Sunday, March 16, 2014

Discovering Walda Pairon

Discovering Walda Pairon

Of course people knew of Walda Pairon before I did, but when I found her, it was like finding Hugh Newell Jacobesen, Nancy Braithwaite, or John Saladino.  I was moving from an antique colonial style to a more serene colonial to a more sophisticated colonial to this wonderful Belgian style that somehow combined all previous favorites.  Walda Pairon's style spoke to me.  What follows are my first glimpses of her style.

First from 1991.

Many of the images from Vogue Decoration concentrate on her floral arrangements which seemed so natural and garden-esque to me.  

It's interesting that Walda, like Gerry Nelissin, sold many antique pieces from her own home collection.  I believe you will note the changes.

She emphasizes gardens, floral still lives and hired Jaques Wirtz to help design her garden in Kalmthout.

An outdoor table set for the celebration of her youngest son, Axel.  Two solid silver antique candelabras flank the table outside and then flank a table inside in a living room corner

Colocynths and lemons arrangement in the little veranda.

In this glimpse of her kitchen, notice the bread on the chandelier.

Those silver candelabras again, this time on dining room table.

I really love her stock room which may double as a mud room.

Walda's first husband was tragically killed in an auto accident.  She eventually marries Roger Souvereyns, seen here, a four-star chef whose restaurant Walda helped decorate.

The whole family, as well as the garden in which they sit, is so chic.  And she has a Lutyens teak bench tucked in the greenery!

Interesting tid bit about Louis the XIV.

Onto 1995 and an interesting story about how the following magazine came into my possession.  My second son was in college and his then girl friend was spending several months in France.   He felt it necessary to call her frequently before the advent of cell phones.  When we received a bill of over $500 for one month, my husband and I could have strangled him.  Much was forgiven when she returned with this magazine for me featuring an article on Walda Pairon.  My son, on the other hand, was not forgiven and still had to work off his $500 debt that summer.

Again, she is as chic as her gardens and design.

View of the house she chose to paint an ocher color similar to houses seen in France, a country she frequented often on antique-buying trips.  The twig chair was probably more for effect than comfort.  Isn't the autumn leaf-covered table dynamite??

The technique is discussed below.  One of the French teachers I taught with translated the text for me and, if anyone is interested, I still have her translation.

Another entrance.

Bow window in dining room.

Walda frequently uses bright colors as seen in the "salon's" sofa.

I tried to imitate her bowl of oranges and dried lemons...
sadly mine (below) never had her same panache.

A very different kitchen chandelier.

Remember this kitchen view.  In a future post, it will appear very different as she edits, edits, edits.

Love how she loves her dog.

Gone is the white side board and in with the new.

Walda's spheres - always unique especially amidst silver pieces.

When making our gardens, this magazine was one of our real inspirations.  I saved them all but now only buy them intermittently.  Still, seeing an issue brings back wonderful memories like wonderful magazines do.  I was thrilled when it featured Walda's garden.

How beautiful are her potted plants and statuary on this terrace?  She has three terraces.

Again that chair is beautiful to look at as is her potted hydrangea next to it.  She inspired me to pot two hydrangeas on either side of our teak benches.  (During the fall, I remove the hydrangeas from their clay pots, place then in plastic ones, and heal them into the compost pile with leaf debris all around them.  So far they have emerged happily healthy for another summer in their clay pots.)

Close-up of her leaf table cloth - inspirational but too daunting for me.

Walda seems all about structure in her garden and terrace with little color.  She doesn't "like using bedding plants or bulbs in (her) containers because they look so artificial and out of place."

Definitely a garden and home that never seem artificial or out of place.  Next time, more Walda but more interiors.

Very chilly here again.  March is still "coming in like a lion".  Stay warm, think spring and beautiful gardens.


  1. Clearly, she is very talented. Thanks for introducing me to her work.

  2. Those are some very interesting kitchens in those pictures. I have never seen some like that and they are really nice. It would be really cool to see all those in person or even have one like those in my home. That would be really great.
    Jak Manson |

  3. Walda really knows how to live, doesn't she? Such beautiful surroundings. You've inspired me to try growing hydrangeas in pots this year, Billie. However, I don't have a compost heap (being a city dweller), so will have to find another solution for wintering-over the containers.


  4. Billie - you're killing me with these luscious oldies of WP. I've never seen them - WOW!!! How long have you been following WP??? I only discovered her about 10 years. You already know I'm a fan. Thanks for sharing these photos - do you have more? :)

  5. Love the way the entire house has been furnished and designed specifically the kitchen counter tops and the other utilities looks real amazing.
    Restaurant equipment suppliers

  6. I love old big wooden tables,they can keep the dog wonderful as he is, as I have two myself. With the fireplace and that table I am ready to tear out a wall of cabinets. Right now my kitchen is Japanese Farmhouse, but I love French Country. It was delightful tripping through the pages and enjoying myself so much. Thank~you for sharing your adventure with us'