Saturday, May 28, 2016

I Love the 80s

via One King's Lane

I saw Carolyn Roehme walking through an airport in my random travels of March and April.  And then I thought, why on earth would she be in the Charlotte airport--surely I'm confused...but then I read she is doing a top to bottom reno in Charleston, so it does make sense. Carolyn Roehme worked for Oscar de la Renta and had her own fashion line.  She hails from Missouri and spends her days tending a large Connecticut estate (top pic) and writing books on entertaining, flowers, and domesticity.  

Seeing Ms. Roehme reminded me of Barbarians at the Gate, which led to an internet wormhole. Carolyn Roehme, among her other accomplishments, was married to Henry Kravis.  Henry Kravis was part of the leveraged buyout firm, KKR.   And while they made gobs of money for their investors over the years, KKR's most famous deal was the LBO of RJR Nabisco in the late 1980s.  

 Same dress as the portrait above?  Bet it's Oscar.  (Getty Images, per the watermark).
Per wikipedia, the RJR Nabisco leveraged buyout was, at the time, widely considered to be the pre-emininent example of corporate and executive greed.  (Not because of Mr. Kravis; mostly it was the SIC golden parachute the CEO got).  It comes up in law school and business school because the board of directors accepted KKR's bid lower bid over the CEO's bid ($109 vs. $112).  A book was written about the deal, Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, which was later turned into a television movie for HBO.  You should check it out.  Super solid.  Like The Big Short of it's day.

Fun Fact:  The title of the book comes from a statement by Forstmann (head of one of the firms fighting over RJR) in which he calls that Kravis' money "phoney junk bondcrap" and how he and his brother are "real people with real money," and that to stop raiders like Kravis: "We need to push the barbarians back from the city gates."  Ahhhh.....back in the days when people thought Wall Street money wasn't legit.  

It is said that Carolyn Roehme and Henry Kravis's townhouse (above), a large duplex at 740 Park, was parodied in the 1990 movie The Bonfire of the Vanities.  They were an "it couple" on the scene.

OMG, they look so young.....via 

Her new apartment is a nice balance, although leaning towards the formal.  And yes, that is a Vigee-LeBrun on the wall.    This 2006 NYT article is brief, charming, and very how-the-other-half-lives.  

I believe in an old interview she said she used sisal everywhere because it's dog friendly, in addition to it balancing out the antiques.  It's the Stark diamond patten sisal.  The Stark sisal would be perfect in my living room if I didn't have people sitting/crawling on the floor.  Not so soft....
Also, check out those Knole sofas.  I think her LR is the first time I really noticed them (or the write-up bothered to tell me their name).  

What do you think--still too formal or could you move right in (provided you had a daily cleaning lady)?  I could totally handle those paintings, though.  And a bust or two.  The could bring some gravitas to my Ikea pieces.....

And you thought this post was going to be out neon colors and paint splatter patterns, didn't you?


  1. I will have to see the movie. I would not have recognized her.

  2. She looks fabulous and the house is amazing but too formal-I say with envy.