Let me introduce you to my extremely talented Senior Designer, Stuart Gilchrist. Here’s what he’s writing about….
Actually, what led me to write about Frances Elkins, who influenced countless 20th century designers, is my excited anticipation of Stephen Salny’s upcoming book about Michael Taylor, the renowned San Francisco designer. Taylor was profoundly influenced by Frances Elkins, and I by both of them. So it makes perfect sense that Stephen Salny, who wrote a beautiful book about Elkins in 2005 called Frances Elkins: Interior Design is following it up with a book about Taylor.
My first experience learning about Elkins occurred in my childhood when my mother hired an interior designer, Sue Gilpatric to decorate our home in Northern California. Gilpatric, who followed Elkins’ lead, inspired me to become a designer and a follower of Elkins’ work. And in fact, like Elkins herself, I would go to friends homes and rearrange the furniture to my liking, sometimes to the joy and sometimes to the dismay of its occupants. Unfortunately, unlike her, they were not my clients (until much later)!
As Mr. Salny so eloquently states, “ Frances Elkins was a chic arbiter of taste. Her contributions to interior decoration spanned over three decades and influenced interiors from New York to Hawaii.”
Again, as you can see in this photo of the Reed Library, she mixed modern furniture by her friend and collaborator, the French interior designer, Jean-Michel Frank, with more traditional furnishings to create a unique, minimal, and fabulous room. Frances Elkins’ work from the 1930′s to the 1950′s has withstood the test of time. In fact, some rooms that she designed during those years still stand the same today with minimal changes. Elkins was a force to be reckoned with. I’d like to think that I am too (in a good way!) I am thrilled that I’ve had a chance to learn so much from her and Michael Taylor’s work. She helped me determine my career path at a very early age – and it was the right choice! I will forever be grateful for that, and her.