Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Fitting End - Rose Tarlow

You thought it could never happen, but it did -  I am at an end to my English Period.  I originally labeled all my magazines and saved images as English/Cozy, and I had lots of cozy to go before my next big design influence, but it's summer (so I'll save the cozy for autumn.)  In summer, everyone's thoughts turn to the beach, to the great outdoors, and to the islands which will be the subject of my next post.  Today's post is about Rose Tarlow and her oh-so English and timeless design.

Here is Ms. Tarlow in Melrose House, her shop in Los Angeles.
Exterior of Melrose House.

Another exterior view.

For all of you close enough to visit, seeing her shop may seem very mundane and everyday.  For me, it is a place I long to visit.  Love, love, love the screen behind the light in this image.

Another Google Image.  Another view of that coveted screen.

So like her accessories and of course that screen.

All photos above from Google Images
Rose Tarlow lives my fantasy.  She owns an apartment in London as well as her home in the States.  (Living in London, she does not my own my fantasy horses or barns or house in the Cotswolds. but I
could settle for Belgrave Square.)  Architectural Digest featured her home in their 1989 issue and I have been admiring it ever since.  

 "All you need are the right proportions, pleasing colors, and things you really love," says Tarlow.  Her flat on Belgrave Square fits her aesthetic.

The high ceiling in this room dwarfs our designer.

The Kangxi coromandel screen is so beautiful and is perfect behind her white sofa.  I even love the small tapestry atop the sofa.

"I like rooms of eccentric dimensions even if they're tiny, like the dining room," says Tarlow.  Tiny or not, the dining room is beautiful with such interesting accessories - note the bowl on the dining table and the Chinese dignitary figure to the left.  French doors leading to garden are perfect.

A seemingly casual arrangement of beautiful antique objects in the kitchen.

She wanted her bedroom to be "beautiful and serene."  It is her "little jewel."

This "English colonial commode of lemonwood and ebony" has always fascinated me.  Who besides Rose Tarlow could find a commode of lemonwood?  She says she seldom ever changes rooms or furniture because she buys only beautiful pieces.  And she does.

View of her London garden.

Now to her book, The Private House by Rose Tarlow which so many of us own.  The following favorite photos are taken from my tattered but well read copy.

She loves this corner vignette in her kitchen because it is so serene.  I do too.
More kitchen.

Wanting to emulate her tablescapes, I almost purchased just one bottle similar to those below.  It was more than I could justify spending on an accessory, but when I see these again, I wish I'd purchased it.  That's when I know I should have.

She does it so right.

Larger view of her kitchen.

In the same Architectural Digest where Rose Tarlow's London apartment appeared, the following view of Cher's Manhattan apartment also appeared.  Cher's design aesthetic is very different from Tarlow's.  "I don't know where people go to get that rule, 'Thou shalt be one thing and one thing only for thy entire life,'" says Cher incredulously.
Very off topic but interesting - Ron Wilson designed eleven houses for Cher and this one is beautiful but so different from Tarlow's.  Not to be negative, but which rooms do you feel are more timeless?

Now onto the last of my Plain English kitchens from their web site of the same name.  These images are of their Suffolk Rectory collection.  (Somehow, I feel Cher would not like this kitchen.)

And as I leave England and you for a time, I leave you with a favorite garden from English Herb Gardens, by Guy Cooper et all.

Till next time, dear reader, in Nantucket.


  1. Hi Billie!

    Thank you for this great post. I am a huge Rose Tarlow fan and poured over The Private House when it was released. As much as I love her style, I love her philosophy.

    As for a Plain English kitchen, it is my dream. My sister has installed the 'Chelsea Studio' in her new flat in London. I am headed over in a two weeks and the kitchen is what I am most eager to see!

    Have a great week!

  2. Dearest Billie ~
    What a marvelous job you did on English style! Sad for this series to end, but so looking forward to Nantucket. I would have never guessed you would end with Rose Tarlow. She is amazing and talented, but I thought maybe something to do with the Queen's jubilee :-) I do love Rose Tarlow's quote: all you need are the right proportions, pleasing colors, and things you really love! Totally true. BTW, I love that shot of her in the London flat....geez, those are uber tall ceilings! Thank you for the journey...Hip, Hip, Hooray!!

  3. Billie,
    Rose is a genius! Me too I admire her work! Very nice idea to post about Rose and her work!
    Thank you for all your beautiful English styled posts! I am looking forward to your next series!

  4. Rose Tarlow has two talents going for her, a wonderful sense of scale and great taste in furniture and furnishings. As you demonstrated, her rooms are indeed timeless. Lots of lessons here.

  5. Rose defines elegance with her highly curated style asectic. As mentioned, .. the right colors make an interior sing. Rose is as refreshing as a songbird chirping in a desert tree.Such a defined talent. fordwestondesigngroupe@gmail.com