House & Garden | Diary of a Somebody

Nicky Haslam

The designer on dismantling Decorex, and a bustling dinner

Nicky Haslam

September 30 2011
Nicky Haslam

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Surprisingly, post those birthday Gibsons – a cocktail taught to me by Cole Porter – I’m in the office by 10am, black coffee in hand, and it’s straight on to the phone to a client. I’m heading over to Canada next week for meetings and to join Colette and her family in her lakeside cabin for Thanksgiving, which is held a month earlier than in the US (something to do with the harvest being earlier, don’t you know).

I have a quick walk about the office, answering questions, advising on schemes and catching up with the staff and publicity on Decorex. By this time the morning has passed quickly and it’s off for lunch with Jane Neil at Mess at the Saatchi Gallery. Jane is the éminence grise of the new school of Romanian artists centred in Cluj, the nearest city to my recently-bought house in Romania (my new personal project and fascinating to me). Two of the Cluj artists are currently exhibiting in London, at Blain Southern and at the Haunch of Venison galleries. We sit outside watching teams of adorable tots playing football and discussing the restoration of the old farmhouse. I found the property on the internet by typing in “Romanian houses for sale” and good old Google came up trumps. I currently have the builders in renovating the house and adding another bedroom and two bathrooms. My small corner of Transylvania; it may be off the beaten track a bit, but it’s certainly what I was looking for.

After lunch I return to the office to catch up with a member of staff about a project we are currently working on in Monaco. We were out there last week for the Yacht Show and are now busy designing yacht interiors to add to our ever-growing portfolio. Today it’s the last day of Decorex, so at 5pm sharp it’s all decs on hand for the dismantling of the lobby area. What took months of preparation, organisation and planning comes apart in less than an hour; it’s kind of heartbreaking to see it come down, but I suppose that’s the nature of one-off sets rather than true interior decoration. Once done, it’s back home for a long bath, the dust and the heat replaced by delicious Sisley products, and into my new blue Anderson & Sheppard suit, plus my new gold tie pin, which I’m wearing for the first time.

On to dinner with Colette at Bellamy’s, my cousin Gavin Rankin’s gourmet haven in Bruton Place, where my young friends Fritz von Westenholz and Caro Sieber, the Channel ambassadress, are hosting a dinner for my darling old friend, the impresario Terry Kramer, who has wonderful homes in New York and Palm Beach and whose company owns many theatres in London. We’re joined by Arthur Mornington and his ravishing wife Jemma Kidd, and handsome banker Ru Hayward who miraculously has recently been working in Romania and knows how to set me up with a bank account out there. After dinner we try to go on to a party given by Catherine Hesketh and Clarissa Pilkington, but whether I got the wrong night or the wrong house or the wrong time, I missed out on that one! Hardly typical of me…

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