Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A happy surprise....

I am so sorry that I have been absent these last few days, but I had a good excuse! This past Friday, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens hosted their fifth annual Antiques in the Garden, where dozens of antiques dealers come together to display their wares in the lovely Garden Center.

I was very happy to attend the event, especially since I had never been to something like this before. Plus, I was even more excited when I realized who one of the guest speakers was: Mr. Miles Redd! He is one of my absolute favorites. His interiors radiate comfort, elegance, and flair. 

Redd at home in his NY apartment (photos courtesy of NYSD)

As I made my way into the Garden Center Friday afternoon, I noticed an exceptionally stylish man walking in, directly in front of me. And who should it be but Mr. Redd himself! I guess I must have had a pretty goofy grin on my face because, when we both made it into the lecture hall and he turned around, he gave me a big smile and said "Hello". In my excessive grace, I blurted, "May I have a picture with you?"

I can't help it. I get starstruck. And rightly so, Redd is the epitome of stylishness. But he also has an easygoing elegance about him: friendly, kind, easy to smile, down to earth. It truly was a pleasure meeting him and hearing him speak.

Redd spoke primarily about the differences between Southern and Northern decorating. He noted that, in the North, there is more restraint whereas, in the South, there is a focus on generosity and color. "Yankees are a lot less bold than Southerners," said the Atlanta-born designer.

Redd certainly has a handle on bold, as you can see from these fabulous photos of his NY home. Although ripe with color, his home is not garish or overwhelming, but cozy and elegant. I love how artwork lines the walls and books are stacked up everywhere. To me, this apartment really does represent him well; it is worldly yet comfortable.

On a side note, check out the small wooden chair (the one with the handles on the back and sides) in his living room above. This is actually an antique birthing chair. You heard me: birthing. And you know how I know what it is? I have one too! Ha! Mine is a bit smaller with a pretty quatrefoil carving on the back, but its origin is the same. I love that he appreciates eccentric accessories as much as I do!

Mr. Redd also joked about his love of mirrors. I am totally with him on this: from rustic wood to Venetian glass, nothing beats the sparkling, space-enhancing properties of mirrors.

Redd takes this love of reflective surfaces to the next level, using a gorgeous mirrored canopy bed in the master bedroom. I think the scale of this bed is just perfect. Although the frame and finish are grand, the height of the mattress is low, giving it a more cozy feel.

Redd said that canopy beds are a "tenet of Southern decoration". I so agree! (As evidenced by my recent post on the lovely pieces!)

As the fabulous designer walked us through slides of his projects, the audience (and Redd, himself) began to notice a funny pattern: the ever-present bar. Finally, Redd quipped, "I tend to set up a bar wherever I go!" He said he appreciates a bar because of the hospitality, informality, and generosity it represents. His own is quite glamorous: abundant with liquor and stationed on an intricately carved console.

He even keeps a reserve bar in his glamorous, mirrored kitchen!

At the end of the "talk" as he called it ("I hate the word 'lecture'", he said), he answered questions. I had a million to ask, but allowed myself only a reserved two.

First, I wanted to know how, coming from an education in film, did he get his foot in the door at John Rosselli Antiques. He said he had a friend who got him the interview, but he felt it was his honest willingness to do anything, eagerness to learn, and enthusiasm for the work that made him a natural choice for Rosselli.

Second, I wanted to know what is his favorite thing (furniture, object, art), either in his own home or on a project. I feel like the answer to that question says a lot about someone who deals with beautiful things on a regular basis, and I was right. He thought about it for a moment and said, "if Paris was burning", he would strap on his back, or throw out a window, the large painting of a panther done by his friend, Leslie Hearn.

Eccentric, yet deeply caring and loyal to his friends and family, Redd is a true character and now, more than ever, one of the design greats in my eyes.

As I left the Garden Center, with the wind tousling my hair and the sun shining down upon me, I felt a renewed enthusiasm to pursue my dream of working in design.

Redd's enthusiasm for a career he so obviously loves was inspirational and, as I sat in the shade of the lovely Hill Garden, I wondered how my own future in design will unfold.

Here's to finding inspiration everyday and to a gorgeous autumn day!

No comments:

Post a Comment