Sunday, January 2, 2011

Maximalism!

Shelter magazines always seem to profile clean, crisp, minimalist homes (and there's nothing wrong with these... 'no judging' is a New Year's resolution!) in their January issues- maybe because of the extravaganzas featured in their holiday issues, they feel that their viewers' eyes need a rest? In the January/February 2011 issue of Veranda, there was a pleasant surprise! Writer Stephen Orr and photographer Max Kim-Bee visited with Hutton Wilkinson, Tony Duquette's business partner and protege, at Dawnridge, the famed Duquette property in Beverly Hills built lovingly by Tony and his wife, Elizabeth.

Wilkinson bought the property to save it from the wrecking ball (gone are many of Los Angeles' great homes and landmarks!) and with the home came these lush tropical gardens spread over the acre property, "dramatic spots for plein air dining". In the editorial, Wilkinson has set many different tables tucked into very secluded corners of the gardens with his trademark panache. For all his exuberance, he does follow his own set of rules, one being "No white napkins allowed!" With all the beautiful china, flatware, and dishes inherited from the Duquettes, Wilkinson mixes in his own pieces and creates one fantastically created table after another. Though eschewing white napkins, Wilkinson does combine corals, reds, greens, blues, and of course, gold- lots and lots of gold! "If it wasn't already gold, Tony had it gold plated!" Wilkinson is quoted.


But the interest comes not only in the mix of color, but in the mix of high and low. Duquette was a scavenger, and as such looked at form and shape, not just rare and expensive. Another entertaining credo of the Duquette/Wilkinson brand is that floral centerpieces are rarely used. Instead, figurines, shells, obelisks, and decorative objects take center stage.

Besides the beautiful visuals and the rare glimpse into the private world and mind of a "visionary", the take away is last quote at the end of the article, "I live in old movies. They teach us how to sit and act at the table, and they do so in those beautifully decorated rooms! People don't entertain like they used to, but everyone should remember that it doesn't have to be complicated. Just order wonderful takeout, dress up a little and set a marvelous table..." Touche, Hutton, and Happy New Year! Here's to a year of entertaining! Enjoy the photographs...








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