Mitch Owens @adaesthete

Decorative arts editor of AD, so I like pretty things. Also I met femme fatale Barbara Skelton on the Tube once and got to walk her home.

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Mitch Owens photos and videos


Stopped by The Barn (Springfield, NY ) and could not resist @archdigest #cocktailnapkins #embroidery #vintage #cooperstown


Detail of Fernery, 1967–69, a screen-printed wallpaper manufactured by Woodson Wallpapers, Inc. ; USA; 140.5 x 76 cm (55 5/16 x 29 15/16 in. ); Gift of Woodson Wallpapers, Inc.; 1969-54-11 @archdigest @cooperhewitt #woodsontaulbee #wallpaper #fern

3 days ago

Changes are on tap at @glimmerglassfestival ! Horticultural, mind you. A new garden, designed by @oehmevansweden and named in honor of philanthropist Lady Juliet Tadgell, daughter of the 8th Earl Fitzwilliam, will be going in soon! @archdigest @wentworth_woodhouse #earlfitzwilliam #wentworthwoodhouse #ladyjuliettadgell #cooperstown #springfieldcenter

4 days ago

Detail of a portrait of William Campbell (1748-1823 ), at the house of friends. @archdigest #fawn #gilt #brass #scotland #india #nabob #fortune

2 weeks ago

Yeshwant Holkar, 14th maharajah of Indore, and his first wife, Sanyogita, photographed by Man Ray, circa 1929, in a hotel room in Cannes. (He called her Chérita, or little darling; she called him Bala, a Sanskrit word that means, among other things, childlike. ) Married when they were quite young, he went on to @oxford_uni and she to a couple of English public schools for girls. Only in the late 1920s did they finally go on a honeymoon. Man Ray, hired for the occasion, promised never to publish this and the shoot’s other decidedly puppyish, nonregal photographs. Wildly happy, the couple’s marriage (and Yeshwant’s heart ) was shattered when Sanyogita died at 22, following an appendectomy. Yet in their short time together, they created a legacy of enlightened, enthusiastic, and decidedly luxurious modernism, which is being celebrated from September to January at @madparis and in the pages of the September issue of @archdigest Read all about it at the link in my bio or get a copy at the nearest newsagent’s. Then again, you might have an issue in your mailbox. @archdigest @ahilya fort @ahilyabythesea @ryrholkar @madparis

2 weeks ago

Young, glamorous, and ultimately doomed, the maharajah and maharani of Indore—Yeshwant and Sanyogita are pictured on a hunt—created Manik Bagh, an extraordinary modernist house designed with the equally young German architect Eckhart Muthesius (he snapped the picture ). An exhibition devoted to that Art Deco domestic extravaganza, and the couple that commissioned it, opens at @madparis on September 26 and runs through January 12, 2020. Though the monarch had a well-trained eye, “Manik Bagh was the project of a couple,” museum director Olivier Gabet insists. “For him, it was a big leap, trading a traditional Indian lifestyle for European sophistication. It was an even bigger leap for an Indian lady at the time.” Read all about it by following the link in my bio. @archdigest #indore #eckhartmuthesius #museedesartsdecoratifs #maharajahs

2 weeks ago

A doe-eyed @oxford_uni alumnus with a taste for fast cars and jazz music, the 14th maharaja of Indore (now part of the state of Madhya Pradesh ) savored the memory of couturier Jacques Doucet’s contemporary decors: the extravagant Eileen Grey and Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann furnishings, the exquisite Pierre Legrain book bindings, even “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”, Pablo Picasso’s radical Cubist masterpiece. “The West has always been inspired by the East,” says Olivier Gabet, director of @madparis , where “Modern Maharajah: An Indian Prince of the 1930s,” runs from September 26 to January 12, 2020. “But this young guy was one of the very few to do the inverse.” Thus, Indore and architect Eckhart Muthesius’ transformation of Manik Bagh, a Jacobean-inflected bungalow into a thrilling confection that Gabet calls a “Utopian modernist universe”. To read the story, see link in bio. @archdigest #indore #manikbagh #eckhartmuthesius #museedesartsdecoratifs @ahilyabythesea @ahilya fort @ryrholkar

2 weeks ago

“Marion Ross, my history of architecture professor at the University of Oregon, made much of [the state’s] Greek Revival buildings,” James Ivory, the 91-year-old cinema icon, told me on Wednesday, as we sat in the octagonal living room of his magnificent 1805 Federal Style house in Columbia County, New York, which Ivory purchased in 1975 and has painstakingly restored ever since. “It never occurred to me there was the slightest link between what had been built in Oregon [where I was brought up] and the rest of the world, but he brought that to my attention,” Ivory continued. "It was eye-opening. So it seems that classical architecture has affected me my whole life, even as a small child. That it what surprised me in doing this film; I’d never really thought about it or even talked about it.” That film, a half-hour documentary called “Design in Mind: On Location with James Ivory”, airs tonight at 7 p.m. on NY’s PBS @allartstv It is the second in a series of “Design in Mind” conversations, developed by @classicist_org , with cultural leaders who have been influenced by classical architecture and design. For more about the director—and his teenage hobby of making finely furnished miniature rooms—see the link in my bio. And if you miss the program, head to for a streaming video. @archdigest @pbs @uoregon @peter lyden #jamesivory #icaa #classicism #pbsallarts #merchantivory

2 weeks ago

Happy UN International Day of the World's Indigenous People! A trompe l’oeil portrait of Pocahontas is painted on a jib door in the London dining room of Evangeline and David K E Bruce. 📸 @moorederry for @archdigest #johnfowler @unitednations @sibylcolefax #sibylcolefaxandjohnfowler #davidbruce #evangelinebruce #london #albany #thealbany #piccadilly

2 weeks ago

At Villa Elena, his getaway near Noto, Sicily, AD100 star @jacquesgarciaofficiel has what I (a smells-and-bells Episcopalian ) have always wanted: a private chapel. There’s much more, too, as I write in the September issue of @archdigest , namely “a Vatican-style voluptuousness that is wholly appropriate to Sicily, where exaggeration and elaboration are the rule rather than the exception. Rooms are frosted with faux marbling and lavished with chairs, tables, and porcelains made for 19th-century royals, among them Napoleon’s brother-in-law Joachim Murat, briefly king of the Two Sicilies, that are used without trepidation by Garcia and his guests. Scalloped silk canopies pour down like waterfalls from high bedroom ceilings ... [and] gilded boiseries from a palazzo in Catania, about an hour’s drive north of Noto, line the dining room.” 📸 @obertogili For story, see the link in my bio.

2 weeks ago

Swags and tassels: a nineteeth-century cast-iron fence that surrounds a family plot at Albany Rural Cemetery, a romantic burying ground and wildlife sanctuary in Albany, New York. @archdigest #passementerie #albanyruralcemetery

2 weeks ago

What’s hot in the museum world today? “Heavy Metal”, an exhibition of more than a dozen nineteenth-century New York-made cast-iron stoves, now on view at @albanyinstitute The stoves at left, including one in the form of George Washington, are dummy stoves, so-called because they conducted heat through a pipe connected to a coal-fueled heating stove on the lower floor of a house. @archdigest #albanyinstituteofhistoryandart #albany #stove #heat #castiron

3 weeks ago

The view from the front door of @hydehall_1817 has been largely obscured for years, due to overgrown trees et cetera. Judicious clearing has resulted in this painterly expanse, more in keeping with what George Clarke would have known in the 1830s, when the great-house section of Hyde Hall was completed by architect Philip Hooker. Down below is Hyde Bay, at the northern end of Lake Otsego. @archdigest #hydehall #philiphooker #cooperstown #springfield #glimmerglassstatepark

3 weeks ago

New York landowner George Clarke was born in France and spent part of his childhood in Jamaica, namely at Hyde, one of his family’s two sugar estates in Trelawny Parish. Surely the Clarkes’ house there inspired the first section of @hydehall_1817 , his great country seat on Lake Otsego, near Cooperstown. Known as the Stone Cottage, the 1817 wing echoes Jamaica architecture, to my mind, especially the deep U-shape veranda that wraps the outer library and affords a view down the lake to distant Cooperstown. @archdigest #hydehall #jamaica #cooperstown #springfield #glimmerglassstatepark

3 weeks ago

Bedrooms with alcoves for sleeping are something “to which I am much attached”, Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1793 to James Madison. He had seen such arrangements for the first time during his time in France, where he served as U.S. minister [ambassador] in the 1780s. One that entices me was published in @archdigest in the 1970s, one of the dozen or so spare rooms at @chateaudelachaize in Beaujolais, with 1678 architecture by Jules-Hardouin Mansart and Thomas Blanche and landscaping by André Le Nôtre. The Côte de Brouilly wine estate’s chatelaine at the time of AD’s visit was the marquise de Roussy de Sales, née Nicole Le Gras du Luart, who inherited La Chaize in 1967 from a grand-aunt, the marquise de Montaigu. (The château was sold two years ago to Groupe Maïa. ) Decorator Jean-Paul Faye had a hand in Mme de Roussy de Sales’s decors, transforming, the magazine observed, “a large and rather sad house, overloaded with miscellaneous bric-a-brac and much furniture collected through the centuries.” @archdigest

3 weeks ago

49 Irving Place, NYC, famously the residence of Elsie de Wolfe and Bessy Marbury (no historic plaque ) and never the home of Washington Irving (erroneous historic plaque that’s been attached forever ). Elsie might not recognize the place at first, because in her day it wasn’t bare redbrick. Per @nytimes , 4 April 1897, “The house is painted a subdued yellow and the blinds [shutters] are of a dark and heavy green.” @archdigest @nycgov @nycpublicdesign

3 weeks ago

Yesterday I mentioned, en passant, Comte Jean-Louis de Maigret (1916-2006 ), a starchy French aristocrat at whose Paris hôtel particulier I attended a lunch in the dim past. Impassioned about genealogy, Jean-Louis basked in the reflected glory of the family of his former wife, Corisande de Gramont (1920-1980 ), the granddaughter of Marcel Proust’s muse Élisabeth Greffuhle. That being said, I did like the dapper old guy, who was very kind to a starry-eyed American. He was the embodiment of courtliness, and his house, 77 rue de Lille, was sublime, as befits a decorator once featured in @archdigest Jean-Louis was also an illustrator and artist. Herewith, a study for an impressionistic chinoiserie mural that was intended for the staircase of the @fsgeorgevparis Painted in 1962, it depicts the entrée of the Chinese emperor and empress—portrayed by guano magnate Arturo Lopez-Willshaw and his mariage-blanc wife, Patricia—at Carlos de Beistegui’s 1951 bal oriental in Venice. Other members of the costumed Chinese court were decorator Georges Geffroy and Arturo’s lover Alexis, third and last Baron von Rosenberg-Redé, who owned this particular work. It sold at @christiesinc in Paris on 16 March 2005, and at Christie’s again in 2015, when it was included in “La Vie du Château: Collection Jean-Louis Remilleux”. @archdigest #beisteguiball #carlosdebeistegui #arturolopezwillshaw #patricialopezwillshaw

4 weeks ago

Breakfast at Bulle Rock: Old Paris porcelain cups and saucers, ironstone creamer with mythological echoes, and @adelphipaperhangings wallpaper. @archdigest #breakfast #bullerock #oldparisporcelain #ironstone #coffeeneedcoffee

4 weeks ago

A Piero Fornasetti “Citti’ di carte” folding screen spotted in Inspector Clouseau’s bedroom (snapped in mid bomb blast ) in the 1964 comedy crime caper “A Shot in the Dark”. @archdigest @fornasettiofficial #saturdaymorning #pierofornasetti #fornasetti

4 weeks ago

Percy S Cane (1881-1976 ) is a garden designer—“garden architect” was his preferred identification—thoroughly forgotten today, which is a pity. His books, among them the 1956 volume called “The Earth is My Canvas” (Metheun & Co Ltd ), are immensely readable and seriously seductive. Shown is part of the garden that the native Brit designed at Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, France, for rich, Paris-based American expat Arthur Kemp and his second wife, née Sybil Kane. (Kemp’s first wife, née Mary Isabelle Neilson, aka Baby Belle, was godmother to Diana Vreeland and married, secondly, financier Hollis Horatio Hunnewell, whose family still owns a famous topiary garden in Wellesley, Massachusetts. ) World War II had destroyed the Kemps’ landscape as well as the main house, so the dashing couple—his fortune was built on the still-extant 1808 eau de Cologne called Florida Water, which I have used for years—transformed the gardener’s cottage into their home and placed the property into Cane’s capable hands. Shown is the Long Flower Walk, with flagstones shipped from Yorkshire to make a spacious terrace and planted with delphiniums, Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’, white Shasta daisies, erigeron, phlox, and Michaelmas daisies, with fragrance added through accents of heliotrope, mignonette, lavender, rosemary, and ten-week stocks. Sprouting here and there are wisteria standards. As Cane observed, “the gardens at The Cottage, which merge into their setting of [silver birch and native pine] trees so that one is scarcely conscious of any division, make a delightful summer retreat.” @archdigest #percycane #gardens #letouquet #france #summer

4 weeks ago

A glimpse of Willow Hill, a house in Cherry Valley (originally Lindesay’s Bush ), NY, that was built in 1794. Harriet Beecher Stowe stayed at the hilltop stock farm in 1872, when it belonged to Jane and Edward Maynard Phelon, calling the area “a sleepy, well-preserved farm village, exemplifying traditional values." A 1921 rental notice in “The Outlook” weekly journal described Willow Hill thusly: “Old-fashioned residence, furnished. Modern conveniences, fireplaces, piazza, lawn, garden, 6 bedrooms. Attractive situation near village.” Antique French scenic panoramic wallpaper that once hung in its rooms is now displayed at the Cherry Valley Museum. @archdigest

4 weeks ago

Thank you @jeffersonmuncy for this wonderful addition to our walls—a graphite portrait of a young man in a hoodie and overalls, his noble features framed by a halo and gazing, surely and firmly, into the future @archdigest #youngartist #jeffersonmuncy #dallas

4 weeks ago

Thirty-six years old and still a damned good read—architectural historian John Martin Robinson’s “The Latest Country Houses” (The Bodley Head, 1983 ), an opinionated, acerbic, and entertaining examination of the some 200 UK country houses designed and constructed from the early 1950s. @archdigest

5 weeks ago

Vintage Moroccan landscape that @matthewzwissler found years ago at the Bab el-Khemis flea market in Marrakech. Signed “M. Lakhime”. @archdigest #marrakech #babelkhemis #surrealism #cypresses #lake #neoromantic #moody #morocco #landscape

last month

Mr Jefferson’s bedroom at @tjmonticello , as it has been recently reinterpreted through rigorous forensic analysis (and deep explorations into Jefferson’s papers ) as part of the historic site’s 2017 Mountaintop Project. The project aims to have Monticello reflect Jefferson’s retirement years, from 1809 until his death in 1826. Update: This is the room’s warm-weather dress; the red fabrics return in winter—and the window curtains were copied from the red version that already was installed. @archdigest #classic #thomasjefferson #monticello #blue #alcove #campeachychair

last month

Remember zoysia? The miracle grass that carpeted lawns across America in the 1970s? My father was enamored of it, and I recall it didn’t flourish as thickly as he had hoped, so he settled for the inferior but more successful (at least for our purposes ) St Augustine grass. Still, zoysia admirers planted seed or rolled out turf and crossed their fingers that no weeds could raise their beastly heads above the matted vegetation. “Mr. André [de] Vilmorin, the famous French seedsman, has put down an Emerald Velvet [zoysia] lawn in front of his lovely seventeenth-century château—and that shows great faith in the grass...,” wrote horticulturist Xenia Field in a 1959 newspaper column. (She was a prison reformer, too, but that’s another story. ) “Should any gardener have a question about this new form of lawn, I shall be happy to give such help as I can. Emerald Velvet has had its full share of teething troubles!” Pictured is the property in question, Château de Verrières, 2, rue d’Estienne d’Orves, Verrières-le-Buisson, France, which André shared with his writer sister, Louise, her lover, the culture minister André Malraux, and other family members. Vogue called the château’s park “a cat’s paradise, for its centuries-old trees shelter generations of birds.” @archdigest @vilmorin jardin #vilmorin #louisedevilmorin

last month

The entrance of 32 Prince Street, NYC, an 1826 redbrick building in NoLiTa that was constructed as the Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum, then became St. Patrick's Convent and Girls' School, then, later still, St Patrick’s Old Cathedral School. Reportedly “the most significant institutional building in the Federal style surviving in New York City”, it is now a deluxe apartment block known as the Residences at Prince. @archdigest #conversion #nolita #princestreet #federalstyle

last month

A barn complex witb triplet silos, just outside Cooperstown @archdigest #cooperstown #barns #silos #country

last month

Trefoil-ornamented bargeboards trim a Gothic Revival cottage that was built in 1848 for Andrew Todd, Toddsville, Hartwick, near Cooperstown, NY. The house reflects the influence of “Cottage Residences or A Series of Designs for Rural Cottages and Cottage Villas and Their Gardens and Grounds” by A. J. Downing, the most influential American architecture pattern book of the 19th century. @archdigest #gothicrevival

last month

“I’d desperately love to be a minimalist, but I’m just not,” actor @russelltovey says with mock resignation. His London apartment—a loft where textiles owned by the @britishmuseum were once stored—features many quirky pieces picked up from artisans, flea markets, and thrift stores alike. “People think of fine art as being the pinnacle, but a piece of handmade pottery can give me as much pleasure. I think it works here because the furniture, art, and objects sit in unison, like little family groups, having conversations with one another.” So @katejacobsinteriorsnut writes for @archdigest To read the rest and see the pics, check out the link in my bio. @archdigest #russelltovey

last month

Charlotte Vignon’s new book, “Duveen Brothers and the Market for Decorative Arts, 1880-1940”, reveals bracing information on seemingly every page. Herewith, Adelaide Frick’s boudoir, a 1927 photograph of an ancien-régime-style scheme that is often credited to Elsie de Wolfe, who famously decorated the Frick mansion’s private spaces. The image actually shows Duveen’s 1916-18 fancying up of the boudoir, which had been expensively de Wolfe-d for steel magnate Henry Clay Frick’s wife only a few years prior. (No images of that decor are known to exist for comparison. ) Duveen commissioned André Carlhian to design the boiserie to accomodate eight allegorical panels by the studio of François Boucher and boldly replaced de Wolfe’s French antiques with finer ones, much to Mr Frick’s alarm—the new furnishings and accessories added more than $160,000 ($2.4 million today ) to the bill. As Duveen silkily explained, “... my idea was to replace all of the old furniture ... that was already in the room. Later on, however, some of these things were taken out and placed elsewhere in the house. The room would have been complete and beautiful in every respect if such furniture had been left in, but it so happened that one or two exquisite pieces came over from Europe at the time of the completion of the room, which were so fine in themselves that I quite thought such a room should have the benefit of them.” The dealer then suggested that some of the costly Sèvres porcelain that he used to accent the space could be replaced with cheaper copies to similar effect. Vignon notes, “Familiar with the psychology of his clients, Duveen then let time do its work.” Two months later, Frick paid up. @archdigest @frickcollection

last month

Throwback Thursday (a couple of hours early because I must sleep ), November 2001: Our elder daughter, @cat _owens, the second day I knew her, when she was five weeks old. The adoption agency handed her to me the day before, with no instruction manual. I didn’t know that one could ask for a crib at the hotel, so I lined a dresser drawer with towels, tucked her in, placed it on the bed, and slept next to it. Or, rather, did not sleep, being terrified. The next morning, I talked with my mother, who said, “What do you know about caring for a baby?” I replied, “Nothing—what did you know?” Long pause, then she said; “I faked it; I faked it for a long time.” Here’s to faking it and hoping for the best. ❤️ . 📸 @helenthompsoninhouse @matthewzwissler

last month

Yes, the redbrick wall that hems the churchyard at St Patrick’s Old Cathedral really does ripple. @archdigest

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