By Carleton Varney - Special to the Daily News
I always loved the evocative title of the 1955 novel The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit written by Sloan Wilson and adapted a year later into a film starring the great Gregory Peck. I certainly recall the film and that gray flannel suit, but I don’t really recall if it was pinstriped or not. Do you?
In any case, gray flannel and suiting material played a prominent role in my decorating career when my office and I planned a major design of the suites of New York’s Waldorf Astoria at 50th and Park.
The Waldorf is now closed and emptied of its contents, making way for a new residential condominium property. I think of the many rooms decorated in gray flannel wallcoverings and upholstery, which we selected as a tribute to Edward VII, the Duke of Windsor.
Yes, suiting fabrics have a place in interior decorating. If your creativity leads you in that direction, why not choose gray flannel for your drapery wallcovering in a guest bedroom for a comfortable and cozy look?
I recommend using both solid gray fabric as well as a pinstripe. Cover the walls with the stripe, and use the solid fabric for fashioning pull-up Roman shades at the windows and for upholstering a club chair. Select a burgundy-wine carpet and repeat that color in the lacquer on a pair of end tables. I also would like to see a tufted sofa covered in pearl — that lovely and very light gray.
I hope the room will have space for a wall of bookshelves, which will be finished in burgundy lacquer and filled with books with brightly colored jackets. Choose a big brass bed with a headboard in a contemporary design. I’ve found some terrific versions at the wonderfully named home-furnishing to-the-trade-only vendor Dr. Livingstone I Presume, which has a retail outlet shop near Dallas if you’re visiting Texas.
Your gray flannel bedroom, with its small library-like setting, will need accessories to echo the shine of the bed. Select some shiny brass lamps for the end tables as well as a brass chandelier, perhaps, to hang from a soaring white ceiling. Dress the bed in more gray, with sheets in a black-and-white zebra pattern for a jolt of drama.
Wall art over the bed and sofa can be very contemporary, whether it’s a framed calendar print or a Jackson Pollock — or maybe a hot artist of today, such as Will Cotton. His work is fun and creative, a perfect fit for your buttoned-down-but-playful bedroom.