06 July 2014

WHEN IS A GOOD THING TOO MUCH?

 

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Interior Designer Juan Pablo Molyneux’s 12th century French chateau, surrounded by a moat.

The cover story of the new issue of WSJ magazine is about the restoration of Juan Pablo Molyneux’s  12th-century château at Pouy-sur-Vannes in France.  Molyneux is one of those designers whose clients are all on either the International Best Dressed List OR the Forbes 100.   For instance, his last client was the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Suhaim Al-Thani of Qatar in Doha for whom Molyneux designed his 40,000 sq. ft.  palace – every square foot.  There is nothing minimal about Molyneux – the more the better is his trademark.  

 

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This view is from Molyneux’s chateau of the former stables which is now an academy for the artisans who are working on the restoration.  And beyond is the indoor pool – in what was once the orangery.  Connected to the pool, unseen, is the tennis court. 

Although Molyneux’s chateau is not nearly as large as the Sheikh’s, it does have 14 fireplaces.  It is believed to have been built by the mysterious Templars in 1145.  Molyneux has hired a small army of artisans to restore the palace in record time, but it was still a massive job.  Every room that has been completed by the artisans is decorated with walls and ceilings in either leather, faux marbling, murals or whatever else Molyneux either dreamed up or borrowed from the old masters.

 

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Inside the former orangery where Molyneux installed an indoor pool.  Notice the gorgeous beams and rafters and the massive stone walls.  I love how he painted the doors blue to match the pool.

 

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In the entry – the painting is Venetian from the 17th century.  Notice the ceiling – painted by the artisans.

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The artisans created the faux marbling on the walls of the dining room.  The chairs are rare Louis XV - signed by Jacob. 

 

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A serene guest bedroom in French blue.  Notice the bed alcove’s mural which mimics the chair fabric.  I love the lone painting on the wall.

 

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One of the cozy bedrooms in a turret – with an antique French day bed.  This is a look Molyneux uses in bedrooms – he likes red and blue toiles. 

 

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And now we come to the original question asked – the living room.  When is a good thing too much?

The living room was designed for either one or many to feel comfortable in.  The fabric is silk velvet tiger print – and no, it’s not the famous Scalamandre velvet.  It’s Bevilacqua from Venice.

Silk Velvet Tiger is a real luxury.  The Scalamandre is the most popular and one of the most expensive – retailing up to $2,000 a yard, wholesale is less – of course.  You can find yardage on Ebay for a large discount, but it probably will not be not enough fabric to cover a large sofa.  Still – would you want  to?

When is a good thing too much?  It’s rare to find such a large piece of furniture covered in this velvet because of it’s cost.   But – regardless of cost, is this just too much of a good thing?

Yes?    No?

I vote Yes - too much of a good thing.  I really dislike this room, I hate to say!  I think the molding on the walls, the red ceiling, the curtains, the rug, the ottoman all clash with the sofa.  And just because it’s a silk velvet tiger doesn’t mean you have to like it.  Even the Scalamandre!  I personally like the Brunschwig & Fils, yet you may be different.   You need to look at the color – some tigers are either too yellow or orange or both, like above!  Some are too dense, some not dense enough, like above!  Be sure to pick the exact tiger velvet you prefer, don’t follow the crowd.

And think about the frame the velvet will go on.  I think this sectional sofa frame is just too big, too bulky for the busy tiger. 

Yes, this is way too much!!!

 

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Here is a bedroom designed by Juan Pablo Molyneux.   He covered two gorgeous Empire style chairs in the velvet – but left the back of the chair -plain.  The fabric is so much more effective here than in his living room above.  The tiger looks elegant here.

 

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Here Molyneux mixed a chair in the tiger velvet with red and yellow toile.   To me – the velvet blends in too much with the toile – it seems a waste to use it here.

 

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In another example of too much or not enough - in this NYC townhouse, Jeffrey Bilhuber used silk tiger velvet on the sofa’s cushions – I don’t really understand this – either use it or don’t.   This is a Brunschwig and Fils tiger fabric.  For some reason – I feel like Bilhuber should have covered the entire sofa in the velvet. 

 

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Here’s another view of the room – it certainly could have handled a tiger velvet sofa.  The room is supposed to look busy and lively and fluid – and the entire sofa would have fit right in.

Perhaps – a sectional sofa in tiger velvet is just too much – but a sofa in the tiger is just enough?

 

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In the same house Bilhuber used a green Christopher Hyland silk velvet tiger and even paired it with a trim!  I love this!

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Anne Getty used the green tiger velvet – mixed with the deep blue – stunning!  And yes – too much, but still not enough!  The sconce!   The objets d’ art on that sconce!!!  Gorgeous!!!!  So much prettier than new accessories bought from catalogues.  Save up for antique accessories – they are so much finer!!!  Search EBay.  I just bought a fabulous antique Blue Opaline vase on EBay for just $86!!!!

 

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In his French country house, designer/owner Charles Spada covered his antique French canape in the silk velvet tiger.  He used Brunschwig and Fils as opposed to Scalamandre.  Again – the antique frame is perfect for this velvet and paired with solid chairs and plain walls – it is stunning.

 

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Miles Redd used two slipper chairs.  These look so stiff – not all good on these chairs, but he didn’t ask me!!!  haha!!   Sorry Miles.  (hiding)

 

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But look here – at this French antique chair.  Doesn’t the velvet look gorgeous here?  So perfect!!!!  The frame!

 

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Again, an antique English frame – looks fabulous mixed against the stark stone. 

 

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Kelly Wearstler used the tiger velvet in pink on an entire sofa – and somehow – it looks perfect for the space and the contemporary design.

 

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This shows how perfect the tiger is in pillows!

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Here Miles Redd used the tiger velvet as pillows.

 

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This just all clashes with the tiger.  Sometimes it looks good with a blend of patterns, but other times it just falls flat.

 

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Here Tory Burch used it in pillows around her NYC living room.

 

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The other side of the living room with more lumbar sized tiger pillows – just the right amount? Such a gorgeous room!

 

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They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Here Palmer Weiss used a tiger pillow in a room that is reminiscent of Tory Burch’s.

 

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I first became obsessed with tiger velvet when Shabby Slips owner and the very talented Renea Abbott starting using the fabric in her store and on her projects.  The tiger print looks beautiful mixed with the white linens and black accents that Renea likes to use.

 

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Mixed with leopard velvet.  Another Renea Abbott creation.  The throw!!!  Gorgeous!

 

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Here Renea covered two chairs in this living room.  Stunning use of the fabric.  I love how she mixed the striped pillow in with it.

 

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I love this living room- with just two tiger pillows!!

 

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Good frames – but just way too much of a good thing here.  Looks like Las Vegas?

 

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This gorgeous apartment by Valentino partner Giancarlo Giammetti that was designed by French great Jacques Grange.  He used two silk velvet tiger fabric by Le Manach on the armchairs and they both look so cozy and enveloping.  I absolutely love this room and yes that IS an Alexander Calder sculpture.  If you can imagine!!

 

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This is another living room with the same color scheme as above but here the tiger velvet doesn’t blend in as well.  Not sure if the tiger is too yellow?  Or is the beige too light?  Can’t compare to how the tiger looks with the fabric in the living room above this one!

 

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Jenny of the famous blog Little Green Notebook found the Scalamandre velvet on Ebay and recovered her industrial styled desk chair with the tiger fabric!

 

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This isn’t tiger – but you don’t have to spend a fortune on the velvet to get the look.  This was from Calico Corners and it looks great.

 

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Lewis and Sheron HERE for just under $20!!!

 

Amazon!!  Just click on the picture to order.

 

Which all brings me back to this famous silk velvet tiger sofa.  It might just be the most famous silk velvet tiger covered sofa ever.

It starts like this:

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1966.  Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s sister, Princess Lee Radziwill, married to a Polish prince, lived for the first part of her marriage 4 blocks from Buckingham Palace.  She had her long, narrow “bowling lane” drawing room designed several times – but she was never happy with the results. 

Here, Jacqueline Kennedy dances with her clothing designer Oleg Cassini while Princess Lee Radziwill looks on.  The décor is decidedly French.

 

I wrote an extensive article about Lee Radziwill’s houses – rather than repeat it on this blog, if you are interested in reading it, go HERE.

 

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After several tries at decorating, she hired the maximalist designer Renzo Mongiardino who created this masterpiece.   He used lowly cotton bedspreads which he hung from the walls installed within plastic gold frames.  The room became iconic and remains so today – it has been copied many times since including by the famously chic Michael Smith.   Here Lee sits with her son Anthony.

 

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The other side of the room – where Radziwill sits on basically a bed – with her daughter Tina. 

 

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Last year, Architectural Digest published this floor plan of this iconic room.

 

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Michael Smith’s room where he paid homage to Lee and Renzo using bedpreads on the walls and curtains.  Love this guest room!

 

Lee worked with Renzo again on her country house and her NYC duplex.  She says she first discovered him and recently she wrote about him in glowing terms, but was quite blunt when talking about their later relationship:

“I adored working with him. Later when he became very well known, and started getting very large commissions, he became more serious and lost a bit of his warmth and simplicity, which had so attracted me.”   OUCH!!!

Turville Grange:

 

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The courtyard at Turville Grange, the country house of the Radziwills.   The outbuildings and barns around the courtyard became toile filled guest rooms.

 

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Turville Grange’s front hall is flower filled.   The entire house was designed by Renzo to be as if you had stepped inside a garden.

 

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The knockout room at Turnville Grange was the dining room which Renzo created by gluing (much to Lee’s regret when she had to move) silk scarves to the walls.

After President John Kennedy was assassinated, Bobby Kennedy convinced the Radziwills to move to NYC to be closer to Jacqueline.  They moved to a duplex off Central Park on Fifth Avenue.  Renzo was brought in to design the living room which he did by offering a cherry red fabric, a Bessarabian rug, and lettuce green silk taffeta curtains which have never been seen since.  This was the last of the Renzo/Radziwill collaboration.  It has never been revealed who finished the apartment, but perhaps Lee did herself.

Living in NYC, the two Kennedy children and the two Radziwill children became as close as brothers and sisters, rather than cousins.  John Kennedy and Anthony Radziwill became extremely close and remained so throughout adulthood.

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The double sofa in the cherry red living room.   Over the fireplace is a mirror that is in her NYC apartment today. 

 

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In her dining room – she put silk velvet tiger fabric on the chairs.

 

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But more important on the sofa – she used the tiger velvet along with the stools.  Those medallions on the wall are in Lee’s NYC dining room today.

 

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But what happened to this sofa? 

The Radziwills divorced and Lee sold this duplex and moved to Park Avenue to an apartment with a terrace.  She reports that what she missed the most was that her two children had now moved out.  Perhaps the sofa went with one of them?

Park Avenue:

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The Park Avenue apartment used most of the same furniture as Fifth Avenue, but the feel was totally different.  Lee said it reminded her of Turville Grange with all the flowers.  Here, the living room opens to the terrace.

 

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Another view of the living room with the flower strewn wallpaper and fabrics.  It does look so much like Turville Grange.   No sign of the tiger sofa?

 

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The dining room looks completely different even with the same furniture.  Her botanicals followed her from Turville Grange to Fifth Avenue to Park Avenue – and now they are in her Paris apartment, below.

 

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Lee Radziwill’s Paris apartment, today.   Filled with pink – her collection of botanicals looks gorgeous over her sofa.

 

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Eventually Lee’s son Anthony met and married a fellow journalist, Carole DiFalco, who admits she grew up on the other side of the railroad tracks from the blueblood royal Radziwill family.   John Kennedy lovingly teased Anthony over his title, calling him “The Principe.”  Here, at Anthony and Carole’s wedding, John Kennedy is his best man and Caroline Kennedy’s husband and son are also shown – at the very left.

 

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Anthony was a testicular cancer survivor and he had a recurrence right before his wedding.   He was again diagnosed with cancer right after his wedding.  Carole felt what turned out to be a cancerous lump on Anthony during their honeymoon.

 

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Some time after the Radziwill wedding, John Kennedy married Carolyn Bessette and the two couples became a foursome – best friends, forever.

I’m sure you know the ending of this sad story – but for those who don’t, Anthony’s cancer was terminal, and he spent the entire five years of their marriage fighting it – with numerous surgeries and treatments.  Carolyn and John Kennedy stood by Carole and kept her strong, taking over some of the duties of caring for Anthony.  They went to the hospital and sat with her while she watched over Anthony helping to keep her and Anthony’s spirits up. 

As Anthony got sicker and death was approaching, John talked to Carole about discussing the inevitable of the illness with Anthony – hoping it would help him deal with the finality of the situation.  Anthony and John never had had a chance to have that conversation. Instead, fate took a cruel turn.

While Anthony slept on Martha’s Vineyard, Carole sat up one vacation night, waiting for John and Carolyn and Carolyn’s sister Lauren to join them – flying in from NYC on John’s small private plane.

While the world watched stunned, Carole and Anthony were in shock.  Anthony was the one who supposed to die – not John and certainly not Carolyn.   At once, they each lost their best friend.

 

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While John’s ashes are put out to sea, Anthony sits, leaning on his cane, too weak from his illness to stand for long periods of time.  Anthony died just three weeks later, leaving Carole completely bereft and on her own.

 

 

Carole was alone – within three weeks, she had lost her two best friends and her husband – where there were once four, there was now one left – Carole.  Four years after the deaths, she wrote “What Remains” which is a stunning book of grief and friendship and cancer.   It’s not a pretty book, and it’s heartbreakingly sad.   Honestly, I was scared to read it, but I did and it remains one of the better books I’ve read.  I highly recommend it.   Double click on the image above to order it.

So what ever happened to Lee’s tiger sofa which was last seen in her Fifth Avenue duplex’s library?

The sofa makes several appearances in Carole’s book – here is what she wrote about The Sofa:

On the subject of her and Anthony’s new apartment – Carole writes:  “We disagreed immediately on the décor.  He has a couch covered in tiger velvet that doesn’t quite seem to fit in the living room and he has mismatched chairs.”

 

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Of course – the tiger velvet sofa is her new mother-in-law Lee Radziwill’s old sofa – and one of the mismatched chairs is a clumsy rocker that was once Anthony’s uncle President John Kennedy’s.  Needless to say – the rocker and the sofa both remained.  After Jacqueline passed on, the family had an auction at Sotheby’s and one of the President’s rockers goes for over $400,000.  Carole and Anthony, watching the auction, are stunned.  They arrange for their rocker to go to the 2nd highest bidder – Prince  Albert of Monaco.  After taxes and fees, they use the auction money to renovate their new apartment.

Carole writes of the new apartment  “A friend who works at Ralph Lauren arranges a deal that allows us to buy furniture at cost, if we let Elle Décor do a photoshoot when the apartment is finished – highlighting the RL Collection.  We order two leather chairs and a dining room table and chairs.  I go to DeAngelis on 95 St. for our couches because it’s where Lee goes for hers.”

Further, Carole adds how her mother-in-law Lee influenced her style in the early days “I picked up a sheaf of good paper at the stationers and a leather case and set it by the phone with razor point felt tip pens – because I noticed this in Lee’s house.”  I want to do this too!!

And this “I put fabric on the walls of the TV room, like Lee, with a matching Roman shade.  They came out all wrong – but there isn’t time to care.  To finish (before the photoshoot) is the thing.  I furnish the apartment all at once, like a showroom.”

Most important to this story, she writes – “The tiger couch for instance is not just a couch – but one Lee had custom made at DeAngelis.  It has been photographed for fashion books.  People in certain circles know this couch.”

Yes, Carole, people in certain circle DO know this sofa.

There is one quote that is often cited on the internet that Carole said about the sofa.  I couldn’t find where the source, but it goes like this:  “ I have received offers for the sofa that would fund a summer home in France.”  A slight exaggeration, I’m sure – but at $2,000 a yard and needing around 25 yards – you can do the math.

After Anthony died, Carole quickly moved to a new apartment.  She quit her job and then a few years later started writing her book.  She recently just wrote her second one – about dating.  Carole is good friends with Andy Cohen who runs Bravo TV and two  years ago, he begged her to star on his hit show “The Real Housewives of New York” – ok ok ok – another Bravo show that I watch!

 

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Bravo Real Housewives of New York – Carole Radziwill is on the far left, seated.

Carol is the classiest of the bunch on this show – probably the classiest of all the housewives on the network.    She is smart and chic in a very casual way and she seems so honest and appears to be a real friend.  But, this is reality TV so who knows what she is really like?  But, in my humble opinion, she does appear to be the real deal.

And her apartment?  It is a knock out!   She recently renovated it some – so here, take a look at it:

 

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Here is the BEFORE of Carole’s entry.  The long hall is very narrow – and it ends with the kitchen, which is behind Carole.  The room was very plain – but chic with a narrow console where she lit candles.

 

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AFTER:  The entry has been wallpapered in dark brown – with Phillip Jeffries gorgeous – “Rivets.”  At the end of the hall is the newly renovated kitchen with its black and white striped floor.  This paper is just stunning and so sophisticated – exactly what the apartment is.

 

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And her is the AFTER of her living room – it has a double height ceiling.  And here is the famous Lee Radziwill sofa.  Now – think about this, Lee moved into the Fifth Avenue duplex around 1964 – this makes the sofa around 50 years old!!!  Amazing!  It is faded, which only adds to its charm.  There were some torn pieces on the arms – but it looks like her interior designer bought new fabric and added it over the two arms.  Smart!   In the throw-away society we live in today – to have a 50 year old sofa still look this good, is amazing!  Her renovation was subtle  - the rug was added, and the two cream covered chairs are now green velvet. 

 

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Looking down – there is a loft in the apartment.  Here,  you can see the layout.  In the mirror you can see the stairs that lead to the loft. 

Renovation by Wayman Robertson

 

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AFTER:  Notice the Marilyn Monroe photograph.  Carole keeps a turntable on that console, along with her collection of vinyl records!  I would love to still have a record player.  What a great idea.  Before the redecorating, she had two antique Chinese elm chairs – but they are now gone!  Why?????

Carole talks about the photograph:  “It’s an original Bert Stern photograph of Marilyn Monroe. He's a fashion photographer who took 2,500 pictures of her shortly before she died. It was a shoot for Vogue magazine at the Bel-Air Hotel in Hollywood and the collection is very famous now, it's called "The Last Sitting." I went to a furniture show one day looking for dining room chairs but instead brought home Marilyn. I'm still sitting on the floor”

 

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Here is the sofa – 50 years ago in Lee’s Fifth Avenue Library.

 

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Here is a BEFORE shot of the apartment – you can see one of the Chinese chairs – there is another one on the other side of the console.  Actually, the console table there now is new – it’s smaller than this one and there are two tall lamps that act as focal points along the back wall.  You can see here how the sofa is well worn, especially on the arms and cushions – before she recovered the arms.  

 

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Carole, now 50, on an interview.  You can see how torn the velvet was especially on the arms.  This is where it was restored with new fabric.

 

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BEFORE:  You can see how the stairs lead to the loft.  Before there was just a ladder, but when Carole moved in – she had these stairs built.  Stunning!  Notice the small landing.  At the loft – there is a small office and her closet.  She wants to move her office to the kitchen (yes!) and turn the entire loft into her closet.  Here – you can see there was once a baby grand under the stairs.  That was moved out to make room for a new seating arrangement.  And – you can see how beautiful her dark hardwoods are. 

 

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After:  Under the stairs – the piano is now gone and a gold velvet sectional was added, along with leopard velvet pillows and a contemporary sunburst mirror.  I would have loved an antique sunvurst instead, but no one asked me!  I think it would have been a great authentic touch in her apartment.  The designer copied the fabric wrapped legs of the velvet sofa here on the sectional.

 

 

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Carole, publicizing her new book:   The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating – A Novel.

 

Order by clicking above!

 

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Two vignettes – notice how good the sofa’s arm was fixed!!!

 

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The ceiling – covered in silver paper.  Love the chandelier!

 

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A nighttime view of the apartment.

 

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Her bedroom – two closets flank a vanity and mirror.  She keeps her intimate and fancy bedwear there!  Also – the pillows say “Sleep” on one side and on the other they say – well, it starts with an “F” – she certainly has a sense of humor.  She says part two of the renovation will be her bedroom – but I’m not sure if this is the After or the Before?

 

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BEFORE:  Originally, Carole wanted to redo this room making it her office – only.  The decorator talked her out of this for resale purposes.  Carole says she never cooks – she has never once turned on her stove – and calls this the secret of Manhattan – no one eats at home!  Her refrigerator was really a bar, just filled with drinks.    Carole said she wasn’t concerned about resale – she says that even if she remarried – she would always keep this apartment as her bolthole.  I can’t say I blame her.  So instead of making it all her office – they turned half of it into her office.

 

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Carole sits on the cabinetry which was turned into the office part of her kitchen.

 

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Here is the after!  The black and white stripes really signal a change.  Half the cabinetry on the right side was removed – and a desk was added on the right side, under the window.  The appliances were replaced with much smaller ones – a tiny sink, stovetop and two refrigerator drawers – which is a brilliant idea.   Notice the backsplash – mirrored subway tiles which help expand the space. 

 

 

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Upstairs is her office/closet.  This was turned into a closet.

 

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Her two Emmys for her news reporting.  One Emmy is missing!

 

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Carole’s instragram – showing the renovation.  Everyone leaves comments about her sofa!  It is such an iconic piece of furniture!!!

 

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The fancy lingerie closet.

 

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The family that dresses together – stays together.

 

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Gossips have always tried to make trouble – and there is plenty of gossip about Carole and her mother-in-law.  When Carole joined the Bravo show – there were newspaper headlines of how angry Lee was with her.  Sometimes a picture speaks a hundred words – just a few months ago, the two were pictured at a play – very much together. 

So – when IS a good thing too much?

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Too much?  Yes, way, way too much.

 

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Just enough of a good thing?  Yes, especially with its provenance – it’s a good thing!!!

 

69 comments:

  1. hi Joni, what a delightful post, here I thought I was going to learn more about velvet tiger clad sofas, turns out I learnt a lot more about the American newsmakers. You have a wonderful talent for storytelling, thank you for all the time and effort you put into your posts. We your readers are spoilt! Keep it up!!

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  2. Joni I was just breathless with anticipation reading this post! Oh the time it must have taken to compose it. Tiger print and the Kennedy family. Two of my favorite things ~ delicious! I have to wonder where and when Lee and Jacqueline began to have a love of animal print~ particularly tiger? I'd like to imagine it began on one of their trip to India together.
    I've bookmarked this page because no doubt I will refer to it again and again. Thank you!

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  3. Joni,
    Best post to date! I have a Pinterest board dedicated to Tiger Velvet. Sometimes it works and sometimes it just doesn't. Excellent photos, as a picture does say 1,000 words.
    Great history here too.
    Best,
    Sharon

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  4. Another awesome post just right for Sunday morning.

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  5. Joni! This is truly an awesome tale! Thanks for weaving it all together. Your blog is still my favorite and you are the BEST writer and storyteller in the design blogosphere.
    xxoo,
    Patti in BraesHeights

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  6. Joni your research has opened up the world of the Radziwills and the history of designers use of equisite tiger velvet!
    I love that the 50+ year sofa is still being used and as elegant as ever! On my list to cover a small chair, stool, etc with the iconic pattern!
    Thank you!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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  7. I've been following your blog for several years now, and this is my favorite article to date! I'm sure this was quite an effort to put together, so I wanted to let you know how much it is appreciated. And I agree with you wholeheartedly...yes, entirely too much!

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  8. GRC.Ltd.design@gmail.comJuly 6, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    Joni, this is a fabulous post! Thanks for your outstanding collation of all this information. Love the perspective on changing styles! I have to admit the bedspread-on-the-walls makes me shudder with claustrophobia, but from a design perspective it is stunning and important.
    Many thanks for this wonderful post!

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  9. Joni: Such an interesting post. When I worked for Scalamandre they told us that the reason the Le Tigre velvet was so costly was because it's still made on a centuries old hand loom. Man, I wish I would have bought some when I had the employee discount (still expensive, even then)! Unbelievably soft. I have always loved it. In smaller doses :)

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  10. I agree. One of your best posts ever. I never tire of your opinions and ideas. Love you Joni and Happy 7 years Blogging!!!! PFXO

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  11. Thank you Joni! This was such a delightfully interesting read. You are the best! I always look forward to your posts.

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  12. Joni - Another fabulous post. We certainly appreciate all the time it takes to put an article like this together. And, yes, too much is just that, too much!

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  13. Best post ever!

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  14. Indeed!! You have outdone yourself!!! Wonderful, informative fascinating!!

    I love it all!! I think there might be one room I didn't LOVE!! Including the sectional that ate New York!! LOVE!!! I honestly could not find anything wrong with any of it! (rarely does that happen!!!)

    By the way, the Michael Smith version of Renzo's room is in Montecito; it was owned by a friend of my husband's and he played tennis there and the wife took me on a tour! I loved it!

    The bedspreads came from "Territory Ahead"; and were inside out! (very subtle) A beautiful room. In an exquisite house. They built that house from the ground up! And then they sold it and built another one in Malibu Michael Smith wrote a whole book on!!! And they sold that!

    I think it set a record.
    What a talent!!

    All of those decorators in this post!!! Every one!! And think of what good lessons that sofa is teaching!!

    Amortize the price......

    I remember when I read Carole complaining about that sofa not being "her taste" or something; I would have been happy to take it off her hands!!
    She gets it now! She sounds like a remarkable person.
    I'm buying her book!!


    Thank you for a huge gift!!!

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  15. What an incredibly wonderful post, Joni! Your efforts,knowledge and expertice in our design world deserves an award! Great job and thank you!

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  16. Wow Joni!
    How many double espressos did you have? :) This was FUN ! Thank you. Btw, I just posted about you and your CdT on my blog- I want to say, after reading your fabulous post, that all Juan Pablo needs is some deep brown heavy satin pillows on that banquette to break it up a little- it's VERY jet set (think Agnelli etc) to have something like that- and also keep in mind the context- it's in Europe for goodness sakes! They are the inventors of OTT decadence and luxe! XXOO PS remember Baroness Pauline at Mouton? She did something similar in blue...
    Dean

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    Replies
    1. Dean loves it too! It really isn't "too much" in my world! (and as you know, "less is more" is not in my lexicon!!)

      Bravo Juan! I want to go to a party and sit on that sectional with interesting people!! That is the point !!!

      No one has to rearrange any furniture! 2 people or 40!! (a guess!!)

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  17. Wow such a thorough post...you have really done your homework here!! I have to agree feel its a bit too much for my personal taste but obviously he loves it. I would love have loved to see a solid colored rich velvet with maybe accents of the tiger velvet, besides it being uber expensive, it makes it more special to take the "less is more" approach with it. Great and entertaining post!

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  18. Great post. An example of not too much of a good thing. Keep it up please, Thank you.

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  19. Joni just want you to know I really enjoy your blogs! You put so much thought and research into your posts. I truly appreciate all your hard work :-). I recommend your blog to all my friends.
    Thanks, Carol

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  20. Joni…I loved this post!

    You are a wonderful storyteller. I can still remember watching the news story of the plane crash that took the lives of John, Carolyn, and her sister-so tragic. I watch RHNY but did not realize there was a Kennedy connection.

    The tiger sofa is beautiful in the redecorated loft!

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  21. Joni, Ann Getty's banquette makes more sense if you know it is part of a sectional that was re-upholstered and reused from their 820 Fifth Ave apartment designed by Parish-Hadley in the mid-1980s (during my tenure there). Originally, the face seat and back were done in leopard velvet with the roped border in green linen velvet, in the Belle Époque manner.

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    1. Oh Devoted!!

      Brilliant story!!

      How fascinating! This knowledge is heartwarming and truly comforting!!

      All these people with unlimited wealth reuse and repurpose; (I save all trims) Upholstered furniture is not the same at Restoration!

      My daughter has my mother's upholstered furniture way more than 50 years old!

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    2. Hi Penelope!

      I'm sorry your business has dropped off and you have so much time on your hands to comment over and over and over, all day long.

      Remember the days when your phone number was unlisted? "Referral only!" Looks like that era is over.

      You take care, now!

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  22. WOW! Your posts are always so interesting and informative! Thank you so much; just really enjoy anything you post.

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  23. I forgot to add; right about the hand-made loom!

    Most importantly; it is only twenty-something inches wide! There is no exact substitute for the real thing!!
    As in anything else; the "look" can cross all price points! Thank you for including that! You must be so proud!

    This post gets my Academy Award!!!

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  24. Your post is as awesome as usual. Thanks for your hard work in doing all the researches regarding this topic.

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  25. Hi Joni---I'm in complete agreement on all points. The Radziwill/Kennedy saga is so tragic. As for the Le Tigre silk velvet from Scalamandre--it is also from Venice and I usually have both Le Tigre and Il Leopardo pillows ready to go===Scalamandre is definitely my favorite of all the tiger velvets. Have a super week. this post was fantastic!!
    Mary

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  26. Wow. What a terrific and engrossing post! You certainly have created a unique place in the design blog world----thank goodness!!!

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    1. Yes!! Joni you are the most amazing and talented and such an enormous star!

      Congratulations!

      You get the Academhy Award!!!!

      Penelope

      ps I think I will sort of fade left.......I have had fun.....but I really think the stage needs to have you and Brooke etc!

      It has been fun! I love reading you! Lordy! You are a huge STAR!!!

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    2. Okay Penny, bye!

      Delete
  27. Good stuff, Love the interior designing and interior furnishing!

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  28. Such a fabulous piece of investigative story-telling, Joni. I heard Carole speak years ago after publishing “What Remains” and immediately read her moving autobiography. At that time she still seemed somewhat lost from the grief. So glad to see how she has moved on and is thriving and has embraced that amazing sofa. When it is right, it is right, even 50 years later.

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  29. Wonderful post Joni, one to read over several times.

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    1. A post made two minutes after you said you were not going to post again.

      Delete
  30. Online Business with hourly profit, Just Invest and Rest
    AllTimeProfit.com

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Just shut up, how about that!

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    3. Penny needs to be under a doctor's care.

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  31. I LOVE this post - so much good stuff in it...You always do such a great extensive job Joni! You should write a book.

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  32. Joni, This has to be one of the best posts you have ever done. It's actually about three posts in one. I can't imagine having any velvet tiger print in my house. I'm just not hip enough to make it work. The Kelly Wearstler room with the hot pink tiger print sofa has to be the ugliest, most atrocious, room I have ever seen in print. The other rooms, where the designer took a less is more approach kind of grow on you.
    Thanks again for all you do!

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  33. I echo all the "wows" preceding me.....This was fascinating. I love these posts where you intertwine the history of decor with the history of the people involved. I am off to request Carole's books from the library. Thank you for a wonderful read!

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  34. Has everyone learned the lesson?? Never say "couch" (except when you describe a 'couch potato'"!

    Sofa....is what you mean to say if you are describing a...well....sofa you know what one is......
    Please call it a sofa!

    Lord have mercy!!!!

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    1. ARE YOU SERIOUS????

      Is there any post here that you will not attempt to hijack with your insufferable need for attention.

      We will refer to furnishings as we wish without your permission or approval. Give it a rest, please!!!

      Delete
    2. Hi Penny!

      Please a geriatric neurologist for a complete workup.

      Best wishes to you, dear.

      Delete
    3. Penny: Get a dictionary and look up the meaning of "synonym."

      Delete
  35. Hi Joni.
    You are my favourite blogger!! Your posts are always so interesting and informative whether or not the decor is to my taste! I always look forward to your next post...what will it be?
    Thank you.
    Libby

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  36. I feel the tiger couch looked like something and old madam would have in her house of ill repute. ;)

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  37. Charlotte NorthbrookJuly 8, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    I have been thinking about adding a little tiger velvet to my drawing room (not being pretentious - I live in England and that's what we call it!) so was thrilled to read your post. I have been lusting after that Scalamandre 'Le Tigre' sofa from Lee Radziwill's NY apartment (which I spotted on RHNY last year) but completely agree that less is more with animal prints. Two chairs or two pillows and an ottoman or one sofa is ALL a room should have. If you go through all the photos in your post that becomes immediately obvious. I was also very interested to see the floor plan of the Turquerie Room as I had been studying all the photos to try and figure it out. So, once again, thanks Joni for a FABULOUS post!!!

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  38. So many beautiful rooms. Midway through, I knew you were heading towards Carol R. still having that sofa! I just think the animal prints are so traditional - I especially love the tiger - it just fits in nicely anywhere. In looking at the photos, I'm always so impressed with Miles Redd ability & talent with colors...stunning. In the first photos - that massive place - I don't think its too much tiger for that particular space. Its very luxurious. Great for hiding dirt & stains - do these people have dirt and stains??? Ha! In the Jeffrey B. room - he was kind of doing a Bunny Williams thing on the sofa...maybe there are dogs - I have to do these sort of thing! I keep my two little dogs clean, but still...on a white sofa, I have to have something on the seat area. Maybe I need to do tiger???

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  39. Thanks for the great post. Such an interesting article, love it! Joni, please write a book, I'll definitely buy it!

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  40. So I finally had a chance to read all through this post tonight. I kind of skimmed it earlier. Really good, Joni. Of course I knew about John Kennedy and his wife & sister-in-law - the awful plane crash, but I didn't realize they were on their way to visit Carole & her husband. I may read her book now. I am hooked on Real Housewives NYC now, too - I think Carole has the most common sense and she seems like a good listener & a nice person - she always says something comforting. She does seem to be kind of obsessed with sex - whatever, if that is her thing. She acted so teenager like on that date??? I was surprised by that. I doubt her Lee has much of a problem with the show - she has been around so many different kinds of people herself. Well, anyway, that is one hell of a great sofa, that is for sure. Thanks for a great post....still looking forward to a book!

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    1. Market, John and Carolyn were not on their way to visit Carole and Anthony. They were going to the wedding of one of Robert and Ethel Kennedy's daughter which was being held at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port. The wedding was cancelled but did take place some months later. Joni should do more fact checking perhaps.

      Delete
    2. Oh how I love this post. I may need to re-read it many times. Such beautiful fabric - and I agree - best when used judiciously. I loved learning that the sofa I covet on RHONY was Lee Radziwell's. It is an incredible piece.

      As for Kelly Wearstler's work ... all I can think of is the dead armadillo groom's cake from Steel Magnolias which was battleship grey on the outside and blood red on the inside.

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    3. In her book Carole states that although John and wife were going to the wedding, they were headed for Anthony and Carole's place. It was Carole who alerted authorities that they never arrived.

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  41. This is a great post and enjoy the look of your blog very much. Thanks for sharing. http://goo.gl/94Jfnk

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  42. Brillant posting!! Enjoyed every word and photo .. and yes .... just a bit of tiger can be very dashing ... too much and the whole room is gobbled up ....

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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  43. Always looking forward for your next post. The photos are really beautiful, and even the descriptions wrote by you are terrific! Worth my reading!

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  44. Your posts are always unbelievably interesting. You work hard! Thank you.

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  45. Why hasn't a publisher approached you to do a book? You are insanely gifted weaver of narrative. Who knew Tiger Velvet might be the Rosebud of decor?
    Your fan, Libby at Texas Monthly

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  46. Wonderful post - unlike the clued-up readers above I had no idea where the post was headed before the grand reveal - the 50 year old sofa alive and well and living in New York!

    I read Carole Radziwill's book a few years ago and I really enjoyed it but it wasn't what I expected. Lee Radziwill and Carole didn't seem very close in the book but maybe time has brought them together which is nice. I read a biography of Lee Radziwill many years ago and she had a much more interesting life than Jackie. She is fascinating in her own right.

    Regarding the tiger print I'm with you. I like animal print in very small doses. I love the Charles Spada room and there is a light blue coloured bedroom in this post with an antique tiger print covered chair which has been one of my favourite internet images for years. So yes, tiger print in small doses is OK, otherwise it is, as you say, a bit Las Vegas.

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  47. That was a very long post, but I stayed with it! From velvet to housewives. I read the book with some reserve, but I agree with you, despite the tragedy and sadness you knew would be there, it was a book well worth reading.

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  48. Lee isn't entitled to criticize her daughter-in-law. Lee was a shitty mother who essentially abandoned her son when he had cancer. She's nothing but a gold digger, a parasite who lived off of wealthy men.

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  49. Anon. 5:16, If Lee was a gold digger and parasite who lived off wealthy men, the same can be said for her sister. Also, Carol has tried to cash in on "being a semi-Kennedy".

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  50. I thoroughly enjoyed this post and all the twists and turns it took.

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  51. Fun stuff! I love a bit of animal print in a room - a pillow, or ottoman... I have a long zebra bench at the foot of my guest bedroom bed, and a leopard pillow or two here and there in my house. I have not really noticed the tiger print before - I like it! Actually my favorite is the Charles Spada settee/room; however, I don't believe it is tiger. Jaguar or leopard, I think? Same for the Weiss, some of the Renea Abbott, and Jenny's covered chair.

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  52. This was really fun to read, Joni! Thank you for the work. I am not into the RH of anywhere, so when I saw it come up I was like, UGH. But, turns out, it was quite meaningful! You are a true artist!! Maybe, your passion is design, but you're blogging is unparalleled! What's too much? Humm, well, I guess it's in the eye of the beholder. I will say this, that green velvet sofa with the tiger velvet pillow was beautiful!! I loved the Palmer Weiss photo, maybe an additional side chair with tiger velvet would be just enough for me. As always, thank so much for the inspiration!

    ~texassky

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  53. Thank you for all of the interesting photos. Such great inspiration! All good things, N.G.

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