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Wednesday, 29 May 2013


Detail: John Stefanidis carpet with John Stefanidis 'gros point ' rug...combine and mix !

Monday, 27 May 2013


To quote Nicky Haslam: "...a thunderbolt rent the chintzes and fringes of Mayfair and Sloane Street. Aimed with the opportune accuracy from the god-like visage of interior designer David Hicks, 'geometrics' hit the custom-staled decorating ground with a lightning flash. His rooms were spare: square chairs, white or beige, sat squarely beside double-cube sofas set rigid to walls, standing on wall-to-wall carpet with small square designs.  Uplights cast their dramatic chiaroscuro over vast, unframed Francis Bacon canvases. Metals gleamed and a square of black patent leather shone. It was an eye-opener all right, and I awoke from my Beaton reveries with a jolt."

FOLLY DE GRANDEUR published by Jacqui Small with ravishing photographs by Simon 

Knowingly or unknowingly, design since the Sixties
has been influenced by the designs of David Hicks - his innovations in colour, the use of space, the freshness and airiness of his rooms were all innovations. 

There are some six books by him. I have 'Living with Design' published in 1979 and 'David Hicks - A Life of Design' by his son Ashley, published in 2009:
The Britwell Hall Fireplace [1963]
Elaine & Vidal Sassoon Sitting Room [1958]

For Keith Lichtenstein, King's Road, Chelsea [1969]
Peter Saunders' Study/Bathroom at Easton Grey where "the  carpet provided pattern interest against dark walls, curtains and concealed cupboards of darkest maroon polished felt", with a gilt fillet to walls, and curtain edging and Roman shades in brilliant orange tweed.

Setting up displays at his new shop David Hicks [1967]

Saturday, 25 May 2013


The architecture of The French Enlightenment [mid-18th century until the French Revolution] you can but admire in Britain - William Kent, Vanburgh, Hawksmoor, Robert Adam [right: portrait by George Willison c.1773], Tradition of the Grand Tour, etc.

Zoffany's painting of Charles Towneley and colleagues, of c.1781, recently-imported classical statuary at his home of 14 Queen Anne's Gate, London. Note the splendid carpet.
From: The Architecture of The French Enlightenment
Left: St-symphorien, view of the interior, painting by de Machy [1772]Right: The salt works of Arc and Senans, the house of the director. The remoteness of the site and the authority of the director of the factory are emphasised by the heavy banded columns.
The Barrieres of Paris, elevations of ten now destroyed customs posts

In the 19th century, my favourite is Schinkel [1781-1841], a charming looking man. 

Above: Schinkel's set design for Mozart's 'The Magic Flute' [1816]

Extract from Karl Friedrich Schinkel 'The English Journey' Journal of a Visit to France and Britain in 1826: 

Friday, 16 June

Looked at interiors of colleges and churches.  First a beautiful garden outside one of these buildings, and old church, part of which is Anglo-Saxon, Christ Church.  Picture gallery in Radcliffe's foundation, bad, incomprehensible how such things can be exhibited. - Chapel and cloister in the college at the entrance to the town [Magdalen].  Good stained glass from Rubens's time, new glass opposite, vestibule of the church with an iron stove in the middle, where the smoke is drawn away under the floor. - Another courtyard and church at the entrance to the park, vestibule, 4 pinnacles on the tower. - Church in the main street. the wooden roof construction without beams and with flat pointed arches, as small iron roofs are now made. - Library [Radcliffe Camera], circular building with arches all round; 2 fine candelabra, especially the one with the 3 Ibis figures.  Once can see clearly how the circular shape is retained in a triangle.  View from the gallery of the Library into the various colleges quite distinctive and opulent but very repetitive architecture. - Collection of natural history specimens and antiquities in another ponderous building (next to it execrable herms), Druid rings in glass mosaic, perhaps Phonoecian. Models of Stonehenge near Salisbury. - The church of another college with stained glass windows by the old Dutch school and that of West.  

Thursday, 23 May 2013

ART: The Queen's Gallery

Fashionistas rush to The Queen's Gallery...
and the current exhibition:


May 10-October 6, 2013

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


John Stefanidis Fabrics available from:

LondonUK - Tissus d'Helene
Showroom: Chelsea HarbourLondonSW10 0XF
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7352 9977

MiamiUSA - Monica James
Showroom: 40 NE 40th StreetMiamiFL 33137
Phone: + 1 305-576-6222

Los AngelesUSA – Harbinger
Showroom: 752 North La Cienega Blvd,West HollywoodCA 90069
Phone: +1 310 858 6884

Sunday, 19 May 2013

GARDENS: Edwin Lutyens, 100 Cheyne Walk, London SW1

Designed by Edwin Lutyens in the 1920's, 
revived and elaborated by John Stefanidis
Note: Monkey topiary made with ivy on a wire structure
 to replace stolen Lutyen's 18th Century statues [right]
A pond could not survive under an ancient Mulberry tree
Arabella Lennox-Boyd advised clipped box.

Friday, 17 May 2013

LIVING BY DESIGN: Chester Square, London in the 1970's

The plainest of staircases with a round window above head height
 - lots of light but no mediocre urban view -

Thursday, 16 May 2013

CULTURE: Victoria & Albert Museum, LONDON

A morning spent at the V&A is a morning well spent

 ‘David Bowie Is’ 
[March 23- August 11, 2013] 

A remarkable show, outstandingly well curated.

An excellent, informative article on Bowie, his life, by Ian Buruma ‘The Invention of David Bowie’ in the New York Review of Books [May 23-June 5, 2013] …Bowie changed the way many people looked in the 1970’s, 1980’s even the 1990’s…it is entirely fitting that the Victoria and Albert Museum should stage a huge exhibition of Bowie’s stage clothes, as well as music videos, handwritten song lyrics, film clips, artwork, scripts, storyboards, and other Bowieana from his personal archive..

In marked contrast, the Zeitgeist of the past decades, a well-mannered show Treasures of the Royal Courts shows the Tudors and Stuarts had close relationships with the Russian Tsars.  Elizabethan silver-gilt at its most magnificent lent by the Kremlin Museum.  Objects given to the Tsars, once looking dismal and tarnished in their glass cases, can now be seen in all their splendour.  

Monday, 13 May 2013


The Acropolis, Athens

Starting with the Roman copycats, Neoclassicism has evolved and transmuted over centuries...
Villa Rotonda, Vicenza

I have been in all of Palladio’s villas, and in each and every one I was uplifted and longed to inhabit them.  Palladio’s architecture is convivial, agreeable and inspiring, all in proportion to man’s inspirations.

Raphael's self-portrait with Giulio Romano
A great favourite of mine is Giulio Romano [1499-1546] – his architecture is not of the purest, like Michelangelo, or the grandest, like Bramante, but nobody beats him for playfulness and sensuality.  Palazzo Te in Mantova is the most fun building to visit in Italy and at present off the tourist trail.

     Room of  Psyche

                                      Hall of the Horses

                                     Room of the Winds

Room of the Sun and Moon

                                          Architectural details

Saturday, 11 May 2013

TRAVEL: ITALY: Bologna, Ferrara, Vicenza

Palazzo dei Diamanti
Ferrara, Italy


At Palazzo dei Diamanti, there is a splendid exhibition on the films of Michelangelo Antonioni, a native of Ferrara, and best known in the UK for 'Blow Up'. 

Until June 9, 2013

Patrizia Medail 
is a 'genre' painter, 'assemblagiste' in the tradition of surrealist art - her work is astonishing. Here are examples in her Bologna house.

Forresteria di Villa Valmarana ai Nani, Vicenza
Frescoes by Tiepolo [1727-1804]

Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza

'Son et lumiere' at the Teatro Olimpico 

...theatrical with music - a waltz - most inappropriate! 

Basilica Palladiana, Vicenza
Designed by a young Andrea Palladio