Category Archives: Interior Design

Interior Color Inspirations: Classic & Crisp “Winter” White

The Classic Crispness Of White Interiors

The Classic Crispness Of White Interiors

Brilliant white. The shade of Winter that holds seasonless appeal. The color of pure snow on snow capped mountains, white is the color of light and the opposite of its counterpart, black. The classic combination of black and white prevails in enduring style. Yet Modern appeal and elegance certainly results with the injections of any color against the blank canvas of white. The potential to inject seasonal or accent colors always brings an added striking appeal to a space clad in white. Distinction against white, for certain…

Of historical interest, the Icelandic word for white is “Hvitur”, derived from the Old Norse form of the word “Hvitr”. Common Germanic used the word “Blankaz”, meaning “White, bright and blinding”. Like the blinding snowfall on a Wintry day. The Germanic term is said to have been borrowed from the Late Latin term “Blancus”, which meant simply “White”. A clean and pure color. “White as snow”. Perhaps the color represents a visual “Whiteout” within your surrounds. Of additional interest, within Europe and the United States, the color white is said to be associated with not only with perfection, positivity, brilliance, illumination, faith, purity, neutrality and lightness but exactitude. Exactitude. There is an intent when we envelope our spaces in white. A bold, dramatic intent exists within interiors layered in white, for certain…

With layerings from brilliant white and parchment white to cream, the many subtleties of white delight with texture and crisp, refreshing style. Cool, calm and serene yet powerful. Perhaps the beauty of the color white is its versatile range that pairs beautifully with varied styles of interior design. White visually expands a space and emphasizes natural light, showcasing the elements and the furniture in the space that it fills. White provides a backdrop to display one’s personality and style with a color scheme that does not compete but offers a stunning background for distinctive furniture, artwork or other elements that one wishes to command attention. Within the walls of white and rooms filled with objects that meld into the backdrop, tone on tone, the elements of bold style and distinction stand out. Patterns and textures also create depth and interest against a snowy white backdrop. Versatile all year round, awaiting our seasonal injections of interest and allowing focal points to change. Versatile stying, indeed…

Classic Simplicity: Interiors Blanketed In White

Classic Simplicity: Interiors Blanketed In White

Interior Distinction:  White Interiors

Interior Distinction: White Interiors

Muted Palettes: Variations Of White Interiors

Muted Palettes: Variations Of White Interiors

Layers Of White Variations Within The Interior

Layers Of White Variations Within The Interior

White Delights:  Interiors Coated In White

White Delights: Interiors Coated In White

White Interiors:  Neutral Elegance Of Simplicty

White Interiors: Neutral Elegance Of Simplicty

Consider white. An all-white palette perhaps adds a Wintry spin to our spaces. The elegance of this stark, crisp and yet serene color can provide a clear and deliberate focus for our spaces. Ethereal elegance. Classic, sharp and clean. Blanket your spaces and gain fresh clarity with the pure color of white. Whether you view the white interior as coated in a fresh “blanket of white” or a cool retreat and haven within Summer’s heat, the bold layering of a white interior provides a pure and sharp contrast of style. Pure white style, like fresh snow. Classic and crisp “Winter White”, indeed….

Kristin

“…Winter is the snow with black silhouettes…” -Vincent Van Gogh

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The “Parsons Chair”: A “Slipper Chair” Of Timeless Appeal

Streamlined & Timeless Style:  The Parsons Chair

Streamlined & Timeless Style: The Parsons Chair

The “Parsons Chair”. Streamlined versatility of function and comfort. A classic chair of timeless design, the upholstered or slipcovered chair is typically crafted of hardwoods and features a slightly curving, squared backrest and legs. A visually solid chair iconically embellished in fabric. The Parsons Chair provides simplicity with distinctive style. Perhaps, to deepen one’s appreciation for this unique and timeless design, an appreciation of its past is in order…

The “Parsons Chair” was created in Paris in the 1930’s by the Parsons School of Design. Of interest, what is known as the Parsons school was begun as the Chase School in 1896 by renowned American Impressionist painter William Merritt Chase (1849-1916). Chase founded the New York school and led a small group of students who withdrew from the Art Students League of New York in search of individualistic expression. The Chase School and the icons of early American Modernism perhaps is what brought to the school in 1904 the vision of Arts educator Frank Alvah Parsons. In 1921, with a vision of art and design’s link to industry, Parson would initiate a satellite school in Paris, France. This satellite school is said to have been the first art and design school founded abroad by an American school. Who knew? In 1941, the school would be named in his honor. Parsons would soon become the sole director of the New York School of Fine and Applied Art and continue to provide vision for the future. A vision that would continue to inspire the world of art and design, indeed…

Frank Alvah Parsons  (1866-1901)

Frank Alvah Parsons (1866-1901)

And of this chair of simplistic and linear design from the 1930’s? The Parsons School designers are said have streamlined “excess ornamentation” and the historical influences that reflected the periods of Arts & Crafts (1880-1910), Art Nouveau (1890-1905) and of course, the era that the 1930’s was layered within: the Art Deco period (1910-1940). The styles that dominated furniture designs of the time would certainly inspire the design of this enduringly modern, yet timeless chair. Function and comfort were also a focus in addition to the classic and modern influences resulting in a chair of distinction. Said to present “Classic Modernists traits of natural, simplistic and linear design” the enduring traits follow this stylish object of purpose and function within the interior, for certain. Of note, the original Parsons design is said to have been upholstered in leather. Again, who knew?

The  1930's "Parsons Chair" /Parsons School of Design

The 1930’s “Parsons Chair” /Parsons School of Design

However the chair is covered over its linear form, the chair itself was historically considered to be a transitional piece of furniture. Of additional interest, the Parsons Chair was first designed as a part of a matched set of furnishings. Designed for use in a dining table suite with 4 chairs and a table, both were intended to reflect a similar aesthetic. The linear and simple design of both provided a contrast to the heavier dining furniture of the early 20th century that tended to visually dominate a room. The light and airy appeal of the sleek variation to interior style provided a versatile and functional appeal. The Parsons Table and Parsons Chair were created as companion pieces yet perhaps due to the simplicity and versatility of both has led them to be incorporated separately into many interior styles. Parting ways within the interior, the adaptable style certainly provides a striking appeal in any setting. Certainly, an evolution in design. Both, perhaps, integrate historical influences while presenting a modern edge that still stand the test of time today. The table, like the chair, holds a simple elegance that endures. (Alas, perhaps the iconic Parsons Table is another topic to dwell upon…)

The Classic Parsons Table

The Classic Parsons Table

Upholstered Slipcover Of Classic Style:  The Parsons Chair

Upholstered Slipcover Of Classic Style: The Parsons Chair

Classic Influences Of Adaptable Style:  The Parsons Chair

Classic Influences Of Adaptable Style: The Parsons Chair

Transitional Simplicity Of Enduring Design:  The Parsons Chair

Transitional Simplicity Of Enduring Design: The Parsons Chair

Consider the versatility and timeless appeal of the Parsons Chair. Choices and stylistic preferences abound, for certain. Incorporated into the interior, this stylish chair blends in any setting while standing out in distinctive style. Although there are variations of this classic chair that are absent of the adornment of fabric, perhaps it is the classic beauty of this chair is the fabric that swathes its upholstered form. Although there is an almost regal elegance when covered in upholstered or slipcovered fabric, there are certainly variations that retain no layering in upholstered style but rather the linear form itself. Options absent of the adornment of fabric yet options of great design. For certain, the design has evolved. But what remains consistent is the elegant simplicity of design. Enduring style. Whether wrapped in leather, tailored coverings of slipcovered style or even smaller and shorter designed chairs with or without armrests, the classic “Parsons Chair” holds a timeless appeal that endures, indeed….

Kristin

“Industry is the nation’s life, art is the quality of beauty in expression, and industrial art is the cornerstone of our national art” – Frank Alvah Parsons, 1920

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Sconces: Wall Mounted Lighting Of Distinctive Style

Wall Mounted Style:  Sconces

Wall Mounted Style: Sconces

Wall-Mounted ambiance. A “Sconce” is defined as “a type of light fixture affixed to a wall in such a way that it uses only the wall for support and the light is usually directed upwards”. Lighting without a base on the ground that provides an inviting glow that cascades onto the wall itself and the surrounds within the interior. Visual interest paired with function. “Sconces” are also defined as “a bracket candlestick or group of candlesticks or an electric light fixture patterned on a candle sconce”. A decorative wall bracket for holding candles or lights of distinctive style…

The first known use of the word “Sconce” was during the 15th century. Of note, the Dutch word “Schans” was taken from the German word “Schanze”. The word “Sconce” is taken from Middle English, or Old French “Esconse” which referred to “Screened candle or lantern” and from “Escunser” (to hide/obscure). Derived from the Medieval Latin word “scnsa” taken from Latin Absconsus. Further, “Abscnsa” and “Abscondere” (To hide away) and “Condere” (to preserve). What has been preserved is the timelessness that wall mounted sconce lighting has offered throughout the history of interior design. A lantern, perhaps, but one that is not hidden but distinctively on display as a key aspect of designing within the interior. Distinction, for certain.

Of additional interest, sconces are considered one of the earliest forms of lighting fixtures. First appearing in classical antiquity, the evolution from candles to wall mounted lighting of electrical illumination would result. Of course, along with evolution of a practical, useful element into a more decorative form of design, carvers and gilders would design sconces that were influenced by the style of the rooms they would embellish. Whether it was the gilded and elaborate Rococo or more classical shapes of form, the sconces that would decorate walls with function and style endure as timeless elements of interior design

Classic & Timeless Wall Mounted "Sconce" Lighting

Classic & Timeless Wall Mounted “Sconce” Lighting

“Sconces” provide not only lighting and ambiance to a space, but can become focal points that can flank fireplaces, mirrors and artwork or define an area in ‘stand-alone’ style. A visual frame for the eyes to rest upon. Sconces certainly provide a visually warm, inviting atmosphere to an interior. Lighting up a darker area of a room or adding additional lighting to a well-lit space, the illumination and addition of the wall sconce is striking in any setting. Whether used as accent lighting or as the main source of illuminating light within an interior, the visual appeal of the sconce earns focus as an object of decoration within our spaces. Whether a sconce that holds candles to illuminate and provide added ambiance within a room or a shaded sconce of electrical glow, sconces add an element of radiating interest, indeed…

Reflections Of Light:  The Appeal of  Sconces

Reflections Of Light: The Appeal of Sconces

Stylish Embellishments Of Glowing Style:  Sconces

Stylish Embellishments Of Glowing Style: Sconces

Stylish Additions:  Wall Sconces

Stylish Additions: Wall Sconces

Accent Lighting:  The Wall Sconce

Accent Lighting: The Wall Sconce

Reflected Light Of Style:  Sconces

Reflected Light Of Style: Sconces

Sconces:  Statements Of Distinction Within The Interior

Sconces: Statements Of Distinction Within The Interior

Defining Spaces:  The Distinction Of  Lighting  With Sconces

Defining Spaces: The Distinction Of Lighting With Sconces

Consider the sconce to add another radiant dimension to your interior spaces. The shadowing from its warm glow and layer of luminous light not only adds definition to a space, but provides a focal point within an interior. The diverse choices provide a personal statement of distinction within the interior of reflected light. A wonderful reflection of light that brings a room aglow with visual interest. Wall-mounted lighting of distinctive style, indeed…

Kristin


“For me, it is about the silhouette. It is equally beautiful from every angle”- Interior Designer, Brian McCarthy
, on “Sconces”

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Interior Color Inspirations: The Muted Appeal Of Shades Of Gray

Blends Of Gray:  The Classic Palette Of Gray

Blends Of Gray: The Classic Palette Of Gray

Shades of gray. A transition between the two colors of black and white, the striking statement of gray seems to envelope our interior spaces. The monochrome, neutral color of “gray” (or “grey”) is perfection in a blend of black and white. Grayscale. As the deeper tones are considered dramatic and mysterious, the lighter tones seem to illuminate with silvery appeal. And of the sophistication and balance that the rich, pewter gray walls and embellishments of gray offer within our interiors? Certainly worthy of a visual appreciation. Perhaps a modern backdrop of restful ambiance, the neutral palette of gray colors provide an unassuming appeal. Understated elegance, in tones of gray, indeed.

Of interest, the first recorded use of the word “Grey” or “Gray” in the English language as a color name was in 700 AD. The traditional spelling of the word “Gray” is “Grey”, which is the British, Canadian, Australian, Irish, New Zealand and South African spelling. However, “Gray” is said to also have been common in the UK until the second half of the 20th century. “Grey” is the accepted variant in American English, but the common and perhaps preferred spelling is “Gray” since its introduction to American English around 1825. That said, having learned as a child to spell the color as “Gray”, it is indeed the spelling I chose. No matter the spelling, the color hue of gray is one of delight…

Gray Waters:  The Atlantic Ocean

Gray Waters: The Atlantic Ocean

A sea of gray. Perhaps, for me, it is the personal calm of visual recollections from youth of the gray cast that the bodies of water of the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean take on upon Winter’s arrival. Having appreciated the changing color tones since youth, these beautiful waters of gray envelope my memories. Soothing recollections. Although the color gray is said to be an unemotional color that is not only neutral but ‘detached’, I disagree with the concept of gray as detached when layered within the realm of the interior. Saturated spaces with beautiful blends of gray are a visual delight that is restful. Interiors wrapped in tones of gray bliss. The beauty that is found in the color gray is certainly a comfortable ‘melding’ of splendid style. Luxurious, like cashmere. An interior saturated and swathed in tones of the soothing, calming and muted gray hues provide enduring visual appeal…

A Muted Palette Of Distinction:  Gray Interiors

A Muted Palette Of Distinction: Gray Interiors

Shades Of Gray: Neutral Bliss

Shades Of Gray: Neutral Bliss

Subdued Elegance:  The Gray Palette Within The Interior

Subdued Elegance: The Gray Palette Within The Interior

Unassuming Shades Of Gray:  Style & Elegance

Unassuming Shades Of Gray: Style & Elegance

Gray Delight:  Understated Sophistication

Gray Delight: Understated Sophistication

Consider the color gray to imbue your spaces with elegance. A subdued hue of distinctive and recognizable style. Whether a beautiful backdrop against a vivid color or an interior draped completely in gray, the sophistication of the color gray is timeless. Distinguished and classic elegance is found within the diverse hues of gray. Muted palettes with classic appeal, indeed…

Kristin

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Rings & Swirls of Wooden Style: Burl Wood In The Interior

Unique Pattern Within The Interior: Burl Wood

Unique Pattern Within The Interior: Burl Wood

Burl wood. Known for its extraordinary and unique style, the beauty of this highly desired wood endures to enthrall us with layered objects within the interior. The warmth and visual interest that the swirling patterns and rings of distinction that burl wood presents when found in the interior continually delights us with classic and timeless appeal. Unique and exotic, “one-of-a-kind”, grained objects rich in texture and visual interest. Burl wood certainly lends a luxuriousness to even basic furniture design. Unusual patterns of distinction.

A “Burl” (in American English), “Bur” or “Burr” (referencing “Burl” in other countries) is commonly found in the form of a “rounded outgrowth”, filled with small knots, on a tree trunk. Of interest, burl wood is the result of a fast growing, abnormal growth found on a tree that has typically experienced environmental stress or damage. Who knew? The infection grows on the root or trunk of a tree in an oval lump shape or twisted knots. When opened, the beauty of nature’s design is revealed. Once the tree is cut, thin veneer slices (“leaves”) are carved from the burl wood. “Leaves” of style, indeed. Of course, it is said that the beauty and preference of a cut of this striking wood is within the eye of the beholder. Artistry. A wood that has been prized by artists for centuries to create furniture, sculptures and other decorative items, the stylistic patterns of unique and natural design endure in its appeal.

Burl Wood:  Nature's Wonder Of Distinction

Burl Wood: Nature’s Wonder Of Distinction

Of further interest, the number of trees that produce burl wood is considerably low, causing a high demand for the swirling effect of nature. Of additional interest, often, a tree that has developed burl wood can still be healthy and continue to thrive. Who knew that trees can actually develop burl wood shoots that are so heavy that the weight leads to the tree’s early demise? Once the tree holds no more life, the shoots are reviewed to reveal the pattern inside. Often, a single shoot can produce several different pieces for artists to work with. The skill of the artisan’s eye is required, indeed. Burl wood veneer is prized for the tightness of the swirl and consistency of the color. What is referred to as “Figuring” (burl clusters), the artisan’s goal is to select the pattern that reveals the stunning and interesting ringed pattern of nature’s artistry. And of the decoration of burl wood in veneer layerings covering classic pieces of furniture? Enduring decoration of “wooden” appeal.

Unusual Patterns That Swirl With Interest & Distinction

Unusual Patterns That Swirl With Interest & Distinction

The "Warmth" Of Wood Paired with Unique Shapes & Ring Patterns:  Burl Wood

The “Warmth” Of Wood Paired with Unique Shapes & Ring Patterns: Burl Wood

The Beauty Of Wood:  Burl Wood Within The Interiors

The Beauty Of Wood: Burl Wood Within The Interiors

Consider nature’s wonder of burl wood within the interior. A rare and beautiful pattern designed by nature, burl wood is linked to “Unarguably the best designer and inspiration for all of us”nature. Certainly, an appreciation for the woody warmth and visual interest of the swirling patterns of distinctive style are worthy of gracing our interiors. Beauty from nature’s force. Striking style of cause and effect with a warm appeal within our interiors. Certainly there are decorative objects of burled beauty that also deserve focus, yet it is the veneer of beauty and distinction that embellishes key elements of furniture design that fill our spaces that my attention swirls upon. Rings and swirls of distinction, indeed…

Kristin

“We can only shape the burl and treat it, so that it lasts a life time…One can be sure of the exclusivity of burl furniture as nature never repeats its design.” -Unknown/artisan

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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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