COTE DE TEXAS

CHIC ON GRAN CANARIA

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Years ago, when I was obsessed with the series of books and later the movies,  “Twilight,” I met another devotee of the books who lived in Spain.  We became close friends online and “talked” via Skype.  We are still close even though we are no longer fans of the books.  While Izzy is Spanish she actually lives on the Canary Islands, that romantic destination that so many of us from the states don’t really know where they are.  In fact, the Canary Islands are just 100 miles off the coast of Africa, right near the Sahara Desert and Morocco.   Desert sand from the Sahara has made its way to the islands, carpeting the beach in its dry ivory sand.


The tiny yellow star to the left of Western Sahara, Africa is where the 7 Canary Islands are, just 100 miles off the shores of the large continent.


The Canary Islands are seven tiny islands that are technically an archipelago.  They were populated before 500 BC and in 1483, Queen Isabella of Spain conquered the land after a five year war.  Their pleasant subtropical climate helps secure their reputation as a tourist attraction.   It was their location on the Atlantic Ocean that made them a popular stopover for explorers and Christopher Columbus often stayed there before he started off on his explorations.


The 7 Canary Islands.  The round one in the center is Gran Canaria.


The second largest island is called Gran Canaria and its capital Las Palmas is the largest town on all seven islands.  It is here on Gran Canaria that this story takes place.




This story starts with the debonair decorator Christophe Gollut.  Though born in Switzerland, Gollut now lives in London where he has a very successful career designing interiors for the upper crust and the titled English.   Though Gollut is not quite as well known in America, he is highly respected and very talented all through Europe.   His work has been published in almost every design magazines and it was through his friendship with the founding editor of The World of Interiors, Min Hogg, that the two now both have second homes on the Canary Islands,  Gran Canaria, to be exact.

When photographs taken by Miguel Flores-Vianna of Min Hogg’s house on Gran Canaria turned up in both this month’s Milieu Magazine and in Miguel’s fabulous new book Haute Bohemians – I became hopelessly obsessed with the island, with Min, with Christophe, and their charming houses there.

Obsessed, I tell you!!

First things first…

How does a woman from London become the world’s most famous design magazine editor?


  Min and her family escaped the blitz during WWII in the countryside of Wales.

Georgina Hogg, seen here as a young girl, grew up in Regent’s Park, where she was the daughter of a surgeon, the personal doctor of the Queen.   Her mother was into the arts and took young Georgina, known as Min, to museums and tours of England’s stately houses.   Her mother had great taste, which she passed down to Min, along with her love of chinoiserie, porcelains, and faded carpets.


Min’s mother, Polly at 7, painted by a friend.  She was actually sitting in front of a fire – the snow was in the imagination of the artist.  Min credits her mother for introducing her to the world of beautiful objects.


    Min attended boarding school and, later, art school where she was a student of Terence Conran.  His wife Caroline got Min her first job in journalism – working as a typist for Queen magazine.  For a time Min dated the director John Huston and befriended his daughter, actress Angelica.     After Queen magazine came several other jobs and eventually, Min landed back at the now named Harpers & Queen as its Fashion Editor.  Her assistant?  Anna Wintour.  Yes, THAT Anna.

 

Min, as a chic Fashion Editor. I LOVE this photograph and that ribbon!!!

It’s long been known that Min and Anna Wintour were not the best of friends.  Anna knew that Min’s heart wasn’t in fashion and Anna was said to be livid that Min got the job over her.  But Min’s boss later defended hiring her saying she was “very intelligent and very articulate”  which obviously impressed him very much.   Anna ended up leaving her post and Min stayed on for a while longer. 


Min as a fashionista in London.

After Harpers & Queen,  Min took a job at Interiors Magazine as its editor.  Her first assignment was to decorate their offices, which she did in blue and white.  “It ended up looking jolly good” she said.

When she landed what she has called her dream job – Min was 40 year old and had spent a lifetime visiting beautiful houses and traveling.  She was obsessive about things “looking right” and being head of a interior magazine allowed her to do it all,  just to please herself.

The magazine Interiors became The World of Interiors, a decorative read for the intelligent.  The stories came from all over the globe, with a heavy dose of history and the exotic mixed in.  WOI was an instant success and within six months of its launch, Conde Nast came knocking on its door with an offer to buy it.  As founding editor, Min Hogg became revered and respected.  Many have tried to copy WOI’s formula,  but its uniqueness is impossible to mimic.  As editor,  Min chose interiors that were the personal reflections of the owners as opposed to decorators.  She strove to publish houses that featured eclecticism, vintage style, and individualism,  not modernism nor minimalism.   She would cover anything from a palace to a pigsty, as long as she found it worthwhile. 

The first World of Interiors cover is shown here, center, with Anouska Hempel’s London sitting room on the cover.  The next issue had Monet’s Giverny  yellow dining room on the cover.   Min remembers the endless quarrels about what would go on the magazine’s cover.  “I completely ruled the roost!” 

Years ago, Houston designer Richard Holley told journalist Mitchell Owens why The World of Interiors was so influential:    editorial independence.   "It's not pushing the latest colors or the newest furniture or what's hot.”

That editorial independence came directly from Min Hogg.

In WOI, trends were ignored as were ads which are really how-to stories.   Perfectly decorated rooms were also usually avoided, although they weren’t ignored.  Mario Buatta said “Min hates decorators.”  He was only kidding, sort of.   Not true, Min replied.  She just believed that amateurs have a lot to teach the professionals.  “They are generally more enthusiastic and certainly more honest about their mistakes and how they managed to camouflage them.  Why does everything have to be so perfect? Nothing in real life is, you know,” Min told Owens.

In World of Interiors, Min printed stories that no other editors dared to print – such as a derelict stable elegantly designed by a 21 year old squatter.

Although Min Hogg studiously avoided covering trends – she actually started them.  The term “Shabby Chic” was coined by her.   Country Swedish?   After World of Interiors showed 18th century Swedish houses over and over again, a fad was started that is still going strong today.  Then, an article written about 19th century china inspired Pierre Frey to manufacture their famous teacup fabric called “Minton” which was a huge hit.

Min stayed at the helm of WOI for over 20 years and now writes for Cornucopia, a magazine about Turkish design which keeps her traveling all over the Middle East.  Today, in her 70s, Min has designed a line of wallpapers based on 18th century engravings of seaweed.  Of course!   She would never design a wallpaper collection of something mundane.


Min’s line of wallpapers & fabrics.


Min’s own London apartment, in a stucco townhouse down from Harrods, is typical of what is seen in The World of Interiors.   She is part cluttered, part hoarder, and it’s obvious she likes to be surrounded by things she loves.  “I don’t decorate, I just put things together,”  she says. 

  “Decorating is at a really low ebb, depressing beyond belief,” she says. “It’s the fault of technology. People have stopped looking at pictures and furniture.”



Hard at work in her London apartment.  The walls are pink.  Love the Rolodex!    The desk?  It’s actually her antique Swedish dining table.  Across from the table is the fireplace and bookshelves.


When Min first moved into her apartment, all the walls were papered in a honeysuckle pattern of different colors for each room.  Her mother told her to leave it as is.  Ten days before she moved in, the honeysuckle paper was all removed and the walls became pink instead.


An early version of Min’s 3 room apartment on the top floor of an old townhouse.  Above the sofa hang 15 antique engravings of a military campaign in 1820 Burma.  Min says if you can’t afford one large piece of art – group prints together, instead. 

Hey, that’s what I say!!! 

Originally Min had a pink skirted table paired with pink tufted Belle Époque chairs that she says came from either the theatre or a brothel because there are only two casters on the front legs. 


Another view, with the filled bookshelves and neatly stacked porcelain on the mantel, obviously tidied up for the photo by the stylist.  In the center is a large tufted ottoman with a pink chair.   The blue curtains were fashioned by Min by hanging one 16’ long piece of fabric over a rod.

Words of wisdom from Min taken from different interviews in the New York Times and other papers:

'Over the years I've seen millions of places improved by the people who live there and not by decorators,'' she said. ''When the chance came to edit The World of Interiors I decided that I would show people not the usual interiors done by decorators.''

''I think we are going through a very arid time in design, you look at a modern house and what do you see? A chaise designed in 1929. Some Marcel Breuer. Some Corbusier. You look at new furniture and all you see is Mackintosh chairs, which is too bad, because neither the originals nor the copies are comfortable.''


In Min’s apartment, she later moved the Burma collection  to over her bed.



Later still, the ottoman is replaced with this footstool.  On the left is her blue and white striped sofa.

Min is known for the scarves she wears in her hair.  The reason? She explained in an interview that she hates going to the hairdresser, so she dyes her hair and cuts the “fringe” herself.  Her hair is long, but she doesn’t like long hair on older women, so she wraps it around her head – held up by the colorful scarf that is her now her trademark!!  Another trademark are her pearl earrings which she used to make herself, but now has them custom made.


A newer piece is the red and striped slipcovered wing chair – is it obvious she loves stripes?

.

And here, Min instagramed it for us!  Love!


When photographing her new line of wallpaper and fabrics,  the stylist had Min’s antique sofa covered in one of the designs –the fabric was added inside the frames too.


I can only assume she kept the new design on the sofa!




A later view of the mantel with all the porcelains just as Min prefers them.


 


An instagramed photo of the living room mantel and oil painting.



And another instagrammed photo of the sculpture placed inside her mantel.



The antique Burma prints were later moved to her bedroom.  I believe she remodeled this bedroom at a later date.



The vanity table is actually a wallpaper workman’s table with the legs shortened.  Min’s mother made the skirt for her.



A “Hogg” ancestor.


Above an antique chest is an oval mirror.  Another mirror is reflected in it.



Her pink room with the green antique dresser. 



A collection of Witches Balls hang from the mantel.  Here you can see the delicate pattern on these pink walls.




Min instagrammed this mantel with her pink walls.


And sitting in  front of the mantel in pink.


Min doesn’t like kitchen items hidden behind cabinets.  Instead, she has it all out on display.  Here, she put checked fabric behind the wired doors.


While Min’s London townhouse used to get all the attention – it is her house in Gran Canaria that is now in the news.

Why Gran Canaria?

It was through Min’s friendship with the afore mentioned Christophe Gollut that she was introduced to the Spanish Canary Islands.

Christophe Gollut and Min are great friends.  He was one decorator whose work was shown in World of Interiors, and long ago she also published him in Harpers & Queen.  He has had a long and highly respected career, working with those who can afford to furnish their houses with priceless antiques  - the complete opposite of Min’s aesthetic.  His clients are rumored to be the Rothschilds, the Flicks, Princess Michael…but, wait.  Gollut corrects this – he is friends with Princess Michael and only advises her on design. 

This house he designed was just recently shown in The World of Interiors:


The owners met Christophe on the Canary Islands where they both have vacation houses.  This is the fourth house Gollut has designed for the couple – the wife had inherited it from her grandfather.  Located in Madrid, it was once connected to the Royal Palace through an underground tunnel, created for perhaps a lady-in-waiting or a lover?   The house is an enfilade with room after room opening to each other.  The walls are painted green over a pink base.  The main salon is shown here with red upholstery.  Many of the antiques were purchased on the Canary Islands.


The view towards the opposite direction, looking  into the library.


The library with views through to the dining room.   Heavy double doors open up to each room.


Just gorgeous!  I can’t imagine how beautiful this room must look in the evening.  The adjoining blue room is the stairhall.   The door at the opposite end of the dining room is now closed up – the once public neighboring room is today the master bedroom.



The main hall with Wedgewood blue walls and striped silk curtains.  I love the blue mixed with red.   Gollut took one look at the house and decided this room must be Wedgewood blue.  He is the type of designer who can immediately see how each room should look and then never wavers from that initial vision.


The 44 Carrera marble steps are the focal point of the house.  Simply stunning!!!


Look at the hand painted ceiling!!!


Off the dining room is the newly created master suite with its large Flemish tapestry.


The second main bedroom.

This apartment gives you a view to Christophe Gollut’s aesthetic:  classic, timeless, and tasteful.

He and Min Hogg have been life long friends.


Here they are…talking.  Oh, to be a fly on the wall.  Min looks quite serious!!

It was Christophe who discovered Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands and then shared it with Min.


Gran Canaria – the beaches ring the island whose center is high in the mountains.  It takes one day to drive around the entire island along its beaches.  Las Palmas is the largest city on the islands.  Where the yellow star is – is  where our story takes place, a bit inland, a bit in the hills.

Christophe Gollut was first to create his vacation house on Gran Canaria.  Min Hogg followed her friend there and together they both have wonderful second homes.



Gran Canaria is a mix of sandy beaches with hotels and quiet towns where there are no hotels or tourists.



Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria.  Here, this photograph captures its colorful stucco houses and buildings.


Mogan is a colorful fishing town whose streets have arches to hold up the bougainvillea.   The island is one large hill!


The bougainvillea is so beautiful on the island.


Playa de Maspalomas, the 10 mile stretch of beach whose sand has drifted here over the Atlantic Ocean from Africa’s Sahara Desert.


Guayadeque – a ravine in the hills beyond the small village where Min and Christophe live.  In the older days, wealthy residents would have summer houses in the hills where they would stay during the hotter months.  The area is now a National Park and is filled with secret prehistoric caves where the Guanches, natives of the islands, once lived.



Original caves where people once lived.


An older house in the hills – with the dark volcanic stone mixed in with the stucco.


In the 15th century, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain conquered the seven islands.  It was here at this mansion that Christopher Columbus would stay before sailing the Atlantic to the Americas. 




Miguel Flores-Vianna took this photo on Gran Canaria.


The town where Min Hogg and Christophe Gollut live is called Ingenio.  Located somewhat inland it is a quiet town without a hotel and with no tourists.



The main church in Ingenio, where Min lives.  Her house is right around the corner from it.  Beautiful black urns are filled with bright purple flowers. 



Inside the church.  There is the main altar, along with altars on both sides -  see below:



Miguel Flores-Vianna photographed this side altar showing Christ with the cross. 


The streets of Ingenio are decorated with different patterns made of the tiles. 



These houses are painted blue and purple with orange to end up at the bottom of the hill with a white house and green door.



These houses are pink and orange and white.   The dark volcanic stone mixed with stucco is typically found all over the island.




Christophe Gollut’s house is the large white one on the left.  He joined three townhouses together to create his vacation house.  Located on a square, it is right next to a park.  The façade is said to be a copy of Christopher Columbus’s house.



An early photo from a street in Ingenio.  It looks a lot like Christophe’s – maybe before renovation? 




The houses are built around interior courtyards, where the farm animals once used to live.


Christophe Gollut’s front door with its stone surround and stone drive.



Here is his interior courtyard with its arched doorways and lilac walls.

I wish I had fabulous photographs from Christophe’s Gran Canaria house, but most are from poor, old magazine scans.


A better photo of the lavender colored courtyard.


An alcove in Gollut’s courtyard holds urns and antique glass inside the arch.


The rooftops of his townhouse became gardens.   His roof has a painted floor, in light and dark pink, to mimic tile.   The area beyond the wall is another roof top, not used as a garden space.   Stairs on the left lead down to the courtyard.    Bougainville grows wild on the island.    A turquoise arched door leads inside. 




From Facebook…a more recent photo of the rooftop garden, so green and pink!


The rooftop garden styled for a magazine.



And yet one more from another direction with a view of an even higher roof garden.


This area of the garden is set under an straw awning.  Above is a higher level of the roof garden.



The entry hall to Gollut’s house – faux stone wall painted yellow.  A door with a transom leads to a room.  Across the hall is another room through a paneled double door.




Across the hall – the other door is paneled. 


The main sitting room is pink – a shade found all over Gran Canaria.  So lovely!  In the corner, an antique screen sits on a tabletop.  Different styles of French chairs sit atop antique rugs.

This room is located on the second floor – with the windows overlooking the front street and the side of the house.

The arched windows to the outdoors have interior wood shutters.


A detail of the corner – with its beautiful gilt French chair covered in a pink and white check.  A wood table is covered with a cloth. 

This is the room that is the focal point of all the magazine photospreads – and no wonder why!  It’s a beautiful collection of French furniture in a tropical environment.



This view shows more of the sofa against the windows.




This view from an old magazine shoot – shows the other sofa against the side wall flanked by the French chairs.    This window overlooks the side of the house.



A long hallway from the entry.   The windows on the left look into the guest bedroom.  French sconces light the hall.   In the center is an oil painting and console table, below:


The oil painting and console in the entry hallway.  You can see that the walls are actually the pink color.  I adore the scalloped frame!


The window on the left overlooks the front hall.  Two French brass beds.


A larger view of the double bedroom.


The master bedroom is grand, with a stone fireplace and antique furniture.  There is a large tapestry hanging behind the bed. The Egyptian bedspread covers the Empire bed during the day to create a sofa.



Another bedroom has a canopy bed with wallpapered walls.  There is an odd window up high.  Remember this is an old house – actually three houses combined together. 


A view from the bedroom into the hall and down to the red painted staircase – the only photo of the interior stairs that I could find.  Notice the framed painting on the right has a similar pattern to the paper.  And notice the two door frames in wood with a small urn atop it.  So unusual!!



Another view from a magazine of the dining room styled differently.


I wish the photographs were better!!!


An interesting loft area over the living room and under an original roof with wood beams.  A red and white striped rug with yellow walls.  Notice the built in cabinets and the arched window.


Min Hogg tells the story of how she landed in Gran Canaria in the 2017 Fall Issue of Milieu.  The beautiful photographs were taken by the phenomenon Miguel Flores-Vianna  who has a particularly good eye at capturing the homes of aesthetes like Min and Carolina Irving, another whose house he photographed for Milieu. 

This month, Vianna’s long awaited book was released – called Haute Bohemians - it is filled with the most interesting places owned by the most intriguing people, artists, designers, and others with enviable good taste.

The book is a stunning collection of photographs and Min’s house is a standout.  Her spread in Milieu was timed to coordinate with the book’s release date and everyone has been gushing with praise over both Min’s house and the book.



Min photographed on the cobbled streets near her house – again, there is the characteristic black lava stones from the island’s volcano mixed with white stucco.


Min discovered the island and the town Ingenio when she visited her great friend Christophe Gollut.  They were walking along the cobbled streets and alleys when she saw a double wood door with an opened padlock hanging from it.   She and Christophe were curious and peeked inside to see what lay beyond the door.  It was a courtyard with a green painted balcony that ran along the upper floor, along with a large palm tree.  For years, the courtyard had been used to stable the animals, whose sheds remained off to the side.   The house was a complete ruin, but Min was intrigued.   She quickly found the owner who agreed to sell it.   Christophe had restored his own house just six years prior, so he was a great help in introducing Min to all the tradespeople and translating their Spanish into English.


Min’s house.  The walls are pink with accented black doors and windows.

When Min bought the house - thought to be around 200 years old  – there was no glass in the windows, just shutters.   There was also no electricity, water, or drains.   It took seven months to completely restore the house – all done while she lived in London.   It is a four hour plane trip from London to the Canary Islands and Min visits just three times a year.  I looked on Air BnB to see if she rents this beauty out – but no such luck!!

 

A close up of the front door.

Originally all the rooms lead directly to the courtyard or the verandah but there was no connections between the rooms, internally.   To rectify this, Min had doors punched through the rooms – their stucco walls are over 2 feet thick!    She created three bedrooms, each with a bathroom, for herself and guests.  She also created a connection between the dining area of the main room and the kitchen by making a hatch window in the stucco wall.   She also moved the kitchen from the ground floor up to the main floor.  The former kitchen is now a garden cum laundry room. 


 

The front hall with its geranium leaf-green painted doors and yellow walls.  Her bedroom is to the right.



A glimpse of Min’s master bedroom with her French bed.



The main sitting room!   I’m hopelessly in love with this room and would love to live here always!!!   The rug is a red and white stripped dhurri.  In the center is red and white striped ottoman that divides the room into two areas.   The walls are a fabulous pink with green trim.  While it resembles Christophe Gollut’s drawing room in Ingenio, Min’s is a bit more fanciful.  I can’t decide if she has one or two chandeliers?   She added the crystals to it, bit by bit.  I think she has two.   I love this blue and white lamp with the pleated shade!



A smaller view without all the magazine printing over it.

Much of the furniture was bought in France and shipped to London.    She collected everything for months and then sent it all together to Gran Canaria when the renovation was complete.  There are two French sofas and a wonderful painted screen.  One sofa wears an antique rug, the other is covered by old curtains from her mother’s house.


A close up of the sofa and screen.   LOVE!!!!!!

This view seems to confirm that there are two large identical chandeliers in this room.


The adorable Min looks perfectly Spanish in her striped T-shirt.


The dining area.  The table was made on the island.  The blue chairs are modern.



An earlier photo of the dining room before the blue chairs and the green cushions were added.

Notice a large difference between this house and her London apartment?  Here, there are no prints or paintings hanging on the walls.  In London, there is not one inch of wall left uncovered by art work.  Here, Min said the house called for plain walls.  And, I do think she is right. 

Another think she is right about?  The chandelier.  The size is extra large – since the room is also.  And I love how it is so curvy and feminine – the curves are juxtaposed against the strict rectangular shape of the room.   Whether she has one or two, I love her choice.


The new kitchen – with everything exposed to the eye, just as Min likes it.


Her bedroom with the toile headboard.   The woodwork was painted turquoise in this room and the floor boards are white.


An earlier view shows a different bedspread.  At the window is her curtains.  I think I like the checked bedspread better.  Of course.  Give me a check any time!!!


One of the guest rooms.  She bought all this fabric in a souk in Cairo.  Behind the curtain is the bathroom.    I love all the antique French furniture!!!!   It makes the house look so chic!!



A third bedroom in green and white.   Through the curtain behind the bed is the bathroom.


The bathroom with a gilt mirror and antique porcelain toothbrush holder.  Elegance!!




Min with her godchild in the same blue and green bedroom.



The green painted verandah that lines the upper floor.  The chaise is where Min watches the sun set.



The courtyard with its cobbled steps.  Her green checked chaise can be seen here at the left. 




And another Instagram view of the courtyard with its cobbled steps and what looks like a blue plumbago plant?  More bougainvillea everywhere.   Notice the tiny green window in the upper wall on the right.


This old photo shows the town as it once was with the donkeys and cats and dogs.  Love this photo!!

This looks a lot of Min’s courtyard with the verandah, the roof, the cobbled street. 


I hate to leave this story!  I’ve been so obsessed with Min and her two houses, especially this one with the glorious photograph of her living room by Miguel Flores-Vianna.   Finding the photos of Christophe Gollut’s Gran Canaria living room which resembled Min’s but in a dressier way, made me obsess over these two houses even more!!



Christophe Gollut’s Gran Canaria living room – pink with gray, filled with French furniture.


And Min Hogg’s Gran Canaria pink living room – all red stripes and toiles and crystal chandelier.  Sophisticated fun!!!!



To read more:

The new Milieu.  Subscribe HERE.

Or Order by clicking on this photo below:


To order Miguel Flores-Vianna’s book with Min Hogg, Carolina Herrera, Marion McEvoy and a host of other fabulous houses, click on the photo below.


CLICK ON THE BOOK TO ORDER.

Christophe Gollut’s web site HERE.

Min Hogg’s web site HERE.


GET THE LOOK:


FRENCH NAPKINS ANTIQUE HERE





MOROCCAN POM POM BLANKET HERE




FRENCH 19TH CENTURY BISTRO TABLE HERE




SUZANI BIRD SPREAD HERE




ANTIQUE SALT GLAZE TOBACCO JARS, PAIR  HERE