|125 East 70th Street, NYC, photo courtesy Sotheby's|
So, the Upper East Side townhouse that once belonged to Paul and Bunny Mellon has just come onto the market for a mere $46 million dollars (never mind that the current owners reportedly paid only half of that when they bought the property in 2006, and have not made any changes or improvements). Baltimore design blogger Meg Fielding featured this property here on Pigtown Design a few days ago, and it immediately caught my fancy.
It's not that I wish I could purchase and live in this townhouse (although I'd graciously accept it if it were gifted to me!); I'd just like to do a little redecorating for the new owners. This iconic French-inspired townhouse is 90% perfect for a modern family, but I'd like to inject a little more color and energy -- especially considering the home's connection to art collector and benefactor Paul Mellon and his father, former Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon, who gifted the American people with the National Gallery of Art in 1937 -- donating his priceless art collection as well as personally funding the construction of the museum to house it.
I'm really smitten with the cobalt blue glazed walls in the dining room, but the painted floors, pale peach drapery panels and washed-out upholstery fabrics look tired and dreary to my eye. Perhaps the colors have faded over time, perhaps they were deliberately subdued so the Mellons' art collection could take center stage, but in any case, it's ready for an update now that it's about to welcome a new family.
Thinking about the original occupants of this historic property and inspired by the blue walls, I immediately thought of one of my favorite Scalamandré screen print fabrics, "Stravagante."
|Scalamandré Stravagante, $399 per yard|
|The White House Rose Garden in 1988, designed by Bunny Mellon, photo courtesy The Reagan Library|
|My Virtual Do-Over: What a Change of Fabrics Can Do|
|Lee Jofa Linen/Silk Arundel Damask, $290 per yard, discontinued Flame colorway|
...Because there's nothing that makes a fabric more desirable than knowing it's discontinued with no available stock, n'est-ce pas? With an unlimited budget, we could have this fabric recreated just for this project.
You know, good clients are to be treasured, but there's something wickedly gratifying about a fantasy design project like this one, unfettered by the constraints of budgetary concerns, clients' opinions, and other nuisances. It's a bit like designing for a show house, except that designers have to beg, borrow, and foot much of the bill themselves for a show house, working under ridiculously stressful time constraints. No, this was more like Design Banditry -- breaking into a stranger's home, redecorating without their permission (without having to pay for anything or deal with any paperwork or logistical nightmares), and then scampering away into the night. Great concept for an HGTV series, if they could only overcome the legal hurdles...