Five Star Review and Book Giveaway of Fifth Avenue Style by Howard Slatkin
It is a pleasure to review and offer a free book to one of my readers of Interior Designer, Howard Slatkin’s New York apartment Fifth Avenue Style. Not only is it filled with creativity, artistry and craftsmanship, but practical ideas for organizing the working parts of a home. According to Howard, “This interest in the inner workings of a home is the genesis of the book in your hands, and perhaps an integral part of the success I have been fortunate to have had as an interior designer. A home doesn’t run smoothly and effortlessly unless all these service areas are well planned.”
It is a visually beautiful book. Tria Giovan’s excellent photography captures the exquisite details, and lighting which is Howard’s obsession. Another purpose of the book is to show the inspiration for the rooms and the choices, decisions and what he would do differently today, hoping that the reader will benefit from his process and be inspired to follow your dream for your home. I so enjoyed that aspect of the book. His design philosophy “is that rooms should be deeply personal; make yourself comfortable in them, and others will be too.” Another reason for the book was to create a record of what was done and most importantly what a group of superbly talented artisans achieved. That there are craftsmen today who are committed to beauty and quality with the skills and talent to create it. He is a patron for all those in the field of the decorative arts.
I love the organization of the book. It is like a personal tour beginning with getting off the elevator into the Elevator Vestibule with panels made from an eighteenth-century Chinese black lacquer screen that had serious water damage. A visit to Monplaisir, Peter the Great’s summer palace in Peterhof, where an amazing Chinese-style room with gilt-decorated black lacquer panels inset in moldings was his inspiration of his vestibule. He refers to sources of inspiration as a point of departure (POD) which gets him going on the design for the space. The floor is incredible. It was inspired by the floor in Empress Maria Feodorovna’s bedroom at Pavlovsk outside of St. Perersburg. It was done by Alexander (Sasha) Solodukho.
Chinese Room in Monplaisir
Empress Bedroom Pavlovsk Palace
From the Vestibule you enter the Gallery. One of my favorite rooms.
His POD for the design was the early-nineteenth-century French scenic wallpaper panels that he found at a Paris antique dealer. The book has many beautiful photographs of this space along with background information about all the details that went into creating it. The apartment had no ornamentation or architectural details. Everything was designed and created by Howard and his team of artists and craftsmen. This also included all the fabrics most of which were also embroidered.
The ornament used to create this space is beautiful. As an inspiration for us, here is a similar ornament from Decorators Supply which is on the doors.
The Living Room, which was quite small in the original apartment, was combined with an adjoining sitting room to create a light filled room overlooking Central Park. However, it resulted in a long, narrow room which he remedied with painting the eighteenth-century oak parquet wood floor he found in Paris a color similar to the boiserie paneling. The floor was installed upside down because he did not want to destroy the original honey-colored finish and he preferred “the unfinished underside’s rougher, more textural surface”.
The living room niche was another remedy for the ‘bowling alley’ feeling of the long room.
The Library has embossed leather panels with horizontal and vertical strapwork borders which he commissioned. The book has great closeups of the walls. Love the Louis XIV style pilasters inset with patinated mirrors.
The Dining Room’s POD was Raphael’s Loggia at the Vatican which was copied at the Hermitage and also the interior of his favorite restaurant, Le Grand Vefour in Paris.
Here is his inspiration, Le Grand Vefour, which is said to have the most beautiful, romantic dining room in Paris.
To enter the drawing for this wonderful book please like this blog post on Facebook and send me a comment by Thursday, November 21.