The May/June issue of Veranda trumpeting “American Classics” is especially fab and I am tickled to have written about a house in the Hamptons designed by Tom Britt and Valentino Samsonadze because, well, Tom is an old friend and a HOOT.
Britt’s work is famously infused with a fascinating array of influences from all over the world, and I thought it’d be fun to see them side-by-side. We get to see how a (hoot of a) designer’s mind works and how he translates ideas from his travels to his own creative process… and be inspired to try it ourselves.
First Britt talks about the Chateau de Groussay outside Paris…
Britt also clearly loved the Lazienki Palace near Warsaw…
Now look again up top at Britt’s house. Got the hang of it?
The library at Groussay, with its handsome double stair and gallery, is probably one of the most admired in France (a nation of self-admirers).
With yet another nod to Lazienki:
And he didn’t leave out Nancy Lancaster’s famous yellow drawing room in her London house, via designer Sara Gilbane’s Travel for Design blog.
It’s all cooked up in Britt and Samsonadze’s version, below. Notice the Lazienki pediment. Not that you could miss it. Britt by the way loves to say he “cooked up” something about a room. That’s something like somebody from Kansas City would say, which he is.
Let’s keep cooking. Now the dining room. Begin at Groussay, again via Habitually Chic:
With a dollop of Tony Duquette, which you probably didn’t need me to tell you…
And you get…
Many rooms of the house also profit from the light and soothing interiors of Scandinavia, Sweden in particular, as Britt’s painting of floors, paneling and doors attests. Has anybody heard of Thureholm in Sweden? I have but I don’t count. I’ve actually been there on a trip organized by the Sir John Soane Museum Foundation, which does the most amazing trips. At Thureholm, Sweden meets Chinoiserie, another favorite of Britt’s, in the stunning “porcelain kitchen.” The kitchen is so-called because its purpose was to display porcelain as opposed to fry chicken. Not that they ate a lot of fried chicken in 18th-century Sweden. What they did do after Thureholm was start painting a lot of walls, instead of papering or covering them with leather or fabric.
I can’t even believe I found this hastily scribbled sketch of the kitchen by yours truly on the spot, in 2006. My notes say we were greeted by the noble family who owns it, but don’t quote me on that. Everywhere are racks and brackets for porcelain.
The kitchen and breakfast room a la Britt is a worthy compliment.
Since you cannot possibly read this without wanting more, Veranda’s website obliges with Tom Britt’s Decorating Tips. There is also a nice post at HouseCrush.com. But for the full story, for your life to be complete, you’ll have to fetch the magazine itself. Moreover, you will be completely and Habitually Chic after reading about Groussay and oh so many other topics on Heather Clawson’s blog, a claim I cannot make straight-faced for my own.