Monday, March 30, 2009

Michael Taylor The James Dean Of Interior Design

Michael Taylor was an original thinker and interior designer. His work defined a region, and influenced the world. Furniture he introduced and designed has trickled down to us thirty years later, knockoffs and design inspired lines in stores from Pottery Barn to Target.
Even in New York we felt his influence shown to us in the now iconic windows and furniture floor displays at Bloomingdales.
Extreme amphorous shapes ala Michael Taylor in The Bloomingdales Big Book of Decorating

Taylor mixed period pieces with modern furniture and architecture with ease. For a San Francisco couple who collected French antiques, he created this eye-popping guest room (above) where the walls, gabled ceiling and upholstered sleigh bed were sheathed in toile.

Michael Taylor was a master of the mix, using antiques in his contemporary designs.

Lake Tahoe home created over 25 years ago (below) with wood paneling, trophy heads, a raw-rock table, rush benches and Klismos-style chairs. The room still looks hip today. If only he lived to see the revival of horns being used in the domino apartment therapy inspired rooms everywhere today!

In his much-loved 1980s design for the Auberge du Soleil resort (below) in the Napa Valley, Taylor created the Black Room, a space dominated by its dark walls, hearth and furniture covered in a glazed chintz floral. I love the wooden farm tools over the fireplace!

In the 1970s, when beige became the rage, Taylor distinguished the look with flair.

Michael Taylor (1927-86) invented what was three decades ago dubbed the "California Look" of white interiors and over-scaled, sculptural furniture.

The Taylor treatment (above) in 1978, with banquette seating, chairs built into the cast-concrete hearth and bamboo window treatments that echoed the shapely ceiling beams.

Michael Taylor designed the wicker furniture (above) in the 1970's. It was radical to use wicker in this manner, made fresh and new with the slip covered white cushions. High and low versions exist today as direct descendants of the genius of Michael Taylor.

Pottery Barn HERE
They should pay a royalty to the estate of Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor's card room for San Francisco client Maryon Davies Lewis was completed in 1963 — and has not been changed since. Working with the original checkerboard floor, Taylor created an explosion of color, covering ornate Venetian side chairs in electric shades of silk and adding upholstered pieces in lemon yellow.

Had Fred Flintstone struck oil instead of bedrock, he could've ended up with an oceanfront home like the Beyer Malibu residence built by architect John Lautner and designed by Michael Taylor in 1971. Decorated with boulders and furnished with cast-concrete banquettes, the room achieves a Flintstone luxury.

To legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, Michael Taylor was "the James Dean of interior design." In this 1982 portrait, he stands by the pool at his San Francisco residence known as Sea Cliff. The home was a monument to the "California Look" he created as well as to the antiques he collected.

Photos from the book Michael Taylor Interior Design by Stephan Salny and a forward by Rose Tarlow. Get it at the usual place HERE


Sabina said...

He truly was ahead of the curve. I love that card room, especially the bright silk chairs. Also,the "flintstone luxury" outdoor lounge in Malibu looks so inviting. Now that I'm currently in the desert,I'm paying attention to rocks again ;->

Anonymous said...

The card room makes me happy! And you're right, that Tahoe room is amazingly contemporary. But, boring old me, I'm loving that beige bed. Thanks for the lesson because I can see the influence everywhere now that you've pointed it out!

Renée Finberg said...

absolutely great work.



Velvet and Linen said...

I think we have all been influence by Michael Taylor whether we know it or not.
I admire his daring!

Valorie, please visit my blog, I have challenged you to select one image that encompasses your design style. I hope you decide to play along!


Linda in AZ * said...

*** V~ While Billy Baldwin paved the way into my MY first "real/genuine" introduction & fascination w/ design (besides my Mom & Aunt, who is a noted artist in North California), MICHAEL TAYLOR was ALWAYS my "IT" man~~~ I knew, from the first MOMENT I saw the Tahoe House, that it would FOREVER be "mine" in my heart~~~~~~~ And the Malibu house? Well, what's a born n' raised in SO CAL girl to do BUT "die" over it??? Of these two places, & of particular noteworthiness to me, was always his approach to over-scaling, & his keen awareness n' sensitity to the warmth & striking, incomparable beauty of natural elements. WHAT A TREAT also, to see a variety of pics I know so well, & what delightful writing, as always! THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! Warmly, Linda *

interior designer la said...

absolutely great work.

love it

Jill said...

Love his style and such a suave and snazzy dresser...reminds me of the Hollywood producer Robert Evans.

dana said...

I m stunned to his his contemporary designs of today designed by him in the 70's. A true future visionary designer.

Love his beige, white and wicker furniture.