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what would Syrie Maugham do?

If famed British decorator Syrie Maugham were alive to weigh in on the state of our global affairs I think she would say it is time for a change- starting with the interiors. Gone are the days of the $6,000 shower curtain. A time of restraint… beautiful yet appropriate interiors are in order. In the 1920’s she set the tone for a style quite contrary to that of the Victorian Era. Her rooms were inspiring to set the stage for future decor. While other decorators used spots of white, she was the first to create an all white room in her King’s Road, London house in 1929. She became quite famous and was considered very modern in her day. While she is often thought of as the decorator who started all white, this was the only room that she did without any colored accents. She often used pale colors with refined furniture to set the tone for her interiors.

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Studio Printworks released a wallpaper call “Syrie” many years ago and in the October 2001 issue of House Beautiful T. Keller Donovan recreated her famous San Francisco bedroom with the wallpaper based on the original.

THE MOMENT I STEPPED INTO THE BEDROOM, I was in a fairy tale, my task to find and awaken the sleeping beauty. It was a very tall room, made even taller and airier by the large white bed, whose bedposts seemed to reach to the ceiling — it looked as if the bars had been taken off a giant birdcage. The room was almost square and had an open, delicate, almost ephemeral quality, enhanced by the dreamy fragrance of white petunias blooming in profusion in the garden below. Since there was an adjoining dressing room for clothing, the bedroom’s only real furniture consisted of a bed, with its white coverlet, a few chairs upholstered in white raw silk and arranged on a sculptured white wool rug, a low upholstered silk stool, and a comfortable large wooden bedside table, stripped and treated with glazed white paint. At the windows hung practically nonexistent curtains of unlined white voile. The color — and the only pattern — was in the wall covering, a contemporary Swedish rough linen just this side of white, crudely stenciled with a scroll design in quite a strong grass green [“Syrie” wallpaper now available from Studio Printworks]. Only white flowers were allowed in the room, but they were, as in all of Syrie Maugham’s rooms, extravagantly everywhere.– Billy Baldwin for House & Garden

Her original bedroom

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House & Garden – October 2001

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She designed the London home of Noel Coward.

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Edward VII and Wallis Simpson were also her clients. Elsie de Wolfe, Jean Michael Frank, Frances Elkins and Rose Cummings are just a few designers inspired by Maugham’s work.

Late 1930’s rooms by Frances Elkins. Beautiful yet not ostentatious.

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Forward by Albert Hadley

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Her style is inspring for today’s designer. Tom Stringer’s interiors seem like a contemporary version.

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Maybe light, clutter free and calming interiors are a place to start.

I certainly think Syrie Maugham would think so.

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