Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Breakfast with Carleton

I'm not much of a morning person so I am glad I got up early this morning to attend a Designer Seminar Series event at the D&D building featuring Carleton Varney and sponsored by Traditional Home. Mr. Varney tells wonderful stories of his unplanned life as a decorator that includes clients such as President and Mrs. Jimmy Cartner, Joan Crawford, Ethel Merman and even Joe Nameth. Of course, he also spoke about his mentor and boss for 7 years, the legendary Dororthy Draper. Mr. Varney believes that the younger generation is entranced by Dorothy Draper and her style since she represents an era of American glamour that they never experienced. Even what we think of as glamorous today has nothing on the 1940's and 50's. He also sugested that in this uncertain time, color will become even more popular in decorating. Aren't we all in a little need of a little uplifting color?!

After the lecture, Mr. Varney signed copies of his two fabulous books In the Pink and the latest, Houses in My Heart, in the Carleton V showroom which is run by his son, Sebastian Varney (above). My friend Kelly Reynolds was a designer at Dorothy Draper and worked on the Oscar Greenroom last year but now she helps run Carleton V with Sebastian who owns a country house near Christopher Spitzmiller who I was excited to finally meet today. Christopher has a great farm (with chickens!) that he has been restoring for a few years and I can already imagine that it will be just as gorgeous as his New York abode! Their new country neighbor is Eddie Ross who's home I can't wait to see! Talk about small chic world!

During the week, Sebastian Varney lives in a beautiful apartment on the Upper East Side that just needs a few finishing touches before I can photograph it for the blog. While his father's work is full of bold bright color, Sebastian's is a little more subdued but by no means boring. I am going to keep pestering him to complete the last projects because I know you will love it (if he doesn't strangle me first!). I'm sure Sebastian has heard his father's stories a million times but I haven't so I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him this morning. I will also try to remember his advice as I establish my own design firm, "successful rooms have soul." Amen!

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