Images and quotes via Architectural Digest
I have tried. I have tied to find the beauty in clean lines, simplified prints, the "marriage" between form and function, "pops of color", understated knick-knacks and of course chairs made of unexpected materials which "challenge" our notion of a chair (reminds me of the tedious discussion of Plato's forms from PHI 101, i.e. "so, what is a chair?"). The reason I tried is because I believe, deep down, that things should be practical. In practice however, I rarely have/do something in a strictly practical way. I would pile on examples of unpractical shoes, clothes, hobbies and food but I trust, dear reader, that you have an imagination. There is a great tirade on the issue on Chintz of Darkness. For me though, it isn't just a matter of taste. I think interiors that are not purely practical, more accurately mirror the reality of life, which is seldom purely practical. Therefore, they are in a way, more compatible with day to day life, while purely practical interiors belong to the world of ideals. Personally, I have ideals, but I appreciate the world of things I can see, smell, hear, taste and touch, just as much. That doesn't mean I always prefer antiques either. I am somewhat inspired to do a blog post about great contemporary chairs.
Besides that, you just don't get as many fun stories with Ikea furniture and it's high-end counterparts. It's true that there are stories in the modern furniture from the 1960's and 70's but it's still to recent for them to have acquired that nostalgia patina. If all these things (in these pictures) were assembled merely as an exercise in simple collecting, the argument could be made that it is no trace of practicality here, but, "“All these things are not just to be admired,” Remilleux [the owner and decorator] explains. “You can sit in that chair, and you can place a drink on that table. This is not a museum—it is alive.”" It makes me really happy that the neo-gothic chairs above are actually used for sitting.
"...what rivets the French television producer is the way such pieces bear eloquent witness to a moment in time: how an ormolu mount evidences the touch of a master craftsman’s chisel or how the covered boxes stored inside a centuries-old Chinese-lacquer cartonnier recall the documents a courtier would have kept in them, reflecting a relationship far more refined than that between a modern-day executive and her metal file cabinet."
Someday the executive's file cabinet might come to represent something special, but it just doesn't yet. The file cabinet will not have any traces of the art nouveau-era actress (the muse of Alphonse Mucha), cross-dressing as Napoleon. It is really hard to imagine exactly how the file cabinet will capture the imaginations of our descendants.
"There were a few later amendments made by the aristocratic Chabrillan family, its longtime owners, such as the evocative 1842 private theater where, in 1900, Sarah Bernhardt rehearsed her cross-dressing star turn as Napoléon’s son in the Edmond Rostand play L’Aiglon. But for the most part Digoine was dans son gôut, or in its original state, embodying all the glories of the ancien régime as well as many of its drawbacks."
"One of the rooms in the first-floor enfilade is an apricot chamber devoted to Marie Antoinette, where paintings of the tragic royal—including an Alexandre Kucharsky image of her mourning her guillotined husband—gaze down on signed Jacob chairs and a candy-color Robert Adam demilune cabinet. And in the tower salon looms a 1665 Nicasius Bernaerts portrait of a melancholy mastiff named Tambon, who belonged to a duc de Vendome."
I was curious about the Alexandre Kucharsky Marie Antoinette painting and the room. I think this might be it. I really like the idea of a Marie Antoinette themed "chamber".