Saturday, July 11

Why In Design column: the great designer Rose Cumming


the talented Rose Cumming

Why In Design column:
Our Collective Love for 
Interior Designer Rose Cumming,
and let's talk about what she brought to the design table
gorgeous cabbage rose prints, Rose Cumming


Ever since I graduated from Parsons in 1990 and began working freelance for a variety of designers, I loved perusing the many fabric and furniture showrooms in the design centers here in New York City.  Back in the day, there were some quirky favorites that I still love -- the fabulous white brick clad John Boone showroom on third avenue,  John Rosselli's lighting extravaganza showroom over on the East River and the wonderfully rich Rose Cumming fabric showroom in the Fine Arts Building just down the street from the D&D Building.  Getting off that elevator onto the colorful world of Rose Cumming was like a design education each time I visited.  The candy colored leopard prints, the crazy toiles and colorful chintz all worked together against deep aubergine walls in a way that was enticing. What a refreshing escape from the plain vanilla showrooms of various shades of beige.  To me, design should be inspiring, unique, rich, colorful and that is what Rose Cumming brought to the design table when she opened up her original antique and design shop upon her arrival to the United States after growing up on a sheep farm in Australia. In the fabulous circles, Rose's design and antique shop on the upper east side soon became the talk of the town and was frequented by many celebrities such as Jacqueline Onassis and Andy Warhol.  She was one of the first to combine unique patterns and colors together in this manner, and even left the lights on in her shop at night to illuminate her designs.  She managed to infuse her interiors with drama and wit. Rose was known as a colorful character herself and her interiors matched her personal style -- she is known for her vividly colored locks, her proclivity for donning hats and dramatic attire.  Don't you love a good re-invention story and how New Yorkers hailing from all over the world come here and create their own universe?  That is exactly what Rose Cumming did and she left us with much fodder, and now, years later a plethora of designs we can keep tapping into time and time again.  It is amazing how stylish design knows no era, and her fabrics and wallpapers have timeless appeal. 
My current emerald green living room in my upper east side apartment (which took me many trips to the paint store to find just the perfect hue of green) was inspired by Rose's infamous jade green library (above). 
Apparently, the green paint was washed with a Prussian Blue color and together these layers achieved this unique hue.  
When checking out Rose Cumming's fabulous interior images, one is immediately struck that they are not shy, they don't always follow the rules, but that is precisely why they are magical.  Having had a love for color all my life, Rose Cumming is my muse, and I am often reminded of those days spent pining over those fabric wings in her fabric and wallpaper showroom to help create a fantasy life for clients which instilled in me a life-long love for design.
For more information about this iconic talent, please check out the in-depth look at Rose Cumming published by Rizzoli and released in 2012, written by Jeffrey Simpson with Foreward by Cumming's grand niece Sara Cumming Cecil. Today,  Dessin Fournir sells Rose Cumming fabric in New York, and has recreated some of her large scale patterns with stunning results.   
 Happy Nesting
XO Tamara
footnote: 
information sourced from 
rosecummingdesign.com
Rose Cumming by Jeffrey Simpson
Architectural Digest magazine