Magazine to return, fill void Design: New House & Garden volume on bedrooms, bathrooms demonstrates style, taste that has been missing since the journal's demise. But cheer up: a revival begins next month.

August 11, 1996|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

The many avid readers of House & Garden will be delighted to learn that this superb magazine has been revived and will be on newsstands next month -- as Conde Nast House & Garden.

Like a number of my colleagues, I felt that the world of interior design had lost something important when House & Garden ceased publishing three years ago. The magazine's stylish appearance and impeccable taste was seldom rivaled and has not been adequately replaced.

A beautiful new book illustrates how much we've been missing -- and what we can look forward to seeing once again on a regular basis. Several spectacular settings are featured in "House and Garden's Book of Bedrooms and Bathrooms," published by Vendome Press.

To me, it's the bedroom designs that hold the greatest interest. Most of them are quite creatively composed, especially in

contrast to the look-alike bathroom/dressing room combinations that have become so commonplace in recent years.

The example I've chosen from the book is the product of a refreshing back-to-basics approach. As the photo shows, this moderately sized room contains all the essentials: a bed, a night table and a couple of seating pieces. But because this space, unlike the dressing/bath combinations, doesn't try to perform several functions, it can give precedence to decorative rather than utilitarian concerns.

Here, everything other than the rudimentary elements is decorative filler -- tasteful, to be sure -- but filler nevertheless. The skirted table, the chaise and the carved wooden arm chair may seldom be used, but aren't they charming to look at? Isn't it wonderful to be able to introduce a piece of furniture solely because of its beauty?

Rooms such as these remind us of the importance of sheer decoration in the design of just about any interior.

This particular arrangement is the work of Benn Theodore. He explains that the design for this Palm Beach, Fla., guest room "was dictated by what was outside." Thus we get tropical decor "refined by the use of lots of white with touches of green."

Minutely quilted Swiss cotton upholstery and bedding complements elegantly detailed bed and window hangings suspended directly from the ceiling. The beautifully drawn white and green wallpaper wraps the room while serving as a link between the exterior and interior. Theodore has achieved a difficult feat by endowing so airy a space with a sheltering quality and a sense of intimacy.

Of course, form ought to follow function. But that's only the first among many principles that need to be applied as one goes about creating an emotionally satisfying interior design.

Pub Date: 8/11/96

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