There’s no question about it.
I’m going straight to hell.
Why, Laurel? What on earth could you have done that’s so bad? Did you insult somebody? Or were you cruel to an animal?
I’m sure that I have insulted lots of people (usually) without that intent. ;] And, I do generally love most animals, except for the man-eating ones. However, I did murder a very large bug the other day that surprised the hell out of me in my kitchen.
Apparently, I had only maimed him; because, as I was tying up the plastic bag, I heard him crying in a panicky-buggy sort of way.
You’ve got to be kidding.
No worries. I continued to clobber the bag until it fell silent. You know, a little like Robert De Niro in the movie, Good Fellas? (I don’t recommend that you look up the scene if you have not seen the film, however.)
But that’s not why I’m going to hell.
It’s the headline.
Uhhh… Laurel. You’ve written some provocative headlines, for sure, like “Why Bunny Williams Husband Hates Me” and “The Shocking Truth About Restoration Hardware.” And let’s not forget this year’s eye-opener, “The Ugly Truth Behind The Pretty Pictures on Houzz.”
But this post title is about as tame as they come for you.
Thank you. On the surface, perhaps, but let’s dive a little deeper into Laurie’s behavior. :]
Oh, it all started out quite innocently on a steamy summer day here in Southern Westchester County.
They all do.
But, it wasn’t research for bland decor that I was going after.
Nope, it was a different topic entirely that I was researching. However, fairly early on in my research, I happened upon a designer that I had never heard of, but should definitely have heard of.
And, I desperately wanted to work him into my post, but no can do.
Therefore, I decided that the post needs to be about this designer.
Actually, he’s NOT a designer; he’s an antiquarian of extraordinary ability.
And here, it comes. The reason I’m going straight to hell.
His name is Gerald Bland.
Get it now?
At first, I had to refocus my eyes, because they said one thing, and my brain through these gorgeous images was telling me something else.
Bland is not really an appropriate surname, in my opinion. I think that Mr. Bland should change his last name to Sublime. Gerald Sublime. Yes, that’s it. But, for now, we’re going to have to stick to “Bland, even though it’s painful to say that.”
And, who knows how I happened to find him, but there I was on Gerald Bland’s instagram.
(No, you may not be excused yet. You have to read the post first. Thank you.) ;]
And at this point, I will insert a couple of his images, because I know that you’re hungry to see what I’m talking about!
This is a relatively new (to Gerald and his wife Mita) house. Where it is, I’m not sure, but we’ll get to that in a bit. And they’ve done a massive number to it! Look at that chandelier. I mean LOOK at it!
This home is in the Greek Revival style.
But, here’s what struck me almost as much as his exquisite images on his instagram.
Gerald Bland only posts images. No hashtags and not even a caption. He says nothing whatsoever about his images and never answers comments.
In this way, he unwittingly teases his followers who are dying for answers; although I’m quite positive that is not his intent.
And those followers include some of my favorite designers that I’ve written about numerous times.
A-listers, like: (and I’ve included a few amazing images from their instagram accounts) Above the photo is a post on here that they appear in and underneath the image is the link to their instagram account.)
@stevengambrel gorgeous fireplace mantel – living room – cute doggie, Sailor
Steven gets two images because I can’t stop looking at the next one.
Man ‘o Man I’m dying here.
via @peterpennoyerarchitects on instagram – Regency jewel by H. Pleasants Pennington – Locust Valley, NY
via @katieridderinc on instagram her charming home – LA
via – @gpschafer instagram – not bland design fireplace mantel – gorgeous sconce – oil painting
@markdsikes in instagram- blue and white living room in Montecito
via @bunnys_eye on instagram – her exquisite home and garden – Sharon, CT not bland decor!
That is just a little extra bonus to refresh you on this hot, hot steamy day, here in the northeast!
Since I know nothing about Gerald Bland, and being the naturally curious type, I googled him to see what I could find. And what I learned is quite fascinating. Gerald Bland is an American who grew up in a coastal North Carolina town. He was not exposed to anything in the way of art or antiques and his family was not wealthy or connected to high society in any way.
After dropping out of college in 1974, he landed a job waiting on tables in Nantucket. It was a casual atmosphere where customers mingled with the employees. One patron knew of a job opening at Sotheby’s Auction House.
Despite not knowing anything about fine antiques or art, Gerald went for the interview and got the job!
Oh, I love stories like this, because of course, his eye, taste and talent for design is beyond exquisite. In fact, his interiors are, IMO, the diametric opposite of bland decor.
His style is not flashy either. I find it incredibly elegant and soothing even.
Bland stayed at Sotheby’s for many years before opening up his own shop, Gerald Bland, Inc. on the upper East-side of Manhattan in 1987.
Since there are no captions on his images, I have to look for clues to ascertain what I am looking at, but I think I have it straight.
The first shot is of Gerald Bland’s showroom in New York City.
gorgeous shot – by @cralexander426 on instagram
Unless otherwise stated the rest of the photos are from Gerald Bland’s Instagram
Hmmm… he only has 7,400 followers. Let’s see if we can freak him out and get him up to 10,000 followers. hehe! That would be fun!
Another beauty with an English Chippendale breakfront -And folks, when I say Chippendale, I mean CHIPPENDALE! Like Thomas Chippendale probably did the carving himself! Love the chairs with yellow upholstery which gives a fresh note to this space in the showroom.
My favorite from Gerald Bland Inc. – That fine oil painting. The chartreuse chair and a Greek key pattern, all in one gorgeous image!
Oh, you want to know the wall color? My money is on Farrow and Ball Down Pipe. You can find a Benjamin Moore equivalent (or as close as I could get) in the link.
Now, here’s where things begin to get a little fuzzy for me. Bland lives with his artist wife, Mita, a brilliant artist in her own right. And it appears that they have or had an apartment in Manhattan, but perhaps sold it to go live in the country. I’m not sure about that last part, except that most of the furniture is in the new (to them) place.
This is Gerald Bland in the NYC apartment via NY social diary. But the image was taken several years ago.
Apparently, they purchased a magnificent Greek Revival Home– somewhere, outside of the city.
Just clearing my throat.
And that’s because I have lived “somewhere, outside of the city” for the last 26 years and believe me, I know my suburban hoods. (at least those to the north).
Now, someone on the insta feed mentioned Millbrook, NY. (That will take you to Gil Schafer’s beauty up there) But, that is quite a commute if that is their main home, which it appears to be. Although, Bunny and John’s commute from Sharon, CT is just as far.
Looking for any small clue! ;]
Not much to go on, but it is definitely way outside of the city! However, look at this exquisite entry with either a Directoire or Regency side chair. Love the black door and look at that charming doorknob!
I am pretty positive that it could be somewhere in Northern Westchester County, NY, possibly North Salem, Waccabuc, Katonah or Bedford. However, it is possible that it’s also in Fairfield County, CT in the towns of Greenwich or New Canaan. No matter. Each area is beyond gorgeous. I lived up there for 22 years and never grew jaded from the surrounding beauty. In fact, it looks a lot like the English countryside, minus the sheep. lol
Make no mistake; Laurel the detective spent a good couple of hours trying to find THE house. haha!
Yes! There’s a tiny corner.
Greek Revival, indeed.
LOVE the porch.
A driveway or country road. There are parts of North Salem in northern Westchester County that look like this. So gorgeous!
Same view from inside the front door. This is not the same door we saw earlier.
Oh well, time to give up.
But, maybe someone out there knows where the house is?
And if you do and you don’t feel it’s your place to say where, that’s cool too, of course.
I’m just having fun.
Love the relaxed look of the white slipcovers in the Bland’s living room.
Gorgeous styling and love the gold painted ceiling!
Are you feeling a bit William McLure here?
The painting is a relative of Mita Bland!
Well, I could keep posting, but please go check out Gerald Bland’s instagram (and of course follow him) because there are hundreds of gorgeous photos. And you’ll get to see the walls before they were painted white. Some of them were teal which was also gorgeous, but very different, of course.
The floors had a different finish as well. I love both finishes but understand why he made the change.
What shade of white paint is that Laurel?
Seriously? Please tell me that you didn’t just ask me that. How the hell should I know? lol
For all I know, it’s primer. Does it matter? We’ve been through this!
When you get the bones right, the shade of white, as long as it’s a good one, like one of these matters far less.
Or, if you’d like a more narrow list, this is a good post for both trim and wall colors.
However, if you’d love to have the entire enchilada along with what trim colors look great with what, then I suggest getting the Laurel Home Paint Color and Palette Collection.
Hope you guys enjoyed this as much as I have! I might actually go and post something on my own instagram!
PS: Please don’t forget that the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is still going strong. You can check out some of my favorites here.
Please don’t tempt me like that again. I just had to find out where that house was. I used to do this sort of thing for a living — tracking down wealthy people and where they lived. Not to rob them of course. Simply had to know how much they had so we could come close to the appropriate “ask.”
Anyway it didn’t take too long and I’m sure someone clued you in soon after you posted. I was able to scan some of the IG comments and when one friend said she’d walked by one Sunday and had almost dropped in it took only a google or two to find where she spent her weekends. Just as you suspected a lovely area for fox hunting et al.
It just goes to show. There is no such thing as “privacy.” House sales and addresses are a matter of public record. And the internet makes it relatively easy to access this information. From my standpoint, I wanted to see more of the house “before.” And I did find those images. That’s all I wanted to know.
But here’s an interesting tidbit about addresses. By law, I must divulge on all of my subscriber emails, my full business name and physical address. And if I want Mr. Google to pick up my site, that info has to be on the footer of every page. He’s busy and so are his crawlers. And if they can’t find the address, they just move on quickly to the next_______. And if they don’t have the address, they just keep going…
So beautiful but also so livable.
Glad that you enjoyed Celeste!
Wonderful post Laurel! By far my favorite Blog in all of Blogdom. The Mark Sikes pic- with the fringed sofa and greyish floral fabric. If there was a bookcase across the room would you paint it charcoal or Off Black? Love your inquiring mind! #kindredspirit
Oh, that’s so sweet of you Dana! Actually, I have the magazine right here. And in the real room is a sofa with the floral fabric. That’s actually a muted green. One of my favorites; the classic Althea by Lee Jofa. I featured it in a different colorway in this post.
If I were doing a bookcase in this room, it would probably be white. But I would definitely do something small in black
I almost got sidetrack by the amazing decor of Mr. Bland but I wanted you to know about Lysol. My husband taught me to spray a little Lysol on a bug which stuns it a bit so you can dispose of it. We’ve done it with a tarantula in the shower and a couple of scorpions in the kitchen. They just freeze so we then we can put them in a jar and let them loose in the woods behind our Oakland, CA home. For spiders, I just spray and squish. XoX
Thanks so much Kathleen. Well, finally a great use for Lysol. I imagine they would be stunned. That stuff is vile. haha But you had a tarantula in the shower? I would’ve died.
I love that you shared this because the furniture is simple, yet classic, and let’s the architecture shine. I like knowing that furniture does not have to be super decorative to be lovely in such a classic home.
Thanks so much Jane!
I am obsessed with the gold ceiling photo. Do you know what they did to achieve that gorgeous finish?
Not sure in this case, but it looks like metallic paint to me as opposed to gold leaf. Benjamin Moore makes metallic paints. I tried to find a good image but fell short.
Oh, wow. I just read your Houzz expose from April, and it corroborates everything I thought about that stinky behemoth. They were great when they started out, but they simply got greedy. Pros can’t stand them, and after what they did to/with Gardenweb, lay-people can’t stand ’em either. I was invited, as a lay-person, to get somewhat involved, but I always felt icky after the preliminary discussions, and walked away. And showered thoroughly.
I figure that suspiciously knowledgeable on all things poster-extraordinaire over there, “Sophie Wheeler,” is the nom de plume of the delightful couple that own Houzz, spewing forth all their venom that they have to keep bottled up irl to keep raking in their millions. Hehe.
And don’t get me started on their primary “writer,” Becky Harris. She’s all sweetness and light when she has her asses kissed, but when challenged on facts, she turns into a right old meanie. There’s a reason they’ve lost all their good writers, I suspect.
Back to your regular scheduled programming!
I’ve happened on the gardenweb but don’t know those names. And don’t know what has changed since the take-over. But that is one thing that I’ve found helpful.
What IS it with people who get jobs with Sotheby’s?? I know two, one very well, and she has exquisite taste, her house is beautifully curated, and she’s absolutely charming. Not a lick of “qualifications,” but she really knows her antiques. She worked with Sotheby’s in Scotland; the other one, I know less well, worked with them in NYC. I think they both probably have a very good natural “eye,” and are clever at seeing quality through all the quantity.
I love those Bland images you’ve shared; so calm and full of quality, but also genuine and lived-in looking … trotting on over to Instagram now (I’ve never ventured there, but it’s never too late to start, right?!).
I’d be perfectly happy if there was no instagram, but others (that matter) don’t see it that way, therefore, I have to have a “presence.” so be it.
Working at Sotheby’s one would get an inherent education and immersion in the beautiful and tasteful.
Google Mita Bland. Lovely
I echo Janet’s earlier comment. She was so eloquent that I couldn’t write my similar comments any better.
Thank you again Laurel for all that you share:)
Thank you so much Ani! I very much appreciate you guys too!
I’ve been following him for a while. I know quite a few A-list designers, so I’ll ask around, but won’t post my answer. He deserves his privacy.
Absolutely! and I figured that you knew who he is.
I love antiques! Thank you for pics of beautiful buildings/houses/rooms. Although, IMO – busy patterned fabrics inside the window frame, solid outside the frame. The books inside the Greek Key bookcase appear to be antique law books, maybe NYS law.
Hi Mary Ellen,
Drapes always cover the window frame unless they’re cafe curtains. So, they are both inside and outside.
If you’re talking about Mark’s Sikes’ room, I think that his design is brilliant. In fact, it was on a recent cover of House Beautiful!
Great, great, great, post!
I love everything about Mr. Bland’s style. The restraint-letting each piece speak for itself. The judicious use of color (mostly shades of green). Everything. I’ll be a follower.
Glad that you enjoyed it Susan! I concur with all.
Omg. Love love love. And I am sooo smitten with the floors. Especially the first door pic with the wide planks. I need these in my new kitchen. Are these finished at all? Seriously I must figure this out. I love how they give a soft and worn look and are understated but still THERE. It’s either those or I am doing painted hardwood planks. Awesome post! Thanks for the flutters!
That is a very good question Korina. There is something on them. And maybe the answer is in this post.
This post immediately became one of my favorites from you. It’s in your usual entertaining style and displays your exquisite taste. All the images are lovely. You are the best! Thanks for sharing that even you can be in awe of other designers. The styles are classic and timeless. They are just like what you have been teaching and sharing with your followers. You have taught me so much with all of your posts! Anytime I consider purchasing something new or different for my home there is a voice in my head asking, “What would Laurel think?” If something is “Laurel worthy” it is going home. Thanks so much for all you share each and every week.
BTW I have started following Mr.Bland.
What a lovely thing to read before going to bed! Thank you so much Janet! I’m totally in awe of many designers. It’s not easy to make it look easy! But, practicing and mindfulness as you are doing, makes it easier!
(Tried to hit reply but it’s not working) Laurel, you ask if I know that Furlow Gatewood lives in Americus? I’m less than two hours from Americus and I picture myself driving along leisurely one day, (in Americus for some reason) and suddenly there’s Furlow and look! Bunny and John are there visiting for the weekend. They invite me to come up to the house(s) for drinks and have a look around. You’re talking to the girl who goes to Scott’s Antique Market in Atlanta with my copy of Fulow’s book in case I run into him so he can sign it. 😳 Yes, I know that Furlow is near, and yet so far….
Awww… that is so sweet! I love that story and you never know! I think that Bunny reads my blog. lol She did link to that post after it was published! very kind of her.
Hello Laurel, They say that truth is stranger than fiction. In the movie Eating Raoul, a gourmet couple named Bland was planning to open a French restaurant named Chez Bland. However, the chef for the Cleveland Museum of Art restaurant a while ago was really named Chef Bland. And now this crossover into decorating territory!
P.S. To make the ‘record’ complete, there was also a fine singer named Elsa Bland, who recorded in the early 20th century. Here is her voice on Youtube:
I don’t remember Chez Bland from the movie; it was quite a few moons ago. :] But a French restaurant named Chez Bland is pretty hilarious!
And Elsa was definitely not bland. In all fairness, recording techniques weren’t so great back then. I adore Anna Moffo. In a class all by herself.
Laurel, the Anna Moffo recording is magical. Thanks for the link, Jim
Oh MyGosh- what a treat!What a treasure! Of course I immediately went to instagram to follow Mr Bland.
And I was very happy to note that one of my top three design idols, Jeffrey Bilhuber, is also a follower!
Thanks for this wonderful post, Laurel..
Oh dang. I left Jeffrey out. Fabulous designer, he is! Glad you enjoyed the post!
Laurel, I love this post and I love how you’re trying to find his house. Best of luck to you. His interiors are beautiful! I followed him on Instagram: By mid-morning tomorrow, I believe our Mr. Bland will be in major freak out mode. Please keep doing exactly what you’re doing, and know that in a tiny town in rural Georgia you have a HUGE fan. 💕
Hi Mary Jane,
I was looking largely because from what I could see, it looks VERY familiar! Familiar, like I’ve driven by kind of familiar. So, it was making me a little nuts, but I’m past it now. He’ll be safe from inquiring minds. Well, this one.
However, I am keeping track of his new subscribers. It’s a harmless type of stalking. lol He’s up to 120 new subs in about 75 minutes!
I’m wondering if you’re anywhere near that other incredible design genius, Furlow Gatewood. He’s in Americus, Georgia if you don’t know that. But it’s a pretty big state. xo
Furlow Gatewood’s house is easy to find. Ms. Julia Reed actually gave us a few clues on how to find him in one of her many interviews. I’m sure a lot of us go to Scott’s with the hope of running into him. LOL!!!! I also followed Mr. Bland’s Instagram.
Hooray! and thank you Karen.
Oh My! Wonderful post Laurel! I have a confession…………..my maiden name is Bland and our line of the Bland family is also from Coastal N.C. The Bland family line(s)/groupings in the US are reasonably well documented especially those from N.C. I am going to find Gerald Bland…………………we may be related! I will reach out to the Bland Heritage Foundation and see if I can find out any information. In love with his pictures/work/taste!!!!!!!!!!!! Heavy sigh I am an east coast girl stuck in California (heavy sigh) who just went through a year and half long remodel (remind me never to do this again) and your blog helped me out a lot!!
Oh WOW! Talk about your freaktastic coincidences! I love that! He almost definitely is a relative! I recently found some cousins of mine with the same last name that didn’t know I existed. It’s quite nice, actually.
Well, I hope that you’re in a part of California that has great weather, at least. Have to say that I’d be thrilled to never see another snow flake for the rest of my days.
OMG, Laurel! PLOTZ worthy! I had a little warning about this spectacular post! He has been on my radar and I knew the name and a few of the images, but had never stalked and thought enough about him… not sure why! His style is a combination of some of my favorites! Mostly Albert Hadley’s design for Nancy Pyne and the new stars, Darryl and William Mcl. Wow, I don’t think I will be able to sleep tonight. His followers will reach 10,000!
hahahaha! I knew that you’d be plotzing! And yes, I forgot to mention but it’s never too late, that Albert Hadley was a mentor and good friend. In fact, Gerald curated Albert’s apartment after he passed.
I’m putting my bet on that he won’t notice a heap of new followers. But his wife will. haha
What I love most is the unpretentiousness of the look–even soothing–though it is furnished with clearly expensive pieces. It is beautiful AND comfortable-looking without being overdone.
Actually, quite restrained as they say because when you look closely, there is absolutely nothing superfluous and yet it’s not spartan either.
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