30 January 2014

Versailles In The Sky: Inspiration for a NYC Apartment

My sister-in-law, Shannon’s parents, lived in a high rise apartment in Houston that we all called Versailles in the Sky because it was filled with antique French furniture, paintings and priceless accessories everywhere you looked.  The apartment was definitely not minimalist – but instead had the “cluttered” look, with every corner filled with finery.  When Shannon’s father passed away, her mother sold the apartment and downsized.  I thought I would never again see another apartment like that.  And indeed I haven’t - until I read Howard Slatkin’s new book -  and all I can say is – “I have NEVER!!!!!”


image

Slatkin’s book came out a few months ago and everyone has already blogged about it.  You are probably either familiar with it or have read the book.  I’m late to the party because when I first got it – I glanced at it and realized it was my kind of book:  a one house book.   My favorite design books are those that tell the story of just one house – like Bunny Williams’ “An Affair With A House” or Charlotte Moss’ “Winter House” or John Saladino’s  “Villa.”  Slatkin’s – “Fifth Avenue Style” - was such a ‘one house’ book.   The best part?  The very first two pages are the floor plans – a beautiful, large, hand-painted map of the PreWar, 6,000 sq. ft. apartment.  Heaven. 



Fullscreen capture 1252014 21921 AM (2) 

When I saw this floor plan, I knew this was going to be a great book and I couldn’t wait to read it, but the problem was I had several other new books to read and I wanted to truly TACKLE Slatkin’s book, to pore over every single picture and written word, and not be rushed while doing so.  Thus,  I put it aside until I had the time to devote to it, which was only very recently. 

Slaktin’s apartment is over the top – a true Versailles in the Sky.  It takes the word cluttered décor to new heights.  He seems to be obsessive compulsive – and a kind of classy hoarder.  Mostly, he is a perfectionist and a bit of a décor snob.  Nothing wrong with that – his inspirations are interiors from 18th century castles and the Vatican and rooms in homes owned by Schlumbergers and Rothschilds.  In fact, many of the upper crust are his clients – no names mentioned.  Honestly, if you could use the Raphael’s Loggia at the Vatican as an inspiration AND pull it off – more cudos to you.   Don’t even ask what he thinks about Restoration Hardware.  OK?

There are parts of the apartment that are a bit too much for me – either too masculine or just too decorated – but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it, every single inch of it.  The feminine rooms speak to me more and they are heavenly.  Literally.   It’s hard to describe the level of detail – you HAVE to read the book to understand that.  The craftsmanship is otherworldly.    His workmen are extremely valuable; they are every bit as talented as those who worked in the 18th century.   Many of the fabrics and trims and hardware were custom made just for Slatkin.  Everything, including hangers, is monogrammed – and almost every fabric is hand embroidered.  Each décor decision was thought out and planned with no room for error.  It took him three years to complete the apartment and honestly, it’s hard to believe it didn’t take longer.   For example – the kitchen, the flower room and laundry room are lined in a tile that was custom made for this job:  first the tiles had to be designed, then created, then installed  - and even the ceilings are tiled.  How long did this process take?   Every room is like this.  Perfection.

And what I really love is that when something didn’t quite work out – Slatkin admits it - he seems to have a cute sense of humor willing to poke fun at himself.  For instance, he had special cubicles made for his CD collection.  Of course now he doesn’t use CDs, his music is all on his I-Pod – and this intricately designed storage unit was all for naught.  And then there is the ironing board installed in his closet – never once used.  And there is the Movie System installed in the “Screening Room” – where he never has watched a movie.  There are lots of hidden closets and storage areas installed behind jib doors that are empty because he placed furniture in front of the hidden door and it’s too much of a hassle to move it.   He lets us know about his mistakes so that we might learn from them, but it really just makes him more human because the apartment looks so perfect it’s hard to believe that he made any mistakes at all.

 The apartment was a 30th birthday gift to himself.  Slatkin looked for a few years for his perfect apartment – it had to have Central Park views, 11 ft ceilings with lots of rooms, and be ready to be totally renovated.  Also, it was important that the construction could continue throughout the year – something that in NYC is rare (construction is usually limited to the summer months only.)  Interesting, this apartment isn’t his home base - Slatkin actually only lives in New York City one week out of the month  - the other three weeks is spent at his large country house in New Jersey.   Seriously, if I owned an apartment this gorgeous – I would NEVER leave!!

In the book,  Slatkin describes the inspiration behind many of his décor choices and he shows pictures of these places on the last page of each chapter (each room has its own chapter.)  But these pictures are rather small and I was constantly googling the original castle or mansion that had inspired Slatkin.  To me – the story behind the design became another story itself.  Hopefully you will enjoy looking at the inspiration pictures if you have already read Fifth Avenue Style.  If you haven’t read it, please do.  It’s an amazing story about an amazing interior designer and his dreams, fulfilled.

So, settle back and enjoy the story of the rooms and the story behind the rooms.  I have tried to include what inspired Slatkin’s designs, the inspirations, where he shares it.   



THE ELEVATOR VESTIBULE:
  
image

The first room in the apartment is the hallway leading directly off the elevator.   This is a long, slender room that is hard to photograph.  At the end of this hall you can see the Back Hall and the Screening Room, at the other end is the Gallery, then the Living Room and Dining Room. 




image

Coming off the elevator, the guest is greeted by this vignette – a console and mirror surrounded by brackets.   The console is typically filled with antique bronze accessories and candles.




image

The walls of the Elevator Vestibule are painted cream.   Enclosed by moldings with mirror backs are sections of an antique lacquered screen.  On each part of the screen are gold brackets that hold a collection of Chinese blanc de chine – or white china figures. 



image


Closeup of the figures.  Lighting is very important to Slatkin and he goes into great detail about how he designed the lighting to highlight every ornament, picture and shelf.   Here you can see the tiny lights hiding behind a gold cover on the brackets.  He also uses masses of votives.  It helps that his brother and sister in law are candle makers.  Nest is their line of luxe candles.  Bamboo is my favorite Nest scent – it’s beyond fabulous and so strong and long lasting!!!



image

Slatkin’s inspiration for the Elevator Vestibule was this room – the Lacquered Gallery or Chinese Cabinet at Monplaisir the St. Petersburg summer palace of  Peter the Great who designed it himself.  The room is filled with lacquered panels surround by gold brackets displaying blue and white porcelains.  Russian painters spent months studying Chinese lacquer to create this room.   Slatkin chose to use Blanc de Chin instead so that the room flows in décor with the Gallery next door.


image

Close up of the lacquered panels with gold brackets. 



image

The palace is located on the Gulf of Finland and was finished in 1723 and became Peter the Great’s favorite retreat where he met with close friends.  Hard to believe the building is that old – it actually looks like a 20th century country club to me!   Others think it looks like a Dutch Colonial building. 


image

The Gulf of Finland.




image

Most interesting, this woman built a dollhouse and used the same room – the Chinese Lacquer room in Monplaisir Palace – as her inspiration when designing the Chinese Tea Room in miniature.  Amazing.  See more HERE.





image


 Could this look be imitated on a budget?  I think so.  You could purchase an inexpensive screen and have it cut to fit in between molding.  Of course Slatkin’s molding was based on some he saw at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul – there are mirrors behind the fretwork.   Also, instead of a screen, you could paint the area glossy black.   Ebay usually has repro blanc de chine for sale – just mix in white bowls, etc. – and I think you could emulate this look on a budget.  I know it wouldn’t be nearly as elegant and the molding couldn’t be copied, but you could get this look in an entryway filled with lovely gold brackets and white blanc de chine.   It would be worth a try.


image

The stunning Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.  When visiting, Slatkin spied some fretwork molding with mirrors behind it – which he replicated in his Elevator Vestibule. 

Topkapi_Palace_Seen_From_Harem

Topkapi-Palace
The Topkapi Palace is a complex of buildings where the Ottoman Sultans lived for over 400 years from 1465-1856 during their reign that lasted 624 years.  It overlooks the Bosphorus Strait.


image

Finally – notice the wood floor.  I wish I had a better picture of it.  This floor was inspired by the Russian Pavlovsk Palace in St. Petersburg.  Whereas you or I would see a picture of a palace and admire a room there – Slatkin has visited all these fine houses and castles and taken notes, to use in a client’s house or his own.  Here, he noticed the wood floor in the Royal Bedroom.



image

Maria Feodorovna (1759 – 1828) was the second wife of Tsar Paul 1 of Russia.  She was the mother of Tsar Alexander I and Tsar Nicholas I of Russia.  She lived as a widow in the Pavlovsk Palace in St. Petersburg. 



image

Catherine, the Tsarina, built Pavlovsk Palace for her son and daughter in law.  After the death of Paul I, Maria lived here and decorated it.




image

Here is the floor in Maria Feodorovna’s bedroom.  Notice how similar it is to the floor in the Elevator Vestibule.





image

A second look at the wood floor.  Howard details how he treats the wood so that you don’t have to wax it.  He puts on multiple layers of satin polyurethene to seal the floors.

For this very small space – a short hall – Slatkin took inspiration from the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, the Pavlovsk Palace in St. Petersburg, and the Monplaisir, also in St. Petersburg. 





THE GALLERY:   


image

Turn to the right off the elevator to enter the Gallery, or the Entry Hall.   At the end of the Gallery is the living room with its Central Park views.  This room was inspired by a cache of grisaille hand painted wallpaper that Slatkin found in Paris.  He waited 24 hours to buy the wallpaper – a surefire way to know he had to have it.  This is one of my favorite rooms in the apartment – I love the wallpaper and the creamy color of the doors and moldings.



image

This corner shows one of the consoles.  I think if this was my apartment I would find a pair of ivory pagodas for this console – ala Mary McDonald – to highlight the pagoda in the wallpaper.   Notice the pilasters – the attention to detail is phenomenal.    The paper was restored by Gracie.  They also added panels where they were needed to fully cover the Gallery walls.  Notice how he placed the wainscot so low – this was done in order to not cut down the panels.




image

A sepia tinted view of the room with the doors to the living room closed.



image
The wallpaper is just gorgeous.  How to recreate this room?  I found a few wallpapers that are available in gray:


X6YR88GGK_0
This paper might be a good substitute HERE



image
Or this one Here

Or you could try painting a design from the Stencil Library.  You could also try just painting freehand – even if you aren’t an artist.  Tutuorial HERE.



image

The tiles are limestone from France.  Many of the fabrics were custom designed by Slatkin himself and were then woven in France.  In the book, he goes into great detail about all the fabrics, especially the ones he designed.



image

A beautiful tall clock.



image

A close up of the beautiful carved doors. 

 Inspiration for the Gallery came from the antique wallpaper panels.  The details were inspired by photographs of moldings and ceilings and stone floors that Slatkin had saved. 




THE LIVING ROOM:

image
Before – Slatkin calls the living room a bowling alley because it is long and narrow.



 image



Slatkin wanted this room to be light and airy – and chalky white.  The floors are antique in the Versailles pattern that he installed inside out to preserve the original finish.  On their backside he created a new chalky finish.  The room is filled with antique tables and chairs and a sofa that he designed.  The story of the curtain fabric has to be read to be believed! 





image

The coffee table – tall, and arranged with antique accessories.  I love the chinoiserie tray – so beautiful. 





image


And the other end – the mirrored doors lead into the dining room.  To the right is an alcove with another sofa.




image

The alcove where brackets were placed around the walls to display his collection of birds.  This porcelain collection – displayed on both Regency and Louis XVI wall brackets came to Howard through his grandmother.  Notice, each bracket holds a tiny lightbulb so that the birds softly glow.  


 image
 An inspiration – Jayne Wrightsman seen in her Palm Beach house, surrounded by her own bird collection.  Slatkin’s mirrored doors leading into his dining room were a gift from the Wrightsman Palm Beach house.   The doors remained in storage for years until the right time came when this apartment was renovated.


image
 There is a drinks table set up in the living room.




image

Vignette in front of the windows.





image

The fireplace in the living room.   Slatkin says he rarely uses it as the building remains so warm during the winter.






image

An earlier view of the living room.  At one point the sofa faced the fireplace as seen here, but this was changed when Slatkin realized he rarely lit the fire.



 image
 Here you can see the curtains up close – the silk was first dyed to match the walls, then sent to be embroidered.   The fabric on this Russian Empire chair was also embroidered by Jean Francois Lesage – inspired by a Klimt drawing. 



KLG1835P
I searched all the Klimt drawings and paintings and couldn’t find one that absolutely matched the chair fabric, but this one did remind me of it.  Kind of!   I tried!!!


image

Or was it inspired by this Klimt?




image

Through the doors you enter the most magical room in the house – the dining room.  The French chair is upholstered in a needlepoint fabric inspired by a Matisse drawing that Slatkin owns. 





image 
Trips to Versailles inspired Howard Slatkin when designing the living room.  First – the hardwoods were chosen in the famous Versailles pattern.   The chalky color of the floor also came from Versailles – years ago a door spied by Slatkin on a visit inspired the stain.





image

 Often the smallest of details is inspired by a trip.  A visit to le Meridienne, Mary Antionette’s bedroom inspired the toggle tie backs in the living room.




THE DINING ROOM:

image

The highlight of the apartment is surely the dining room.  Painted green – or Eau de Nil – or the color of the Nile, the room is half a dining room and half a library.  The bookshelves are all lighted in a hidden, intricate method which softly highlights the spines of the books.   Behind the screen to the right is the door the kitchen and service rooms.  There is hidden storage behind the bottom of the bookcases and there is a large empty storage area behind the fireplace – impossible to reach now because of the console tables placed in front.   The rug was one of Slatkin’s first purchases, a bit too small – he designed the room to make it fit.  The chairs are slipcovered and monogrammed.



image
Another view – lunches for two are often taken at the console on the left overlooking Central Park.





image
A glimpse of the table set for dinner – through the mirrored doors. 


image
A close up of the lit bookshelves. 




image

Looking out at Central Park. 


image

 Lunch at the window.


image


The light fixture is the same as this one found in the Maria Feodorovna’s Pavlovsk Palace.  This palace was featured above where the royal bedroom’s parquet floors were copied for the Elevator Vestibule.



Howard Slatkin had several places that inspired the dining room.  First, was Raphael’s Loggia at the Vatican in Rome.   Later, this loggia was used as inspiration in Russia’s Hermitage.  And finally, a Parisian restaurant also used Raphael’s Loggia as inspiration in its décor, which in turn inspired Slatkin.  The restaurant, one of Slatkin’s favorite, is Le Grand Vefour in Paris.


image
The original inspiration – Raphael’s Loggia in the Vatican. 





image

Another view from the opposite direction of Raphael’s Loggia at the Vatican.





image
Next, a reproduction of Raphael’s Loggia in the Vatican was created for Catherine II in the 1780’s at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.




image

And still, Slatkin’s favorite Parisian restaurant, Le Grand Vefour used Raphael’s Loggia as inspiration for their décor. 




image

All three are wonderful spaces that inspired Slatkin.   Amazing, no?




THE LIBRARY:

The Library is a very small room off the Gallery.  It was once a bedroom with a bathroom and today it is only used in the evening since it so dark.  Ironically, it’s one of the only rooms without any books!  The wood floor came from the Schloss Pfaueninsel – and is a basket weave pattern.  


  
image
BEFORE:  The library



image

Leading from the Gallery into the Library.



image
In the summer – the furniture is covered in old linen bedding slipcovers.




image
The Library with its leather walls.   A set of oval portraits framed in gold circle the room.   The wet bar is behind the jib door hidden in the middle of this wall. 





image
Close of a vignette in the library. 





image

Ivory pieces. 



image
Slatkin said the colors of the Library were inspired by a box caramels from Fouquet.








image
The powder room is on the right and the wet bar is on the left - usually hidden behind a jib door.  This is one of my favorite pieces of furniture in the apartment. 




image

Next to the wet bar is the powder room.  The tub is hidden behind a jib door, never used.  The powder room was inspired by the fabulous room, the Florentiner Kabinett in Schloss Favorite in Baden Baden Germany.   The walls are made of marble with insets where his collection of antique miniatures were installed.  In typical Slatkin humor – he tells of his grand plans to add to his collection so that all the spaces are filled with antique miniatures.  Alas, he moved on – losing his interest in the collection – and the powder room was never quite finished. 





image

Here’s a close up of the marble lined walls with the miniatures in the powder room.





image

Here is a picture of the inspiration room - The Florentiner Kabinett in Schloss Favorite in Baden Baden Germany.  Didn’t he do a fabulous job of recreating this room in such a tiny space?  Amazing!





image
Another photograph of the room.


image
Schloss Favorite in Baden Baden was completed in 1730.  It was a pleasure and hunting palace used only for a few weeks during the summer.   It is the oldest of Germany’s “Porcelain Palaces” and the only one to survive intact.  It houses a large collection of Chinese porcelain, lacquerwork and Schwartz porcelain.





THE MASTER BEDROOM SUITE:
 image
The master bedroom is one of three bedrooms in the 6,000 sq. ft. apartment.  There is also a guest room and a small staff room.  The walls are upholstered in three different cotton fabrics that were sent to France to be embroidered for added texture. 



image
The closet is behind a jib door. 







image
The closet was designed in great detail - down to the monogrammed hangers. 




image
CDs have their own place in the cabinet on the left – yet they have never been touched since the advent of I-Pods.



image
Just remember – Slatkin only lives here one week out of the month.  His main house is located in New Jersey!







image

There is a place for each shoe, each shirt, and each sweater.  





image

The inspiration for the master closet is the antique English Tunbridgeware box.  I shouldn’t say closet – Slatkin uses the proper Dressing Room.  And actually – his closet does look more like a men’s shop than someone’s closet.





THE BACK HALL:

image
Past the Living Room, the Gallery, and the Elevator Vestibule – you reach the Back Hall.   I just named all my halls and landings and the number of rooms in my house exploded!   How to decorate a tiny hall?   Well, first find a lofty inspiration and then find a sugar daddy!  Notice the door with the tortoiseshell hexagons framed in ebony and hardstone found in the Urals.   The tortoiseshell is old – found in a box in Paris.  Natch.  And the door is mahogany.  Whew!   Could you replicate the door on a budget?  Probably.  But let’s face it – it would never look this luxe and luxe is what this door is all about. 





image


The Back Hall is all about brackets and blue and white Chinese porcelain.  The walls are lined in embossed paper panels and bark.



 image

 The attention to detail is, as always, amazing.




 And what lofty space inspired Slatkin in the Back Hall?


image

Schloss Charlottenburg in Berlin and it’s famous Porcelain Chamber which he had just visited.  This palace was finished in 1706.  Due to the availability of Oriental porcelain back then, there was a great interest in collecting it.  Nobles and Royals created rooms called “China Cabinets” that were decorated with the ceramics.   



image

A close up of the absolutely amazing room that inspired the décor of the Back Hall.




image

Shloss Charlottenburg.  The outside is almost as pretty as the inside.  I love the green dome.




THE SCREENING ROOM:

Slatkin wanted the screening room to be a turquerie – a sort of old Persia, Ottoman empire, Samarkand and Egyptian styled room.  This space was designed to be a room where guests would watch movies after dinner, and an elaborate projection and screen was set up – never to be used!  Instead, the screening room is a room for after dinner socializing.  It’s off the Back Hall and next to the Guest Room. 





image
The vestibule leading into the Screening Room – a set of prints lines the small entrance hall.  The bird prints are by Eleazar Albin’s book  Prints from the Natural History of Birds, 1731 – available HERE.   Can you replicate this look on a budget?




image
I found this wallpaper – and thought you could wallpaper a hall using this and then using either bamboo or molding outline the row of prints – or leave off the molding.   You could also buy a book of prints and cut them out and then paste them on the wall.  Labor intensive, but worth the results.



image
Or  you could do what Carol Glasser did – she decorated this room with individual prints that were pasted to the walls.   There were black and white copies – which an artist then hand tinted.  Notice some are ivory, some are cream and some are tobacco stained to convey age and make them seem authentic.   




For the screening room – Slatkin was inspired by these two 18th century artists:


image

Jean-Etienne Liotard





image


and John Frederick Lewis,  “Hhareem Life, Constantinople” 1857



image
and another John Frederick Lewis from 1851


But, mostly he was inspired by the Renzo Mongiardino room he created for Lee Radziwill when she lived in England. 


image

Slatkin used this room as the inspiration for his screening room.



image

And here is the screening room – while it does resemble Lee Radziwill’s room, Slatkin didn’t use one pattern throughout the room like Renzo did for Radziwill.  Instead, Slatkin’s room is a bit more layered and chaotic.  Isn’t that back wall with the frame Raja look gorgeous?





image

Across from the sofa – this desk is occasionally used for meals.





image
In this picture you can see the ceiling treatment.  This photo was taken at a different time.  Many of the plants are no longer here.




image
A close up of a beautiful painting and his collection of shells. 





image
The desk at the window – set for a meal. 




image
At the side of the sofa.   There is a book cabinet along this wall.





THE GUEST ROOM:

The guest room was not decorated with the rest of the apartment.  Slatkin was lacking a starting point.  But, once he became the owner of a cache of hand painted wallpaper, he knew it was time to finish the room.  The amount of wallpaper, like the other panels found in the Gallery, was not enough to fill up the room, so Slatkin had the missing panels painted by his craftsmen. His inspiration was Pauline Rothschild’s famous bedroom:


Scan 13

 This famous bedroom was an inspiration.





image
The guest room – with the 18th century handpainted wallpaper. 





image
A view of the room – here you can see into the Back Hall – decorated with the blue and white ceramics.  The wallpaper panels were too tall for the room – so Slatkin had the ceiling coved to avoid having to cut the paper. 






image

 I just love this room.   The dressing table is draped with a textile.  The closet is filled with clothes in case luggage gets lost.  I kid you not.









image
A beautiful vignette in the room.


  

THE KITCHEN:

Much of the inspiration in Howard Slatkin’s apartment were ideas he had envisioned for clients, which they dismissed.  These décor inspirations then became his own.  The inspiration for the kitchen décor was one such idea that a client rejected.  The inspiration for the kitchen and service rooms came from the St. Petersburg palace of Alexander Menshikov.   Slatkin tells us that Menshikov died bankrupt in Siberia – something he relates to after paying for the endless quantity of custom designed blue and white tiles that lined the walls and ceiling of his service rooms. 



 image
The inspiration for the kitchen came from the Menshikov Palace in St. Petersburg.



menshikov_palace_3
And another room in the palace.  The stoves are so beautiful.




image
Notice the large tapestry that warms up the tile.



image
The Menshikov Palace – St. Petersburg, built in 1727 – is now a part of the Hermitage Museum.





image

Slatkin’s kitchen – tiles cover the walls and the ceiling.  He says a white marble kitchen is just not for him – oh really??




image


There are several service rooms in the back area – the laundry and a place to wash just the glasses.





image

My favorite is the flower room – what a luxury!  Another favorite is the candle room for all his Nest candles.


I tried to hunt down as many of the inspirations for the décor as I could, but it was an almost impossible task.  Many sources I couldn’t find, others were only casually mentioned without enough information to track down the inspiration.  I showed a small collection of photographs from the book – you will have to read it to truly appreciate the care and time and effort it took to design this apartment.  It is an amazing feat. 

In one interview, Slatkin mentioned two décor books that he reads over and over again – using those for inspiration. 



image

The first book mentioned is this history of interior decoration by Mario Praz.  To order from Amazon, click the photograph below:






image

The second book mentioned is the famous Vogue – Houses, Gardens and People - the first edition by Valentine Lawford.  The newer issue is still in print – but this original version is harder to find.  Still – you can order it on Amazon, for a pretty penny.  Click below:




image



                                

74 comments:

  1. OH! MY!! GOSH!! How would one "clean" these treasurers?? I guess...if you have to ask..,. This was WONDERFUL - a private tour if you would. Kudos! franki

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The answer is, get the English National Trust's housekeeping guide - I did! Who would know it better?

      Delete
  2. WOW! amazing. I could study the rooms featured in the post for hours! One HAS to wonder....who is responsible for keeping the apartment clean! So many treasures! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the book he showed his "head" housekeeper and a man serving champagne. Both wore uniforms, of course.

      Delete
  3. Howard's attention to detail and quality is superb and Fifth Avenue Style is one of my favorite books of last season.
    Above all though, Howard is a true gentleman in every sense of the word!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know him personally? How do you ever find the time to meet, since you clearly spend a lot of time spamming every design blog written in the English language every day?

      Delete
    2. oh, hello ANON! welcome back!!!

      Delete
    3. LOL, and to which anon do you speak, Joni? There are several anons who have already written comments today. While I did not make the comment in response to the ever ready rabbit that shows up on every design blog in the universe, and usually with the first comment and always referencing the subject of the blog on first name basis, I could not agree more with the sentiment expressed by Anon. 1:02.

      Anon 1:02, whoever you are, you are spot on!

      Delete
    4. Actually, Karena does know Howard:

      http://artbykarena.blogspot.com/2013/10/howard-slatkins-fifth-avenue-style.html

      Karena is an active supporter and promoter of the arts. May I ask what you find so offensive about that?

      Delete
    5. How does Karena find the time? Karena will not respond to your query. You know why not? Because she has not read it and never will. She has used her time to move on to new design posts, offering encouragement, while you, my dear anons, have returned for your fifth visit to read this very post.

      Delete
    6. I must admit I have to agree here about Karena's ever presence in blogdom and the continual encouragement she leave behind like pebbles to find her way home. She actually left an encouraging word on a beef lovers blog once and signed it Eatmo Chicin.

      Delete
    7. Hey Anonymous 8:25-

      Why don't you "ready rabbit" your ass out of here????

      Delete
    8. These hateful comments only serve to prove that decorum and manners have gone the way of the DoDo bird. You are appalling and shrill, and I can assure you that you're inviting negative karma into your life.

      Delete
    9. Really? Please share your extensive knowledge of the concept of Karma. Surely, you've read through all of the ancient Hindu texts and practice rigorously. Or, you've taken a Bikram "Bee-kraam" yoga class and consider yourself an expert. Keep your ridiculous comments to yourself. Hari Ommmmmmmmmm, lol.

      Delete
  4. I am afraid I would be a terrible guest, just staring and studying all the textures! How does one concentrate on the conversation? Thank you for all the attention you put to this feature. I loved the living room and entrance room the best. I LOVE the living room flooring! It is wonderful to see a designer show his passion so beautifully for the world to see (here in the US) all gathered in one place with the best view in Manhattan!

    ReplyDelete
  5. A brilliant post….so very interesting ..thank you for the research you are amazing!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Egad! This must fall in the tenth of one percent category. I'm no minimalist, but this is about the opposite of my tastes, so not much for me to say, except the level of detail, craftsmanship, and materials is beyond beyond. I can say that I have a Kuan Yin figure my mother brought back from China that looks very much like one of his blanc de chine figures and that Nest Bamboo is my favorite scented candle. Other than that, I can't say I relate - it's like touring one of those palaces that inspired him.

    ReplyDelete
  7. That is a whole lot of nice stuff! : - )

    ReplyDelete
  8. You are beyond brilliant! I kid you NOT - you take us places that are amazingly beautiful. THANK YOU!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Joni,
    Another amazing post! Love, love, love the photos. Kudos to those who understand that every square inch of space needs to be part of the design.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could not be more wrong in your suggestion that every square inch of space needs to be part of the design. Perhaps if you are designing for a movie set, but for a home I think not. Some designers sweat bullets trying to determine when and where to stop before a design becomes a contrivance. Obviously, HS has never sweat any bullets.

      Delete
    2. I am a collector and obviously Howard is also. He has done an outstanding effort in displaying things that he has collected and loves. If is not always about what the neighbors will think...

      Delete
  10. The phrase "hot mess" comes to mind.
    Dee

    ReplyDelete
  11. The TV in the guest room does look rather out of place.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Too much is never enough.
    I may have to purchase this just for that floor plan! Divine.
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow...I love details, so my head is spinning...so MANY details. I would love to have lunch in his little spot over looking Central Park. Thanks for all the research surrounding this.

    ReplyDelete
  14. PS. We live in a 1920's high rise (only 11 floors) with SF Bay views now.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This post was beautifully done. I wonder where to begin with comments? Simply said, it is truly amazing. I felt like I was walking through a museum, or perhaps the apartments one can tour at the Louvre depicting Versailles. There are spaces in this apartment that I truly loved. The artwork is beautiful. However, overall, it's just too much for me. There's no place for the eye to rest. I appreciate the attention to detail which is overwhelming, and the design and commission of fabric, etc. but honestly, I don't think I could spend a lot of time here. I wonder what his house in NJ looks like? He could be a neighbor! Thank you for the tour!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Speechless at the level of detail and ornamentation in this grand apartment. It's like stepping back in time and living like Russian nobility. Ah! The excess!!! It's not for the likes of the ordinary yet it's a delicious treat to the eyes. Wouldn't I love to be invited as an overnight dinner guest?? Thank you for highlighting this amazing space, as well as the DIY pointers, though I'm sure they would look pale in comparison to the brilliant execution by Mr. Slatkin. Porcelein figures perched on gilded brackets? Walls of priceless hand painted fabrics and papers? Oh well......

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow, it's absolutely gorgeous! I love all of the bright pops of color throughout the holiday decor!! Lovely space! Your arrangements are lovely! You always bring such grace & beauty to the world. Wishing you a wonderful. wonderful kitchen

    ReplyDelete
  18. WELL!!!!!! I love Howard Slatkin and you certainly gave him the post of all posts!!! Well done Joni! I totally loved this and I know Howard will be thrilled. We need to go visit him in New York one day soon. xo xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Name dropping again, Valorie????

      Delete
    2. Look, Anon - this blog is filled with nice people who love style. Valorie can namedrop as much as she likes. Will you please go away: 'snide' isn't welcome here.

      Delete
    3. Please do not attack Valorie. As big a name as she is, she recently helped me ( a bioscience exc who dreams of a life in design..) find a rug and gave sources. No designers revel sources except for the very real, confident, successful ones - Valorie fits this bill.

      Thanks again, Valorie, for helping me out and answering my email. :-)
      Nancy

      Delete
    4. Good for you, Nancy. Now have a nice day and allow others to make their own observations. Enough said!!!

      Delete
    5. Valorie knows I kid her and call her the Zelig of Design. She actually HAS met and befriended so many people in the business - it's amazing i think it comes from her being involved in so many different aspects of the business. She was a singer in a band, she worked in the wedding planning business she was a florist, she did interior design, she was a tango dancer - so she has met a lot of people throughout the 40 years. Zelig! I'm crazy for Valorie - everyone knows that. I agree - she can name drop here all she wants - in fact i expect her to!!!

      Delete
    6. Hey Anon- Why not come forward and identify yourself? If not, fuck off.

      Delete
    7. Well hello Valorie and Alberto. Guess it's a slow tango night in the quarter.

      Delete
  19. What an amazing home! I appreciate the attention to detail and the skill it took to create these rooms. It's a place I'd love to visit and spend a few days in although it would be way too much for me to live in and I like stuff! The guest room is far and away my favorite in the house. Loved this article....loved seeing his inspiration for the rooms. Just a glorious space! What a brilliant man he must be!

    ReplyDelete
  20. These spaces remind me of the pimpified decor of the late Gianni Versace in Miami. Because someone can afford to do it, doesn't mean they should. It looks like a working bordello. While individual elements of the decor are beautiful, there are far too many elements screaming for attention all at the same time. Certainly the work of a design pimp.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, I know we've been instructed by most blogistas (?? ) to consider this good taste and beautiful, it's frankly hideous. If Kim and Kanye were to replicate Versailles in their home, it would be a joke, but when it's done by a rich establishment figure it's worthy of coveting. I personally think it's similar to (but not as beautiful as) John Soan's home, a relic which may provide an insight into the mind of a crazy person who happened to have a lot of cash and the "right" pedigree. The emperor has no clothes in this apartment (a 30th birthday gift to himself indeed! just appalling), it's the furthest thing from being a beautiful home.

      Delete
    2. ". . .the emperor has no clothes". . ." nor maybe many of his guests.

      You are so right in speculating about what if this apartment belonged to Kim and Kanye (who have no taste either). This blog would blow up, but now that Howard has been anointed the Prince of Excess by several bloggers, this design farce is meant to be envied and slobbered over by the great unwashed. A 30th birthday present? Howard has learned to count backwards in addition to everything else.

      Delete
  21. Wow. Just wow. (And I don't mean that in a good way.) This is just an obnoxious use of money.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Extremely well researched article. Breathtaking palace rooms. Good old Howard's ttention to detail superb..... and yet, I found myself giggling at times. Perhaps it was just the phrase 'The stunning Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. ...... Slatkin spied some fretwork molding with mirrors behind it – which he replicated in his Elevator Vestibule.'



    ReplyDelete
  23. Aren't you just DYING to know what his main house in NJ is like? Maybe that will be the next book! Love this book as did everyone and as you say so inspirational even if it's not your taste -lots to learn here! Thanks for tracking down many of the precedents and putting them together with Slatkin's apartment -this post is a real resource!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Joni,
    I enjoyed this post so much, thank you for all of the details you researched. I wanted to let you know that the person who did the miniature Tea room is a man, named Giac. He has a wonderful blog on miniatures. Also, if anyone is interested in seeing a miniature room inspired by Marie Antoinette's bedchamber, check out Patricia Pistner's book, "The Pistner House." She created a fabulous miniature French dollhouse, that was on display in the Naples museum!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Obviously, Mr. Slatkin at this point in his career would clearly not give a moment's consideration to comments left here. Still, I'm pondering what it is about his work here that qualifies as design. He's traveled and studied extensively and taken note of features inhabiting some spectacular structures of historical significance. But recreating/replicating/copying them in his own space, in such a haphazard way in which it appears one could take half of one room, and mix it with half of another, and yet still result in the same overwrought effect... This is not design. It may appear to be, because the eye is fooled into forcing a cohesiveness amongst such a mish-mash of aesthetic elements just to make some sense of it all. At least it's not thoughtful, intentional, logical design. He must be hired for his ostentatious aesthetic alone, and for that, he's laughing all the way to his gilded monetary vault lined in Venetian silk, I'm sure.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I always said: if there's one way to bump up the look of a room, use a gold picture frame. (Howard knows this......)

    ReplyDelete
  27. No wonder he spends 3 of 4 weeks a month on New Jersey. One would need a holiday from all that after a week! While I can appreciate the design and details, I find it overwhelming. I kept looking to a comfy spot to sit, but everything appears tufted, embroidered, embellished or embossed. The formality would make me mad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The only thing missing are teenage eunuchs dressed as Aladdin running around serving up cocktails.

      Delete
  28. You have outdone yourself. When I recover I will go back and read this again, and again, and again. I had debated buying the book and then didn't. Now I might.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I find it is too much for an apartment! Sometimes less is more....there is nowhere for the eye to rest. Would be fine in a palace where the rooms are vast and need cosiness. I would liken it to wearing everything in your wardrobe at once!!!!! Oh well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder so they say! I appreciate all your hard work you put into your research, always interesting and informative. Looking forward to your next post hope it is something more serene! Thanks Joni.
    Libby

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank you for your tireless research. Quite an amazing effort. Could you please tell us the source for the botanical print wallpaper that you suggested? Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Howard has vanished all his thresholds. Where is Tara?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Well, I am not sure what I think about this. While everything individually is so very pretty and I love the history and thought behind it all, to me, it would just be way too much. While I would love to have some of the pieces and the FLOOR, I just could not comfortably live with so much in my surroundings. Fun to look at as we all live so differently.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh wow, and I mean that in a good way:-)
    A veritable feast for the eyes, Joni! Of course, it’s not for ‘everyman, but I can certainly appreciate the ultra lux quality that Mr. Slatkin was after, and that he certainly achieved. I would love a tour..
    Dolores

    ReplyDelete
  34. I am exhausted. Need to lay down with a cold compress.

    all best, from Fort Worth
    Judy

    gjazaks@earthlink.net

    ReplyDelete
  35. I want to go when they have the estate sale! Wow!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Sadly, the owner suffers from a deep sense of lack to have needed this many possessions.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I love ornament, and I love this blog post. Thanks, Joni - you've done it again.....a feast for the eyes! Totally enthralling.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Phew! I think I need to lie down now. I'm with you Joni - his decorating style is a little over the top and cluttered for me but it doesn't mean I can't appreciate it all and linger over every inch. In this post I think I have just discovered the ultimate indulgence - a candle room! What a guy.

    I can imagine walking through the candle-lit apartment at night, with all of the mirrors glistening and the views to central park. Once again, it is not my style but I think it would be very magical and eye opening to walk through this apartment at dusk drinking everything in. He is truly someone who knows what he likes and luckily can afford to have it with a bit of a sense of humour - he must be absolutely stinking rich. I wonder what his New Jersey digs are like. They must be the pretty similar except BIGGER.

    ReplyDelete
  39. You can find his brother's upper east side apt. in harper's bazaar here: http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/interiors-entertaining/harry-slatkin-manhattan-home-0812#slide-1

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thank you for taking the time to put together this post. I enjoyed every bit of it!

    ReplyDelete
  41. It's exhausting to think of dusting required for the apartment's contents on a regular basis. Regardless, I enjoyed the celebration of COLOUR with nary a grey wall or white kitchen in sight!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Prolly a major shareholder in Swiffer.

      Delete
  42. Did anyone else wonder how he got the tortoise shell and the ivory into the States?

    ReplyDelete
  43. Now we see what "too much of a good thing" means. Whoa - sensory overload!

    ReplyDelete
  44. A look inside of a real palace. Such elegance and beauty. The painting of some of the previous residences are beautifully done as well. The interior is design of even the walls and doors is magnificent.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Joni, I loved very photograph and every word. I had seen this book reviewed, but your review eclipses all the others. This man has exquisite taste. That first shot of his beautiful table by the window with the serving table by the side spoke to me. It is really lovely. I have been planning to buy this book, and this review cinched it. Thanks! xoxox

    ReplyDelete
  46. Absolutely incredible. Way too over the top for me as well, and I do think that just from a pure design standpoint, some of it is in fact vastly overdone, but the degree of detail and the workmanship alone are simply to die for. The overall effect ends up being one of high Victorian Aesthetic period, don't you think?

    You know, Joni, I do believe that the screening room must have been the primary influence for that highly controversial showcase living room that Bunny Williams did a while back, the one with the turquoise walls and red Panton chair. *All* of the elements are right there in this tiny little room, from every single thing in the color scheme on down to much of the detailing, not to mention the inclusion of a dining table with red (orange?) upholstery. Bunny rearranged it, of course, and inverted the colors for the most part (the turquoise here is a detail rather than the main course), and obviously simplified it tremendously, but even that Panton chair echoes the side chair in this room.

    Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  47. The NYC apartments are one of the amazing places to look forward to offering the best of amenities and services to those traveling to the city.

    ReplyDelete
  48. What an amazing collection of imagery! I don't know, it might be a little bit lavish for my own apartment.

    ReplyDelete

  49. Thank you for sharing this information and Very good looking blog.
    I am bookmark this blog need some more post.
    Flats in Dwarka

    ReplyDelete