Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Crystalline Home

I once met Isabelle de Borchgrave for a fabric project concerning her painted silks. In that brief encounter, her intensity and talent were evident. Since, I've seen and admired more and more of her seemingly endless work in textiles, painting, ceramics, right up to her incredible paper haute couture dresses and historic costumes. It is all fanciful and poetic with a graceful, classic foundation. Her home is yet another work of art.

Now, I am one for artistic mixes and personal touches, but what is even more striking here is the luminous quality of this home. But just what gives it that particular sparkling trait ? I'm convinced that it is not just the light colors and wide windows. It is the way our eyes are guided from one area to another through various lattices and transparencies: here a caned chair, there a crystal chandelier, the mullions of the windows, a wire bird cage, the Creil ceramic baskets.... After all, in natural sciences, a lattice is a set of points or objects over an area that form the geometric shape of a mineral crystal. This house was bound to shine. Our focus is guided around each room as in a well-constructed painting. We can't be bored here, yet all is tranquil. There is a kind of dancing calm in these rooms.

A collection of glass objects in front of the window catches and throws out light.

Isabelle de Brochgrave painted family stories on the ceramic tiles in the spirit
of Portuguese azulejos.

The pouf is covered with an embroidered fretwork design. On it, sits a pierced Moroccan lantern.

An allegorical mobile is made of cut copper.

The strap work on back of the cabriolet armchairs is her own trompe- l'oeil painting!

Meeting of materials: the glistening fabric of a Turkish coat is suspended on the patinated glass of a trumeau next to some of the artist's paintings.

photos Richard Boutin


  1. What a difference when a home is made from a personal artistic vision rather than decorated by rules and formulas. I think the beauty is in the depth and the layers of personal meaning. One of the most beautiful homes I have seen.

  2. We're in complete agreement.