A Week in Culture: Rita Konig, Designer


The Culture Diaries


10:00 A.M. Ojai, California. Visiting my friend Honor Fraser and her family. Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox is playing when I get up, and seems to continue on a loop most of the weekend. Dennis Hopper has died. More oil spilling. Picture in Times of Obama giving a press conference in Louisiana. There is a dorsal fin swimming about in the bay behind them. Has anyone else noticed?

2:00 P.M. Go up to Beatrice Wood’s studio. Wood died when she was one hundred and five years old and worked as a potter right up until her death. Honor and I watch 1980s interviews with her. I buy her biography, I Shock Myself. I love reading about the unsuspecting feminists, the ones who lived their lives according to their own tune, rather than getting in a bate about women’s rights. I suspect that not all of her life was happy, as it so often is not when you take the road less traveled. I imagine it can be quite lonely between the glamorous and exciting stops. Still, she made a very spirited ninety year old.

7:30 P.M. Read “Little Red Riding Hood” to my godson three times, The Cat in the Hat once and “The Ruby Prince” twice. Roscoe is showing no signs of falling asleep. I can barely keep my eyes open. What is it about children that they like the same story over and over again? Am not into LRRH. I don’t remember this ending at all. The wolf eats the granny AND LRRH in one gulp each and the hunter comes along and rescues them by cutting open the wolf and there they are, good as new? Love The Cat in the Hat. But find it exhausting to read. Are there ANY full stops? Think I will faint if I read it again.


10:00 A.M. Fergie is going to be on Oprah tomorrow night. Poor Fergie. Shouldn’t she have smelt a rat?

11:00 A.M. Go down to end of garden to lie in hammock with The Far Cry, by Emma Smith. It’s heaven lying here, over long grasses, large cushion behind my head, blue sky above through the trees.

Roscoe, Scarlett and Lucas.

6:00 P.M. Make tea but really only want cake. Read more of Emma Smith in large sofa. It used to be in Honor’s house in Scotland and as girls we virtually lived in it. After dances (we were really uncool: these were reeling parties, no nightclubs for us) we all used to curl up until the morning in our long dresses chatting and drinking sloe gin and lemonade. This sofa is strangely sentimental to both of us, and SO comfortable. It is funny to see Roscoe lying on it in Ojai watching Fantastic Mr. Fox oblivious to its history.

8:00 P.M. Am bored by “Little Red Riding Hood” and I don’t like the illustrations. Then I find The Wind in the Willows. A score! It is long enough that we don’t have to repeat it, and such a charming story. So win, win.

10:00 P.M. Oil is still spewing in real time on the news. It is panic-making to watch. But gripping? I mean: gushing oil? It’s a catastrophe, but watching it pour forth is not that interesting. The only thing that is clear in this murky picture is that nothing is going to happen . . . UNTIL AUGUST!!!


10:00 A.M. Los Angeles. At Honor’s gallery. She is showing Mark Licare’s works on paper and one sculpture of a fridge filled with moldy food, rather Kenny Scharfish, which captured Roscoe’s imagination.

12:00 P.M. Lunch in Culver City at Royal T. It is what’s called a cosplay café. The waitresses are dressed as French maids—or rather, as the Japanese animated version. There are equally animated-looking cupcakes at the counter. Manage to resist, but eat all of Roscoe’s noodles, which are green and he refuses to eat. They are DELICIOUS. My duck salad is not so good, but he loves it. He is excited about eating a duck. The space is huge, like an airplane hangar. Around the edge behind glass walls hangs the owner’s revolving art collection.

3:00 P.M. Leave for New York City. On the flight home watch The Notebook. Really embarrassing since I am now crying when the stewardess comes by offering animal crackers.

5:30 P.M. Read Mieke Ten Have’s blog post on MyDeco about Fornasetti.

5:45 P.M. Moving from book to magazine, to movie, to newspaper. Japanese candy in between, more animal crackers, club soda and looking out the window.

1:00 A.M. Get home late. Vogue on doorstep. There is Hamish Bowles looking like a merman in a half-suit, half-wetsuit outfit and a surf board under his arm. Of all things. I love the way he writes. He is the Cecil Beaton of our time. All the same, jet lagged and just can’t stay awake. Fall asleep with light on.

Check back tomorrow for the second installment of Rita Konig’s Culture Diary. Konig is a decorator and style writer.