Category Archives: Interior Design

Ebony Distinction Of Interior Style: Wedgwood’s Classic Black “Jasperware”

Designs Of Antiquity:  Wedgwood's Black Jasperware

Designs Of Antiquity: Wedgwood’s Black Jasperware

British pottery of bold distinction. Jasperware. Also known as “Wedgwood Jasper”, Wedgwood’s Black Jasperware was developed by Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795) during the 1770’s. Known as the “Father of English Potters”, the pottery innovations of royal acclaim by Josiah Wedgwood still hold to past success in the present. Timeless pieces that endure in classical style and history. Described as an unglazed stoneware, it is also referred to as a type of porcelain. Noted for its matte finish, Jasperware is produced in a number of different colors. Originally, Jasperware was stained either blue, green, yellow, lilac or black. Who knew? Although the best known color is the pale blue known as “Wedgwood Blue”, it is the bold and unexpected impact of the black Jasperware that lures me. Named after the mineral “Jasper” (a colored, opaque quartz), the Wedgwood motifs that would embellish the vessels and decorative objects are detailed applications of “Bas Relief” design. These distinctive designs were influenced by the ancient cultures that experienced a renaissance “through study and discovery during the expansion of the British Empire”. The motifs are said to have been taken directly from ancient Roman, Greek and Egyptian mythologies. The British demand for replicas of ancient artifacts and representations of royalty, nobles and statesmen were met in silhouettes distinctively embellished in white, circling objects of Neoclassical shape of significance.

Of interest, Josiah Wedgwood was the 12th child of potter Thomas Wedgwood. A family history of potters linked back to Josiah’s Great Grandfather. A family trade of craftsmanship and artistry, for certain. Said to be an innovator, it was Josiah that developed “Queen’s Ware” (a cream colored, lead-glazed earthenware). Presenting a tea service with this new material of flint and white clay to Queen Charlotte (King George III), the delighted Queen permitted the name “Queen’s Ware” to be used in reference to this new pottery. Josiah would thus pronounce himself as “Potter to the Queen” following this success that spread the name of “Wedgwood” throughout Europe. British expansion, indeed.

Of note, in 1768, Wedgwood had introduced a different type of fine grained stoneware called “Black Basalt”. (Alas, I adore the depth of this solid pottery as well). Produced from copies of Etruscan pottery that had been excavated in Italy, this lustrous and smooth stoneware with a purple and black sheen produced an intense demand within the world of decoration for the interior. Developed from a reddish brown clay that burned black during firing, the bold and matte statement of black basalt stoneware endures as a statement of decorative style. Yet it is Jasperware that has been given the credit as the most important invention in the history of ceramics since the birth of porcelain. It is said that it took Wedgwood years of experimentation to perfect his design for the unglazed stoneware of durable and delicate form. Experimental success in the creation of timeless pieces of iconic style.

Beyond the objects in stoneware, the motifs of Jasperware were also set into jewelry as well as embellishing architectural features, such as fireplace mantles, mouldings and furnishings. Widespread style of stylistic display of historical and classical distinction, for certain. Enduring style that celebrates ancient history and classical shapes that endure. In fact, Jasperware itself has seemed to have become synonymous with Wedgwood. Success of distinction, indeed.

Josiah Wedgwood:  (1730-1795) Innovator Of Enduring  Style

Josiah Wedgwood: (1730-1795) Innovator Of Enduring Style

Bold Impact Within The Interior:  Black Jasperware

Bold Impact Within The Interior: Black Jasperware

Wedgwood's Black Jasperware:  Bold Statements Of Classical Antiquity

Wedgwood’s Black Jasperware: Bold Statements Of Classical Antiquity

Of course, I must give credit to most of the striking interior images presented with the contrast of black and white Jasperware. I must mention the interior design skills and incredible sense of style of iconic lifestyle expert Eddie Ross. Photographs from interior designer Celerie Kemble’s striking book “Black And White” have included the images presented here of black Jasperware within the interior and previous residence of Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kochar . I have had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Eddie and Jaithan in November of 2011. In fact, I have rightly given acknowledgement to both in a past post A Duo of Inspiration. Considering Eddie’s mastery of quality, design and style, it is no wonder that the images that I would find to best relay the distinction of Wedgwood’s black Jasperware within the interior would be from Eddie’s stylish perspective and flair. Style follows great taste.

Consider the bold and dramatic addition to your interiors with Wedgwood’s black Jasperware. Striking impact of classical distinction of antiquity. As one of my personal favorite color combinations, the addition of historical influences embellished upon these classic shapes continue to mesmerize. The timeless adornment within our interiors will endure in luring us to appreciate its beauty. Ebony distinction of interior style, indeed…

Kristin

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Fashion’s Form & Function: Haute Couture’s “Dress Form” & Its Embellishment Within The Interior

The Forebearer Of The Modern Mannequin:  The "Dress Form"

The Forebearer Of The Modern Mannequin: The “Dress Form”

The “Dress Form”. A three dimensional form of fashion’s function. A model of fashion historically used for fitting garments being designed or sewn, a “Dress Form” is termed by the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry as a “replica of a human form made of cloth, padded and mounted on a metal base that is used for draping and fitting garments”. Dress forms have been hand-crafted for centuries. History states that mannequin dress forms date back to the time of the Egyptian Pharoah’s. Who knew? In fact, within King Tut’s tomb was discovered a crude, wooden dress form that is thought to have displayed the Pharoah’s clothing. With exact measurements to King Tut, the link to fashion’s form of function proves eternal. Regularly utilized throughout the Middle Ages in Europe, it is said that the royalty had personal mannequins so as not to inconvenience them while holding court, perched on their thrones. Luxury, indeed. Restricted for the wealthy and the prominent until the mid to late 19th century in Europe, it is believed that the advent of “Haute Couture” fashion design provided the demand for the fashion industry designers from which to create garments of high style. A necessary tool of form and function that has endured. Beyond the fabric toussling Haute Couture designers, the advent of electricity and the Industrial Revolution is also credited with the dress form’s rise as a fashionable function in merchandising. Lighting of store front windows allowed the dress forms to continually display the fashionable designs and accoutrements. For certain, a new form of merchandising had formed that is still considered a vital store fixture in merchandising. One that transformed the world of fashion to come. A rich history with intended purpose.

The Historical "Dress Form"

The Historical “Dress Form”

The "Dress Form":  Fashion's Function Of Form

The “Dress Form”: Fashion’s Function Of Form

Fashion's Three Dimensional Shape Of Function:  The "Dress Form"

Fashion’s Three Dimensional Shape Of Function: The “Dress Form”

Of fashionable interest, the technique called “draping” was developed because of the dressmaker form. Draping of fabric on the dress form to envision the fit and drape of a garment as it would appear on a body while providing the designer to adjust or alter certainly is true function of form. Over the last 100 years, established companies such as Wolf, Royal and Modern Dress Form, have crafted enduring figures of fashion’s form that range is shapes and sizes to cover practically any article of fashion’s clothing that could be created. Versatility with size, for certain. In addition, history has brought forth the practicality of adjustable dress forms that allow garments to further tailor-to-fit specific individuals. Said to have been referenced as a “Judy” for the female form and a “James” for the male. Again, who knew?In today’s world, dress forms serve two purposes: function as a form for dressmakers, tailors and fashion designers and as fashion display as well as decoration within the interior. And why not adorn our spaces? For those of us who adore the world of fashion, a reminder of its link to the past presents a profound visual when boldly standing within our interior spaces. For certain, contrast of interest within the interior is gained. An unadorned fashionable aesthetic of sculptural interest

The "Dress Form"  History Of Intended Purpose

The “Dress Form” History Of Intended Purpose

The "Dress Form":  Timeless Appeal Of Form & Function

The “Dress Form”: Timeless Appeal Of Form & Function

Fashion's Embellishment Of Form Within The Interior:  The "Dress Form"

Fashion’s Embellishment Of Form Within The Interior: The “Dress Form”

Interior Display:  The Function or Form of the "Dress Form" Within The Interior

Interior Display: The Function or Form of the “Dress Form” Within The Interior

Unadorned & Adorned Elements Of Display:  The "Dress Form" As An Interior Embellishment

Unadorned & Adorned Elements Of Display: The “Dress Form” As An Interior Embellishment

These statuettes of fashion go beyond the world of fashion design. When incorporated into the interior, the impact is unexpected and bold. Fashion and function as a statement within our spaces. And of the vintage mannequin dress forms that add a sense of history with their striking sculptural quality? Instant character is provided to a room. Dress forms, absent of the features of the mannequin (such as the head and limbs) provide a three dimensional object of interest to any space. Of further interest, the Middle Dutch word “Mannekijn” referenced a small form of “Man, person”. In 1570 the Modern Dutch took the word further by referencing the word to mean “An artists jointed model” and utilized the French spelling “Mannequin”, a word commonly used for a dress form sculpture. Who knew? Alas, the art of the mannequin has been a focus of my appreciation in a past post on the Art of the mannequin. An appreciation of fashion’s forms, either way…

Iconic "Supermodel" Linda Evangelista & The "Dress Form"

Iconic “Supermodel” Linda Evangelista & The “Dress Form”

Consider the historical element of fashion. Perched on a cast iron base with wooden wheels, with or without a “neck cap”, covered in thick padding with or without the added asset of adjustability or a modern rendition of shape and style, the appreciation of the dress form as a historical element of fashion is a worthy focus. Whether for fashion’s designing purpose or as an interior embellishment that iconically visually denotes that link, the “Dress Form” has held its own throughout time. An appreciation of fashion’s form and function of “Haute Couture”, indeed…

Kristin

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Interior Color Inspirations: The Bold & Dramatic Statement Of Black Painted Walls

Distinction With Painted Walls:  The Bold Backdrop Of Black Painted Walls

Distinction With Painted Walls: The Bold Backdrop Of Black Painted Walls

The black painted wall. Positively bewitching. The color black seems to cast a spell of delight for the senses. “Black Magic”, indeed. A striking backdrop of bold distinction with attitude coated fearlessly on our walls. Although stated to be a trend in recent years, I challenge that positioning. The bold impact of black is certain to remain, presenting the case for bold impact of elegance and drama. A classic? I state the case. Fearless impact with saturated color. For certain, a fearless attitude comes forth when one contemplates coating walls with the hue that perhaps causes one to ponder the depth that ebony black presents. Bold contrast of a stunning hue within our interiors. Black as night delight

The word “Black” comes from the Old English word “Blaec”(“black”, “dark” and “ink”), from the Proto-Germanic word “Blakkez” (“burned”), the Proto-Indo-European word “Bhleg” (“to burn, gleam, shine, flash”) and “Bhel” (“to shine”) related to Old Saxon “Blak” (“Ink”). In addition, the word black was referenced with the Ancient Greek word “Phlegein” (“To burn,scorch”) and the Ancient Roman word “Ater” for flat, dull black and “Niger” for brilliant, saturated black. Color hues of depth and richness delineated. In Old High German, “Blach” referenced the word “Black”. Alas, the term that finally adheres to the depth and saturation of the color of night. One of the first colors used by artists in Neolithic cave paintings, black is the darkest color in the color spectrum. Yet, an absence of color. The result of the absence of light or the complete absorption of light. The very opposite of white, black is the very representation of darkness in contrast to light.

Although the associations to the color black are diverse throughout history, perhaps it is sufficient to simply acknowledge the visual and magical power when this hue is coated within the interior. Bold impact with elegance. Unexpected drama, perhaps. For certain, lighting is key when considering the darkening allure of black. Alas, the art of designing the interior. However it is found within the interior, whether in glossy black or flat matte black, the bold confidence with which it is chosen is paired with fearlessness and striking style

Unexpected Drama:  The Striking Statement Of  Black Painted Walls

Unexpected Drama: The Striking Statement Of Black Painted Walls

Coated In Dramatic Elegance:  Black Walls Of Painted Style

Coated In Dramatic Elegance: Black Walls Of Painted Style

Black Painted Walls:  Fearless Color With Bold Drama

Black Painted Walls: Fearless Color With Bold Drama

Consider the dramatic and sophisticated coating of black paint within the interior. Perhaps an aura of mystery and intrigue is added to its striking, visual impact. A bold and dramatic statement, indeed…

Kristin

“I’ve been 40 years discovering that the queen of all colors was black.” – Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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Natural Woven Octagonal Patterns Of Distinction: The “Caned” Chair

Distinctive Design:  Laced Straps Of Cane

Distinctive Design: Laced Straps Of Cane

An appreciation of the beauty of the woven artistry and craftsmanship of cane weaving. Laced straps of cane in a pattern of distinction. Natural appeal, for certain.

The artistry that is entwined in a woven seat or panels of a chair is worthy to be appreciated. Woven in what is referred to as the “Seven-Step Caning” (producing the the pattern of octagonal holes), the caned chair gains appreciation within interiors, laced with its history. Crafted from peeled off bark/outer skin from the flexible, woody rattan stalks (a climbing vine plant in the palm family and commonly found in Indonesia), the natural cane that laces a distinctive pattern assumes a glorious yellow coloring during the drying process. Durable and light, the added benefit beyond its design is the ability to not warp or crack from high heat or humidity. Interior bliss in warmer climates, for certain. Of interest, the “skin” of the bark is cut into “cane strips” of uniform width and depth. The strips are referred to as the “peel”. Processed into thin strands, the “cane” is used for not only weaving seats and backs for chairs, but is also used as a “Binding Cane” to “wrap” the arms and legs of furniture. Stylistic designs within history, for certain. To summarize, the material is referred to as “Cane”, the process (or art) is referred to as “Caning” and the product is referred to as “Caned Furniture”. However it is referred, the artistry of the craft of caning is certain to be appreciated. A design element of ancient style.

“Caning” is an ancient technique of weaving that originated as basket material that Egyptian Pharaohs would possess and utilize. The art of “caning” has certainly withstood the test of time as an art form of distinction. Of note, the art of the cane bottom chairs is believed to have originated in China. Lightweight and airy, it is perhaps the European inclusion of this natural element that brings forth historical distinction even today. Cane furniture first appeared in Holland, England and France during the 1600’s due to trade with Asia. As a style that remained popular during the 17th century Jacobean period, American and European craftsmen hand constructed and incorporated woven cane into the furniture that adorned the interior. Alas, it is even said that Marie-Antoinette coiffed her hair (with assistance, that is) while perched on a lightly covered caned chair. Who knew? In 18th century England’s Regency period caned chairs (often referred to as “faux bamboo”) were designed with finely crafted cane seats. It is no wonder that the “caned” furniture would continue with its lightweight appeal. At the turn of the century a revival of the Regency style brought forth an increase in the number of pieces of furniture using cane. Bergere chairs would also became popular with cane back and side panels. Classic and elegant elements of interior design. In the 19th century, it is said that “Cane” furniture became associated with Dutch and English Colonial furniture as both countries had colonies within Indonesia and India. Supply and demand. A direct source for rattan that was easily accessed. Of course, one must mention the gift in cane that was presented during the mid 19th century- Thonet’s cafe chair (Chair No.14) (A previous post: Unchanging Style & Design: The Bentwood Chair, N. 14). In 1859, Thonet revolutionized the furniture industry with the simplicity of the cafe chair and its “caned” seat version. Considered a modernist endorsement, the chair of “caned” style has continued to represent timeless design with extraordinary lightness.

As a side note, it is said that during the 18th century the decline of seats in woven cane resulted as the affluent began to request period chairs (such as Chippendale and Sheridan) with leather or tapestry seats. Who knew that during this time the “caned” bottom chairs would eventually be found primarily within “Common” interiors? Yet there is nothing common about a “caned” chair. It is timeless within the interior. Whether found as a seat base or lining the panels of a chair in a stylized manner, the cane pattern is appealing with its textural interest and open woven style. Classic design, indeed…

Archival Images Of Caning:  The Cane Chair

Archival Images Of Caning: The Cane Chair

And to provide additional insights into the arrival of woven cane embellished chairs in American interiors? Cane bottom chairs gained popularity in America around 1820 with the arrival of industrialization and the dawn of factory built furniture. The beginning of the American expansion post the war of 1812 paired with economic independence from Great Britain was met with a rapidly growing population. In addition, new technologies and industrialization created wealth and a widespread middle class. To meet the supply and demand, it is believed that the ease of production of the spindle and dowel chair with a caned bottom (requiring less wood) provided a solution. “Cane” was the perfect natural element. Mass production resulted with the creation of a seat weaving “cottage industry” in which the seat frames would be constructed in the factory and then distributed to the local weavers to cane the seat at their private residences. Imagine! The completed seats would be collected and quickly assembled with the chairs in the factory. Artistry paired with industrialization, indeed. Of note, cane bottom chairs are said to have reached the peak of popularity between 1860-1890. After 1890, the decline it is thought to be a direct result of the increasing expense of the weaving. Manufacturers replaced the hand crafted weaving with machines. Alas, the artisan demise at the hands of industrialization. Producing the machine woven cane in sheets, like woven cloth, the sheets of cane would be glued into a groove around the edge of a seat rather than the peg system that supported the hand woven cane. By 1900, all American furniture manufacturers began using machine woven cane for chair bottoms in the full range of their furniture styles. It’s distinctive pattern of woven style has never left the interior world. Perhaps, with an appreciation of its appeal within our modern world proves that the octagonal patterns will remain in enduring style

Distinctive Style With Natural Woven Cane

Distinctive Style With Natural Woven Cane

Patterned Weaving: The Octagonal Holes Of Caning

Patterned Weaving: The Octagonal Holes Of Caning

The Timeless Beauty Of The Woven Caned Chair

The Timeless Beauty Of The Woven Caned Chair

Distinctive Patterns Entwined With Artistry:  The Caned Chair

Distinctive Patterns Entwined With Artistry: The Caned Chair

Consider the “caned” chair. Whether a chair that is an original classic example of woven artistry or a completely restored and rewoven cane chair, whether paired with walnut or mahogany wood with distinctive inlays or simple in form, the “caned” chair earns distinction within our interiors. Classic and timeless appeal within any space. Woven craftsmanship. Natural laced straps of octagonal pattern of distinction, indeed…

Kristin

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Pediments: Classical Elements Of Ancient Architecture

Formalized Gables Of Classical Antiquity:  The Embellishment Of Pediments

Formalized Gables Of Classical Antiquity: The Embellishment Of Pediments

The distinction of the pediment adorning doorways is timeless architecture. Distinctive elements of classical architectural designs, for certain. A pediment (ped-uh-muhnt) is termed as a Wide, low-pitched gable surmounting the facade of a building in the Grecian style” or a “Triangular element, similar to or derivative of a Grecian pediment, used widely in architecture and decoration”. The term pediment is often used to reference small gables and triangular decorations over niches, doors and windows. My focus is the distincion of exterior embellishment that endow strength and structure overhead of entry doors. Grand details of distinction. Used in classical architecture, pediments are historically found gracing Greek temples as well as the structures of the Renaissance, Neo-Classical and Baroque architecture. Either a structural element over doors or a non-structural element of embellishment and interest, the importance of the pediment is evident through architectural history. The gabled pediment. Exterior statements, indeed…

Greek Antiquity:  The Parthenon, Athens

Greek Antiquity: The Parthenon, Athens

Historically an architectural element that was developed in ancient Greece, pediments were celebratory embellishments that were both structural (supported by columns) and decorative with sculpture reliefs. A prominent historical example is the Parthenon in Athens, Greece (completed in 438 BC). As with many Greek structures, the pediment is supported by columns and decorated with sculptural reliefs illustrating scenes from a Greek mythology. Of note, the space inside the pediment is referred to as the Tympanum. The Tympanum is typically filled with sculptural reliefs or painted, decorative elements. In fact, historical references state that the pediment monuments were once brightly painted. Celebrational structures in color. Who knew?

Architectural Antiquity:  The Pediment

Architectural Antiquity: The Pediment

Beginning with Roman architecture, the function pediments held was for decoration. Beauty and classical antiquity in exterior architecture. The pediment as ornamentation continued through the Renaissance and into later architectural revival periods. And of the variations of styles that would evolve? Classical variations that have endured through history…

Variations Of Classic Archtitectural Design:  Pediments

Variations Of Classic Archtitectural Design: Pediments

The variations of each earn prominence in appreciation throughout history. Pediments are typically triangular with a horizontal cornice that either surmounts a “colonnade”, a “long sequence of columns joined by an entablature (a “superstructure of moldings and bands which lie horizontally above columns, resting on their capitals”), an end wall or as a facade division. But oh, the embellishment over the entrance to a doorway! Classical pediments include the “Pointed”, “Unbroken” triangle, “Curved” (“Rounded”, “Domed”, “Segmental” or “Arch” pediment) in which the normal angular slopes of the cornice are replaced by a segment of a circle or “Depressed Arch” and the “broken” triangle. “Traditional” and “Segmental” pediments have “Broken” and “Open” forms that are not surround by a continues frame, but hold an opening at either the base or the apex of the triangle, or both the base and the apex. Details! Common with Queen Anne, Neo-Classical, Georgian or Colonial style structures, the “Broken” pediment certainly provides visual interest. The “Unbroken” pediments form a solid frame that encloses a decorative space. The revival of this style also included the Italianate and Beaux Arts, often omitted adding additional decoration. Simplicity in form with classical distinction. Another variation is the “Swan-Necked” pediment, where the cornice of “Broken” pediment that rises, scrolling at both ends with two “S-Shaped” brackets with “Double-Curved” sides. A favored detail over doorways in American Colonial structures, this classic architectural style still endures. Timeless. Classic details of enduring appreciation

Variations In Architectural Design:  Pediments Of Distinction

Variations In Architectural Design: Pediments Of Distinction

Pediments:  Classical Details In Architecture

Pediments: Classical Details In Architecture

Structural & Decorative:  Pediments

Structural & Decorative: Pediments

Ancient Architecture Of Timeless Appeal:  Pediments

Ancient Architecture Of Timeless Appeal: Pediments

Exterior Appeal:  The Timeless Architectural Embellishments Of Pediments

Exterior Appeal: The Timeless Architectural Embellishments Of Pediments

And of the pediments that grace our spaces within the interior? Alas, individuality within one’s space, the embellishment of unique decoration within the interior is striking. Visual interest paired with history. Of course, the adornment of elaborately carved wooden pediments applied upon furniture by 18th century designers, such as Thomas Chippendale, must be mentioned. The wooden pediments that graced interior furniture has remained a timeless and iconic, classic style within the interior. An additional inclusion of classical elements of ancient architecture within the interior. Interior statements. Works of art with stately, distinctive details of yesteryear. Timeless interior design…

Interior Statements:  The Pediment Within The Interior

Interior Statements: The Pediment Within The Interior

Interior Embellishments Of Architectural Delight:  The Pediment

Interior Embellishments Of Architectural Delight: The Pediment

Consider with appreciation the distinction and elegance of the glory in structural or decorative detailing with pediments. Historical embellishments that anoint a doorway with a grand and powerful presence. Classical elements of ancient architecture, indeed….

Kristin

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The Layered Appeal Of The “Skirted Table”: Stylish Textile Delight

Draped Fabric With Limitless Style Possibilities:  The "Skirted Table"

Draped Fabric With Limitless Style Possibilities: The “Skirted Table”

The “skirted table”. A timeless adornment in fabric within the interior. Perhaps our interior rooms crave layers of fabric as the seasons change and temperatures seem to bring a crispness in the air within our spaces. Textural bliss with textiles, the “Skirted Table” certainly provides interior personality with the lengths of fabric that fall to the floor

A “Table Skirt” is described as a “Fabric drape which covers the front and sides of a table from the surface down nearly to the floor” and “Occasionally, a skirt covers also the back of a table”. Of additional interest, typically what is referred to as a “Table Skirt” commonly does not cover the table top, which must be draped first with a tablecloth. Alas, the banquet-style skirting. With the purpose of shielding all the legs under the table from view, the “Table Skirt” that I focus upon softly drapes or covers the entire surface upon which it is layered. Whether flowing or streamlined and tailored, the “Table Skirt” seems to provide a commanding presence in a room. For certain, the well-dressed table is an asset to any interior.

Whether a solid or patterned fabric layering a rectangular or round table, the “Table Skirt” provides instant warmth with its texture while softening a room’s appearance. A visual alternative to the sharp lines of ‘legged’ furniture. A contrast of interest, perhaps. The additional layer of fabric that skirts a table adds balance to a room. Regarding the fabrics that cover the surfaces of sturdy table tops, it is said that the heavier the fabric, the more luxurious the drape. In fact, the preferred fabric is a heavy weight linen or silk. For certain, the weight of a fabric adds to the visual richness that the textiles of choice brings. The luxurious folds of fabric that cascade to the floor in a graceful manner presents a visually softening yet grounding effect within the interior.

And of the history of the layers of textile delight? History states that in 1762, Thomas Chippendale designed a fabric skirt that concealed the legs of a dressing table. Acknowledged as a style that became relegated to feminine settings, the “Skirted Table” certainly moved beyond this realm within interior history. An appreciation, perhaps, of the continuous flow of design that a table with skirting provides. Of additional historical interest, speculation exists that Victorian England’s “near obsessive” desire to preserve modesty provides clues to its importance within interiors. Who knew that a “Skirted Table” would be suggested as part of the devotion to modesty in which interior embellishments with fabric would shield not only the legs of the furniture, but those of the guests seated at the table, from view? Covered in style, indeed. But alas, the “Table Skirt” that gains my focus is not specifically the draping, floor length fabric that layers a dining table, per say, but the table that stands alone as a functional piece of decoration. A “stand alone” table layered in personal style

Interior Designer, Mario Buatta, "Prince Of Chintz"

Interior Designer, Mario Buatta, “Prince Of Chintz”

Of course, one cannot dwell on the topic of the “Skirted Table” without mentioning the fabrics that not only graced interiors during the 1970’s, but also those that took on new levels of style during the 1980’s. Yes, the layered ruffles of flowered fabric and billowy taffeta onto round tables. Mario Buatta, credited as the “Prince of Chintz” during the Eighties, famously draped tables with such stylistic folds and flowering botanical prints. The interior design world would follow his lead. Of course, styles change, and although the “Skirted Table” may have been banished and hidden from view as it fell out of favor with modern designers, perhaps its return is not a surprise. Alas, it never left. It has only been reinvented. The reinvention of a classic. Textiles of crisp, tailored elegance with pattern, color and warmth with texture have once again layered our surfaces. Modern details have perhaps even furthered the reinvention of the concept. Layers of fabric we will never tire of. To quote Coco Chanel, “Fashion changes, style remains”. Indeed, as with fashion, the design may change, but style remains…

Versatility In Styling:  The Textile Delight Of "Skirted Tables"

Versatility In Styling: The Textile Delight Of “Skirted Tables”

And of the custom made skirt at the hand of an upholsterer? The luxury of a hand-tailored skirt to one’s specifications is certainly appealing. Timeless appeal, when chosen with personal flair. A statement in style, for certain. And what of the benefits of hidden storage? For certain, the added benefit to those that dwell in a space with limited storage, the skirting of a table allows for the concealment of a bevy of items beneath the folds of textile fabric in layers that surround the table. Versatility in form and function paired with decorative possibilities. And of the objects that are gathered in a personal montage on display? The decoration on a skirted table certainly deems it a personal and impactful table of style. Limitless options of personal display…

Embellishments With Textiles:  The "Skirted Table"

Embellishments With Textiles: The “Skirted Table”

Layers Of  Elegance:  The "Skirted Table"

Layers Of Elegance: The “Skirted Table”

Impactful Presence Within The Interior:   "Skirted" Table Delight

Impactful Presence Within The Interior: “Skirted” Table Delight

Versatile & Personal Statements Of Style: "Skirted Tables"

Versatile & Personal Statements Of Style: “Skirted Tables”

Consider the “Skirted Table”. Whether tailored and modern, layered with embellishments worthy of couture detailing or simple layers of folds that create a visual voluminous effect, the “Skirted Table” is a decorative addition of stylistic versatility within the interior world. A classic “Skirted Table” with billowing layers or more modern, tailored panels is a beautiful, functional addition within the interior. Even with the addition of an overlay over the fabric of choice. Your choice. Choosing a simple, solid or patterned layered skirt in unadorned simplicity or a box pleat layer with sophisticated banded trims, the style choice is personal. Textile layers with contemporary sensibilities or traditional layers of textile bliss. Choices. Choices of stylish layers of textile delight, indeed…

Kristin

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Interior Color Inspirations: The Subtle Elegance of Neutral Beige

Warm Shades With  Distinction:  Beige Within The Interior

Warm Shades With Distinction: Beige Within The Interior

Beige. That creamy and soothing color that emulates nature. A neutral shade commonly used as a “default” color within interiors, “Beige” certainly deserves our full attention with it’s natural and calming appeal. Perhaps with the pending arrival of the Fall season, the neutral palette becomes even more appealing. A season that perhaps calls for a toned down, neutral palette before the arrival of the rich, deep hues that Autumn brings. Beige bliss. The neutral shades of beige cover many variations and depths of subdued hues which can blanket our interiors. A fresh change in which a myriad of tones and textures can be brought in to our interior world…

Beige can be described as a pale cream color, an off-tan color or an extremely pale yellowish brown color. Quite a vast expanse the term “Beige” does cover! The term itself originates from ‘beige cloth’, a cotton fabric left un-dyed in its natural color. “unbleached silk” refers to one of the Japanese traditional colors in use since 660 BC. Aged and timeless! Beginning in the 1920′s, the meaning of the term beige expanded to the point where it is also used for pale yellow colors and a wide range of pale brown shades while also referring to a range of light, neutral tints of a pale, warm appearance. The tones and variations that this earthy hue have been given throughout history include: Cream, Unbleached Silk, Tuscan, Buff, Desert Sand, Ecru, Khaki, French Beige and Mode Beige and “Cosmic Latte” (I adore that one!). The power of color and its variations of hues!!

History stands behind each of these variations of this subtle, natural color
The color Cream was first recorded in 1590 and referred to the color of the cream produced by grazing cattle on natural pasture with plants which included a yellow pigment. Real cream, indeed! Desert sand (a very dark shade of beige also referred to as drab and sand dune) has been in use since 1686. Tuscan was first recorded as a color name in English in 1887. Buff, a pale yellow brown color, took its name from buffed leather. Again, who knew? The first recorded English use of Khaki as a color occurred in 1948, French Beige in 1927, and Mode Beige in 1928. Interestingly, originally in the 19th century and up until 1930, it is said that the color “ecru” and “beige” where interchangeable. Ecru comes from the French word Ecru, which means ‘raw’ or ‘unbleached’. Since the 1950′s, perhaps to provide interior designers with a wider palette of colors to select from, the color ecru has been regarded as its own hue. In 2002 the term “Cosmic Latte” was assigned by a team of American astronomers to describe the average color of the universe. Yet again, who knew? The color beige certainly encompasses many shades of pure, natural pigments of classic and timeless color. Beige bliss, indeed.

Subtle & Luxurious Beige

Subtle & Luxurious Beige

The Natural Hue Of Beige:  Understated Style

The Natural Hue Of Beige: Understated Style

Earth tones and various shades of the hue that is referred to as “Beige” are certain to be appreciated by all. The glory of beige is perhaps in its ability to pay homage to the decor that surrounds it. Rich and warm, the color beige beautifully coats traditional and modern spaces. With its elegance and richness, the layers upon layers of beige are certainly a calming visual delight. Without doubt, the neutral palette brings the focus onto the lines of the furniture as well as the decoration and details of embellishment within a space.

Consider Beige to create a neutral retreat within the interior. Especially in between seasons, it seems so appropriate to add a neutral coating as nature begins to change the world around us. Whether muted shades of Cream or French Beige or deeper shades of Khaki or Desert Sand, there is certainly a hue within the tonal variations that will find us covering our world in interior style. A classic shade that adheres to embellishments and textures. A seasonless hue, for certain. And if there remains a need for a “Pop” of color? Beige is a perfect backdrop. Alas, beige is never common. Rather, personal style creates a stylish ability to successfully and favorably use these neutral shades within the interior. A personal statement of style against a backdrop of natural and soothing beige. Tone on tone of deep rich neutrals are simple, yet so sharp. Consider basking in the purely straightforward, uncomplicated and natural shades of beige. Saturated style of natural appeal. Whether paired with contrasting embellishments of striking style or monochromatic saturation in beige bliss, there is a shade of beige tone of personal choice. Distinction of a natural and subtly elegant hue, indeed…

Kristin

“It’s my color-beige!” – Elise De Wolfe

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The Brass étagère: Distinctive “Open Shelving” Of Form & Function

The  Distinctive Brass étagère

The Distinctive Brass étagère

An étagère is termed as a piece of “lightweight furniture consisting of a series of stages or open shelves for the reception of ornaments and other small articles”. A “stage” for elements of personal style and decoration, for certain. Extensively made in France during the late 18th century, the word étagère was taken from the Middle French word, estagiere, referring to “estage floor of a building or station”. Of interest, the first known use of this word of French style was in 1840. These graceful and elegant open shelves are perhaps best known in the brass construction. Yet the history of the étagère, that even Louis XVI adored, began in exotic woods. Who knew? Elaborately carved or molded spindles interlaced between the shelves create a towering effect of lightweight visual style. Holding perhaps the “frippery” and collected articles of elegance, refinement of aristocratic style, these dainty, yet substantial shelves provided visual pleasure within the interior. Collected groupings of coveted objects on display. And of our collected “frippery”? Objects of personal style, for certain. Beyond the wood that formed the early étagères, often, metals such as brass and pewter would be interspersed throughout the structures of distinctive style. In fact, some even were embellished with jewels. Again, who knew?

Vintage Structures Of Form & Function:   Étagères

Vintage Structures Of Form & Function: Étagères

Popular once again during the Victorian era, the excess of details would additionally adorn the shelves of style. Gilded carvings, marble shelves and mirrors would perhaps add a weighty appearance. Yet this decorative piece crafted by artisan cabinetmakers would eventually evolve into the stylistic elegance and simplicity of the brass étagère. In fact, it is said that the brass étagère originated as a collaboration of the venerable furniture studio, Frederick P. Victoria & Son and American interior design legend, Billy Baldwin. Known as a classicist and a modernist, it is no wonder that the open shelving would acquire gleaming brass and towering height at the helm of Baldwin’s design lead paired with the craftsmanship and artistry of a furniture studio of timeless design. Of additional interest, Baldwin’s designs for Cole Porter’s Waldorf Towers Apartment has eternally linked them to be referred to as “Porter étagères”. Again, who knew? The timeless triumph in design within Porter’s library of tubular brass floor to ceiling étagères lined against lacquered walls has certainly gained iconic appeal. Enduring design, for certain…

Design Legend:  Billy Baldwin & His étagères

Design Legend: Billy Baldwin & His étagères

Of course, the design inspiration is also said to have originated from the lines of the English Regency rosewood rolling cart which was also known as a ‘dumbwaiter’. Function with design. With resemblances in design, Baldwin’s étagères certainly became a design of a much larger scale than the English Regency shelf unit. Great design evolves, indeed.

An English Regency dumbwaiter:  A Rolling étagères

An English Regency dumbwaiter: A Rolling étagères

Etagere:  A Vintage Variation Paired With Height

Etagere: A Vintage Variation Paired With Height

Of additional interest, the original Baldwin-Porter étagères were adorned with domed finials with “Gadrooning” (a decorative motif consisting of convex curves in a series). Alas, as time moved onward and the étagère became widely made, the halt of production during the mid 1960’s allowed for a gap in design. Perhaps a “forgotten detail” of the finials that once graced the towering structures was a result that would change the future design. With or without these finial caps of style, the resurgence and evolution in design of the étagère would certainly experience a revival in the decades following. Earning it a timeless addition to an interior, for certain.

étagère:  Graceful Shelves Of Styled  Possibilities

étagère: Graceful Shelves Of Styled Possibilities

And of the reference to the excessive brass and metallic trend that swelled during the 1970’s? Indeed, the brass étagère was included in the excess of metallic display of the Seventies. Alas, when brass is used in moderation with sophistication and elegance the metallic addition will shine in style within the interior. The étagère will complement and provide a stylish backdrop of your collected and decorative whims. A changing backdrop, for certain. Stylish possibilities. The étagère is certainly not a “book shelf” but rather a “Stage” of decorative style. With the brassy glow that exudes visual interest as well as warmth in its tone, the brass étagère is an element that will endure in lightweight, visual style…

Lightweight Style:  The Open Shelved  étagère

Lightweight Style: The Open Shelved étagère

Brass has certainly remained an enduring classic metal for centuries. Clean lines and simple form, the minimalism in a brassy metal would rise in popularity in time. Of course, there are those étagères that are in graduated sizes, spiraling upwards in vertical style, but it is the simplistic and elegant gracefulness of the open and repeating brass shelf that earns focus of its timeless appeal. Horizontal style options in a vertical bliss of decorative function, indeed.

"Victorian Brass" Étagère: Details In Design

“Victorian Brass” Étagère: Details In Design

Consider the étagère. A decorative piece of furniture that provides a distinctive and unique backdrop to adorn any space. With its bright, yellow gold warmth, the appearance of this styled open-shelf of distinction will provide you with enduring appeal. Of course, beyond the glow of brass construction, there are certainly other materials that earn praise. That said, I return to the focus of brass. A metal that deserves our focus and appreciation, especially when styled so distinctively with sharp lines of vertical and horizontal interest and style. Distinctive “open shelving” of style. Form and function, indeed…

Kristin

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Distinctive Architectural Elements: Exposed Beams & Trusses

Beams  Of Visual Distinction Within The Interior

Beams Of Visual Distinction Within The Interior

The refined and rustic appeal of exposed beams and trusses. Architectural interest paired with lofty and airy style. Strength and beauty in a visual vertical and horizontal display of exposed wood within the interior. Rustic sophistication, for certain…

“Post and Beam” construction is a process referred to as “Timber Framing” (the “process of framing a structure using heavy timber jointed together with pegged mortise and tenon joints”). The diagonal supports in timber framing provide the visual allure of these elevated, exposed beams. Posts are generally visible on the exterior of the home whereas beams can be seen within the interior in a ceiling display of distinctive style.

History states that the concept of“Post and Beam” framing originated in Egypt around 2,000BC. Early “Post and Beam” construction historically can be found as a key architectural method and style prevalent in Europe, specifically in such countries as England, Holland and Norway. On American soil, the first settlers used a primitive form of “Post and Beam” construction using white oak that was used in Europe as well as the workable, abundant soft woods found in America’s forests. With the use of slats and woven twigs paired with mud between the posts, a method of ‘infill’ called “Wattle and Daub”, the tradition of building with “Post and Beam” construction continued in the Colonies until the 1800’s. With the arrival of brick layers to America, the addition of brick between the posts transformed the primitive method of construction. Bricks were added to the openings in the beam frame walls furthering a solid structure of architecture. Of additional interest, it is said that at that time American native Pine came into use it would lead to the abandonment of the “Post and Beam” construction due to extremes in temperature that caused failure in construction. Who knew? Or perhaps, it was the stated arrival of the Clapboard exterior construction of 2-story homes that set a new standard for strength and security against the climate and environmental changes? Either way, the timeless appeal of the post and beam would certainly regain appeal in architecture beyond its crude, initial construction of purpose as an element of distinction within interior design.

And of the trusses that connect the exposed beams of architectural interest and strength? Another element of structural design that adds interest and visual delight. In architecture, a Truss is a structure comprising of one or more triangular units constructed with straight members whose ends are connected at joints referred to as nodes. Strength in function paired with distinction of interior style…

Rustic Elegance:  Exposed Beams

Rustic Elegance: Exposed Beams

Strength & Style: Beams  In The Interior

Strength & Style: Beams In The Interior

Natural Appeal With Visual Interest:  Architectural Beams

Natural Appeal With Visual Interest: Architectural Beams

Of course the glory of the natural wood meets another dimension when coated with paint. White washed or painted beams of lofty, light and airy style are also a visually appealing delight. For certain, beams that are finished with a clear finish, stained or even a painted surface provide a textural and visually interesting architectural element of distinctive style to any interior they rise within…

Light & Airy Style Of Distinction:  Painted Beams & Trusses

Light & Airy Style Of Distinction: Painted Beams & Trusses

Consider the solid wood beams of distinctive style within the interior. Whether the beams are of Antique Rough Sawn origin (holding teeth marks from the saw blades from when it was milled) or Antique Hand Hewn (which have retained the artisans axe marks), refined Antique Re-Sawn wood beams that are planed smooth, providing a modern, clean appeal or those that retain the teeth marks from a band saw for added character) or even if the beams are of a high quality faux alternative “Box Beam”, (constructed to resemble solid wood) there is character, warmth and strength added to any interior.

The addition of these 3-dimensional wood beams provide a sturdy and almost luxurious elegance that dominates with strength within the interiors it towers above. Structural delight and added architectural interest, indeed. The beauty and strength of the timbers than span across an interior is a longstanding feature of architecture and interior design that will certainly endure as a timeless element of distinctive style. Exposed, natural elements. Elements of distinctive architectural style, indeed…

Kristin

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Function, Texture & Style: Baskets Within The Interior

Double Duty Of Style & Function:  Baskets

Double Duty Of Style & Function: Baskets

The art of the basket. Woven by hand, the stylish basket has certainly evolved into an art form. Constructed from a wide range of plant materials, including wood splints and cane, the twisting and braiding of stylistic function can certainly be appreciated, if not incorporated, into our interiors. For certain, the artistic freedom of basket making allows for a wide choice of colors, materials, sizes, patterns and details. Form and function paired with stylistic options.

The history of the woven form of the basket is believed to date back to 8000BCE. Archaeological sites in the Middle East provide further evidence of a weaving technique that was used to make baskets. Of additional interest, twined baskets date back to 7000 BCE in Oasisamerica (referring to a broad cultural area defining pre-Columbian southwestern North America). Again, longstanding history of form and function. Representations of carrying baskets on the top of the head are found in Ancient Greek art and sculpture, known as Canephorae or Kanephoros. Translated in English as “Basket Bearer”, the Greeks bestowed the privilege to unmarried young women of the aristocratic Athenian families the honor of leading the procession to the altar of the Acropolis during the Panathenaic Festival. Carrying a basket (known as kanoun) of offerings on their head, the contents which included barley, fresh fruits and decorations for a bull along and other elements of importance, was among the highest honor bestowed. Who knew the basket held such honorable status in history? Onward in history, the basket would prove its importance, with its function and practicality. Function within history, indeed…

Baskets In History:  Time Honored Function

Baskets In History: Time Honored Function

And of the style of these woven objects? The rustic charm and natural element of decorative purpose within our interior spaces? Beyond the “Country” charm it is relegated to holding, baskets move beyond into a universal element of versatile use and decorative style. For certain, baskets provide a “rustic” element within the interior, yet baskets work within a wide range of interior styles, including more streamlined spaces. Attractive functionality with style…

Baskets:  Stylish Purpose Of Rustic Texture

Baskets: Stylish Purpose Of Rustic Texture

Textural Interest Within The Interior:  Baskets Of Style

Textural Interest Within The Interior: Baskets Of Style

Neutral Texture Of Handwoven Style:  The Beauty Of Baskets

Neutral Texture Of Handwoven Style: The Beauty Of Baskets

Elements Of Purpose:  Baskets Within The Interior

Elements Of Purpose: Baskets Within The Interior

Consider incorporating the stylish and decorative basket within your interior world. The options for containment and storage of the basket hold vast possibilities. A plethora of choices of braided or woven style with sizes, shapes, textures and style provide textural interest paired with purpose. The advantage of additional storage hidden within the hand-woven element of style can certainly be praised. As I hold to the creed that everything that fills our spaces should earn its place within our interiors, baskets earn praise with the ability to stow and store with style. Hidden delight. Stiff fibers of purpose. Function of purpose paired with stylistic choices, indeed…

Kristin

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