Château du Grand-Lucé

In my wildest fantasy, I imagine after a day of discovering treasures in the flea markets of Paris, I bring them home to my château in the Loire Valley.  Casually casting aside my écharpe, I unwrap my treasures while sipping scotch and thinking, "How lucky am I?"  Timothy Corrigan lives that fantasy!  I can neither confirm nor deny the scarf and scotch.  With vision, passion, his sophisticated sense of style, and an unerring eye towards grandeur, Timothy brought back to life Château du Grand Lucé

The château is considered "one of the most precious elements of architecture of the French Enlightenment."
I cannot even fathom what it must take to bring such a historic and beautiful behemoth back to life.  When Timothy purchased it from the French government, there were no working bathrooms, modern electricity, or a kitchen in the main house.  The before and afters are quite stunning.

With heat guns, the crew peeled back the layers of paint, to discover it was once painted mostly Trinon gray, similar to dove gray.  Like peeling back the layers of time,400 years, bringing back the castle to its former glory would prove to be  an exercise in patience as well. Timothy had to have everything vetted thru the Les Architectes des Bâtiments, a watchdog group for preservation, and make a case for brightening up the place.  Nobody likes a drab château.

This 45,000 sq. ft. manor fit for a king was built between 1760 and 1764 and remained a private home until the mid 20th century.  It then served as a military hospital and a sanatorium for tuberculosis victims.

The walls in the salon were originally painted by Jean-Baptiste Pillement, an official painter to Marie Antoinette.  They show what the Western idea of life was like in China in the 18th century, dipicting green eyed Asian damsels playing with parrots while their menfolk fish from a stone basin. (AD).
There are only 3 rooms in the entire world painted by Jean-Baptiste that have survived to this day and the restoration ensures this one will survive centuries more.


Corrigan only spends about 2 months a year there, but makes the most of his limited time.  Filling the home with friends and playing host to some pretty impressive gatherings, the likes of which I can only imagine.

Timothy brought a sense of joie de vivre to the chateau.  "I didn't want the place to take itself too seriously."  Filled with a mix of casual furnishings and notable antiques, modern day conveniences, and a sense of playfulness ~ it exudes comfort and grandeur, warmth and importance, in equal measure.

For the 14 or so guest rooms Corrigan  renovated, he took every other bedroom and made an en suite bath.  Each with a distinct personality and color story.  


Timothy was no stranger to the grand renovation process, having restored 2 former, slightly less grand properties elsewhere in France.  I guess he needed a bigger challenge?

The gardens were restored by the government and are open to the public periodically.  The Chateau is open to small private groups for a week's stay.  Who's coming with me?

Read more about it in Chateau de Grand Lucé, the book.  Idle hours away learning of its rich history chronicling the renovation process, and learn how Timothy lives in a historic house in a very modern way. 

Ph; Eric Piasecki via AD, Chateau du Grand Lucé.com

I'm Lovin ~ Kravet's Painterly Fabric

I gravitated towards Kravet's Delacroix fabric the minute I saw it. The optimistic,impressionistic fabric drew me in.  I have been seeing painterly fabrics on the runways of late and it's colorful, unevenly dyed, broken lined pattern just speaks to me right now.

The fabric, like a blank canvas, holds the promise of being molded into something new, something unexpected, something dramatic.

This chair was featured on a One Kings Lane sale and I have to say it makes a pretty good mid century modern design shine ~

Not too shabby on a French  frame either ~

Kim Salmela is slightly obsessed, using it on several products in her line ~

Add solids, animal, stripe or geometrical prints and you've got a complete fabric story in any palette that strikes the right note.

One bright statement in a room wakes up everything around it.
(I am showing art, substitute the fabric, the theory is the same)

Or neutrals recede and brights POP

Then again, you could totally work it into a room full of jewel tones.

By no means is this the only option.  Love the look but the boldness doesn't bowl you over?   There are a plethora of painterly options available.  You can always paint your own if the artist in you is calling.

Wild Chairy

Then I saw this graceful watercolor beauty from the Kravet Couture line with it's Chinoiserie narrative and all bets were off.

Wishing on a Wishbone

On my radar right now is Hans J. Wegner's wishbone chair.  I think it would be a great accent to a zinc table I am doing for someone.  The chair, also known as the Y chair, was inspired by Danish merchants sitting upon Ming chairs in 18th century portraits.  They come in fun colors and are surprisingly comfortable.  There's a hipness as well as a lightness to them that must have helped jettison them into icon status.

It takes more than 100 steps to make this seemingly simple chair.  The paper cord on the seat is completely sustainable and biodegradable, coming from trees in Swedish forests.  You know they old adage:  if something looks simple it usually is quite complicated. 

The interesting thing about this chair is the price point.  It really runs the gamut.  I love an iconic hi-low piece.  If you're a purist, you can go for the original made for the Carl Hanson Co. back in the 50's that has been in production ever since.

An original as Hans intended can be had for slightly over $900.00, and is offered in several colors

Design within Reach also offers them in assorted colors and choice of wood stains.  They range from $400.00 to $1,400.00 

It can be had at Hive Modern for $600.00

Matt Black was inspired by the original and offers a copy for $295.00

Several eBay stores sell reproductions for around $200.00

via Chango & Co.

Soma Classics sell beautiful reproductions for $180.00.  You have slightly less color choices and it has a hemp seat, but who cares!

ph:Mark Lund

How low can we go?  Amazon sells a few different styles for as low as $149.00. 

via Decorpad

The only questions are ~ do you want an original or will a reproduction do, and what color??

In my research I discovered the paper seats are hard to clean.  I guess you have to think of it like a marble counter top and embrace the wear and tear. 

This could come in handy ~
How to Clean Wishbone Paper Cord with Soap Flakes**
  • 2 tbsp (28g) soap flakes – Carl Hansen & Son brand recommended, but Soap Flake or grated Ivory / mild white bar soap OK
  • 1 quart (940ml) boiled water
  • Pour boiling water over soap flakes, using a whisk to make sure all flakes are completely dissolved
  • Allow mixture to cool slightly
  • While water is warm, use a soft cloth to gently wipe the paper cord as best you can, making sure you do not get the seat too wet
  • Wipe the entire surface of the seat, but again, do not drench the material with soap mixture – less is more
  • Allow to dry and then repeat, if necessary
  • You can store the soap mixture in an airtight container for up to a month

Spotlight On : Miriam Cabessa

Isn't it funny when you just learn of something ~ you never heard of it before and then all the sudden you hear it over and over?  Since I wrote the story on Brandon Sun (see below) I have heard the words Gutai movement more than once.  Weird coincidence??

While Miriam  Cebressa was not part of the movement, she does have something in common with it.  She paints without a brush.  She creates these magical, some almost 3 dimensional looking designs that seem to jump off the canvas, all with random tools and her body, nary a brush in sight.

Painting is a very intimate experience, especially when one becomes one with the canvas.  With people watching is it performance art?  Choreographed movement over the canvas creates a lyrical abstractionism.

Born in Morocco, raised in Israel, and now a New Yorker, Ms. Cabessa has an impressive C.V.  She is internationally known for her "slow movement" painting and her work commands a pretty penny.

What do you think of Miriam's work?  If you"re interested in her process, you can watch a short video on You Tube.  Her pieces can be purchased thru galleries and online

ph: Miriam Cabessa, Victori Contemporary

Cobalt's Coming On Strong

Have you noticed we’re in a blue period?  Blues are an important and popular mainstay in design, mostly for its calm, tranquil effect on us.  But cobalt blue, this bolder, more confident jolt of color is calling this coming season and beyond.

ph: Diego Zuko

Phillip Lim

The strength of character cobalt displays is a great playmate to many other colors; white, black, neutrals and primaries alike.  Vincent Van Gogh declared, ”Cobalt is a divine colour and there is nothing so beautiful for putting atmosphere around things...”   That's why a little can go a long way...

Sally Wheat


ph: Phillip Ficks

French artist, Yves Klein created a sensual, deep blue reminiscent of lapis lazuli, forever known as International Klein Blue.  C2 Paint is customizing a perfect match should you be interested.  Richard Mishaan was.  He used it in his Holiday House Dining Room and it was a hit!  It looks especially dynamic lacquered.

The creation of Yves iconic cocktail table (1961/1963) , glass filled, with the international blue pigment, comfortably sits among the most contemporary and traditional of settings.  It's always a wonderful surprise in any space.

It is daring, it is dominant, it is dazzling!  Which,coincidentally, is one of the colors included in Pantone’s picks for the 2014 color forecast.

Amie Weitzman

  You’ll be seeing a lot of it because we’re on a blue streak!