Monday, January 19

Profile Emily Eerdmans & Regency Redux

Like so many design-obsessed bibliophiles, I spent the better part of autumn anxiously awaiting the release of Emily Eerdmans’ much-anticipated book Regency Redux. I was familiar with her first book Classic English Design and Antiques, published on the occasion of Hyde Park Antiques' fortieth anniversary. Equally, I was aware of her impressive credentials via the dust jacket.

An expert in English decorative arts, Emily received her master's degree in fine and decorative arts from Sotheby's Institute of Art in London. However, I had no idea the breadth of her knowledge until reading Regency Redux. Emily's zeal for the subject and her vast comprehension are truly awe-inspiring!

Written in a highly articulate, yet accessible style, Regency Redux traces the roots of the Regency style, offering readers' a priceless and engaging education. From page one, glamour and elegance are the order of the day. While each page is a visual treat, I would be lying if I did not state that my personal favorites are the glamorous movie sets of the 1930s and '40s—Hollywood's Golden Age. Regency Redux is a must-have for any design library.

Emily Eerdmans is truly a girl after my own heart. I love each and every one of her answers to my questions. I look forward to the day that we can shop for shoes, pop open a bottle of Pol Roger and scour the web for beautiful fabrics.

Do you have a personal favorite period or style
My favorite period of design for the decorative arts is late 18th century neoclassicism –whether Louis XVI, early Regency, or Swedish Gustavian. Josephine's house Malmaison is perfection. But, if I had to choose my favorite period of interior decoration, it would be the high style traditionalism of the 1930s and 40s—Emilio Terry, Syrie Maugham, David Adler/Frances Elkins, Henri Samuel, and Madeleine Castaing of course!

The opulent dining room at Malmaison

How long did it take to complete Regency Redux?
About a year and a half. The printing and shipping of the book took an additional 5 to 6 months. The actual writing - which for me is the hard part - took about four months. My editor once compared writing to a muscle that needs to be exercised - the more it is used, the easier it is. For me, this is definitely true. I often have to cut myself off from everybody just to muster the concentration to focus.

I am also a huge procrastinator. I never watch as much trash TV as when I'm facing a deadline. In fact, one of the reasons I started to blog was to start a regimen of daily writing to keep it flowing.

What was your favorite aspect of the project?
Without question, meeting all the tremendously creative and informed people through my research. Everyone was so generous and enthusiastic. A particular highlight was meeting Hutton Wilkinson who was endlessly helpful and gave me a tour of Tony Duquette's otherworldly Dawnridge. It’s an experience I will never forget.

Emily Eerdmans' own living room

When it comes to your own home, how would you describe your style
English Country House with all its layers, mix of periods, and bold colors. I am definitely an accumulator and find it hard to let go of things.

One of my darkest secrets is my addiction to fabric websites - invariably I'll buy 10 yards of a Clarence House Epingle or a Brunschwig Lampas, and then change my mind entirely on a decorating scheme. However, I don't think I could ever hire a decorator because I take so much pleasure in worrying over every little decision.

What is your most prized possession?
My antique engagement ring - every time I look at it, I think of how lucky I am to have my fiancé Andrew as my partner.

What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
Humor. And then chocolate.

A Palm Beach sitting room by Ruby Ross Wood

Who are your style icons
Diana Vreeland for her zest and fearlessness. Karl Lagerfeld for his polymathic creativity and curiosity.

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a book?
Dead: Cecil Beaton although I get the feeling he liked to work alone so that might not have worked out so well; Alive: Derry Moore - his photographs of interiors are unsurpassed and capture the decaying grandeur that I love - he is also the most delightful person.

What books are currently on your bedside table?
Flower Decoration by Constance Spry - I'm determined to replicate those blowsy arrangements that made a Maugham or Lancaster room complete; Proust for my Madeleine Castaing book - that is not going well at the moment. Adrian: Silver Screen to Custom Label on the famed Hollywood dress designer who paired Joan Crawford up with those iconic shoulder pads.

What is your favorite luxury in life
Fabulous shoes. Emma Hope is a particular favorite.

What is your idea of earthly happiness
Sitting on the beach with friends and family sipping Pol Roger while watching the sunset.


Julie Neill Designs said...

I loved that book!!! What a great way to know more about the wonderful Emily EErdmans!

Mrs. Blandings said...

Adore Emily, adore the book, adore seeing her here. A perfect day. And, secretly, glad the Proust is going badly as I could never finish it myself.

ALL THE BEST said...

As much as I love the questionnaire, Proust is a toughie!

Karena said...

I can see I must get her book, because she is so knowledgeable and fascinting!

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Thank you, Ronda! This was so much fun! EEE

soodie :: said...

I asked and received her book for X-mas... I had been waiting for months and months to get my hands on it!

Anonymous said...

I got my copy for Christmas and I love every page!

Anonymous said...

RR is one of the very best design books on the market! I hope that you two talented women get a chance to share that bottle of Pol Roger!

Janet said...

Such a gorgeous photograph of Ms.Eerdmans! And a wonderful interview!

Toby Worthington said...

I've been meaning to get hold of Regency Redux for several weeks, and now that I've read this post on it's author, won't procrastinate a moment longer.
PS Proust is worth finishing, and then starting up all over again, dear Emily!