Le Jardin d'Armide wall panel, 1855, from Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz
Antique wallpaper and paneling dealer Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz has the perfect solution for the winter blues: a summer room. "A large panel, such as this one, can set the whole tone for the design of the room," she says. "It's like a breath of fresh air."
Now the room Thibaut-Pomerantz has in mind might not have any windows and real plants, but an entire summer (or spring) environment can be created by hanging a panel like the one she was showing at the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris last month. "This one is exceptional because it was designed by Edouard Muller, known as the painter of roses and a great colorist. He hired botanists and they studied flowers to make sure the painting was realistic," she explains. "It is big, but it gives the illusion of a larger space, a bigger room, and you feel as though you're looking out over a garden. It takes you out from the four walls.
"They used more than 3,000 wood blocks to hand-print this paper, and it was printed only once, in 1855," she notes. "It is believed that only 50 copies were made because it was so costly, and three of them are in museums already." Thibaut-Pomerantz is asking 90,000 Euros for hers.
Thibaut-Pomerantz, who deals privately from her apartments in New York and in Paris, has seen two other Armide panels hung in very different residences. At the Gallier House in New Orleans, "it was in a cramped area and too difficult to see, which is a shame since the paper is such a work of art," she says. In a French chateau in the Jura region, however, "the panel was beautifully displayed and made the room look like a greenhouse."
Jardin d'hiver, at B.B. Steinitz
Thibaut-Pomerantz, who also sells select antique furniture, found the perfect complement for the Armide panel: a set of four Louis XVI painted tabourets with hinged tops that open up to become chairs with upholstered seats and backs. Painted a cream color and decorated with green laurels, the mid-18th century tabourets, when placed side by side, form a semi-circle, like a garden bench.
The winter blues were a welcome sight at the Biennale des Antiquaires booth of the famous French dealer Bernard Steinitz, who presented another antidote for gray days: the jardin d'hiver (above). Dubbed the Wedgewood room by New York interior designer Bunny Williams, who, like everyone else passing through the room, was captivated by its charm, Steinitz's garden pavilion has lattice walls, a trellis ceiling and round columns of latticework-all of it a winter blue. The cabinet de treillage, as it is called in Steinitz's comprehensive and beautifully illustrated catalogue book, was a free-standing structure in the late 18th-century, when it was built. Steinitz put the trellised garden pavilion indoors and added antique openwork paneling from a circa 1765 jardin d'hiver that belonged to the Rothschild family. He dressed up his pavilion by adding a winter blue satin fabric behind the trellis and the paneling and installing an 18th-century comblanchien limestone floor, creating a heavenly niche that could warm even the coldest soul.
Mayfield Tiverton StripeRosette Trellis
FolliesBasket ChenilleFlorian DamaskRosmar Denim
The fabric designers at Colefax and Fowler and Jane Churchill must have had spring on their minds as well when preparing their autumn and winter collections. While mulberry is the key new color at Jane Churchill this season, most of the fabrics were toned in winter blues, light greens and acquas, as represented above with Follies, Basket Chenille, Florian Damask and Rosmar Denim. Colefax and Fowler, which can always be relied upon for a range of very traditional English florals and toiles, also is offering a light palette for its autumn collection, which contains an extraordinary number of sheers and voiles, such as Rosette Trellis, and a stylized floral pattern, Mayfield.