Boiserie and trompe l’oeil; formal portraits of royalty and fine antiques; the French countryside rolling away beyond the parterre as spied through graceful casement windows. A country breakfast on ivy-laced English stoneware and grand dinners served on Royal Limoges. The final farewell to lift the spirits of guests: an excursion above fields of poppies and sunflowers and lush farmlands in a hot-air balloon. These are luxurious experiences à la by Timothy Corrigan.
Such escapades and amusements he has lavished upon friends he has invited to Château du Grand-Luce in the French countryside, which he painstakingly restored, telling the splendid tale in his book An Invitation to Château du Grand-Luce: Decorating a Great French Country House published by Rizzoli. I was enthralled as I flipped through its pages because it proves how exceptional life can be when no detail is left to chance, whether the task is related to the design scheme, the guest experience or the story he is sharing.
In the design realm, choosing the perfect floral-drenched wallpaper for a guest bedroom that was critical to the perfection achieved within the space, along with identifying a hue of paint that flatters faces in the evening light as laughter wafts from the candlelit dining room during resplendent dinners qualify. Concerning the guest stay-over, he thought about every moment—making sure there are enough bicycles at the chateau, for instance, so that friends who wish to do so might wheel their way through nearby historical villages at their leisure. And he has succeeded in sharing the sumptuous story with his readers by selecting visuals for the book that truly “invite us in.”
Luxurious Experiences with Bruce Andrews
I have such an affinity for this level of creating graciousness that I can feel it in my body when I experience it in its most authentic form, and Timothy truly brought it with this project, as well as with the book it inspired. As I flipped through the pages, I realized the resonance was so profound because I design with the same vigilance, which I am able to accomplish because the Bruce Andrews gestalt is exclusive from top to bottom. Our limited edition furniture is made to reflect the sensibilities of the protagonists in our narratives, each distinctive in their aspirations.
Reflecting their inner spirits are color choices, wood finishes and the hand of the fabrics. We ascertain whether life will feel more graceful with a silky sheen surrounding them as they lean into the ample backs of chairs or whether they will feel more comfortable settling into stria velvets their hands will long to caress. Trims are more than mere ornamentation, as tassels versus tape is a serious debate when a person’s sense of style is being expressed.
Does the woman whose spaces I’m enlivening delight in entertaining on the lavish scale that Corrigan enjoys, welcoming friends to take a seat with pride? Does the man I’m helping to furnish his rooms wish to wow his friends with the same attention to the tiniest details, down to the unique gifts each one can’t wait to open as they settle into our chairs in the guest bedrooms? These are the important characteristics I glean as I am involved in helping them to transform their most intimate spaces.
Maintaining Historical Integrity While Achieving Comfort
There is another point in Timothy’s presentation that I find harmonious to my own point of view and it concerns the built world. It exhibits itself as a strong belief in conserving this fine example of architecture while simultaneously paying ample attention to upgrading the home’s amenities so that the guests he invited to idle there would be comfortable. This isn’t as simple to do as you might think when the endgame is retraining the value of a building like the Grand-Luce; and I believe Timothy succeeded because his heart was fully in it.
In the opening of the book, opposite a beautiful bust of a maiden—in front of which a righteous-looking parrot unflinchingly stares into the lens of the camera—Timothy chose to place this powerful quote by Paul Gauguin: “Here, I have what is needed to recharge my forces. Here, poetry exudes from everywhere…One has only to drift away into a dream to find inspiration.” You can see why his very spirit enlivens his friends’ days and nights while they are in residence.
Distinctive Sensibilities as Design Inspiration
Similarly, we come to understand our tribe as we vivify their homes. As we do so, we consider the area of the world in which a person was raised: do tapestries matter more to him or her, does trompe l’oeil feel more authentic, or would a contemporary coastal aesthetic further his or her happiness more than valuable antiques? Do our clients from Scotland want to be reminded of the tartans and thistles of their childhood or do they prefer to move toward a modern feel, such as we’ve achieved with the collection we will soon be releasing?
Perhaps our clients from the South of France would be more content surrounding themselves with watercolors and the fragrant notes of lavender that permeate the air at Arles, though they could just as easily hope to strike a note of grandeur with our Collection Skye that recalls a magnificent trip they took as a newly married couple to the craggy shores of the Scottish Highlands. It’s truly about what resonates through-and-through.
Once I understand their sensory wishes, I ask clients to share with me the most remarkable aesthetic artifacts they own so that I understand what accoutrements enrich their lives. This could be a piece of Moroccan tapestry handed down from past generations, a couture gown worn during opening night at the opera, or a detail within the immaculately tailored envelope of the Aston Martin treasured by a gentleman of taste.
We ask for these considerations so that we are able to build their stories stunningly, achieving a dream they may not even realize they have until it is completely fulfilled. I’m tipping my hat to Timothy Corrigan for achieving the same aspiration in his glorious château. Let’s take a quick walkthrough with him as he introduces us to this project that you can tell was so near and dear to his heart:
Have you been mesmerized by an inspiring book that you’d like to share with us? We’d be over the moon to hear about it. We will be featuring others we find stimulating during the coming weeks so check back often.
This post, Luxurious Experiences Defined, © Bruce Andrews Design, all rights reserved. Our furniture is now available through Nandina Home in Aiken, SC; Jalan Jalan in Miami, FL; Travis & Company in ADAC in Atlanta; and the Ellouise Abbott showroom in Dallas, TX. We will soon be showing in the Ellouise Abbott showroom in Houston and in the Michael-Cleary showroom in Chicago, IL.