11 April 2011

Lights, Camera, Action!

Filmmakers are always seeking evocative locations for their movies, so it should come as little surprise that a handful of iconic houses have found their way onto the silver screen as integral plot devices. My favorites to add to any design groupie's Netflix queue?

The Hunting Lodge, decorator John Fower's famous country house near Odiham, Hampshire; for decades now it has been the week-end residence of British interior designer Nicky Haslam.

John Fowler's renowned Hunting Lodge, a Tudor-era folly given a fanciful brickwork façade around 1720, served as Vanessa Redgrave's residence in the 1968 Tony Richardson movie "The Charge of the Light Brigade." Fowler smartly used the location fee to build a garden pavilion on the grounds of the house.

A bedroom at Château de Groussay, longtime country house of Charles de Beistegui.

Château de Groussay, the widely admired country house of silver-mining heir Charles de Beistegui, was used as the primary set for director Marc Allégret's 1970 movie "Le bal du Comte d'Orgel." Yes, the movie is in French, but if you don't understand the dialogue, there is enough of Groussay on display, indoors and out, to make this romantic drama about aristocratic adultery in the 1920s (based on the posthumous 1924 novel by Raymond Radiguet) a cinema-library must-have.

Members of the cast of "Le bal du Comte d'Orgel" (1970) in Groussay's Salon Hollandaise.

05 April 2011

Well Said: Eugenia Huici de Errázuriz

Eugenia Huici de Errázuriz, circa 1940, from Mo Amelia Teitelbaum's "The Stylemakers: Minimalism and Classic Modernism, 1915—1945" (Philip Wilson Publishers, 2010)

"Everything has its place in life. Even objects guests don't normally see should reflect one's tastes and beliefs."

So said Eugenia Huici de Errázuriz (1860—1951), arguably the aesthete of all time, after a visitor to her house noticed a scarlet ribbon stylishly tied around the handle of a common household broom. A Bolivian-born mining heiress who sat for John Singer Sargent, inspired Jean-Michel Frank, supported Stravinsky, and collected Picasso, she left a lasting mark on interior design, choosing soulful minimalism over extravagant folderol.