Musings from Monaco about designing princess’ room

By Carleton Varney

Special to the Daily News

Monaco is readying its cafe-and-casino style for the coming summer season, and I’m here at the Metropole Hotel, visiting the casinos and chatting with the proprietors and personnel about just about everything regarding the gaming life.

As regular readers might remember, my associate, Brinsley Matthews, and I are designing a new casino and restaurant addition for The Greenbrier resort at White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., which will open in June. And a “must see” it will be, if I proudly say so myself, as the design will be embody the glamour and Georgian style that The Greenbrier has always represented.

Although summertime has not yet visited Monte Carlo for my visit, the shopkeepers are getting ready for the season, and the boat basin is filling up with the yachting folk who never miss a chance to cruise the enchanting Mediterranean during the warmer months.

Monaco’s edifices have style — indeed, they do — and the ceiling heights, the moldings and the architectural details of the hotels in this principality certainly bring the elegance of the past into full view for all to enjoy. Visiting Monaco this year, when Prince Albert has reached age 52, I can’t help but think about the time in 1963 when his mother, the former Grace Kelly, and his dad, Prince Rainier, visited The Greenbrier hotel with a young Albert and a young Caroline in tow.

The Grimaldis occupied The Greenbrier’s State Suite — a four-bedroom accommodation that featured yellow walls and rich lime-green silk draperies and valances, along with some French furnishings covered in lime silk and other pieces upholstered in a soft yellow-and-white damask.

I always think of that time as the golden years for Grace and her young family. The well-known Palm Beach artist Ralph Wolf Cowan had painted a portrait of the princess, one that Rainier called his favorite work depicting his wife.

There were two copies of the painting, and today, one hangs in Monaco’s royal palace, while the other resides in the President’s Room of The Greenbrier. Those who visit the resort in White Sulphur Springs can see the portrait and, perhaps, even the State Suite, where the royal family lived for a few days.

‘Princess’ look

For those of you who might wish to add a touch of the “princess look” to your home, may I suggest a decorating scheme inspired by a wallpaper-and-fabric design that my mentor, Dorothy Draper, created for the State Suite of The Greenbrier in 1964. Appropriately, the pattern is called Princess Grace Rose, and it features yellow, full-blown roses with soft green leaves on a white ground.

Chintz drapery

The chintz would be my choice for drapery and valances in a happy bedroom space that you might create for your own home. The valances could be lined in a vivid coral silk. For the wallcovering, use the fabric’s coordinating wallpaper to fill the room with even more full-blown roses.

For carpeting, a rich coral trellis on a cream background would be my selection. The room might also have a luscious coral border worked into the carpeting.

For a “princess bed,” go for one with a canopy. The bedposts should be painted in white lacquer. Choose bed sheets of a Battenberg-lace design and a comforter featuring the Princess Grace floral and lined in soft green.

Bed skirts can be rich green as well — a shade or two darker than the lining of your bed comforter.

For the white night tables, choose white opaline vase-style lamps, shaded in a minty green. I like colored lampshades; a pair fabricated of apple-green silk would add a special note of style.

Go all the way in the romantic “princess style” by placing a large chaise lounge in the room. Cover it in a block-print silk of shocking pink, coral and cream. The block-like plaid will add another layer of visual interest to the room. Accent the chaise with some great-looking pillows, and lastly, line your bed’s green canopy in yellow silk.


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