Sunday, October 16, 2011

Drive By Shootings: European Elegance

This "Drive-By Shooting" is a house in the midst of a complete renovation. Once owned by a prominent and philanthropic family, the house was sold last year for an almost unheard of price in Greenville, South Carolina. I wish I'd had the foresight to download the photos from the listing, because it revealed an interior of gracious rooms, gorgeous moldings, and interiors in which cost had been no object--in 1969. The home was flawless but extremely dated. The house is on a double or triple lot on one of the most desired streets in town, and has over 7,000 square feet on three levels. The slate roof and cast stone entrance and window surrounds speak to the quality of the house. The new owners have removed the high hedge that previously blocked the house from the street, torn down an ill-conceived greenhouse that once sat on the left side, replacing it with the large pavilion that is visible hear, and added a carriage house that perfectly compliments the existing house.

The renovations are being completed by a top-notch builder and overseen by a respected architect, I can only hope the finished house is  published or open on one of the charity tours in the coming years. I would love to see what they have done with the interior.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Another Kind of Interior

Folks, I have an illness. It's chronic, despite my repeated attempts at curing it. I have had to come to terms with the fact that I will likely suffer from this my whole life. It's called "Car Fickles" and is characterized by sudden unsets of "New Car Fever" which can only be cured by trading automobiles. It's true that in my 16 years of driving, I have had 9 cars. The longest I've ever gone without a flair up is three and a half years,  but the disease has progressed the past five years, and I have been afflicted on an almost yearly basis.

Whether it's the smell of a new car interior, the gloss of a factory-fresh paintjob, or just the lure of the deal, we may never know. But this week, as I sat in the dealership pouring over swatches of the available leathers, woods, and metal surfaces that could adorn the interior of one car I'm considering, I was as giddy as if I were designing myself a new room. And with the attention car manufacturers are paying to interiors, it's no wonder. With long commutes, business travel, and weekend getaways keeping us in our cars more than ever, it's only fitting that their interiors should be given as much consideration as any other space. Take a look at some of my favorites:

Jaguar has a history of creating beautiful autos, and the latest XJ is no exception. The contrasting piping, fine woods, and play of textures make it a stunner.

Mercedes Interiors are generally more sedate...handsome rather than dazzling. But select one of their "Designo" packages (the porcelain one pictured here) and you get more style. The piano black surfaces, boldly contrasting leather and carpets, and channeled seats make this one of my favorites.

Audi is another manufacturer who makes gorgeous interiors. This one is understated and elegant, with rich brown carpets, bone colored leather with an accent that pulls in the carpet color, and subtle wood graning to highlight the well thought out controls.

Maserati is one of a handful of companie that allows its owners to create something truly unique. Customers have an endless number of options...from choosing the color of the piping to the color of the seatbelts. Here, a monochromatic caramel scheme gets some visual interest from the button tufted seating.

Porsche likewise allows a great array of customization options. Here, a mostly black 911 interior gets some visual punch from ivory colored inserts and contrasting stitching.

Front seat passengers don't get all the fun. The rear seat of this Bentley shows that just as much detail is payed to the aft cabin. Deep, light colored leather bucket seats are highlighted with blue trim and dark burled wood accents.

Even Volvo, long known for safety, but rarely thought of as a design pioneer, has gotten in on the fun. The contrasting saddle orange seating makes the handsome interior of this S60 memorable.

And great interiors are not reserved just for high-priced cars. Here, Chevrolet has given the interior of the Malibu the designer treatment with a sweeping two tone dash and seats beautifully upholstered in chocolate brown and charcoal.

MINI's standard cars have a pretty high level of personalization possible, and every few years they launch an even more special limited edition. Here, the  limited Mayfair MINI uses contrasting textures and colors to create the sort of interior normally seen only in much more expensive autos.

So, what do you think? Which is your favorite? Have you ever paid much mind to your car's interior?

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