Suzanne Rheinstein’s Regency Chaise Longue Sofa

Suzanne Rheinstein has been noted as one of LA’s top designers along side established designers such as Michael Smith, Barbara Barry, and Waldo Fernandez. Suzanne Rheinstein is owner of LA based Hollyhock, an extravagant antiques store which features a variety of high end furniture, art and decor. Rheinstein is known for her special attention to incorportaing luxurious antique furniture, with special attention to  Gustavian, Edwardian and Regency Styles.  Beyond her store, and her new book, At Home: A Style for Today with Things from the Past, Rheinstein also has a fabric line with Lee Jofa.  Suzanne Rheinstein’s Manhattan Home made the cover of Elle Decor for the month of November 2010 featuring an upscale Gustavian designed residence in New York.   Her Georgian 1914 Revival home in Los Angeles features classic Federal style looks with stunning Regency Furniture. The overall period look can be seen in Rheinstein’s striped custom slipcovers made of Scalamandre’s Brompton Stripe, a blue and cream silky cotton. Rheinstein’s walls were painted in an aqua and accented with beige / wheat curtains while the floors were left bare for the photo. Above all the stunning antiques in her Georgian home was a black English Regency Chaise Longue, which featured splayed feet and a black ebonized finish, particularly styled after Duncan Phyfe furniture.

The Recamier sofa can be traced back to Jeanne-Françoise Julie Adélaïde Bernard Récamier who was a Frenchwoman, and influence in the political circles of the early 19th century. Juliette Récamier lived during very exciting period in history and knew many monarchs. She knew Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, dined at the table of Napoléon I and even knew the future Napoleon II as a child. Born in Lyon, France she was married at fifteen to Jacques Récamier, a rich banker more than 30 years her senior.

The récamier was named after her as she posed elegantly on one to have her portrait painted in 1800. Rumors circulated that she once had an affair with Lucien Bonaparte, (younger brother of Joseph and Napoleon Bonaparte ).

Jeanne-Françoise Julie Adélaïde Bernard Récamier

Juliette Récamier Painted by François Pascal Simon, Baron Gérard, 1802. Picture courtesy of The Romantic Query Letter Blog

Regency Styled Furniture - Juliette Récamier

A récamier has two raised ends, and nothing on the long sides. It can be compared to a lit bateau (which is like a sleigh bed) but a récamier is made for a sitting room where as a lit bateau is made for the bedroom.

Regency Styled Furniture - Chairs from Madame Récamier's salon

Regency Style Furniture - Veranda Summer 1996

Regency Styled Furniture- Charleston Style, Then and Now By Susan Sully, John Blais

 Charleston Style, Then and Now

A chaise longue is basically an upholstered couch in the shape of a chair that is long enough to support the legs. It is also sometimes written and identified as “chaise lounge”, which was once wrong, but it has been used so frequently in America that it is no longer incorrect. Today a chaise longue, or lounge also refers to a long reclining chair such as you could see at a pool.

A short sofa from the Empire style having arms of unequal height connected by a back with a sloping top, is called a méridienne.

Duncan Phyfe (1768-1854), New York

Duncan Phyfe (1768-1854), New York , Recamier Sofa with Winged Paw Feet, Mahogany and ash, gilded, with die-stamped gilt-brass mounts and bolster buttons, brass line inlay, and gilt-brass castors. Courtesy of Marinni Live Journal

Regency Furniture - Suzanne Rheinstein's Regency Chaise Longue Sofa Picture From InCircle Entree

Regency Furniture - Suzanne Rheinstein's Regency Chaise Longue Sofa Picture From Southern Accents 2009

Rheinstein's living room furnished with Regency Furniture - From House Beautiful

Rheinstein's living room furnished with Regency Furniture - From House Beautiful

Rheinstein's living room furnished with Regency Furniture - From House Beautiful

Rheinstein's living room furnished with Regency Furniture - From House Beautiful

Taken From House Beautiful November 2000 Issue

Regency Furniture - Taken From House Beautiful November 2000 Issue

Rheinstein has been quoted saying it is better to buy quality one-of-a-kind pieces, and decorate around them “Fewer but better things, painted surfaces, a mixture of furniture styles, a personal art collection and attention to comfort, colors, textures, details and light.”

We couldn’t agree with her more.

The secret to great design is precisely as Rheinstein suggests- Designing around a few pieces of fabulous furniture.

Well made statement piece truly are show stoppers on their own that all that is needed is a few well chosen accent pieces to finish a look to get a magazine quality highly-decorated home.

Antiques have great bones, and outstanding style in compared to modern furntiure.  Hepplewhite and Sheraton antiques which are often known for their clean lines and exotic wood veneers.

Purchasing staple pieces such as a set of regency styled chairs and a quality accent couch can go a long way in a room.  Period convex gold framed mirrors, and medallions grace the walls of Federal styled interiors.  Oriental rugs, or sea grass natural rugs can also warm up a room and help define furniture.

Suzanne Rheinstein revealed some of her timeless secrets in the April issue of Home Beautiful in 2002, …..

Viewpoint– “Patterns add dash to a room and contrast with solids. They’re a must for a family to really “live”

Optimal Upholstery– “Prints look best on simple graphic shapes with exposed legs

Major Mistake“Big Florals, plaids and stripes on a patterned rug”

Chintz of choice– ” Cowtan & Tout’s Lilly & Auricula, especially in Aqua”

Top Toile” Clarence Houses Scenes d’ Egypte. I love documentary prints.”

I never Tire of– ” Traver’s Mandeville paisley linen. It’s french and classic and comes in great colors.

The Ideal print– What Robert Kime has already done! Hand- screen fabrics inspired by vintage textiles

Summer– “Curtains in a pale green Salome linen by Rose Tarlow for Scalamandre”

Winter– “Brunschwig & Fils Le Lac is charming and colorful

Living Room– ” Fauteuils make a lovely frame for prints”

Bedroom ” Use a soft print for walls and curtains”

Deck the Walls – Grosgrain ribbon defines edges in the small entry hall”

Pattern on Pattern– “Why not? Think Drama a la’ Diana Vreeland”

Foreign Intrigue– ” I love suzanis and Indian Block Prints

Whats new? “Thick block printed linens used wrong side up”

Never Ever– “Too many florals and plaids in the same colorway or disparate jarring prints in one room”

Do visit Hollyhock’s web site to see antiques, upholstery and decor items for sale

Her current book At Home: A Style for Today with Things from the Past, features six distinctive homes that express Rheinstein sophisticated elegant style. The book also features both of her own homes in Los Angeles and New York. Rheinstein’s book is beautifully photographed, and shows an inspiring volume of her own work, in which she mixes Gustavian with Edwardian and Regency with ease.

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  • Lakia Nadelson

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