Who’s Afraid of Elsie de Wolfe? Not Ron Bricke . . .

Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe) with a portrait of her by Boldini, photographed in 1933 by Horst

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.

Elsie de Wolfe townhouse living room by Ron Brick

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.

Dining room by Ron Bricke in Elsie de Wolfe's former townhouse

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.

Library by Ron Bricke in Elsie de Wolfe's former townhouse

Ron turned what had been de Wolfe’s sitting room into an intimate library.

Library by Ron Bricke in Elsie de Wolfe's former townhouse

The antique French chinoiserie wallpaper that de Wolfe installed in the library around 1930 was removed, restored, and then re-installed.

Guest room by Ron Bricke in Elsie de Wolfe's former townhouse

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.

Vanity in the master bath by Ron Bricke in Elsie de Wolfe's former townhouse

Ron evokes pure 1930′s glamor in the master bath.

Shower in the master bath by Ron Bricke in Elsie de Wolfe's former townhouse

The shower in the master bath.