The 5 Most Glamorous Interiors with Bessarabian Rugs are by such legendary interior designers as Stephane Boudin of Maison Jansen, David Easton, Renzo Mongiardino and Albert Hadley. The rooms were designed for celebrities that include Jackie Kennedy, Lee Radziwill, Marella Agnelli and Brooke Astor- a testament to the prestigious associations of Bessarabian rugs which were originally made for Russian royalty in the 19th century. My favorite of these interiors is the living room in Dallas designed by David Easton. This room is a most amazing combination of relaxed comfort and elegance which is a very hard thing to achieve. Bessarabian rugs are becoming increasingly fashionable as evidenced by the latest advertising campaign of Brunschwig & Fils which features their all time greatest rooms including Albert Hadley’s red lacquered library for Brooke Astor with its mysterious Bessarabian rug which the The New York Times proclaimed as “one of the most admired interiors of the 20th century.”
1. David Easton had a very large Bessarabian rug custom made by Asmara for this living room in a Dallas home. The hand drawing of the artwork took six months and the 400 colors had to be custom dyed. Yet this room looks elegant and relaxed. The yellow walls, wood beam ceiling, the rustic chandelier, the glowing fireplace and the floral arrangement create a highly evocative mood. Image courtesy David Easton, Inc.
2. Marella Agnelli in her lving room where a black, cream and red Bessarabian rug anchors a gilded wall panel, contemporary sofa and blue and yellow silk pillows. Photo by Horst P. Horst.
Marella Agnelli was the youngest of the group that included Babe Paley, Gloria Guinness, C. Z. Guest, Slim Keith, and Pamela Harriman who Truman Capote’s famously named the ‘swans’— wealthy, stylish, and well-married women friends whose company Capote adored because they ‘had created themselves” Capote proclaimed Marella Agnelli ‘the European swan numero uno and he is reported to have said that if Paley and Agnelli were ‘both in Tiffany’s window, Marella would be more expensive.’ Marella Agnelli was portrayed by Isabella Rossellini in the 2006 drama film Infamous.
3. Brooke Astor’s famous red lacquered library with its mysterious Bessarabian rug was designed by Albert Hadley and this image is from Brunschwig & Fils new advertising campaign. The New York Times wrote this is “one of the most admired interiors of the 20th century.”
Some years ago Albert Hadley told New York Magazine how the Astor library came to be. “I said, ‘Brooke, you don’t have anything fake in your life except this room,’ ” Hadley was referring to the faux Louis XV wood paneling that had been done in the early thirties which Sister Parish had left intact during her first decoration of what was then Brooke’s living room. Hadley’s comment provoked Astor and she asked him what he would do. Hadley said it could be both classic, to complement the architecture, and new. “She loved that,” Hadley recalled. “Anything that was up-to-date, she got it right away.”
Hadley described a magnificent library to house Vincent Astor’s rare books which were lying in storage. Hadley’s famous red lacquered shelves required ten coats of paint to achieve their richness. The Astor library became the high point of Hadley’s career.
3A. Another view of the the red, gold, green and black Bessarabian rug and Brunschwig & Fils La Portugaise sofa fabric which was originally chosen by Sister Parish for the drawing room that Albert Hadley later transformed into this famous library. Albert Hadley kept the Bessarabian rug and the fabric because they were such a perfect complement to his red-lacquered shelves. Mysteriously, this beautiful Bessarabian rug was not part of Sotheby’s Brooke Astor estate sale last September. Perhaps the Bessarabian rug had been sold years ago along with other priceless art. Image courtesy The Devoted Classist.
4. After her divorce from Stanislaw Radziwill in 1974, Lee moved from the the Fifth Avenue penthouse to a smaller apartment on Park Avenue. The black, cream and gold Bessarabian rug, the Regency dining table and the Duke of Beaufort botanicals are now in a sunny and airy environment that reminded Lee of Turville her English country manor house
5. The White House State Dining Room during the Kennedy administration was decorated by Stephane Boudin of Maison Jansen who used a very large Bessarabian carpet in cream and black and paired it with yellow silk dining chair and silk drapes.