Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Designer I Love: Myra Hoefer

Exclusive preview:  The brilliant California designer Myra Hoefer is launching a captivating new collection of French-influenced decorative furniture, lighting and accessories. Called A La Reine, it is Fantastique!


Bravo, Myra Hoefer, for your chic and witty new furniture and lighting collection. I want them all.


Interior designer Myra Hoefer has a talent for making her fantasies come true. First she spent years designing astonishingly chic apartments for the Chez Vous apartment company in Paris.

Now she is launching her A La Reine furniture and lighting collection, all handcrafted in Vietnam by top craftsmen under the direction of a French design colleague of Myra’s. But first, let’s see how this dream of re-creating French-style furniture evolved. The story starts in Paris.

“I always dreamed of living and working in Paris, and a dozen years ago I worked first on the design of a friend’s apartment on avenue Beaumarchais, and then apartments all over Paris for Chez Vous,” said Hoefer.

Many of these glorious apartments were photographed by Deidi von Schaewen and published in the super-best-seller ‘Paris Style’, an Icon book by Taschen. I worked closely with Myra and Deidi on the Paris photography projects for this must-have style book. An apartment designed by Myra is on the cover of the book (shown here). The white-painted chairs and chic furniture captured in that cover shot are directly related to the A La Reine collection.

From her antiques-filled studio and small apartment on quiet rue des Tournelles in the Marais, Myra acquired antiques for her clients, and researched and sourced fabrics, furniture and accessories and worked with skilled craftsmen to make furniture and lighting. The idea of launching her furniture collection began. Her first pieces include a super-charming ‘goat leg’ bench, a ‘knot’ tabouret, and a handsome shell chandelier. Each is hand-carved and hand-lacquered.


Tabouret Chevre (goat bench)
Hand carved acacia wood goat legs, upholstered in Charolais white hair hide
21"H x 36"W x 17.75"D
$1,800

Coquille Chandelier
Iron frame, white finish, hand strung shells. All hand-assembled and crafted. Center electrical with candles.
42"H x 37"D
$2,200


Rope Stool
Hand carved acacia wood rope with Charolais white hair hide.
21"H x 15"W
$ 1,400


Eggshell lacquered box
Special traditional hand-crafted technique
14"W x 5"D x 7.5"H
$600


Classic handcrafted ceramic Jardinière
 in powder white antique glaze finish
37"H x 27"W
$1,400

This selection from the collection A la Reine by Myra is available through Myra Hoefer Design. On display at the showroom, Myra Hoefer Design, 309 Healdsburg Avenue in Healdsburg, California, or call MHD's office (707) 433-7837. Website www.myrahoeferdesign.com.

“It's a very busy schedule in Paris,” said Hoefer. “It was never one of those “stroll along the Champs-Elysees” kind of Paris trips. I worked until late each night, finding new resources, perfecting new designs, seeking out the best furniture makers.”

She kept an apartment in a handsome 18th-century building which surrounds a cobblestone courtyard and grand porte-cochere. She studied French style, French life, la vie Parisienne. She became a connoisseur of the finer aspects of French design, and French design history.

“My first apartment in Paris was in the former hayloft above stables,” said Hoefer. “I painted the walls a pale off-white color (called blanc casse in French), covered the floors in sea grass, and then found antique dining chairs, relaxed old armchairs, a big farmhouse dining table. It was French, updated, and given a casual California easy-breezy feeling. I loved it.” 

It’s an art to juggle Paris style and California sensibilities, and Hoefer found a balance and her focus. She infuses California rooms with exquisite French detail—but at home the rooms are not so precious that her grandchildren or her lively Jack Russell terriers are afraid to enter. Several of her interiors are in my books. Her Healdburg house is in ‘California Country Style’ published by Chronicle Books.


Gilt-edged, in the living room of her Healdsburg house, decorator Myra Hoefer displays her love of contrast--and a splash of gold. On an Italian console table she arrayed a French handcrafted lamp with a parchment shade. The mirror and carnival mask are Venetian. The ceramic stove is Dutch. A pair of Paris salon-style chairs is covered in pale taupe linen velvet.

“There’s a misconception that French design is up-tight and overly formal,” said Hoefer. “In fact, stylish French people live very comfortable lives with family heirlooms, new sofas and tables, flea market treasures, old things, and good art. They dislike that instant “decorated” look, and so do I. Rooms should be polished and well edited but not so predictable. My new furniture follows this credo. The pieces are unexpected and have an antique air.”

Hoefer also has a chic style shop on the plaza in Healdsburg that sells highly original collections of French antiques, contemporary sculptures, glamorous tableware, iron daybeds and a revolving door of Provencal props and rare Parisian décor.

A vignette from Myra Hoefer Design shows the white-painted furniture she loves—and the French influence that inspired her new furniture collection, A La Reine.



Her new A La Reine collection was directly inspired by her French life.
“In my daily rounds in Paris, I would see quirky painted antiques combined with simple functional sea grass matting, or voluptuous silk taffeta draperies and delicate Louis XVI-style painted chairs mixed with rustic iron chandeliers for Parisian panache,” said Hoefer, who is originally from Vancouver. “I’ve incorporated those lessons in my décor. I play with all kinds of contrasts in design for California houses. It’s the surprise, that juxtaposition of old with new, rough against smooth, or rustic with refined, that give design an edge. It becomes less precious and uptight. It makes a room more modern, not a period piece.”


Paris apartments by Myra Hoefer were given a ‘California fresh air’ treatment, with natural linen slipcovers, pale but cheerful colors, and lots of sunshine and open windows. Myra’s work in Paris, decorating eighteenth-century apartments, inspired her chic and lovely new furniture and lighting collection.

Hoefer’s Healdsburg, California, house is her homage to Paris. Pristine white linens and pewter candlesticks with lavish silk taffeta draperies, simple seagrass matting, and dog-friendly silken slipper chairs.

Perfectly at home with her provincial French work table and American pine cabinet are a Portuguese-style table, an Italian rococo console flecked with gold, and lavish landscapes. The new A La Reine pieces fit right in. 

"My furniture designs and my interiors are energized by both Paris and California," said Hoofer, whose daughters Gina Gattuso and Lisa North work for her design company, Myra Hoefer Design. "Visits to Paris always inspired my design eye. Paris and the South of France are a constant education. The classic architecture, the tonalities and textures of limestone, the playful and elegant decor, the richness of French design history, all enrich my design education. I find vintage fabrics for pillows, or discover new chandelier designs or a lamp-maker. I love it. Now I am pouring those ideas into my new furniture, lighting and collection."

More furniture and accessories designs for A La Reine are in the works.
It’s a bold and imaginative move—and I can’t wait to see the new carved wood ‘topiaries’, and elegant glazed ceramics, the eggshells boxes and carved and painted furniture yet to come.

Bravo, Myra. I wish you great good fortune with A La Reine.





A room designed by Myra Hoefer for the San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2009 demonstrated the color tonalities she loved: taupe, grey, and greige, with splashes of white plaster and paint.


Photo credits:

All product photography by Myra Hoefer and Myra Hoefer Design, used with permission.

A selection of Myra Hoefer-designed rooms include the pale lichen-walled and silk-curtained Ivy House, Myra Hoefer’s residence in Healdsburg, photographed by David Livingston, San Francisco. Paris apartments were photographed by Deidi von Schaewen, Paris. Used with express permission.

San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2009 room and vignette with white table photographed by Myra Hoefer Design, used with permission.

24 comments:

Tavarua said...

Diane,
Thank you very kindly for your comments. Inspiration, inspiration, inspiration - It is always pleasing to read your blog. It is written with pure passion, beauty and elegance as you let your readers travel in spirit into a enchanting land of creativity. You are guiding them in to a future, a future in classic style luxury and success - the way life should be lived - it is a state of mind - with their imagination as the palette the reader can paint a visual canvas of a life well lived.

Cheers,
"Tavarua"

Francine Gardner said...

I REALLY ENJOYED READING ABOUT MARIA HOEFER, SHE IS EXTREMELY TALENTED AND HAS REALLY CAPTURE THE FRENCH FEELING.
I AGREE WITH YOU THAT PEOPLE HAVE SUCH A MISCONCEPTION OF THE FRENCH LIFESTYLE. THIS IS ONE OF THE REASON WHY I STARTED TO WRITE A BLOG SO THAT CLIENTS OF MY INTERIEURS SHOWROOM WOULD GRAB THE SUBTLETIES OF FRENCH STYLE.

pretty pink tulips said...

Oh, what an exciting preview!! I love the photos of the showhouse - as they demonstrate how well she works with those tones!

All my best,
Elizabeth

Madina Aryeh said...

Fantastic post! I had a pleasure of meeting Myra only once, but she struck me as a wonderful person- very relaxed, kind, friendly and approachable. No surprise that I felt a connection with her: people who love terriers always have at least one thing in common :)

for the love of a house said...

I have been a huge fan of Myra's for years! Loved this post. So much talent, and then to be married to such an amazing artist- oh the life!!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Tavarua-I am so delighted to hear from you. I'm listening to BBC Radio 3, with prom concerts and Handel and Dvorak and other classical greats.
Thank you so much for your insightful comments. Yes, classicisim--in architecture, in design, in fashion, in writing, in photography--is an on-going passion of mine and a constant theme. I am taken with beauty and harmony and balance...classicism, indeed. It does not preclude moderisnm--which at its best now (Loos, etc) is pure and at the same time humane and warm (see the Andrew Batey architecture story in archive). I hope your travels take you to safe harbors and fields new.

Hello, Francine: Myra Hoefer took California to Paris-- and brought back a fresh take on Paris to California. Her own house (I am visiting this weekend) is shown in the feature (grey walls) and has a relaxed but very chic feeling.

Hello, Pretty! Yes, I agree that her colors are uplifting and lovely and at once classical and modern and very right for today. There is nothing trendy in her work, and I spend time in rooms of hers that are ten or twelve or more years old and they look very fresh and wonderful.

Hi Madina--Myra in indeed a wonderful person and her clients love her. Dogs: at time she has lived with as many as 6 Jack Russells (not always well-behaved (chewing seagrass carpet), but they do love the spotlight)...and they do seem to respect her silk velvet sofas! Her rooms are always spick and span--clean and crisp and beautifully maintained--and highly comfortable and lovely to spend time in.
Cheers, dear friends, DIANE

katiedid said...

Diane,
I have been going back through each of your glorious blog posts and the work each of these designers could indeed fill a book!

I love Myra Hoefer's work and was lucky to visit her shop often when my mother lived in Healdsburg years ago. I look forward to seeing all of her lovely new furniture designs!

Square With Flair™ said...

These beautiful pieces express several important trends in current design…comfort, the use of white and pale neutrals, distressed upholstery, historic details that have been updated, and simplicity.

I am reminded of the Chanel spring/summer 2010 collection by Karl Lagerfeld. It was inspired by Marie Antoinette at her farm, away from the constraints of court life. In it he used burlap (deluxe faux burlap, it was really linen), straw, wicker, wheat, wood, and other casual, countrified materials.

So often, there is something in the air, the spirit of the times, that seems appropriate, and the style and influences can be seen in the works of various designers in different areas be it fashion, interior design, architecture or any other form of creativity.

The tabouret with hooved legs (Tabouret Chèvre) is a particularly wonderful piece, derivative of Louis XVI furniture that used farm animal motifs and embellishments, but simplified for today.

Interesting post. Fascinating and very sophisticated designs.

Also, enjoyed the interview with you on 'The Skirted Roundtable.' I chuckled when you described your writing as,“…somewhat, occasionally quite good.” All of us would consider it, “Consistently very good.” I’m sure listeners are now looking forward to images of the Michael Taylor work at the White House.

You mentioned your own personal interiors being ivory and white. It seems that designers and those in the design world are drawn to this, myself included. Perhaps it is because we are stimulated by colours and design all day, and we want refreshment for the eye in our private lives.

Listening to you talk about travel, design, writing, and your passions was most inspirational. Very true about doing research before traveling (like Michael Kors suggested). What a way to extend the experience and get the maximum return. I found your advice on writing a blog invaluable.

And now I know that “Saeks” rhymes with cakes!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Hi Katie- Lovely to hear from you. Yes, wouldn't that be wonderful, a book of profiles of designers. I would love it.
Healdsburg and Myra: She is an incredibly talented and inspiring designer and her work has been in so many of my books, almost from the start. Her rooms are always superbly styled and absolutely camera-ready (see the pictures and see 'Paris Style' cover) and cohesive and taken to a beautiful polish. many young designers starting out can learn from her work.Her styling is fantastic...always original, old books, quirky pieces, not all new. I hope to see you soon...perhaps at Gump's next party!

Good Evening Square with Flair--you know I have a special place in my heart for my lovely Canadian readers...so literate and generous. Thank you. Merci!
I'm so pleased you liked the podcast! It was great fun to chat to Joni and friends...and now thousands of people have heard it. I've been a writer since I was five years old (I edited a children's magazine when I was thirteen) and writing is such a pleasure for me, always aiming to get it right.
Ivory and white: My rooms are light-filled and airy and fresh and smell lovely...and they are ivory and white with lots of books, really lots, and hand-plastered white walls and all-day light. They're wonderful to spend time in.
I love your comments and your generosity. So very kind of you. Yes, Saeks rhymes with cakes. Delicious!
SWF--do stay in touch. I love your light humor and your generosity and insights. Most wonderful.
cheers, DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Hi Katie- Lovely to hear from you. Yes, wouldn't that be wonderful, a book of profiles of designers. I would love it.
Healdsburg and Myra: She is an incredibly talented and inspiring designer and her work has been in so many of my books, almost from the start. Her rooms are always superbly styled and absolutely camera-ready (see the pictures and see 'Paris Style' cover) and cohesive and taken to a beautiful polish. many young designers starting out can learn from her work.Her styling is fantastic...always original, old books, quirky pieces, not all new. I hope to see you soon...perhaps at Gump's next party!

Good Evening Square with Flair--you know I have a special place in my heart for my lovely Canadian readers...so literate and generous. Thank you. Merci!
I'm so pleased you liked the podcast! It was great fun to chat to Joni and friends...and now thousands of people have heard it. I've been a writer since I was five years old (I edited a children's magazine when I was thirteen) and writing is such a pleasure for me, always aiming to get it right.
Ivory and white: My rooms are light-filled and airy and fresh and smell lovely...and they are ivory and white with lots of books, really lots, and hand-plastered white walls and all-day light. They're wonderful to spend time in.
I love your comments and your generosity. So very kind of you. Yes, Saeks rhymes with cakes. Delicious!
SWF--do stay in touch. I love your light humor and your generosity and insights. Most wonderful.
cheers, DIANE

Boxwood Terrace said...

Hi Diane - Myra Hoefer's interiors are fabulous. I'm beginning to think she may have been featured many years ago in Victoria Magazine of all places (?). I seem to remember a piece they did about a designer who relocated to Paris and they featured her small, but charming Paris apartment. I hope this is correct and if not, please forgive my rambling. Ms. Hoefer's website is a visual treat and I keep going back to look at the photos again and again.
Deborah

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

HI DEBORAH-

Your memory is correct.
Myra has been a favorite of design editors for some time, and did indeed appear In Victoria--the Domino of its day. She's been in Veranda several times.
She is in many of my books--including California Country Style and I think Caliornia Wine Country ...and others, I imagine.
She has a fantastic spirit. I am going to visit her on the weekend and I'm looking forward to that. She is so happy with this feature.
Lovely to hear from you.
cheers, DIANE

mary said...

Thank you for highlighting this amazingly talented and courageous woman-- I had seen her published designs over the years and was immediately attracted to her rooms. The balance and scale of French rooms is not easy to master and then to bring it to California without the issues of scale that so often evolve in California rooms is a true gift.

A Super Dilettante said...

My dear, it's amazing how you could find these talented individuals. I'm charmed by your description of French rooms being decorated in the middle of California. I like her style - a combination of elegance and audacity. Talking about elegance and France, Charlotte Rampling, my idol, as you know, recently said in her interview in The Sunday Times magazine, "France is an elegant country. England is not. It may have lots of other things. But it is not elegant". Interesting statement...but can France be as eccentric and ecletic as England?

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Hi Mary-
I love your art and antiques company! You have a wonderfully understated aesthetic and beautiful pieces.
You are right that Myra is a courageous woman--and there any many qualities about her I admire. To see her at work installing a room, styling, making the curtains just right, making the perfect placement, is to see a brilliant woman at her best. You are right that she gets the scale right--an innate talent.
Do stay in touch.

Hi Super Dilettante! I am listening to Radio 3. Some of this year's prom concerts in the Albert Hall have been thrilling, listening live, here on the other side of the world.
Rampling! The name alone has thrilled many men...it sounds so naughty. She is correct, I think. It is not English design's goal to be elegant...it is to be appropriate, to be grand, to be comfortable, to be witty or quirky, original, to be correct, and to be historically and correctly English. She has lived in France now most of her life. I think she is accurate. Though...eccentric I adore.
Grand, lords and ladies do room decor well. Look at the rooms at Chatsworth, especially the ones lived in today. Charm is a fine English quality, too. I think they are all captivating...and all of these qualities, done well, lead to glorious rooms. For that reason...I always count down the days until WOL arrives. What a feast.
I hope you are feasting and savoring! Have a wonderful week, dear TSD!
cheers, DIANE

Shannon Fricke said...

Great post. And a wonderful blog.

Tina Steele Lindsey said...

So exquisite, thank you so much for putting the icing on my morning.

little augury said...

Diane, yes I agree another great designer presented to us on you SS pages. What sets her apart in a Ca. lifestyle room / Paris- Is that subtle punctuation of color, a glossy surface or a gilded venetian mask. It is all lovely and I am into that tabouret. Gaye

*Chic Provence* said...

HI Diane, thank you for this introduction to Myra Hoefer, she is incredibly talented and interesting. I can imagine her home is wonderful! Great preview of a promising line derived from the classicism of French and the freshness of California design traditions.

Gorgeous post!

a bientot!

Kit

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

HI SHANNON-Hello, in Australia. I lived in Sydney and wrote for Vogue Living some years ago. Very happy place. I lived in Woollahra, In Sydney. The neighborhood still looks the same--only the trees, very handsome sycamores, are bigger. Do stay in touch.

Hi Patricia Gaye Tapp--trust you to always see beyond beyond and have true insight into design. I think you are a design psychic...so acute is your vision.
Yes, you are right about the lovely concepts that are essential in good design--juxtaposition and counterpoint--smooth and rough, white and black, gold and burlap, refined and rough...and old and new. It is in all her rooms...and in essence in her collection. Yes, I adore the tabouret...it would be a faithful companion for your life. Fondest to you, D

Hi Kit--Bonjour...yes, when you are next in Healdsburg you must make an appoointment to see Myra. She is a wonderful spirit--and her house and studio and shop are most inspiring.
Loved your recent posts...and though of you at the yoghurt shop yesterday.
fondest, D

CHEERS TO ALL--and do stay in touch, DIANE

Anonymous said...

O'Myra! An eye for beauty from the day she was born. Everywhere she goes, she creates beauty. She is the indomitable spirit of creativity and decor. A chicken coop becomes a cottage. A cottage becomes a castle. Only my sister, Myra, has that ability! O'Myra!

serena at the urban farmhouse said...

I just found your wonderful blog and have so enjoyed learning more about one of my favorite local designers! Thank you for letting us know about her furniture line. A drive to Healdsburg is in order! I'm also a huge fan of her husband Wade's paintings!
Serena

shiree segerstrom said...

Myra has been a favorite of mine for quite some time. Her sense of color is so inspiring. I so enjoy her store in Healdsburg when I'm there. Shiree'

the polished pebble said...

I truly love her work as well! She seems to know when to stop, which is hard to do sometimes!

~kelley