Monday, July 25, 2016

Thank You to My Fabulous Readers for Seven Fantastic Years of The Style Saloniste: July 2009-July 2016

THE STYLE SALONISTE is celebrating seven wonderful years—of design and style, adventures, divine new books too numerous to mention, interiors, designers, ideas, exploration, exclusive stories, architects, travels near and far, and a surreal ball or two, inspiring talents, and talented people too fabulous to mention. All with the encouragement and support and enthusiasm of the world’s greatest subscribers and members and readers.

Thank you. I love hearing from you—and I love our great community of ideas, inspiration, imagery and news that has joined and embellished the journey. 

Thank you to my fantastic readers and friends and far-away fans and stylish enthusiasts in 149 countries around the world.

I send you a million thanks for your loyalty, wit, enthusiasm and encouragement, and passion for style and design and travel. I appreciate every one of you.

Bouquets and beauty for my wonderful readers.

I’m sending you flowers—styled by the great Lewis Miller and photographed by my great friend, Don Freeman. From their new book, ‘Styling Nature’ (Rizzoli).

I am honored to have the best and most talented subscribers and followers. THE STYLE SALONISTE also has thousands of Facebook friends and Pinterest pinners and Instagramers, along with Tweeters, emailers, message-writers and readers all over the world. 

I write each blog post each week to inspire my friends to travel and draw and sketch and read and enjoy art and opera and ballet and great people.

It’s my goal to surprise, perhaps shock a little in a good way, and to delight, inspire, inform, entertain, and thrill. 

I love to take you to the opera, for an advance look at the new ballet season, or for an exclusive delve into armfuls of new books, to swoon over SFMOMA’s exciting architecture and art collections, to cruise a new exhibit, to discover a gallery, to sleep in a new hotel in Florence, or take a trip through the forests near Pisa with a pair of handsome truffle hunters and their little white dog.

After seven years, THE STYLE SALONISTE has a worldwide audience of curious, passionate, stylish, talented, philanthropic, creative and excited readers. Cheers and cheers. I send my gratitude.

I cross oceans to write books, and venture (throw myself) into the unknown, to learn and experience, and to meet vivid, sparky, lively and brilliant people.

I jump on planes and sleep at 35,000 feet above the Atlantic to excite my brain and senses. I find, in an obscure book, a story about ‘Baroque sixteenth-century chapels in the Andes’ and I’m booking flights. I read in an English gardening magazine about a fantastic garden in Derbyshire or Wiltshire, and I’m on a plane.

I hear about seventeenth-century mansions in a remote corner of Goa, India, and I’m on my way, driver booked. I learn of a little-visited UNESCO site, or a remote palace in Rajasthan, and I’m sending emails to Ramesh, my driver in Jaipur.

My grandparents gave me my family’s beautiful old gold-embossed set of ‘Lands and Peoples’ encyclopiedias when I was about five. Images of the Himalayas and the Andes and Indian palaces, ruins in Greece and Peru, and folkloric costumes and temples and palaces from remote regions are still vivid in my imagination.

My travel posts — palaces in Goa, truffle hunting in Florence, the mansions of Chettinad, climbing Macchu Pichu, exploring Baroque chapels in the Andes, flying in a ‘gondola’ across the rainforest canopy in Ecuador, and gazing at the Ponte Vecchio from my hotel window — have been among my most popular stories and images.

I love reader comments and feedback.

I’m always touched when you tell me, “You have inspired me to be brave and travel alone,” and “I’m booking to go to Goa right away” and “Heading to Cuzco in September, thanks to you.”

I have more great travel stories in the next weeks. You will love…new places, new small hotels, and more Baroque. I love it.

Stay tuned…and please, this evening, join me in a little toast to seven years of THE STYLE SALONISTE, and many more.

Keep reading!

Brian Dittmar — Special Thanks to THE STYLE SALONISTE Art Director, for Seven Years of Elegant and Refined Design

THE STYLE SALONISTE is a team of two.

Brian Dittmar, the blog art director extraordinaire from its inception, is an interior designer with devoted clients around the US.

Brian, each week makes my text and selected images look polished, cohesive and brilliant.

It has been such a great pleasure to work with Brian—who also designed the blog masthead, which I love. Lisa Boquiren introduced us.

At the same time, it has been a great thrill to see Brian’s interior design career flourish, evolve, and become even more textured, layered and refined.

Bravo, Brian, and a million thanks for beautifully polished design—both for THE STYLE SALONISTE and your exciting client roster.

See Brian’s contacts/website below.

Brian Dittmar at home with his beloved pug, Freddie.

Thoughts on Travel and Inspiration


“One afternoon in the early 70s, in Paris, I went to see the architect and designer Eileen Gray, who at the age of ninety-three thought nothing of a fourteen-hour working day. She lived on the rue Bonaparte, and in her salon hung a map of Patagonia, which she had painted in gouache.

“I’ve always wanted to go there,” I said. 

“So have I,” she added. “Go there for me.” I went.

Now I am thinking of settling down. Eileen Gray’s map is hanging in my London apartment. But the future is tentative.”

—From ‘Anatomy of Restlessness’, by Bruce Chatwin (Viking 1996)

Special Thanks

Thank you, also, to all of the photographers and artists who have given me permission to present their original work on THE STYLE SALONISTE. I am truly grateful. 

Thank you to the many wonderful designers and architects whose work I’ve presented, and to the jewelers, the great creators, writers, artists, painters, travelers, fashion designers, poets, thinkers, and the daring and articulate people I admire.


All flower images are by the great New York photographer, Don Freeman. They were published in the glorious book, ‘Styling Nature’ by Manhattan floral designer, Lewis Miller. The book was published by Rizzoli. The images are beautiful and inspiring. Exquisite.

Photography above is published with permission from Rizzoli.


Brian Dittmar
Brian Dittmar Design
355 Buena Vista Avenue East
San Francisco CA 94117

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Designer I Love: Jan Showers — Defining Modern Glamour

Dallas interior designer launched the Jan Showers Collection in 1999, with a superbly edited selection of timeless chairs, sofas, banquettes, screens, tables and mirrors. I love her neoclassical chairs and handsome credenzas, and I covet her glamorous Murano-crafted glass table lamps in shimmering colors like azure, peony, amethyst, emerald, turquoise, and lavender, and white with 22kt gold. They’re jewelry for rooms, pure glamour.

Come with me this week to meet Jan and enjoy the refined silhouettes and the subtle joys of her designs.

Chic Texas interior designer, Jan Showers, says she is influenced by the history of design, especially French classical motifs. She is also inspired by her passion for art, architecture, fine antiques, and vintage pieces.

Jan has also described her on-going inspirations from decorators Billy Baldwin, Francis Elkins and David Hicks.

I admire her habit of editing and fine-tuning each design, so that through her unique sensibility, she creates a modern definition of glamour and style.

Jan knows her design history. Louis XVI and Paris salon-style elegance are two of her eras of reference. Wallis Simpson and Elsie de Wolfe have caught her eye, along with Syrie Maugham. The artful and refined combination of these Influences is evident in her polished and graceful interiors as well as her popular collections.

Dallas-based Jan has written two books — ‘Glamorous Rooms’ and ‘Glamorous Retreats’ both published by Abrams. ‘Glamorous Rooms is now in its eighth printing.

Jan’s interiors and décor for clients throughout the US display diverse styles and decorative preferences but always understatement, discipline, and freshness. 

“Understatement is the most glamorous statement of all.” — Jan Showers

“Choosing and designing furniture and accessories designs that mix with different interiors, from traditional to modern—that is my ongoing pleasure and my real inspiration.” — Jan Showers

Jan Showers has worked on several successful collaborations. She designed a collection of custom-made cowhide rugs for Kyle Bunting and loves to work on new designs for Kyle Bunting’s colorful hides. In 2014 Jan designed a ceramic lighting collection in collaboration with ceramist Paul Schneider, as well as a collection of Oushak rugs for Moattar, Ltd.

“One should look and feel great in their rooms, otherwise, why bother?” — Jan Showers

“We believe that good interior design is a discipline and an art form. Our design team has been trained in many aspects of design, art and architecture and can work with a variety of styles. We believe in a partnership between the designer and the client through a collaborative process.” — Jan Showers

Jan Showers Books 

Both books are published by Abrams. ‘Glamorous Rooms’ 2009. ‘Glamorous Retreats’ which is now in its 8th printing, was published in 2013.

Jan Showers Collection

Jan Showers Collection is represented in 8 showrooms across the U.S.

The David Sutherland Showroom

Michael Taylor Collections
Los Angeles
San Francisco
New York



Jeff McNamara Photography


Jan Showers & Associates
1308 Slocum Street
Dallas, TX 75207


Monday, July 11, 2016

The Power of Elegance: Jean-Louis Deniot Designs a Chic and Sensual New 91-Piece Collection for Baker

Jean-Louis Deniot’s refinement and understated opulence are evident in each sexy silhouette.

Come with me this week for a close-up look at this dramatic new direction for Baker. It’s an astonishing achievement, with Deniot’s bold and focused vision backed up by Baker’s superb craftsmanship and direction.

Jean-Louis speaks of his inspirations, the beloved friends who encouraged his debut and design work, his concepts for Baker, and the global scope of his ideas. His words are personal, uplifting, and insightful.

Join us for an exclusive, very insider visit. 

Jean-Louis Deniot’s collection includes couture-quality upholstered pieces, with the contrast and juxtaposition of chic cocktail tables that are like jewelry in a room.

Then there is an alluring collection of lighting that includes Murano glass and (perfect for compulsive collectors of ‘must-have’ pieces) the deft and artful selection of alabaster. The sculptural table lamps are divine. Oh…and pay attention to the modern table bases.

Metal frames for cabinets and tables stand in dramatic juxtaposition with languid chairs and sleek dining chairs.

Prized Pieces, Global Directions

Baker gave Jean-Louis Deniot carte blanche for the entire collection and he started with a presentation of more than 300 sketches.

“I was so impressed with Baker’s open-minded approach,” he said. “No restrictions, no precise aesthetic expectations. This is really surprising when you stop and think about it.”

Deniot approached the project with his usual discipline and precision.

“Before I started the design, I asked to see their best sellers and their average and standard measurements so my designs were in harmony with Baker's standard proportions,” said Deniot. “I wanted to make sure that my line would reflect the Baker DNA and that it could mix easily with all previous Baker collections.”

Baker’s International Market

“With this first collection, I had to create a diverse line which would suit many different clients’ profiles, foreign markets and countries,” said Deniot. “I had to make sure this line would be as successful in the US as it would be in Paris or South America, Europe, Russia, South Africa, The Emirates, China, Indonesia, Japan.

I think I have been able to create a collection which will please every market. The pieces are like chameleons, and they blend or stand out depending on the finishes clients choose. Each market and each person has the opportunity to order the materials and finishes and aesthetic that perfectly suit their preferences and environment.”

—Jean-Louis Deniot, July 2016 

Mutual Admiration

“Baker and I are a perfect match, I could not dream of a better collaboration. I discovered Baker when I started to spend a lot of time in New York, about sixteen years ago. I was amazed by the showroom at the design center. It felt larger than life, very generous, and was commercially very appealing and attractive. I often specified pieces by Barbara Barry or Jacques Garcia or Thomas Pheasant for Baker. For about a decade it has been at the back of my mind to create a line for Baker. I did not expect it would happen this quickly, but I am thrilled. The company’s heritage of craftsmanship, the knowledge and the Baker legacy are admirable. I’m already working on new pieces.”

—Jean-Louis Deniot, Paris, July 2016

The Beauty of Texture and Finishes

“The unique details of the collection are in the perfection of the metallic finishes, like the little caps ‎on the armchairs’ legs, the antiquing, the shine… each and every piece has gone through extensive review. I wanted to spend time making sure we got the exact right proportions and balance.

The geometric veneer table tops’ random patterns ‎are enhanced depending on the light. They can look completely plain, and then with the different directions of the wood grain, they become extremely vibrant and playful under different light. I love the subtlety in certain pieces, and what a different aesthetic they can take on depending on the time of day, natural light versus candlelight or electric light in the evening.”

—Jean-Louis Deniot, Paris, July 2016

French Designer, French Inspiration

“France has been one of the main ‘engines’ of interior style throughout history. French style is all about the right compositions, the right amount of ingredients, balance and fine-tuning. A simultaneous sense of grandeur and of deeply sophisticated simplicity is what’s best about French design. I love the 17th, 18th and 20th-century French design, as these centuries were very pure in their styles and larger than life atmosphere. French history and French refinement and originality are always references for me.”

—Jean-Louis Deniot, July 2016

Elegance is Refusal

“I’m not trendy and my designs are never ‘of-the-moment’. And notably, Baker is not a gimmicky brand although it has always reflected new directions. Baker has made its reputation with very serious and respected furniture that people keep all their life. That was my starting point with this collection. Baker is solid. It represents quality, longevity, and all products are made by the best artisans in the US and in Italy. Baker is timeless. It has proven its exceptional presence in the furniture business through its longevity.”

—Jean-Louis Deniot, July 2016

The Intellectual Designer Who Is Also a Sensualist

“Going into a collection, a designer is hyper-aware that so many ideas have already been done. There is the constant challenge to create something that does not already exist, but it must be realistic and something new that people will actually buy.

I believe a designer must have design strength and confidence, and should not be hyper-self-conscious.

Baker gave me a fantastic team and as well all the tools. The Baker executives invested so much confidence, joy and energy into developing this brand new line.

For me, ultimately, inspiration comes from a place of curiosity and danger. As a designer I must be really curious to explore, with ideas and concepts coming from within and from your environment, which lead you to take risks.

There is no good design without excitement.”

—Jean-Louis Deniot, July 2016

Personal Expression

“All of the pieces in my collection are for custom order, and I’ve edited a selection of finishes and metals and materials that are versatile and timeless. A person in Hong Kong may prefer the lighter wood tones, and a family in London may prefer darker woods or the richer metallic effects. The concept that everyone can personalize it.”

—Jean-Louis Deniot, Paris, July 2016

Neoclassicism Noted

“Classicism includes the purity of architecture from the earliest Greek and Roman periods.

Neoclassicism in France was developed further during Louis XVI, the Directoire and the Empire ‎periods. In my past work, I was influenced by the purity of neoclassical architecture ‎in the basic structures, layouts and organizational bases and in the final look applied on top.

Today, I still have a neoclassical base in my work, but it is hidden and diluted with my own specific, more eclectic treatments.

“All of my projects respect the purist academic fundamentals, but the variety of styles applied over this base make them almost disappear. Neoclassical thinking is always at the core of my work, even if it is imperceptible.”

—Jean-Louis Deniot, Paris, July 2016

Noted Portraitist Tony Duran Interprets the Jean-Louis Deniot Collection/ Baker Collaboration

Tony Duran has made his name photographing sexy celebs like Jennifer Lopez, as well as Greek-statuary-inspired, Herb Ritts-esque male nudes. His approach to creating imagery of the Deniot collection celebrates rippling Murano glass lamps, the alluring shapes of sofas, the rigorous detail of cabinets and chairs. Models in vintage couture (or nothing) enhance the theatricality of Duran’s vision.

What’s next for Jean-Louis Deniot?

The 91-piece collection is just the start of a bold new Baker collaboration. Baker is owned by the 143-year-old Wisconsin-based Kohler company, which also owns many luxury products companies. Deniot will soon bring his refined eye and classical approach to designs for Ann Sacks, as well as Kallista.

Jean-Louis Deniot continues to work closely with clients around the world, including residences and other projects in Hong Kong, Doha, Paris, Moscow, and London and in the US.

Also upcoming are a private residence and a large-scale residential property in Miami.

He designed the stylish new 5-star Nolinski hotel in the 1st Arrondissement in Paris. It’s luxurious and feels like a private club.

In London, where he has completed residences in Belgravia and Mayfair, he has created interiors for The Glebe, a striking new residential development in Chelsea.

And as I’ve noted in previous features on Deniot, his clients for both residential and commercial properties appreciate working with him to such a degree that they quickly dream up new projects of engagement. Oh, and there was a whisper that new clients in Doha are in discussions. 

The Secret of Creativity

“Travel, is a great source of ideas. I was recently in Doha, and on Sumba Island in Indonesia, but simply walking to my office in Paris offers so much. Curiosity in general is essential for new ideas, as well as an open mind. Maturity has also helped a lot. I am more experimental. I take more risks. My best work happens when I am trying to get as far out of my comfort zones as I can.

“In my creative process most of the motivation and inspiration is spontaneous. I’ve reached a level of creative confidence and it’s now beyond my control. It comes from an almost unconscious, instinctual part of my brain. New projects are always stimulating. And I love to learn. Learning new techniques and working with new clients is inspiring. Design and architecture are a wonderful field for me.”

—Jean-Louis Deniot, Paris, 2016

At Home, with Pleasure

“I simply could not live without the creativity and enhancement and pleasure and enjoyment of interior design. I am always in total and constant interaction with my environments. I love being in tune with my décor, lighting and music. I believe that the perfect door handles or drawer pulls are as important as the wine you drink. Interior design for me, at home in Paris or in Chantilly or Morocco, even Los Angeles, is very personal and quite selfish in that ‎it is always my own interpretation, but you also get to share it with all your loved ones. The atmosphere and beauty and harmony are enjoyed by everyone, together.”

—Jean-Louis Deniot, Los Angeles July 2016 

About Jean-Louis Deniot

Jean-Louis Deniot, with his studio in the heart of the Left Bank in Paris, is a favorite architect and interior designer for discerning connoisseurs, style-conscious executives, Old Guard Parisians, hyper-chic young London couples, high-flying art collectors, and to clients in San Francisco, Hong Kong, Delhi, Capri, Monte Carlo, Colombia, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Kiev, London and all points north and west. He is the height of discretion, so no names or specifics are ever discussed, and his projects are always highly confidential.

“I have a great team in Paris,” explained Deniot. “As I take on more clients, in California or Doha or Belgravia, we are bursting at the seams, even though we just added a new floor. We love our atelier on rue de Verneuil. My sister, Virginie, is a fantastic and highly efficient manager. Many of my staff has been with me from the beginning and that’s a great feeling. There is an architecture department, incredibly fine. I have design and interiors and resources departments, and they are the tops. I have great resources for antiques and art. And I'm situated on the Left Bank, surrounded by museums and historic edifices and the top antique dealers and art galleries, fabric showrooms, workshops, and experts in many design fields.”

Jean-Louis Deniot Interiors, by Diane Dorrans Saeks.  Published by Rizzoli.

With Gratitude

Jean-Louis Deniot was in demand for clients—private apartments, retail stores in Paris—even as an architecture student. He started his own firm before he graduated. And he is grateful for those who introduced him to classic ideals, to enduring style, and rigorously elegant French decor.

“Even when I was eighteen, I started to meet extraordinary people and creators like Princess Diane de Beauvau-Craon, a muse for Andy Warhol, who introduced me to the most amazing private houses and collections in France. Diane also introduced me to Henri Samuel, Alberto Pinto, Andrée Putman and many others,” said Deniot.

“Alexandre Pradère, the 18th century French furniture expert, taught me the basic academic interior design rules of that time. As a student, I was learning high contemporary design and rigorous modern architecture at the Ecole Camondo in Paris while at the same time getting personal training in French classical codes from great friends.” 


To find Baker furniture showrooms around the world:

Jean-Louis Deniot
39 Rue de Verneuil
75007 Paris 07
Phone: +33 1 45 44 04 65


Furniture photography courtesy Baker.

Style photographer, Tony Duran: