Thursday, October 15, 2009
The Sumptuous Style of Suzanne Tucker
Carolyne Roehm and Suzanne Tucker at Christie's. (Photo: Gregory Partanio)
The other night I stopped in at Christie's in Rockefeller Center for a party for the California decorator Suzanne Tucker who has just published a lavish new book called Rooms to Remember.
Carolyne Roehm was there and I said hello to New York designer Bunny Williams who I interviewed years ago for Architectural Digest. Her office at the time was in the 60's off Fifth Avenue, and it was one of the most amazing rooms I have ever been in – a fantastic mix of impressive antiques but still very comfortable and familiar.
The author and designer Suzanne Tucker lives and works in San Fransisco. As she explains in her book, she signed on in the 80's as the assistant to designer Michael Taylor who really invented the "California style" – upholstered white furniture, bare floors, nature brought indoors with rocks and trees, and an overall open, airy, light feeling. After he died in 1986, she and a partner purchased his business.
This book showcases her work and covers a range of grand houses including a Tuscan villa in the Sonoma Hills, an Arts and Crafts home in the mountains, a French Provence-inspired villa outside of San Fransisco, and a charming, historical Edwardian house. Gleaming antiques, sophisticated colors, tactile materials and rich fabrics like silks and velvets create a rarefied level of luxe.
A graphic Jim Dine drawing hangs over an eighteenth-century Chinese altar table.
(Photos: The Monacelli Press)
The simple lines of an Italian neoclassical walnut settee contrast with a swirling arabesque iron railing.
A completely romantic green and white French toile covers the walls of a guest bedroom as well as the nineteenth-century beds.
A European cloister, complete with a tile roof and ivy, was added to a 1920s house to create an outdoor dining pavilion.
I was really taken with the scale of these houses – very large rooms, very high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows. One client said to Suzanne, "Design a house that I can get lost in." We don't see a lot of that here on the isle of Manhattan, but it's fun to look at how some other people live. I like the idea behind Suzanne Tucker's book: Think Big.