Another milestone. 5 Years of a blog that began in January of 2012. 5 Years of sharing. Five years of compiling images. From behind my lens and sourced from the vast world of the internet. All with the continuing goal of delving deeper into creating a greater appreciation of what surrounds. Life is a gift. Attitude is destiny. Appreciation and gratitude is a worthy goal, indeed.
Thank you to each and every one of you that have stumbled upon this blog and have followed along on my journey of sharing and expounding on those things that comprise our world and our lives. With the intent of redefining appreciation for what surrounds us in all aspects of life. Awaiting our focus. Perhaps it is a greater awareness that brings furthered appreciation. For certain, in every moment there is something beautiful to focus on. Something to find appreciation for or merely gain a renewed appreciation upon connecting historical background. Renewed perspective. Life moves swiftly. What better goal in our daily lives than to look at the world closer. Ponder with appreciation what surrounds. Ponder what is beautiful, timeless and enduring…
It was in 2014 that I had deemed the word “Onward” as my mantra. In 2017 that word still holds true. A word that is defined as “In a continuing forward direction; ahead” and “going further than coming to an end or halt; moving forward”. Since 2012 my life has changed vastly. I made personal choices and decisions in 2015 that would change my life forever. Yet change is good. Deciding to make changes, no matter how difficult the journey through them, and actually following through with those decisions, is the key. When you know without any doubts that you are forging in the right direction, it is merely owning the challenges every step of the way. Moving forward. Moving onward. Never doubting yourself. That, therein, is personal growth. Onward, indeed.
So for a blog that covers the world of fashion, interior design, nature, life’s events and city inspirations…onward with the goal of inspiring with ponderings and inspirations of living a beautiful life. Although the blog posts have lessened, the desire to share has not faded. That passion will never fade.
Thank you for being a part of the journey thus far. Onward to inspire…
“You must do the things you think you cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Hardwood flooring. Perhaps there is no other interior flooring that not only imbues floors with color and luster but also adds character, warmth and a spacious, visual appeal. Considered one of the most desired and treasured part of a homes décor, hardwood flooring seems to evoke interior richness with a timeless, classic appeal. If wood floors last a lifetime and gain character with age, for certain the newer hardwood flooring options of distressed and hand-scraped hardwoods also will also offer an appealing timeworn appearance.
Hardwoods can vary from blond to black, depending on the type of wood and the finish. Of course, hardwoods also vary in durability, grain patterns and color. The most common hardwoods for solid wood floors are red oak, white oak and maple. Preferred for their hardness and durability, oak, maple, and cherry are among the most common. However, exotic woods such as mahogany and Brazilian cherry are prized for their distinctive striking appearance over durability. Personal design choices, indeed. Of course then there is the style of the wood flooring. Narrow strips (that seem to create the illusion of space), wide boards (which can impart a rustic appeal) and the distinctive, geometric design of parquet floors (which are often found embellishing more formal interiors). All present different effects within an interior. Choices. For those of use fortunate enough to have original hardwood, with its timeworn appeal, we can merely relish its beauty and appeal within our own personal spaces. In a visual appreciation of hardwood flooring within the interior world, a compilation of collected images awaits…
Consider the beauty of wood flooring. Distinctive and timeless, the natural wood flooring surface will live on in the world of interior design. My personal love affair with wood floors has endured over time and will surely remain my coveted flooring of choice. For those that prefer the underlaying of carpeting, beauty can also be found in quality fibers underfoot. Yet for me it is the glossy and natural appeal of hardwood flooring that seems to present the perfect backdrop, along with the painted walls within an interior, which sets and presents the decoration of a space and personal display at its best. Onward in appreciation of hardwood floors within the interior. Whether old or new, wood endures with timeless distinction…
“Like the walls of a room, the floor is a background: It should not furnish the pattern, but set off whatever is placed upon it” – Edith Wharton
Rosemary. Termed “Rosmarinus officials”, rosemary is an aromaticwoody evergreen perennial herb native to the seaside regions of North Africa and the Mediterranean. This fragrant herb presents flat pine needle-like leaves that grow on an evergreen bush. Who knew that rosemary joins the ranks as member of the mint family, Lamiaceae? The name “rosemary” derives from the Latin for “dew” (ros) and “Sea” (marinus), or “Dew of the Sea”. Of note, the ancient legend that rosemary grows “where one can hear thesea”. The Rosemary plant itself is also sometimes called anthos, from the ancient Greek word ἄνθος, meaning “flower”. Rosemary is said to resemble lavender when shimmering blue flowers appear in mid-Winter in native climates. The leaves themselves can often appear to be touched with silver. But commonly green and fragrant, this woody citrus offers so much to our world beyond the culinary and herbal health benefits. Beyond its aromatic offerings this fragrant plant that offers us natural beauty when gracing events of our lives and brought within our interior worlds.
However, the past precedes this coveted plant. It is noted that rosemary held a strong association with ancient Greeks and Romans. “As early as the Fifth millenium B.C. references to rosemary were found written in cuneiform”(the earliest system of writing of wedge shaped slash marks) on stone tablets. Ancient appreciation of an herb, indeed. Coveted for what was believed mystical and healing properties, it was the Roman armies who would eventually bring this herb to Britain. From there, this scented herb would travel through Europe and eventually reach the New World…
“As for rosmarine, I lette it runne all over my garden walls,
not onlie because my bees love it,
but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance,
and, therefore to friendship . . .” -Sir Thomas More,(Aka Saint Thomas More, (1478-1535) English lawyer, author and stateman
A “rich crown of stone and pearls set with rosemary in her hair”
-English royalty, Anne of Cleves,King
Henry the Eighth’s fourth wife /1540
Long associated with remembrance of romance and matrimony, rosemary has been used for centuries in courtship and weddings. Oh, the beauty of tradition. In fact, French legend holds that “if a man didn’t like the scent of rosemary, he would be an inferior lover”. Who knew? Empress Josephine is said to have asked Napoleon to wash in rosemary water before entering her bedchamber. The power of an herb, indeed. Interesting that rosemary is said to have been Napoleon’s favorite fragrance. A love affair, indeed.
As for this scented aromatic herb traditionally appearing during the holiday season, perhaps its history can be linked to the entertaining in the Middle ages. It is said that rosemary was spread on the ground so its fragrance would fill the air when guests would walk upon it. The belief was that those would smell rosemary on Christmas Eve would have a year of health and happiness. A tradition of celebration with nature, for certain. It is no wonder that rosemary would continue as a traditional embellishment during the holidays.
In appreciation of the rosemary herb and the adornment of and celebrations of an herb of visual and fragrant delight….
Consider the natural delight of the fragrant and distinctive herb, rosemary. Nature’s bounty offers us the scented delights with which to appreciate. Beyond a mere herb, rosemary will certainly grace our worlds in simplicity with natural beauty. Scented and natural appeal, indeed. Onward to the celebration of life’s moments with the tradition of a fragrant gift of nature…
“There’s Rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember”
Nailhead trim. A timeless added detail and enduring element of furniture design that spans interior design. Dating back to the period of 1560-1643 with the arrival of what it referred to as French Country furniture era during the reign of Louis XIII in 17th Century France, nailhead trim on furnishings endures to appeal. Beyond a visual appreciation of the studded design of the nailhead and its embellishment to classically styled furniture, a nod to the past will certainly only broaden historical appreciation for a classic element that remains a constant in interior design today.
Historically, the use of decorative nailheads served as not just decorative form but in function in furniture making. Beyond a mere decorative trim, nailheads were used to hide areas where the upholstery was tacked into the wood frame of the furniture object. Who knew? Form and function. Nailheads would thus aid in holding the upholstery in place attractively. Decorative concealment in craftsmanship, indeed. Since the 15th and 16th centuries trims such as gimp(braided trim) would be used by the upholsterer in conjunction with decorative nailheads traditionally made of brass or copper. 17th century France used nailhead trim on the ornately carved wooden seating with period upholstery coverings such as brocade, velvet, tapestries and leather. A studded pattern of design that has never faded from the world of interior design…
The French Os de Mouton chair is the most well known design from the 17th century. The French word “Mouton” refers to sheep. Thus the shape of the chair legs suggests that they resemble the legs of a lamb. It is interesting to note that the arrival of this chair marked the beginning of upholstered backs and seats using nail head trim.
Beyond the French link to this hidden design of form and function in craftsmanship, designing with nailhead was favored with old Dutch, Spanish and English furnishings. During the 1800’s famed English furniture designer William Morris and the American designers Stickley Brothers during the 1900’s would also favor this medieval-style nailhead trimming with leather and Baroque tapestry. Designs from the past always inspire design through the decades. As with the nailhead trim, classics always endure. Although the use of nailhead trim is commonly linked use with leather-upholstered sofas, chairs and ottomans, the trim has since studded the world of interior design with modern yet timeless appeal. Both classic and modern takes on this timeless trim are certain to inspire…
Consider the patterned distinction of nailhead trim. Patterns in nailheads have gone far in decorating our interior spaces in the decades that have followed since the 15th century. With timeless appeal the decoration of nailhead trim will certainly remain an embellishment in interior design. Timeless style with modern inspirations within the interior, indeed. Accentuating lines of design with sophistication, the nailhead trim design will endure to add visual interest and distinction to the surfaces of our interiors that it embellishes. Onward in enduring classic design.
The entry table. A statement of its own, it is part of the first impression of the personal style of the home. A focal point, indeed. Providing options for display and self expression, the entry table grounds the space. The view from the entry matters not. Whether a sweeping staircase is on view or the table merely resides inside a small hallway, personal style and distinction paired with function is added to the space. The entry itself may be a small space, yet it is an important space. Leading guests inside one’s home to experience the interior and the architecture found within, the entry and its table is key in providing a first impression that is vital from a guest’s perspective. After all, a functional entryway that is stylized to match the personality of the home’s decorator engages those that enter and may even cause a wish to linger…
A foyer (fwa.je in French) is described as a large, specially designed hall or corridor surrounding a main hall. Yet a hall that is furnished large enough to accommodate those that gather and enter within. In a home, the foyer is usually a small entry area of room, near the front door, and often near a main stairway. Of note, the “foyer” was initially intended as an “airlock” space separating the heated, rooms kept warm with fireplaces, from the cold weather elements exposed from the front door. Serving as “A bridge between public and private spaces”, indeed.
The elegant, formal and notable entry foyer may have gone in and out of fashion with the world of changing design, yet its initial purpose and function with its formality will never fade from timeless design. The elegance of ushering in quests into the foyer will never loose its appeal. The entry is never a wasted space, but holding a grandness and elegance that will always live on in the world of construction and design. Yet if the world you reside within is missing this grand formal entryway, a wall is simply all you need. Create the state. In style. The options are many, the style is yours. Own it boldly and present to the world the unique version of you. At the current moment. For as time evolves, we do, too. Onward in creating a personal statement….
Rethink how your entry is on display to those that enter its domain. How you layer and stylize your entry table is personal. Again, form and function. Yet decorating the foyer with an accessorized entry table of personal style will certainly add appeal. Whether a true foyer or a simple hallway with a doorway, it is more than a space that you simply pass through on your way to somewhere else in a home. It is the first impression. The first and last. Make it welcoming. Make it your statement. Personal style, indeed.
Gingham. The pattern that never seems to fade. Granted, its appearance and reappearance into fashion proves that it is an enduring classic of crisp and fresh appeal. Fashion evolves and styles change, but the timeless checked pattern of distinction will always thread through fashion’s world. A classic pattern that returns with a fresh, modern spin, once again. Referring to “Striped cotton”, this timeless and classic pattern typically consists of “medium yarns in varying qualities and woven of plan cotton fibers”. Originally, gingham was a bright colored stripe. Who knew? Gingham evolved into the check pattern that has brought it to its iconic and classic status.
Ranging from medium to light weight and from very small to very large checked patterns, The iconic coloring and pattern is a balanced pattern, with no right or wrong side, since the fibers are colored before they are woven together. Gingham is most common in blue and white yet gingham would eventually gain its acclaim as a red and white pattern of delight. Of course, there are other colors that have arrived to the forefront that echo the classic checked style. And of this pattern of checked style? A look to the past…
Perhaps the iconic blue gingham dress worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy from the Wizzard Of Oz remains as the most poignant American link to this checkered blue pattern. Yet this patterned fabric that has endured through time to transcend style that would include the mod 1960’s appeal and beyond, deserves a look back. To appreciate this classic pattern that appears in fashion archives since its inception in the world of textiles, a brief background of the pattern of checks….
During the 16th century gingham fabric was manufactured within the Dutch-colonized Malaysia and Indonesia, which excelled in their use of rich, color fast textile dyes that would produce textiles like gingham that wove bright colors through the fabrics. This checked pattern, known as “Malay ginggang”held the meaning of “With space between, hence striped”. It is believed that the term Gingham was introduced to the English language by both Dutch and French traders in 1615. Yet having claim to the word “Gingham”, evidence links that the Italians and Indonesians may have also had a part in the name that stems from the same root, meaning “Striped”.
During the 17th century this brightly colored textile of striped cotton-weave fabric was widely exported to Europe and colonial USA from India and Indonesia through the East India Trading Company. In the mid-18th Century, England’s textile mills produced the checked gingham cotton fabric using imported cotton and dyes. In fact, Manchester, England was the center of gingham fabric production. It is stated that there were 108 cotton mills in Manchester at the peak of its industrial boom. That is quite a lot of gingham to satisfy the rage of fashion’s call. Fabric of fashionable style, indeed. In America, cotton mills were also established to produce the fabric that was “All the rage” across Europe and in the United States- gingham!
Perhaps Gingham, which has links and symbolism to youth and nostalgia, will continue to evolve in fashion and in style within the 21st Century. What is certain is that although it may appear to go “in and out” of fashion, classics never fade. Always to return, the patterned print of checks will always find its way to fashion’s forefront…
One cannot mention gingham without the mention and visual nod to Brigitte Bardot. In 1959 Bardot married Jacques Charrier in Paris. Donning a wedding dress of pink and whitegingham designed by couturier Jacques Estérel, Bardot made the French Vichy pattern highly fashionable with worldwide appeal. She is even said to have nearly single-handedly brought French glamour to the classic gingham pattern. Of course!
Another nod to the past of checked style…Gingham and Hollywood united and icons and stars such as Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Katherine Hepburn and other icons of style, such as First Lady Jackie Kennedy, would don the checked pattern of stylish fashionable statements.
Of course, the dapper man bedecked in classic gingham… a visual nod of appreciation, indeed…
The world of entertaining and grand events of life are not without the inclusion of this checked pattern of timeless style. Checked style of celebratory appeal endures…
Of course, a visual appreciation of gingham outside the world of fashion and into the world of the interior. Gingham is certainly a statement of bold appeal when found within the interior. Interior, appeal, for certain…
Consider the classic pattern of checks. Whether it is a modern take on the timeless fabric patternthat adorns our fashionable world, embellishes events and celebrations or boldly proclaims itself within our interiors, gingham is worthy of appreciation. Now a modern classic with a historied past, indeed…
“The fabric of existence weaves itself whole” -Charles Ives
“Contemporary is that which is stylish; modern is a set of principles”
– Milo Baughman
“Good design is enduring design”– Milo Baughman
Timeless modern. Milo Baughman (Milo Ray Baughman, Jr, 1923-2003) was a pioneer in modern design and a leader in late 20th Century modern furniture design. An iconic American designer, indeed.
Of course, the history of design always begins with the history of the designer…with appreciation of the links to the past which brings forth classic American modern style…
If design begins at an early age, for Milo Baughman, at the age of 13 it certainly did. As a young man, Baughman was assigned the task of designing both the interior and exterior of his family’s new house in Southern California. Imagine. A young, inspiring designer, indeed. While serving in the Army Air forces during World War II, Baughman continued with interior skills in designing officer’s clubs. For certain, design followed his path. After the war he returned to Southern California to study product and architectural design at the Art Center School of Los Angeles and at Chouinard Art Institute, which would later become the California Institute of the Arts. Baughman’s career would then lead him to design as an interior and custom furniture designer at the Frank Brothers furniture store, the first west coast all-modern specialty store until 1947. The world of American Modern design was emerging and Baughman was certainly a part of it.
Beginning in the mid-1940s until his death his death in 2003, his modern sensibitilties were brought forth in designs for various furniture companies. In 1947 “Milo Baughman Design Inc.,” was established. Baughman would soon be commissioned to design for Glenn of California and Pacific Iron. Baughman is credited at helping to place these companies at the forefront of a new California modernist design movement. The “California Modern” collection created for Glenn of California in 1948 used walnut, iron and formica and “put forth a distinctive Los Angeles style”. Baughman would design for many companies including Mode Furniture, The Inco Company, Arch Gordon, Design Institute America, George Kovacs, Directional, Henredon, Drexel, Thayer Coggin, Inc. and the Murray Furniture. Of note, the “The Milo Baughman Collection” of 1952 for Murray Furniture of Winchendon, Massachusetts, included Baughman’s 1948 desk design for Winchendon which would be included in the Whitney Museum 1985 exhibition “High Styles: Twentieth Century American Design”,” in New York City. For certain, credible appreciation of great style. In 1987, Baughman was honored even further with the induction into the the Furniture Hall of Fame.
Between 1951-1952, amidst Baughman’s design commissions, he and his wife at the time, Olga Lee, opened the Baughman-Lee Showroom, a custom design shop in Los Angeles, offering their services as interior consultants. Lee contributed hand printed fabrics, wallpaper, lamps and accessories to embellish Baughman’s furniture designs. Of interest, both Milo and Olga offered their services as interior consultants. Certainly an acknowledgement that design is a constant.
Yet of all of the associations with furniture design companies Baughman designed for, including himself, it is his association with Thayer Coggin, Inc. that Baughman is most acclaimed for. From 1953 until Milo’s death in 2003 the 5o year association of Milo Baughman and Thayer Coggin would bring forth to the world of interior design a timeless modern style with excellence of craftsmanship.
A furniture manufacturer with a commitment to high quality and style (based in North Carolina and founded in 1953), Milo was commissioned to design the first line for Thayer’s collection of upholstered furniture. Thayer Coggin paired strikingly with the design vision of clean and modern designs of Milo Baughman to create American contemporary furniture that would endure as iconic modern design that still appeals today. Together they would collaborate on designs, engineering and manufacturing techniques that would in time credit them with the honor of creating a design category in residential furniture that is said to define the Mid-Century modern era of American residential furniture. Original design classics, indeed.
“Milo Baughman and Thayer Coggin worked together to define a classical era of modern furniture in America.
– Mrs. Royale Coggin Wiggin, Thayer Coggin President
“In a way, Thayer and Milo got their start together. Milo came here when the company was in its organizational stage. Thayer was looking for a designer and their relationship began with a handshake agreement.”
-Dot Coggin, Thayer’s wife and spokeswoman
As great style endures, it is wonderful to note that “Thayer Coggin, Inc. and the estate of Milo Baughman have entered into a lifetime licensing agreement, so that the design classics of Milo Baughman would forever be appropriately built by Thayer Coggin, according to their original specification”.Custom made to order and handcrafted by master craftsman by a family owned an operated company still headquartered in High Point, North Carolina. Great quality and style endures. Baughman is said to have achieved a look that is uncompromisingly modern, but which “never violates the timeless standards of classic good taste”(www.thayercoggin.com).
Of course, a nod to the vintage print advertisements that herald great style...
And of the chairs of distinctively modern Milo Baughman style….a visual appreciation of enduring design, indeed…
It is interesting to note that in his later years, Baughman would lecture and write on the benefits of how great design impacts the lives of human beings and the state of modern design. It is said that his lectures have defined and shaped the very discussion of those aspects for years to come.
“Furniture that is too obviously designed is very interesting but too often belongs only in museums” – Milo Baughman
Consider with appreciation the modern, yet timeless appeal of Baughman’s designs. The “relaxed and timeless quality” of Baughman’s uniquely American and trendsetting designs were and remain highly influential, modern and distinctive and will certainly endure and will continue to be reinvented and revived. An evolution of design, for certain. The “uncompromisingly modern” appeal that Milo offered still holds to the timeless standards of classic good taste. With the design philosophy that furniture should enhance the atmosphere of the space and improve the quality of life, Baughman’s impact lives on. His mastery of creating relaxed residential furnishings and his use of beautiful wood veneers & burled wood, glass, chrome, and lacquer and successfully combining those mediums paired with details and shapes of great design still appeal and offer a modern classic style…
“When I left Art Center, I thought Modern design would change the world. Now, I no longer have such lofty hopes, but perhaps the world is just a bit better off because of it. In any event, good Modern has already proven to be the most enduring, timeless and classic of all design movements“- Milo Baughman
“With an ongoing interest in 1950s and 1960s design, a lot of my work has been reintroduced and been very well-received. Increasingly, architects are using these mid-century classics from the pioneer producers of this period. I understand because I admire these as well, but it’s a bit unfortunate for current designers with new interpretations of Modern. Going back to the ‘classics’ is playing it safe, which limits opportunities for new concepts in design”- Milo Baughman
“Rose Gold”. A beautiful color hue that varies in tones and is termed to relate to gold rather than as a color itself. In terms of actual gold, pure rose gold does not exist. Of note, gold itself is only one color: yellow. The “colors” found in gold are produced by mixing pure 24K yellow gold with various other metals. Rose gold is actually an alloy of gold and copper. Copper offers a bold pinkish-orange color and the addition of this alloy to gold produces a beautiful pinkish gold color. A lesson in gold, indeed. But oh, the beauty of rose gold found in metallic lighting, appliances, fabrics, paint, and a myriad of interior accessories. Interior delights of visual appeal. And of the rose gold hue enriching life’s poignant celebrations? Oh the sweet elegance that this enchanting hue offers when swathed and layered in celebrations of love and life. A visual appreciation of this appealing and captivating color…
Consider with appreciation the mere beauty of the rose gold hue. For certain, a hue that offers a lovely, sweet appealcan also offer a modern mix of distinction when stylized within the interior. And as a hue that dreamily layers events of wedded bliss? Enchanting and memorable. Enchanting hues of “Rose Gold”, indeed…
“The sunset faded and blended from pink to peach to mango in a smoothie in the sky. For as long as she doesn’t love me, I will love her.”
― Jarod Kintz
Golden Appeal. Perhaps there is something very striking of the color of gold as a New Year begins. Brilliance. Yet another recurring focus upon golden hues within the interior (January 2013, Visions Of Gold). Yet the “gilded” appeal within the interior is striking at any time of the year. Timeless. Gold seems to offer a timeless richness. Perhaps the hue that has historically symbolized wealth and power offers more than a bold impact of rich visual appeal within the interior. An elegant appeal in a hue of gold that endures, indeed.
The term “Gilded” in terms of interiors is something “covered thinly with gold leaf or gold paint”. An overlay with a thin covering of gold Highlights that stands out in striking appeal. The term “Golden” is termed as “made of relating to gold”. As for the color of Gold or golden, it is a color of “one of a variety of yellow-orange color blends used to give the impression of the color of the element gold”. Elements of gold. Of note, the American Heritage Dictionary defines the color metallic gold as “A light olive-brown to dark yellow, or a moderate, strong to vivid yellow”. Whether vibrant or muted, metallic or swathed in a fabric accent, painted on the walls or statement objects of gilded impact, the color of gold within the interior offers vivid & bright intensity . Whether you refer to these shiny hues of interior brilliance as “Gilded” or “Golden” or simply a hue of “Gold”, the mere broad appeal of the color of gold within our interiors deserves our focus once again…
Consider the brilliance and striking visual of hues of gold and gilded delight within interior spaces. Certain to be appreciated as a timeless and classic hue of visual interest, the gilded appeal that graces interior worlds will continue to present a striking impact. Gilded inspiration of hues of golden delight. Stunning elegance and timeless appeal, indeed….
“Yellow-colored objects appear to be gold” – Aristotle
The holidays always bring forth bursts of color. But perhaps the natural colors of nature laden upon the wreaths of green found upon the historic streets of Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia, offer hues of vibrant bounty. What is referred to as “A living-history museum and private foundation presenting part of a historic district in the city of Williamsburg, Virginia”, the historic streets offer a walk through yesteryear and a visual delight to the eyes to behold when swagged and bedecked in Holiday style. Williamsburg style. The festive and natural Holiday wreaths of Colonial Williamsburg seem to inspire a simplicity of elegance. Wreaths and swags reminiscent of yesteryear. The wreaths that grace the historic structures of Colonial Williamsburg are bedecked with all things natural such as festoons of fruit, flowers, boughs of holly, fans of apples, oranges and pomegranates and other natural embellishments of visual delight.
Elements of nature found in the borders and decorative motifs of these wreaths of evergreens hold distinctive and enduring appeal. Historically, the swags of fruited appeal that have decorated America’s front doors and exterior spaces is linked to the beginning of the 20th century. Paired with the significance of Christmas and the Colonial Revival, it is believed that these fruited decorations harkened back to the decorative styles of the eighteenth century. Yet the custom of affixing fruits, vegetables, dried flowers, herbs, and other natural details to evergreen wreaths, swags, and roping has often been referred to as “Colonial Williamsburg Door Decorations”. A practice that was adopted and adapted by Colonial Williamsburg had popularized the fruited and bedecked natural appeal of holiday greens. Designs fashioned from boxwood and magnolia greenery paired with imports by the colonists of pineapples, lemons and oranges from the West Indies, would have longstanding impact on the celebration of Christmas within the Southern state of Virginia and beyond. The mere cause of admiration of these fruit laden wreaths and swags have drawn throngs to view their annual natural display. On a recent holiday in Virginia, I too, was drawn. From behind the lens I was struck with admiration and appreciation at the simplicity of bounties of nature in grand display of elegance and artistic display from nature’s gifts itself.
“Of late years, besides the staple wreaths of plain greens to which we have long been accustomed, the holiday’s emblems have blossomed forth,–or perhaps we should say fruited forth,–with richness of color produced by the use of either natural or artificial fruit as an embellishment. This idea was undoubtedly suggested by the gorgeous Italian carvings and terra cottas of the Renaissance…”
-1926, House Beautiful
The quote from the 1926 magazine issue of House Beautiful is said refer to the fifteenth-century Italian sculptor from Forence, Italy, Luca della Robbia (Luca della Robbia (1399/1400–1482) who became “synonymous with fruit and foliage swags on glazed terracotta roundels”.
Of note, during the 1700‘s Sculptor Grinling Gibbons also produced festoons of fruit and flowers on architectural detailed wood carvings and decorative motifs for English cathedrals and English royalty. Yet it is “della Robbia” that is given the credit for the emulation of fresh fruit laden wreaths that inspired and were popularized in the mid 1930’s within the rich history of Colonial Williamsburg.
In the early years of the Colonial Williamsburg restoration, visuals of these fruited swags and wreaths would spread across the country through images in decorating magazines. Thousands of visitors, fascinated by the imaginative and natural decorations, continue to pay homage every year to the idyllic setting festooned in greens and natural delights of holiday beauty. Interesting, it was 1936 when Colonial Williamsburg first decorated for Christmas. At that time it is said to have been merely the simple greenery of plain wreaths with running cedar (a low growing evergreen) that would adorn the the Governor’s Palace and the Raleigh Tavern. Yet the embellishment of fruited appeal would embark upon the green decorations with longstanding impact. Credit is given to a “Mrs. Louise Fisher”, responsible for the decoration of Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg, who is said to have brought pictoral examples from the Library of Congress of English and American decoration styles to guide her in her feat. By 1939 the “della Robbia” wreaths of Mrs. Louise Fischer had deemed the phrase the “Williamsburg Christmas look” and the embellished wreaths of natural appeal was forever launched. What would soon become a serious contest within Colonial Williamsburg, complete with blue ribbons affixed to the houses of five to ten winners, would become the “Christmas Decorations Tour” in 1969. The contest continues. Decades of fruited and natural appeal, indeed.
With appreciation from behind my lens….a visual of natural delight in festive appeal….
Consider with appreciation the festive wreaths and swags of enduring appeal. Graced with fruit and other natural elements, such as holly berries, seed pods, pepper berries, eucalyptus, pine cones, magnolia leaves and other wonders of nature, the decorations offer a visual appreciation of the blessings of nature. Upon the historic structures of Southern architecture and charm, the visuals have impacted since.
And of myself strolling the streets of Colonial Williamsburgyearning to capture the essence of the visuals of exuberant and festive holiday styleembellishing this historic setting? Enamored. With a love for history and architecture paired with an appreciation of the natural and elegant delights that bedecked the surfaces of this quaint historic town, my camera continued to frame and capture. Yet the visuals I set before you, from behind my lens, reflect only a sampling and a mere moment in time within the seasonal surrounds of Colonial Williamsburg. Captivating in the moment, indeed…