Designer We Love
I like minimalism, but not if it's too studied. I don't like anything that looks studied. I don't say you can't study - just don't let it look that way.
Born in Shanghai. Family moved to NYC while she was still in infancy. Raised in New Jersey. Father, much admired by Rose, died when she was 15. Love of beauty. Studied at Emerson College Boston, New York School of Interior Design, Parsons. Married and moved in her 20s with now ex-husband to California. Opened up an LA antique store in 1975. Eight years later, designed and manufactured her own furniture. Much sought-after interior designer. Self-taught architect. Made her mark with designing antique furniture that emulates great antiques. 1997 introduced her first line of signature fabrics for Scalamandre.
Perfectionist. Likes everything beautiful to come home to. Candlelight dinners. Cites astrology as a big influence to her, but is not slavish to the stars when it comes to her life or the work she does for her clients. Special attention to details, authenticity, functionality, and PROPORTION (her design golden rule). Home in Bel-Air, a flat in London where she has taken courses at the Victoria and Albert, and a property in Provence (it seems every article we research about her lists a new property, so this is probably either inaccurate now or woefully incomplete).
Celebrity homes she's decorated include Barbara Walters, David Geffen, Eli Broad, Charles Gwathmey, Richard Meier. Rose Tarlow -- Melrose House has two core locations in Los Angeles on Melrose Place. 14 satellite locations around the U.S. sell her beautiful wares. Designs furniture that is 100% manufactured in LA under her watchful eye for perfect detail. Her fabrics are made all over the world. Her line includes prints, lamps, linens, cashmere bed throws, wallpaper, place settings, accessories. Her scented candles benefit a breast cancer cause at the UCLA Medical Center, and when she has time, she teaches at UCLA School of Interior Design.
What We Love
This designer's taste is impeccable. She has it 100% correct when she places less emphasis on the scale of elements in a room and instead emphasizes the proportion of all pieces working together.
We like the story she tells about a handpainted wallpaper she had commissioned to look like an 18th Century Chinese wallcovering. She wanted the texture of the paper to feel old, so she balanced on a stepladder and rubbed sandpaper and fine steel wool over the surface to achieve the right softness, to emulate the old.
"A room must be comfortable to look comfortable," she says, and we applaud her preference for interiors that don't look "too decorated."
She rarely takes on interior design projects. The rare ones she does accept must be FUN. Shouldn't every designer use Rose Tarlow's acid test for taking on new work? (And what does she love more than anything? Buying antiques. It's a magnificent obsession.)
Her rusticity can make something new feel filled with age and appearing like something out of the quirky pages of World of Interiors. She likes "eccentricity" in her design, and that keep it from being boring. Her interiors, the rare ones she does, are anything but bores. They always have a twist.
In her furniture line, she makes most pieces to appear like great antiques . . . or she incorporates parts of antiques she loves, like an outstanding chair leg. Her crackle finishes, use of rich hardwoods, and lack of over-distressing new furniture to look like old (one of our pet peeves) make her furniture line wonderful.
All design should be like Rose Tarlow's - functional, useful, beautifully proportioned, and completely available. She believes that you should love everything about where you live. Your home is a refuge from the world, and it should be the most special, beautiful retreat you can create. Amen.
Rose Tarlow Sampler
Photo Credits: Robb Report Luxury Home, Decorati.com, ThisNext.com, Rose Tarlow