I love the sofa’s scalloped back AND arms.  It’s unusual to see scalloped arms.  Old floor lamps take the place of side tables.  And – a huge horse painting gives motion to the room.

 

 

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Matching chaises in deep brown velvet with  pops of white linen pillows sit opposite the linen sofa and white chairs seen above.   Notice the fab sconces on the bookcases.   And on the mantel – it looks like an empty frame is placed on top of a mirror.  There are no captions, so I’m winging it here!

 

 

 

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A mix of chairs around a fabulous limed washed table.   The large piece was probably stained dark and repainted white.   The light fixture – look familiar?  It’s the same plaster fixture from France that was seen in Sally Wheat’s dining room.   Notice the black painted trim around the white door.  The floors are black – and the walls are dead white.  It looks like the floors are some kind of stone or tile – maybe marble?  Hard to tell with no captions. 

 

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The master bedroom – has a romantic antique curtain valance now used as a canopy.  As always, there’s a touch of gilt.  Painted chest and French chair mix with a white painted light fixture and a fun sunburst mirror. 

 

 

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A close up of the headboard – I love this – the dual ovals.  And all that white mixed with a brown swath of dreamy velvet.

 

 

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And finally, the guest ro0m has two headboards – with nailheads, lots of overstuffed pillows and a pair of wonderful blue lamps that provide a hint of color in the room.  The duvets are European styled. 

 

 

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While Barbara Carlton is the matriarch of Shabby Slips – another story in this issue shows the house of Megan Megas.  Megas has spent the past decade working for Houston great Pamela Pierce (maybe one week will go by when I won’t mention Pam???)  Megas is just now branching out on her own, with Pam’s blessings and encouragement.  Megas says Pierce is her mentor and looking at her house, I can see the connection.  But Megas has a definite style of her own.  In her living room, she mixes a white slip sofa with a dark Spanish style table.  A fabulous wing chair is paired with a contemporary ottoman and an organic wood side table.  Her accessories are large and few.  To see the rest of her house – read the magazine online!

 

 

 

 

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Then there’s the spread on another Houston interior designer pioneer – Beverly Jacomini’s Round Top area farmhouse.  Look at this fabulous screened porch!   More pics are online.

 

 

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Another great article this month is on Axel Vervoordt’s house.  The man behind the Belgian look – it’s a good tie in with the “Houston Look” that this month’s issue is full of.

 

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As always, the advertisements are just as good as the articles.

 

 

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Oh wow!  Look at this advertisement!  Now, I would really hire this designer!!!  She looks so fabulous!  Who IS she????

 

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This ad for Found For The Home announces their new location in the West Alabama design corridor.  It’s amazing how many design stores are in this area now!  You could spend one day just visiting them all – it’s a real destination.  Be sure to check in with Found For the Home in their new store now open at 3433 W. Alabama.

 

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And this ad announces the new web site for Shabby Slips at www.myshabbyslips.com.  Additionally,  Shabby  Slips is remodeling their main store.  There’s also the store out back and the house behind the store! 

To read this latest issue of Antique Shops and Designers, go HERE.

 

 

I thought I’d show a few of Renea Abbot’s designs that I’ve loved over the years:

 

 

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One of my favorite houses Renea ever did was this one featured in Veranda a few years ago.  The house is in California and is so stunning.  This image was on the cover – and I’ve always loved it.  It’s so Renea – the white slips, the gilt antique chaises mixed with the contemporary art work and antique sconces.  It’s just perfection. 

 

 

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A vignette from the same house – again perfection. The antique chair and bust mixed with the contemporary pedestal – all under a gorgeous chandelier!  Those floors!

 

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The kitchen has this beautiful white marble island mixed with the French pastry stand. 

 

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A killer blue and white striped vanity table! So adorable – especially with the glam chair.

 

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This picture of the bathroom from that house is all over the internet.  That’s a marble and glass enclosed shower behind the tub.

 

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The property is incredible.  This area shows how trend forward Renea was – years ago - with the antique station clock and row of lanterns.   Wisteria is selling a pair of those antique metal urns right now.  I wish I had all the pictures from this article – but this is all I have!

 

 

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This house Renea designed is in Houston.  I’m crazy over its dining room – so wonderful because of this gorgeous pair of chandeliers!! 18th century French.  Stunning!!

 

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Her own townhouse which she shares with her husband who just happens to own the best carpet/rug store in Houston: Creative Flooring. The walls used to be white – and then one day she hung the Kelly Weartsler paper in black! And in a stroke of genius – she adds the chair in the same pattern. The light fixture is to die for

 

 

 

 

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Another view – out the balcony.

 

 

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This view shows one of the pair of mirrors and the mirror chest.

 

 

Today, this room is a dining room – but back then, it was a family room.  The mirrored wall is made to look antiqued.

 

 

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Her kitchen is all white marble.  I still love that table and would kill for it!!  And those chairs!

 

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The runner is just beautiful.

 

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Her bedroom – another stunning chandelier.  There are 100s of photos of her portfolio on the Shabby Slips Facebook page.  Many show her townhouse in views not seen before.  If you are a fan – don’t miss it!  HERE.

 

 

And, remember the story I did on Diandra Douglas’ estate HERE?  Well, if you ever admired her light fixture and wanted it – here’s your chance!

 

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Close up of the chandelier.

 

 

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I noticed the same fixture is now for sale on Shabby Slips web site!  This one is in green which I like so much better than the red.  To visit Shabby Slips new web site – go HERE.

 

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To read the latest issue of Antique Shops and Designers online – go HERE.

 

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and Houstonians – it’s that time again!!!  The Urban Market Houston is this weekend:

 

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REVISED !!! Anatomy of a French Movie Set: Bel Ami

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IF YOU HAVE ALREADY READ THIS STORY – SKIP DOWN TO:

“Virginie’s New Mansion” – which has been revised!!`

 

 

   Kristen Stewart, then 17, and Robert Pattinson, then 21, as they starred in the first Twilight movie

 If you’ve been reading Cote de Texas for awhile, you know that a very guilty pleasure of mine is the Twilight Saga books series – and the movies based on them.   After starring in all five Twilight movies,  Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison are now branching out – acting in movies that have the critics raving.  Stewart’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” is poised to be this summer’s biggest blockbuster and Pattinson’s Cosmopolis is getting Oscar buzz.  Even more impressive, both Stewart and Pattinson are stars in movies that are being presented at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival this month.  The duo, who are also romantic partners in real life, are the hottest movie couple in Hollywood.  They’ve made a fortune on the Twilight series and their joint worth is rumored to be over $100 million.  Their futures could not be any brighter.

 

 

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With all this going on, little attention has been paid to a small independent film that Pattinson made two years ago during a Twilight break.  Based on the classic French novel Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant, the movie had trouble getting a distributor in the United States, although all of the Europe has already seen it.  And, Bel Ami is #1 at the box office in Russia, of all places. 

 

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I’ve been waiting like a crazed person for over a year to see Bel Ami, and finally, it’s  here!  You can now watch it on On Demand or on I-Tunes or Amazon (for a list of places to watch Bel Ami go HERE.)  Next month, it will have a limited run in select theatres across the country.   I’ve already seen it a few times now, of course, and I can recommend it, especially if you are a lover of French antiques and interiors.  The sets are gorgeous, as are the costumes.  It’s total eye candy for lovers of the Belle Epoch period as the movie is set in the late nineteenth century.  Besides Pattinson, it also boasts a stellar cast - Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci. 

The plot is basically this:  Rob Pattinson plays Georges Duroy, a “failed, penniless ex soldier, barely literate” who rises to the top, becoming one of the most powerful and wealthiest men in France, basically by bedding the wives of even  more powerful men.  He has no conscience or scruples – he uses these women to further his career and never looks back.  He was born dirt poor, the son of country peasants, and he is not going to die poor. 

Rated R for some brief NUDITY where the set is so dark you won’t notice much – well, except for Rob Pattinson of course, who is more gorgeous than all the women in the movie!  Filmed in London soundstages and country houses,  and on the streets of Budapest, not much has been written about the set decoration by Anna Lynch Robinson.   Robinson is a veteran of mostly English movies – An Education and In Bruges – are two of her most famous films.  Costume designer is Odile Dicks-Mireaux, famous also for An Education and The Constant Gardener.

 

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The first movie still from Bel Ami that was released over a year ago was this picture.  I took one look at that settee and the golden silk damask upholstery and thought -  wow!   This is going to be a great movie – regardless of what the acting or script is like!!

 

 

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Another early still from the set was this picture – showing Uma with a beautiful lace robe.  Uma is so gorgeous in this movie and her clothes make her look luminous.

 

MADELEINE FORESTIER’S BLUE AND WHITE APARTMENT:

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There aren’t a lot of sets in the movie, and the majority of the action takes place in a beautiful blue and white, 3 room apartment in Paris owned by Uma Thurman – Madeleine Forestier - and her husband, Charles. The entrance to the blue and white apartment is up these impressive stone steps. In the book, when Georges Duroy glimpses himself in the mirror on this stairway wearing his borrowed dinner jacket, he thinks it’s someone else and startles himself.  He just can’t believe how handsome he is in his new clothes! Well, I agree!

 

 

 

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This is the first glimpse we get of the beautiful blue and white apartment.  Madeleine sits up to welcome Georges to her apartment.

 

 

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Most of Uma’s costumes are either blue or green or a combination of the two to project the coolness of the character she plays.  Plus, she looks good in her blue and white apartment wearing these colors.  This outfit is particularly pretty – with its green silk taffeta overcoat and cream dress with ruffled collar. Notice how pretty the dress looks while she is sitting on the chaise with its celadon colored damask fabric.

 

 

 

 

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The beauty of the apartment is apparent at the front door - cream with blue painted molding.  Notice the hardware.   The wallpaper is also especially attractive and adds so much to the elegance of the apartment.  All the lamps are gas lamps – no electricity yet.  You can see the old fashioned lamp here – made out of a blue and white jar.  And, next to it, a painted white chair wears a blue and white checked fabric.

 

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Uma’s blue and white apartment has three rooms, but these two are the most seen:  the living room and through the double doors, the bedroom.  Twin sofas face each other and sit flanking a marble fireplace.  A chaise sits to the left of the sofas and a painted console is behind each of them.  There are also matching consoles on each side of the fireplace and on each side of the grand entrance to the bedroom.   Notice on those two consoles – each has twin candelabras and an oriental jar.  It’s all very symmetrical.

 

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And looking from the bedroom into the living room.  The bedroom doubles as Uma’s study – with all the books and desk.  At the end of the bed is a French bench – and against the wall is a small settee.  My favorite part of the apartment is the doors – with the blue painted molding and bronze hardware.  I just love the double doors leading into the bedroom.

 

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At night the apartment takes on a more golden glow.  It’s always filled with mounds of these yellow flowers which are Madeleine’s (Uma) favorites.  There are matching crystal chandeliers in the living area and bedroom.  Notice the beautiful pale Aubusson rug.  At his first dinner party, Georges Duroy meets these three ladies who help him on his rise to wealth and fame.  Kristin Scott Thomas on the left is the oldest of the three – her costumes are always darker and more somber.  Christina Ricci, the youngest, wears mostly burgundy dresses. 

 

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      A close look at this console tables with its elephant pagodas on top.   This dress is light, light green and is another stunner.  Madeleine has to smoke cigarettes when she is “working.” 

 

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   A close up look at this chest with is huge blue and white tuliper.  Dying to know if that is antique.  Notice too – how the chair rail divides the wallpaper from the blue painted bottom half of the wall.   Why are the columns painted pink?  It’s one part of the apartment I don’t care for.

 

 

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Close up of the sofa.  At the back of the living room – there is another settee and a screen.

 

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Looking into the bedroom.  The chaise is so pretty that sits next to the two sofas.  Listed in the credits is a drapes master – almost every room in the movie has beautiful curtains.   Here you can see into the bedroom –  there’s a painted cornice above the wallpaper – it is also in the living room.  And,  you can see the other crystal chandelier over the bed. 

 

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These two matching consoles next to the bedroom doors are so pretty – especially with the tall candelabras and blue and white vases. I wonder whose wallpaper this is? I’m sure its English, but don’t know whose???

 

 

 

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The bedroom with its book lined walls for the brilliant Madeleine.  A sunburst clock rests above her bed – flanked by two sconces.  Here, the curtains are a rose colored silk.

 

 

 

 

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A close up of the painted cane headboard.

 

 

 

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Madeleine trying to seduce Georges Duroy into changing his name to the more upper class, Georges du Roy de Cantel – shortening his hometown from Canteleu – because she didn’t like the sound of the “loo” at the ending.  Yes – they are that petty and arrogant.  Her bedspread has metallic embroidery and is in a deep purple – an odd choice?

 

 

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A closeup of the damask printed rose curtains in the bedroom.  You can just faintly see the pattern on them.

 

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The third room of the blue and white apartment is the dining room – the scene where Duroy first meets his three ladies in his borrowed evening clothes.  It’s hard to see the décor, it’s dark – but the walls are paneling that has been painted blue.  There’s a window seat and painted white French chairs with a damask pattern on them.   

 

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Of course my curiosity got the better of me and I spent more than a few days researching the film locations. There is really no real information on where anything was filmed – all that was kept top secret so that Rob’s crazy Twilight fans wouldn’t stalk the sets!   But, after searching around the internet -  I found this house that is available for rental to film producers  – and lo and behold – this is where several key scenes were filmed!  The house is period Georgian set on 200 acres. 

 

 

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Look familiar?  This is actually the blue and white apartment where Madeleine Forestier (Uma) lived!!  The people who own the house rent it out to film makers to use instead of building a set on a soundstage.   It appears that the Bel Ami movie crew removed all the furniture and even wallpapered the room.   This is the view looking from the bedroom out the double doors onto the living room.  It seems that the cornice paper was left as is.  And the curtains may be the same.  But, everything else was moved out – including the chandelier!! 

 

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Here’s another view of the room.  All in pinks and blues.  It looks like the blue paint under the chair rail was kept the same.  In this picture it also appears that they had not finished putting the room back together because their chandelier is missing as are the curtain panels.    Which décor do you like better?  The English version or the blue and white French movie version?

 

 

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I don’t have a perfect match of the two views of the room – but the cornice wallpaper and windows match up, and even the curtains. Without a doubt, this apartment was filmed at the white country house in England.  One thing that I noticed is the columns in the house are painted the pink color and it looks like the movie producers left them that color for the blue and white apartment – they should have been painted white!

 

 

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And looking the other direction, with the fireplace on the right and the double doors at the back that lead to the “bedroom.”  This room is so much prettier dressed up as the blue and white apartment with French furniture, in my opinion!  Notice the doors are painted white with the blue trim, and the walls beneath the wallpaper are still blue.  I wonder why they decided to change the wallpaper – unless the room used to have the blue and white wallpaper and the owners recently changed it to pink?  We’ll never know.

 

 

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In this picture – you see a detail that isn’t seen in the movie – the painted blue and white paneling inside the window alcoves.  In the movie, the curtains hide this pretty feature. 

 

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Basically the same view facing the bedroom.  Also, it looks like the set decorators removed the two radiators that sit between the windows. 

 

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This room is really interesting.  It is the blue and white “bedroom.”  Notice in real life this room isn’t a bedroom at all it is the library and – the bookcases extend along the back wall.  Also, the chandeliers were changed out to crystal ones for the movie. 

 

 

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In the movie – they constructed a false wall that covers the bookcases behind the bed.  You can see how the fake wall extends out from the bookcase at the top.  They even built fake molding and crown molding behind the bed to cover up the existing bookshelves.   So sneaky!!!!

 

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Here’s another view of the library in real life.  The brass chandelier was taken out – a crystal one is used in the movie.  Also, new curtains were used. 

 

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And the view from the library is almost identical to that used in the movie.

 

 

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The movie view.  Boy, those pink columns really stick out!!!

 

 

 

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The blue and white apartment’s dining room.  I believe it was shot at another country house, Balls Park, rather than at the white country house that the rest of the apartment was filmed at.

 

 

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I THINK that the dining room – which is really very plain and doesn’t have the same chic look as the rest of the apartment, was shot at a different location at Balls Park Mansion. Several scenes in the movie were shot at this mansion – so it’s possible the Forestier dining room was shot there too. The Balls Park mansion was built in the 17th century and is a considered one of the finest in England. Here is an old, vintage photograph from the mansion – and might be the same room as the dining room in the blue and white apartment. You can tell by the matching molding and door.

 

CLOTILDE’S APARTMENT:

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Georges Duroy goes to call on Clotilde – (Christina Ricci) at her Parisian apartment which she shares with her long suffering husband and daughter.    Her apartment is filled with creams and golds and is quite fancy.   Notice the beautiful double doors, painted cream. 

 

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The other side of the room - playing tag with Clotilde’s daugther.    Notice the bunch of pretty pink roses.  These are always present when Clotilde is around.     The side chairs are so pretty!  Clotilde is sort of an upper class bohemian – and this apartment is furnished to reflect that.    After this visit, these two start an affair but since Clo is married, they need a private place to “see” each other since Georges lives in Such A Dump.  Clo comes up with the idea of a love nest which she decorates and pays for.

 

 

 

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And look here:   Clotilde’s apartment was also shot at the same white Georgian mansion as the blue and white apartment. It looks like they kept the same gold wallpaper and even the same green curtains. What a hassle is must be for the owners to have to move everything out, but I must say, the movie set looks so much prettier with its French antiques than it does here!!  In the French windows, the film set decorators added iron balconies onto the outside to make it look like this is Paris.

 

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But the biggest change was on this wall – the fake double door was added.  Not sure why they didn’t just add a piece of furniture instead.   I even went back to rewatch this scene to be sure this was the same room and it is – there’s a fleeting picture of the fireplace with its distinctive mantel.

 

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By slowing down the movie frame by frame, I got this fleeting glimpse of the fireplace   This proved to me it was definitely the same room – even with the fake double door added for effect.

 

 

 

“THE LOVE NEST”

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The love nest is all yellows and golds and is quite romantic – as it should be!  Here in the entrance, portiere's divide the entrance from the living area.    Darling oval painting.    Duroy is quite pleased with himself – getting a woman to pay for a love nest.

 

 

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And Clotilde checks into the love nest. 

 

 

 

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And then  Virginie checks into the love nest!   It’s a free for all – except that Clotilde is paying for it!    The love nest is a small apartment, on the ground floor (so Clo can come and go unnoticed).  There’s an entry, living area, and bedroom with a bathroom.  You can see the wood floor is in a herringbone pattern. 

 

 

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The Love Nest is filled with French furniture, very feminine, like this cane settee.

 

 

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There are Clo’s pink roses that Georges brings to her.  Here you can see the oval shaped bedroom that leads off the small living room – with sconces flanking the opening.  Painted panels are behind the headboard, while the bathroom is hidden behind the green painted screen.

 

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There is a skirted table – it looks like the same fabric found in the entry hall.     And to the right is a cute iron table with a marble top.  Georges is such a good boyfriend.  He thinks if he brings flowers – all is forgiven!

 

 

 

 

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The scoundrel Georges du Roy de Cantel, or just plain Georges Duroy – hastily makes up the bed between “visitors.”  The credits lists a “Scenic Artist” who probably painted the paneling and the screen.  You can just barely see into the bathroom behind the screen.

 

 

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Poor Clo, Georges is confessing some sin to her.  Look at the darling embroidered bedspread.  How much fun it must be to be a set decorator – or a props buyer!

 

 

 

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A close up of the green painted upholstered headboard.  The fabric is a matelassé in peach.  Poor, long suffering Clo.  Ricci looks especially pretty here.  As a side note, the director made all the women grow out their underarm hair to be more authentic!!  Ricci especially hated it and wonders now why she didn’t just refuse to do it? 

 

 

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                              A close up of he details in the love nest – the painted screen with butterflies and monkeys and fruit.  A lace portiere acts as a door.  The vanity has a marble top with a gilt mirror.

                           

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And Clo at the dressing table.  Her bodice has to be tied back up with double knots – just like her husband would do.  As for where this was filmed – was it in a real house or not?  I think maybe this was actually filmed on a built set on a sound stage.  The lighting doesn’t look real – it doesn’t look like the sun is shining through the windows like it does in the blue and white apartment.  And it doesn’t look quite as sturdy as the other two apartments.  Also on a TV interview, Christina Ricci talked of filming the love scenes for the movie and she said – “there wasn’t a ceiling” – causing me to think it was set.  I did try to search for the love nest for a few days, but just gave up thinking no one but me really cared !!    Still, the love nest is really a darling set regardless if it is on a soundstage or not!

 

 

“CANNES’

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A change of scenery comes when Madeleine leaves Paris to visit her house in Cannes.  Instead of Cannes, the film crew went to this gorgeous home in Tihany at lake Balaton near Budapest to film the outside scenes only.

 

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Georges arrives to visit Madeleine in a horse driven carriage.  Notice her beautiful blue dress with the green velvet cuffs and collar.

 

 

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The front of this beautiful, summery dress.

 

 

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Georges is also dressed for the summer weather, carrying his cane, leather gloves, and alligator luggage.  He is really stepping up in the world from his borrowed dinner jacket.

 

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I loved this set – with its white painted wood floors and white  furniture with the French doors.  There are even seashells laying about.  This scene was actually filmed in England – and again – not sure if this is a set or an actual location?  I am going to say this was filmed in an actual house – the doors and shutters look too authentic.   And again, I searched forever to find where this was filmed, but never did.  All I do know is this interior shot was filmed in London, while the outside of the house was filmed in Hungary.

 

 

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This is the only scene where Georges isn’t wearing black.  Instead he is wearing his summer suit in Cannes.  I love this room with the white painted Swedish inspired furniture and the sconce holding the pretty clock.

 

VIRGINIE’S MANSION

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Virginie (Kristin Scott Thomas) lives in a mansion.  This room is my least favorite of all the sets.  The dark wood paneling is too heavy for me.  But, the story of the set is the most interesting of all!   Georges breaks up this tea party to bring Virginie pears that he lies about and says he got from his father’s orchard. He is such a liar!!!  Too bad he is so cute!

 

 

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And here are the lied-about pears.  Notice the window seats.  

 

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Later Georges comes back to the same exact room for a concert and dinner.  It’s the same room where he brought the pears to Virginie.  Notice the distinctive fireplace.

 

 

 

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And at the same party – in a different room, with a different fireplace. Notice the jib door in the corner.

Both of these dark paneled rooms were filmed at Balls Mansion, the 17th century country house where Jane Austen visited and was inspired to write Pride and Prejudice.  The house and its over 60 acres was eventually sold and became a college for many years.  A few years ago, a company bought the house and demolished all the school buildings on the estate.  They then refurbished the mansion making it a home again instead of a business.  Many movies and TV shows are filmed here.  Once the property was restored, several new buildings were erected containing apartments.   Even in the mansion – several apartments were carved out the stately rooms.

 

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Notice the fireplace in this living room?  Yes, it’s the same room from above where Bel Ami was filmed.  Today  – it has been turned into a 2 bedroom apartment that sells for over $1 million pounds (about $2 million dollars!)  Through the door on the right is where Georges brought his pears to the tea party!

 

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And in the corner – notice the same jib door.  The radiator was removed for the film.

 

 

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And remember   this room where the tea party was and where Georges brought the pears?

 

 

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Here is that same room – with the paneling painted yellow instead of brown.  See the same window seats and fireplace?

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And here it is again – notice the fireplace?  It looks so different painted white instead of dark brown!  This is the second room in the apartment that is now for sale at the Balls Park Mansion.  Through the door, you can see the living room of the apartment – there are also 2 bedrooms. 

 

 

Here is what the Balls Park mansion looks like.  The property is really interesting.  Imagine living in a 17th century Grade 1 listed country house.  You get to act like a lord or lady without the title or expense!   The apartment I showed you is actually in the west wing on the left of the center section of the mansion.   It was added to the house several centuries after the main part was built.  The apartment’s ceilings are not nearly as beautiful or as detailed as the ones in the original section of the house.  The entire house is centered around an atrium that was roofed in a few hundred years ago.   Today, the atrium is a three story wood paneled room that has starred in many motion pictures.

 

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An aerial view of Balls Park.  The original mansion is shown on the left with the covered atrium in the middle.  The stables are at the right front – these are converted into apartments too.  And the two u-shaped buildings at the very back are newly built apartment buildings.  The apartments in the old mansion and stables are more expensive than those in the newly built buildings, of course.  The entire estate is over 0ver 60 acres.

 

 

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The atrium – in the center of the mansion is now covered by a skylight.  Apparently, converting old grand country mansions in England into apartments is something that is done often.   To read all about the Balls Park mansion conversion – go HERE.

 

 

REVISED:   VIRGINIE’S NEW MANSION:

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After Virginie’s husband makes a huge amount of money from cheating the government, they move into a big mansion.  Here, her husband and their daughter Suzanne walk down the grand staircase at their big open house party.  Isn’t her dress divine?!!!

 

 

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All the young men stare as the very eligible Suzanne makes her way down the stairs – including that scoundrel in the middle by the door!  Notice the two huge blackamoors flanking the doorway – I’m dying to know if they are antiques or not.

 

 

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The mansion has this beautiful ballroom completely covered in white marble and gilt frames.  Can you spot the scoundrel Duroy checking it out?   

 

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Another view of the white marble ballroom with damask chairs and gilt everywhere.  Suzanne’s dress is so soft and feminine in silk lilac.  What is that child doing with the older Georges du Roy de Cantel or just plain Georges Duroy?   You’ll have to watch to find out.

 

The reason this story is so late in coming is I got so involved in the research – looking at all the houses that are rented to movie companies – some of them are gorgeous.  One web story took me to another and then another and then another until I finally forced myself to quit, thinking I am probably the only one who cares and there’s probably no one even reading this!  That’s the problem with blogging when you love research – you never know when to stop.   In short – I never could find where these two rooms – the marble ballroom and the paneled stair hall - of Virignie’s new mansion were filmed at.  It’s possible there were filmed at Balls Park Mansion, but I doubt it.  It’s also possible that all this white marble is faked – just painted on the walls.    I’ll probably never find the house this was actually filmed at – so I just need to let it go and forget about it.  I will say, that it does look like it is a real house – and not a soundstage.

*REVISED*

After five days, I thought I had finally put this story to bed!  There were still 3 sets that hadn’t been identified and I just had to give it up and admit defeat:  The Love Nest, Cannes-Interior, and Virginie’s New Mansion.  As I was reading the comments, I realized I should have given you the URL for the blue and white apartment so you could see all of the house if you wanted to - here it is:  http://location-collective.co.uk/location-search.html?inpSearchText=6361 (you can download a pdf if you want to see the bigger photos).  As I was looking at the web site, I thought, one more time!  And there I found it – Virginie’s New Mansion!!!   Here is the URL:  http://location-collective.co.uk/location-detail.html?id=6384&cid=227   And here is the rest of the story!

 

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Viriginie’s New Mansion was filmed at this grand house, located within the city limits of London.  It looks like there is a golf course in its front lawn!!  The house has incredible frescos and paintings.  The marble ball room and its landing is the focal point of the house.

 

 

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 Suzanne and her father come down the grand stairway during the open house party for their new mansion.  Suzanne is played by Holliday Granger or Holly as she is called.  Interestingly, she and Robert Pattinson had starred together in another movie – a year before his Twilight fame:  The Bad Mother’s Handbook.   

 

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And here, you can see the distinctive stairway. 

 

 

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In the mansion – here is the real stairhall.  You can see the same painting on the left – with the angel’s feet barely showing.  Through the door is the marble ballroom.

 

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And, the same runner as in the movie.  Notice the carved balusters – exactly the same as seen in the movie.

 

 

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The top of the stairs leads to this landing.  The ceiling in the stair hall must be over two stories high.

 

 

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Here, in this scene in the brown paneled room, you can see the blackamoors at the door which leads into the marble ballroom.  Notice in the ballroom – the blue rug is covered up.

 

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And in real life – the same doorway without the blackamoors.  They must have been brought in by the set decorators.   The actors are looking at Suzanne on the stairway – but in real life, the stairhall is in another room.  Sneaky!!!  And notice the fireplace – one of two in the room.

 

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Another view of the room with the second fireplace, notice the huge carved figures on the mantel.  The entire room is frescos over paneling.  You don’t see the blue rug in the movie, it was either removed or just not shown.

 

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The white marble ballroom is gorgeous.  It is two stories tall – with a landing from the second floor which encircles the room.  Above the ceiling are frescos and a trompe l’oeil rotunda. 

 

 

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It’s  hard to tell if they brought in a rug or just covered the carpeting with painted paper?   They definitely brought in the furniture and accessories like the clock and candlesticks.  

 

 

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And in this scene, you can see Virginie in the paneled room with the blackamoors.  She doesn’t look too happy!  Wonder why???

 

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Right above the painting shown in the above picture is this landing which encircles the marble ballroom.  Incredible!!  You can see the figures over the door in the marble ballroom in this picture.

 

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In this view of the room – you can just barely see the landing on the upper left corner. 

 

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I call this the marble ballroom, but in reality, I believe it is really the front hall.  You can see the door on the far right and the check in desk next to it.  Wow. How to ruin such a gorgeous room and that rug!!!! Awful!  See the figures above the door?  And all t hat marble!  This mansion must have a cost a fortune to build.

 

 

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And here – looking up at the ceiling above the landing is the trompe l'oeil – the fool the eye – rotunda.  It is so realistic looking!  

This ends the revisions – the rest of the story is the same as the original.  I’m so glad I tried one more time to find this!!  It was so worth it.  If I come across the Love Nest – I’ll add that too.

 

 

 

 

DUROY’S CARRIAGE:

image You have to admit this is a very handsome man.  Plus he is such a great actor – he steals the scene from all the actresses – and poor Kristin Scott Thomas – she gets the brunt of it!    While all the interior rooms were filmed in England,  the street scenes and all exteriors of buildings were filmed in Budapest – but made to look like Paris.   Apparently, this city is filled with wonderful architecture that really does look like Belle Epoch Paris.  George’s carriage is used in several key scenes – it’s like a home away from home.  It’s all very mysterious – with the drapes that close off the back and how dark it is inside.   Plus the sounds it makes – the horses clomping away on the brick streets – it’s all so romantic and such a prettier way to travel than going by car!

Once Georges becomes successful, he quits wearing his flat top bowler hat and starts wearing this top hat.  Also he carries a cane at all times and usually an overcoat – he looks exactly as a prosperous man would look back then.  His collar becomes quite a sex symbol that he is constantly having to rip off his neck.  One time, he doesn’t remove his stiff collar and it almost chokes him.  Aw, poor Georges! 

 

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 Here he is dressed for church in his finest, including his watch chain and black gloves.  And no, he’s not here to pray.  He’s here to snare another woman into his net.  This scene is one of the best ones in the movie I think!  He is just such a vile creature!!   ha-ha  The churches – there are two in the movie – are also really beautiful. 

 

 

 

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By comparison, here is Madeleine Forestier dressed for church in her finery.  The aqua and blue look so pretty on Uma.  I don’t think the movie will win any Oscars for the sets or costumes – it’s not that big of a budget movie, but for me – I just loved Bel Ami because of both the clothes and the furniture and antiques.

 

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Writing this story, I watched the movie over and over again – trying to get better and better screencaps – and every time they went into the blue and white apartment…..

 

 

 

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  I loved it more and more –I only wish that all movies had such beautiful sets!!  Do you have a favorite movie set, one that makes you look more at the furniture than the actors?   My other favorites are of course Something’s Gotta Give and The Holiday.  But, I will say, my first ever movie set that I loved was Pollyanna with Hayley Mills.  I’ll never forget all those crystals that caught the light in the house!!

 

 

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On a final note on Bel Ami - the funniest moment for me came when the penniless Georges Duroy is sitting in his squalid loft – on a deconstructed French chair – horsehair stuffing and burlap coming out ripped old fabric.  I just wish the scene was brighter so you could see it better.  Wonder if the set decorator bought this at Restoration Hardware or is it a real antique???

To watch Bel Ami tonight on your TV or computer, go HERE to read how to get it.  Enjoy!

 

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And now for a few shameless plugs – my niece has launched the cutest fashion blog.  It really is darling, especially when she writes about her aunt, moi!  Well, I deserve it after keeping her puppy Riley and having him ruin my curtains!!   So, if you have a daughter or niece who reads blogs and is into fashion – tell them about Brooke’s StyleWise.  It’s really a fun and informative read!  To read the story about me – go HERE.

 

 

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And, if I’m shamelessly plugging my niece, I have to plug my daughter Elisabeth.  She had a cute blog during high school and gave it up – but recently got back into it with a blog called Him and Her DelRay – which both her and her boyfriend were going to write.  Except, boyfriend didn’t really have the time nor the inclination.  So, she started back with her old blog – This Card Is Maxed Out.  And  yes, I can promise you – it IS maxed out.  OY!  She’s only got a few posts up – but spread the word to your own daughters or nieces or younger friends.  This Card is Maxed Out HERE.