Rizzoli Reprints Rose Tarlow’s ‘The Private House’

After more than two decades, it’s back.

Long out of print, “The Private House” by Rose Tarlow was published first in 2001. A classic tome on modern interiors for designers and homeowners alike, it’s been updated by Rizzoli with new photos and an afterword by the author.

Rose Tarlow is a well-known furniture and fabric designer, antiquaire and interior designer whose company, Melrose House, is based in Los Angeles.

She opened her first shop in 1976 when she was in her late 20s, selling only high-end antiques.

“I started making furniture from 1982 to 1985, because it was hard to sell these really good antiques, except to people like Bill Blass,” she says. “Then I got into designing fabrics maybe five years later.”

But it was teaching and writing that really lit her up. She taught graduate architecture students at UCLA in a small master class for about 10 years. “I did it once a week and had so much fun,” she says. “They didn’t know classical furniture and that world, and I made them learn it.”

So why wouldn’t a book for young people was be order? Tarlow started writing it longhand in France, then from different spots across the globe.

And she knew herself – and her audience.

“I didn’t tell them what to do, but that ‘I do this and I do that,’” she says. “It’s about your own private house – it’s not for decorators, but for people building their own house and students learning about homes and houses.”

Her guiding principle is about studying and learning before lifting a finger. “Everybody should be a student,” she says. “My experience is that you break the rules only after you know them.”

Her material palette is no longer about high-end antiques, but about things of interest. “It doesn’t have to be old or new – it has to be interesting,” she says. “I don’t believe any period is better than another.”

Besides, nothing is ever really gone – even as some advocate bringing back Postmodernism. “It is back,” she says. “I dislike more than anything else the concept of ‘What’s In and What’s Out.’ I’ve always thought: ‘No!’”

And now that “The Private House” is due out in April, she’s pumped that it too, is back. “I was so surprised to do it again, because I forgot about it completely,” she says. “I loved writing that book – it’s one of the things I’m most proud of.”

And for good reason: it continues to strike the right note at the right time.

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