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Book Friday: Exotic Taste

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Emmanuelle Gillard and Marc Walter's Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors (published by the Vendome Press) takes an in depth look at the exquisite art and architecture of the Eastern world, which was introduced to Europe and America during the 18th and 19th centuries, when trade with China and other Eastern countries was on the rise. From an interior design perspective, I find the intricate designs of the Far East, India, and the Islamic world to be inspiring. Detailed carvings, elaborate textiles, bold colors, and grand architecture dominate the Eastern style of decoration.

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Below you will find a gallery of my favorite images from Exotic Taste, many of which are European adaptations of Oriental style. I hope you find these artful interiors as inspiring as I do.

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The Large Chinese Salon in the Chinese Palace at Oranienbaum in Russia. (

1 The Large Chinese Salon in the Chinese Palace at Oranienbaum in Russia. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

Tapestries and wallpaper featuring Chinese scenes were all the rage in 18th-century France. (

2 Tapestries and wallpaper featuring Chinese scenes were all the rage in 18th-century France. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

The Porcelain Room at the royal palace of Portici. The walls are covered in porcelain figurines. (

3 The Porcelain Room at the royal palace of Portici. The walls are covered in porcelain figurines. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

In the 1760s the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria had her study lined with lacquer panels taken from screens made at the imperial factory in Peking. (

4 In the 1760s the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria had her study lined with lacquer panels taken from screens made at the imperial factory in Peking. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

Another view of the study in Schonbrunn Palace. (

5 Another view of the study in Schonbrunn Palace. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

The Chinese Cabinet, or Cabinet of Mirrors, at the Bayreuth Hermitage in Germany. (

6 The Chinese Cabinet, or Cabinet of Mirrors, at the Bayreuth Hermitage in Germany. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

The Green room in the Chinese Pavilion at Drottningholm, Sweden. (

7 The Green room in the Chinese Pavilion at Drottningholm, Sweden. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter).

This Chinese Salon was originally installed in the house of Victor Hugo's mistress on the island of Guernsey. (

8 This Chinese Salon was originally installed in the house of Victor Hugo's mistress on the island of Guernsey. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

In the Chinese Palace in Oranienbaum the geometric trim provides a stark contrast to the soft, silken wall coverings which feature a floral motif. (

9 In the Chinese Palace in Oranienbaum the geometric trim provides a stark contrast to the soft, silken wall coverings which feature a floral motif. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

The North Gallery at Royal Pavilion in Brighton. (

10 The North Gallery at Royal Pavilion in Brighton. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

Gilt and patinated bronze and cloisonne enamel. (

11 Gilt and patinated bronze and cloisonne enamel. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

The rosette on this armoire is inlaid with mother-of-pearl. (

12 The rosette on this armoire is inlaid with mother-of-pearl. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

This Indian inspired silk embroidery panel was made in London in 1892. (

13 This Indian inspired silk embroidery panel was made in London in 1892. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

Eastern inspired domes, minarets, and pinnacles atop the roofs of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. (

14 Eastern inspired domes, minarets, and pinnacles atop the roofs of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

There is a great deal of woodcarving on the furniture in the Noble Room in the Pena Palace in Sintra. (

15 There is a great deal of woodcarving on the furniture in the Noble Room in the Pena Palace in Sintra. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

The Music Room at Peles Castle in Sinaia, Romania. (

16 The Music Room at Peles Castle in Sinaia, Romania. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

Bachi-Bouzouk by Jean-Leon Gerome. Oil on canvas, 1869. (

17 Bachi-Bouzouk by Jean-Leon Gerome. Oil on canvas, 1869. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

The Court of Lions at the Alhambra by Jean Laurent. Photograph, 1880. (

18 The Court of Lions at the Alhambra by Jean Laurent. Photograph, 1880. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

At Leighton House in London some of the stained-glass panels were brought over from Damascus. (

19 At Leighton House in London some of the stained-glass panels were brought over from Damascus. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

The White Hall ballroom at the Castello di Sammezzano in Tuscany. (

20 The White Hall ballroom at the Castello di Sammezzano in Tuscany. ("Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors," Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter)

Il Papiro

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A recent visit to Il Papiro, a stationery shop on Lexington Avenue, reminded me of how I love the shop's fine selection. The shop owners, John and Marilyn Leon, have operated the United States branch of Il Papiro for decades, priding themselves on maintaining a century-old technique in paper-making.

Il Papiro is one of the only existing paper-makers today that utilizes the 'papier a cuve' method of decoration. Said to have been invented by the royal book binder of Louis XIII, 'papier a cuve' is a process of applying paper to colored liquid solutions for a permanent, marbleized finish.

Because the paper technique is liquid based, no two products come out exactly the same. Every gift item or personal treasure at Il Papiro is hand-crafted and one-of-a-kind.

Have a look at the shop and some of its wonderful items!

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The interior of Il Papiro is colorful and well-designed.

1 The interior of Il Papiro is colorful and well-designed.

This is Marilyn Leon, co-owner of the shop.

2 This is Marilyn Leon, co-owner of the shop.

Owners John and Marilyn Leon.

3 Owners John and Marilyn Leon.

Il Papiro carries many boxes in a variety of shapes and sizes — pretty containers for paper clips, jewelry, or keepsakes.

4 Il Papiro carries many boxes in a variety of shapes and sizes — pretty containers for paper clips, jewelry, or keepsakes.

One of my favorite items at Il Papiro is the classic, marbleized journal.

5 One of my favorite items at Il Papiro is the classic, marbleized journal.

Such fun writing utensils!

6 Such fun writing utensils!

The back wall is full of stationary, all wrapped with fine ribbon.

7 The back wall is full of stationary, all wrapped with fine ribbon.

There are too many great items to choose from.

8 There are too many great items to choose from.

All the stationary is hand-painted, and would make a wonderful gift.

9 All the stationary is hand-painted, and would make a wonderful gift.

Owner John Leon showed me one of his most popular items, a beautiful box for storing wedding invitations, photos, or prized trickets.

10 Owner John Leon showed me one of his most popular items, a beautiful box for storing wedding invitations, photos, or prized trickets.

Made with acid-free paper, the box protects photographs and paper from yellowing with age.

11 Made with acid-free paper, the box protects photographs and paper from yellowing with age.

I could use a few of these on my desk to hold paper and business cards.

12 I could use a few of these on my desk to hold paper and business cards.

They are so pretty, too.

13 They are so pretty, too.

Seeing all the different patterns of paper is inspirational for me as a decorator.

14 Seeing all the different patterns of paper is inspirational for me as a decorator.

I love this leather portfolio. It is incredibly well-made.

15 I love this leather portfolio. It is incredibly well-made.

Notice the different techniques and styles Il Papiro uses to display their fine items.

16 Notice the different techniques and styles Il Papiro uses to display their fine items.

I was lucky enough to get to see the 'papier a cuve' process. Each photo hanging on the wall demonstrates a different step.

17 I was lucky enough to get to see the 'papier a cuve' process. Each photo hanging on the wall demonstrates a different step.

Beautiful papers for wrapping or framing.

18 Beautiful papers for wrapping or framing.

This photo series gives you an idea of how the colored liquids are shaped into beautiful designs for the paper.

19 This photo series gives you an idea of how the colored liquids are shaped into beautiful designs for the paper.

Start to finish, the process is amazing!

20 Start to finish, the process is amazing!

A great, daily agenda.

21 A great, daily agenda.

Wanting to feel completely authentic and traditional, the owners decorated the shop with Venetian glass lamps.

22 Wanting to feel completely authentic and traditional, the owners decorated the shop with Venetian glass lamps.

The ceiling is absolutely gorgeous, dark, wooden, exposed beams.

23 The ceiling is absolutely gorgeous, dark, wooden, exposed beams.

Aside from the New York store, Il Papiro is located in Palm Beach, Florida, Venice, Rome, and several other locations in Italy (as well as online!). Their line of paper goods includes hardbound address books, photo albums, stationary, and a variety of desk accessories.

Promoting an important artisan-family tradition, Il Papiro crafts some of the most interesting and beautiful papers I have ever seen.

Book Friday: An Elegant Wilderness

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Before Palm Beach, the Hamptons, St. Barts and St. Tropez, the American elite whiled away their summer months in a place a little more rustic: the Adirondacks. Though Upstate New York is no longer the getaway it used to be, there are still remnants of its rich past left in the architecture of its grand lodges. In "An Elegant Wilderness" a new book out from Acanthus Press, author Gladys Montgomery explains the Adirondack architectural style within the context of the time period, from 1855-1935.

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The book is a stunning account of a time gone by, with nearly 300 black and white photographs of the lodges, including the exteriors, interiors and the people who spent time in them. It's really interesting to see how these families decorated their homes to reflect both the wilderness around them and the aesthetics of the early 20th century. The images act as a time-machine back to another era, and the houses are quite inspirational. They would be great for anyone planning to decorate their own second home, or just bring a little more nature into their urban dwelling.

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A great two-tier porch. Knollwood in 1899.
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1 A great two-tier porch. Knollwood in 1899. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

What an eclectic dining room. The bathroom looks a little more peaceful. Interior of Camp Inman, c. 1890. (

2 What an eclectic dining room. The bathroom looks a little more peaceful. Interior of Camp Inman, c. 1890. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

An expansive boathouse. This family must have spent a lot of time on the water. Boathouse at Topridge. (

3 An expansive boathouse. This family must have spent a lot of time on the water. Boathouse at Topridge. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

A very dramatic front gate. Entrance to Litchfield Park. (

4 A very dramatic front gate. Entrance to Litchfield Park. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

I like the simple sophistication of these rooms. Camp Wild Air in 1895. (

5 I like the simple sophistication of these rooms. Camp Wild Air in 1895. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

The layering of many different Native American motifs makes this room a bit busy, but in a good way. Topridge lodge. (

6 The layering of many different Native American motifs makes this room a bit busy, but in a good way. Topridge lodge. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

I'm sure that boathouse patio was a popular entertaining spot. The boathouse at Camp Inman, c. 1923. (

7 I'm sure that boathouse patio was a popular entertaining spot. The boathouse at Camp Inman, c. 1923. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

The incorporation of oriental pieces is very reminiscent of the period. Jesswin Camp on Fourth Lake. (

8 The incorporation of oriental pieces is very reminiscent of the period. Jesswin Camp on Fourth Lake. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

Even the tents look pretty luxurious. Raquette Lake Camp, c. 1910. (

9 Even the tents look pretty luxurious. Raquette Lake Camp, c. 1910. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

There's something great about the simplicity of log cabin design. Camp Bluff Point in 1885. (

10 There's something great about the simplicity of log cabin design. Camp Bluff Point in 1885. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

The front porches of this camp would be perfect to unwind from the stresses of the city. Camp Bluff Point, in 1885. (

11 The front porches of this camp would be perfect to unwind from the stresses of the city. Camp Bluff Point, in 1885. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

I can see why this lake was popular. The stillness is so calming to look at. Boat House at Stokes Camp, c. 1890. (

12 I can see why this lake was popular. The stillness is so calming to look at. Boat House at Stokes Camp, c. 1890. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

The incorporation of tree branches is so whimsical. It's like sleeping outside–without all the bugs. Kamp Kill Kare, c. 1935. (

13 The incorporation of tree branches is so whimsical. It's like sleeping outside–without all the bugs. Kamp Kill Kare, c. 1935. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

Some lodge decorating can go a bit over the top with the use of wood, but I actually like the natural material of this desk. It's very simple and straightforward. Wonundra in 1930. (

14 Some lodge decorating can go a bit over the top with the use of wood, but I actually like the natural material of this desk. It's very simple and straightforward. Wonundra in 1930. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)

I love the use of animal furs in decorating (though I prefer faux). It really warms up a room. Kamp Kill Kare, c. 1935. (

15 I love the use of animal furs in decorating (though I prefer faux). It really warms up a room. Kamp Kill Kare, c. 1935. ("An Elegant Wilderness," Gladys Montgomery)