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Brian Edward Millett

Where all things beautiful collide

Every now and then I get very inspired by something, or multiple things, and start thinking of a design project in my head, for a future client of course!  My latest project began when I was looking at the resort collections this winter.  It was the Celine collection, a favorite of mine every season.  The model was photographed in what appeared to be a Parisian pied de terre with beautiful herringbone wood floors, distressed green walls with paneled mouldings removed, and a plethora of french doors painted white.  I looked beyond the chic clothes and started concocting a dream apartment in Paris!  I want to let you in a little bit more on where my ideas come from and what truly inspires me.  I hope to make this a regular series.  Below are images shown slightly random that I will briefly describe in relation to this fantasy project.

the initial inspiration

The floors are quintessential Paris, and that is exactly what I want as far as the architecture goes.  The french doors with iron railings beyond are also a must.  I was quite surprised at myself when I decided the walls as seen above should stay as-is, since I consider myself to be more of a modernist at heart, and patina and distressed anything are not a common element of my work.  I was truly inspired by the color and paneled pattern that remained.

room by Jeffrey Bilhuber
a Pauline de Rothschild-inspired sofa

The very first piece of furniture I imagined in my distressed green salon (I think that name is more french than living room) was a sofa originally seen in the french country home of style icon Pauline de Rothschild.  Above are two examples of that sofa reincarnated by my favorite designer Jeffrey Bilhuber.  I would be lying if I said he wasn’t a huge inspiration for this project and that I sometimes design things with the thought that I work alongside him.  For the salon, a version would be created in an icy blue.  I adore a leafy green with a pale blue!  The first room image shows how lovely this combination can be.

light by Herve van der Straeten

Every room will most likely find itself a hanging fixture by Herve van der Straeten.  I just think the modernity of his work would be so amazing hanging from a plaster ceiling instead of a fancier crystal chandelier.  There are plenty of fancy elements in this apartment.  I ALWAYS envision modern meets traditional elements in every project.

a Paris apartment

I would love the dining room that flows off of the salon through french doors to be white with a liberal amount of plaster mouldings.  The floors of course continue and will be left bare, except for perhaps the bedrooms where I would do something like a raffia carpet.

light by Herve van der Straeten

This could be fantastic in the dining room, or over an entry table depending on the space.

white Bamileke stool
an african Juju feather headdress

Another one of my initial thoughts when designing this home was the addition of african pieces.  Bamileke stools in a dark ebony finish and white-painted ones will make for unexpected tables throughout the space.  I also picture a white Juju feather headdress over a fireplace in place of a mirror.  This apartment has a cool palette of blues and greens with plenty of white.

Gustav III cane furniture

I have loved this room in one of Karl Lagerfeld’s homes for quite sometime.  It was seen in the pages of Vogue and features a Gustavian furniture set in white with gold and green accents.  I would settle for a piece or two mixed with my other furniture of choice.  Doesn’t that mirror over the settee look like a Juju headdress?  Interesting…

sconces by Herve van der Straeten

These will find a place somewhere.  A bathroom or hall perhaps.  Love them!

moire covered chairs

These chairs are pretty fancy, but the silk moire is too gorgeous not to think about adding to one of the rooms.  Maybe just one at a desk in a bedroom will be enough to satisfy my appetite.

light with rock crystal point by Herve van der Straeten

Shut the front door!!  This is too much for my little heart.  The light bounces up to stunning plaster ceilings while a crystal drop catches your eye below.  Can’t you imagine it?

sitting area by Jeffrey Bilhuber

A favorite Bilhuber-designed space, this bedroom sitting area has so many elements that work in my Paris project.  The pale blue walls and tufted sofa, trim embellished chair, low asian table and even the orchids.

Glam Grass wallpapers by Phillip Jeffries

I want to leave the walls alone if I can, but if need be I would cover a room’s walls in a Phillip Jeffries paper or a silk.

a look by Celine in “the room”

Another view of the salon with a model wearing a look in the blue that will also be found in the decor.

console by Herve van der Straeten

Can this table find a home in my home?  Yes, I do believe so! 

Billy Baldwin slipper chair

The always appropriate slipper chair will undoubtedly find space in more than one room.  I want them in a pale blue damask and the “knotty” fabric below.

“Knotty, Knotty” fabric from Donghia
Bamileke stools

The small one as a side table, two medium-sized together as a coffee table substitute, or one large one for the same purpose.  These can move about the space to become bedside tables, etc.  Options are a must-have when designing your space.

pink magnolias

Random, but I just imagine a huge vase of magnolias to the ceiling.  Just give me the whole tree!!

painting by Cy Twombly

Just some of the modern art I want to grace the walls.  I covet Cy Twombly’s piece Triumph of Galatea and want it for the dining room.  It is a huge painting that would own a large wall, floor to ceiling.  The painting above has a similar feel. 

possible dining chairs

Around an antique wood dining table, these chairs could be quite magnificent in the white-painted dining room.  I would upholster the backs with a contrasting fabric, maybe in a pale pink to bring out colors in the Twombly painting.

room by Jeffrey Bilhuber

These are the elements from this room I take as inspiration for my own project: the low asian table, Fortuny upholstery and the fauteuil chairs in a horsehair and pale blush fabric combination.  This room is perfect in every way!

Fortuny silk

I would use this and other Fortuny fabrics without question, especially for pillows. 

Fortuny covered chairs

These would be lovely as part of a larger furniture grouping or by a fireplace.  I would love to see them with an african carved stool next to them or something else modern.

Versailles planter box

Inspired by Versailles once again, I would bring planter boxes inside with living myrtle topiaries planted in them.  How pretty would these be in front of the french doors?!

the palette

Leafy green and pale blue combination.  Check.  Topiary.  Check.  The swing-arm lamps are also another thing I plan using in almost every project somewhere.

chairs by Paul Poiret

Ignore the fabric and wood finish shown.  I saw these chairs recently in Architectural Digest in a white finish which is preferred for my use.  I’m not set on a fabric, but I want four chairs to surround an octagonal table that is at the center of the salon.  The table itself is covered in a blue damask (below) with long white fringe or fabric tape cascading over.  The chairs would be at each corner, two facing the table to enjoy the lattice design all around, and two would face out to seating groupings on either side.  Does that make sense?

blue damask
the center of attention

This is similar to the table I have in mind.  A Herve van der Straeten light would hang above and precious objects and books would fill the top of the table.  Pink magnolia branches would be my choice for the season on the table and I would make sure the branches entangled with the branches found on the chandelier with the rock crystal point previously mentioned. 

James Nares painting

The work of James Nares is so simple, but I often think of it in my dream rooms.  This vibrant pink would be a bold choice for any of the rooms.

a pink bedroom

It was hard not to be inspired by Pauline de Rothschild’s own Paris bedroom from the 60’s when I was designing what would be my Paris home.  She had a version of the de Gournay hand-painted paper as seen here in her bedroom in a dark green with upholstery in white and pale blue…what a coincidence!  I want a pink guest room for some reason, and I may opt to not actually use a de Gournay paper as not to be too much of a copycat, but then again I might.

To sum up the elements of my Paris pad again:

-A palette of rich green, pale blue, tons of white, and accents of pink

-Antique french furnishings mixed with african and asian pieces

-Modern art and light fixtures by Herve van der Straeten

-Slipper chairs and classic english-arm chairs on casters mixed with a “Pauline” sofa

-Aged plaster walls in the salon and white-painted ones elsewhere; Phillip Jeffries wall coverings perhaps in a room or two

-Large topiary and bright pink fresh-cuts like peonies, poppies, anemones and flowering branches

-Much, much more!



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