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November, 2010:

The Bespoke Room

James Andrew at A. Schneller and Sons - photo by Justin Williams - click to enlarge.

As many of you may have gathered by now, I approach interior design in very much the same way a Savile Row tailor would construct a fine bespoke suit. Everything I do is highly considered, with each client’s comfort and delight being my ultimate aim.

Comfort for me is one of the greatest luxuries – a room must be inviting, and well laid out for its intended purpose. Once we’ve established function and point of view, we lay out a floor plan that will in turn determine the scale and proportion for the room’s furnishings, and one of the most important parts of this equation is the selection of the upholstered pieces – often these become the most utilized furnishings in a room, so comfort and livability are paramount.

I turn to my friends at A. Schneller to create the most comfortable and magnificent chairs, sofas, curtains, and other “soft furnishings” – Schneller truly is the interior designer’s equivalent of a Savile Row tailor I mentioned earlier. Every piece can be adjusted to my clients’ specifications for comfort and to the precise scale needed to fit within a particular floor plan.

The A. Schneller workroom and furniture gallery is filled with some of the most iconic models of chairs and sofas ever, with many designs having originating in their families workroom – of course their quiver includes a long list of modern takes on many other classics as well.

I recently created a mock room setting at A. Schneller for a client to help them visualize a grouping, pulling together a super chic collection of pieces for a small sitting room. The results I think are a rather stunning and a sophisticated mix of styles (see this enlarged image) – The Fort William sofa covered in brown satin sets the tone for this glamorous room and was originally designed by my mentor, Albert Hadley, and we’re using the “Hadley slipper chair as well. Across from the slipper chair is the “Ellis” chair and instead of a coffee table, I’m using the “Dogbone” ottoman – my client can then hold court while sitting on the very elegant “St Regis” chair.

Enjoying this lovely setting, I’m reclining on the “Dogbone” ottoman wearing a pieced cognac colored suede jacket, purple feather weight cashmere turtleneck sweater, wool check pants in browns and purple, python belt with silver double horse head buckle all by Gucci, Tom Ford saddle leather loafers and sunglasses, Valfrid leather tote by Hildestahl, and my fragrance is Creed Bois du Portugal.

J. P. Morgan’s Private Study

James Andrew at the J.P. Morgan Library. Photo Justin Williams

The esteemed Morgan Library has just completed a restoration of J. P. Morgan’s private library and study in the magnificent building designed for Morgan by the legendary firm McKim, Mead, and White. With a new lighting system beautifully illuminating all, one can truly appreciate every detail of this consummately opulent space, and it isn’t hard to understand why, upon its completion in 1906, Morgan’s private study was considered America’s single most beautiful room.

I think it’s time to bring back the red interior – courage, action, and vitality come to mind when considering a rich red color scheme – and certainly in such a room, one would be inspired to achieve one’s most outrageous dreams! It may be no coincidence that Diana Vreeland, David Hicks, and Carolyne Roehm, among many other major figures, all had or have ravishing red rooms. In any case, one cannot help but be inspired by Morgan’s room, and I’m sure your visit to see it in the flesh will have you thinking red too!

Basking in the rich history of this room, I’m feeling very much the modern day mogul, and for the occasion, I’m wearing a black wool flannel jacket and black and gray wool mini hounds tooth check pants both by Gucci, Richard James shirt in white and black cotton stripes with contrast white collar and French cuffs, Seaman Schepps black pearl cuff links, Ralph Lauren purple alligator belt with sterling buckle, Tom Ford cashmere and wool plaid tie in black and purple, grey and black silk polka dot pocket square by Turnbull and Asser, Tom Ford loafers in black and saddle leather my fragrance Creed’s Tabarome Millesime the essence of success. Photo by Justin Williams.

Scattered Light at Madison Square Park

James Andrew in Madison Square Park. photo Scott McBee.

The Madison Square Park Conservancy’s art program in it’s continued mission to keep the park a “…bright, beautiful, and lively…” place is now featuring three site specific installations by the new-media artist Jim Campbell.

“Scattered Light,” the centerpiece on Madison Square Park’s Oval Lawn, is a large scale eighty foot wide work, comprised of zillions of lights set on a deep three-dimensional grid, which flickers and yes “scatters” light as it appears to morph into undulating figurative forms. It’s a fascinating piece that captivated me on an evening stroll through this most glorious urban oasis. It might be just the thing to illuminate your otherwise dark and chilly Fall eve as well! Do have a look when you can.

Enjoying Campbell’s work I am sporting a tweed topcoat, yellow cashmere turtleneck sweater and cognac corduroy pants, orange suede loafers by Etro and my fragrance is Creed Windsor.