Elsie de Wolfe, with her portrait by Boldini, photographed in 1933 by Horst
As The New Yorker put it, “Interior design as a profession was invented by Elsie de Wolfe.” Also known as Lady Mendl, the formidable and long-lived de Wolfe (1865-1950) was the ultimate arbiter in matters of decorative taste on both sides of the Atlantic during the first half of the 20th century. Faced with renovating a Sutton Place townhouse de Wolfe occupied in the 1920s and ’30s and that still retained elements of her patrician eye, our own Ron Bricke did not let the shadow of the legend cramp his elegant style, but conjured graceful interiors that incorporate many of her touches without being stuck in the past.
A 1920s Baguès gilt-iron and rock-crystal chandelier from Marvin Alexander hangs from the Robert Adam-style plaster ceiling in the living room by Ron Bricke a Sutton Place townhouse where Elsie de Wolfe once lived.
In the dining room, Ron restored the rich 17th-century paneling originally installed by de Wolfe and had Seattle cabinetmaker Michael Mueller make reproduction Queen Anne-style walnut table and chairs.
Ron turned what had been de Wolfe’s sitting room into an intimate library.
The antique French chinoiserie wallpaper that de Wolfe installed in the library around 1930 was removed, restored, and then re-installed.
Ron swathed the guest room in “Le Mariage de Figaro” from Clarence House and hung an amusing chandelier in the shape of a sailing ship.
Ron evokes pure 1930′s glamor in the master bath.
The shower in the master bath.