Monday, July 25, 2016

When In Rome!: Five Types Of Roman Shades

If you're thinking of window treatments for your windows, there are so many options, with a myriad of not only drapery styles but also shade styles. As with anything in interior design, there is a whole encyclopedia of terms, forms, and details within the world of shades themselves. Let's take a look at a few of the more common types of Roman shades in particular.

Flat--Consisting of a piece of flat fabric without any pleats, folds, or channels, this type of Roman shade is good for windows where you will not be raising or lowering the shade often. The fact that it does not have any pleats means that the fabric does not fold up neatly or quickly when raised. But a flat Roman shade still provides light control and privacy while bringing color and pattern to a room. And this style in particular lends itself to prints since there are no channels or pleats to interrupt a pattern repeat.

Plain or Pleated--This style is much like a flat Roman but with seams every eight to ten inches to help ease the shade in raising or lowering. As you can imagine, a tight pattern repeat would be interrupted by the seaming. As with any genre of knowledge, nomenclature can vary and I have seen this referred to as a Rear Tucked Roman shade. The Pleated name also can refer to a different type of shade, one we will see a few points down.

Relaxed or European--Here we have another variation of the flat shade but with a drooping center bar at bottom which gives the shade a casual, country appeal. But done with the right fabric, it could also read as extremely elegant.

Hobbled or Soft Fold (I have also seen this style referred to as Teardrop)--This style of Roman shade is made of ripples of soft folds that fall on top of one another, giving the shade dimension and softness. I would advise judicious use of this style as it can look overblown or gaudy depending on material and location.

Knife or Ribbed (I have also seen this style referred to as Slatted)--For this Roman shade, dowels are sewn into pockets every eight to ten inches or so. They can be attached at the rear of the shade so the front has a seam, in which case it is called a Knife or Knife Edge Roman shade. If the dowel pockets are in the front (with seam in the rear), this is generally called a Ribbed Roman shade.

Knife Edge with dowel pockets in rear
Ribbed with dowel pockets in front

Happy designing!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Yves Klein Table bleue

Frenchman Yves Klein (April 28 1928 – June 6 1962), member of the artistic movement of Nouveau réalisme/ Minimalist/ Performance Artist/ Pop Artist, at first seems an unlikely ally in interior design. Known mostly for his blue paintings and art works (in which he utilized the bodies of naked models as "paint brushes"), Klein actually invented a color with the help of Edouard Adam, a Parisian paint dealer. Klein and Adam discovered that if ultramarine pigment was suspended in a synthetic resin instead of linseed oil, as most pigments were at the time, the color became deeper and more vibrant. The hue to this day is called International Klein Blue.

In 1961, Klein made a sculptural conceptual art piece called Table bleue: a table of stainless steel legs supporting an acrylic box of the International Klein Blue pigment. The artist died of a series of heart attacks in 1962. But starting in 1963, the Yves Klein Estate in Paris has overseen the manufacture of these iconic tables ever since.

Below, we see one in the Manhattan loft of fashion photographer super-duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.

Here is the Klein Table bleue in the Hong Kong home of accessories designer Fiona Kotur.

The dazzling IKB pigment shows up beautifully against the palm wood and brass inlaid walls and fireplace in this London Georgian home by Paolo Moschino for Nicholas Haslam.

In the New York City home of interior design superstars Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu of Yabu Pushelberg, a Klein table lends color in an otherwise neutral space.

Authentic Yves Klein tables are available in the United States through Artware in New York
or in Paris through Galerie Omagh

Happy designing!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Know Your Sofas: The Lawson

In terms of the history of furniture, the Lawson sofa is a relative latecomer. Created for American businessman, author, and tycoon Thomas W. Lawson at the turn of the 20th century, this sofa features a silhouette simpler than any of its predecessors. Reacting to the Rococo Revival insanity of the Victorians (previously seen here), Lawson wanted something simpler, with comfort in mind. But what was revolutionary about this sofa was the fact that it had loose back and seat cushions. This silhouette has remained intact to this day and the Lawson is pretty much the most popular sofa style. The arms which are lower than the back (unlike a Chesterfield, previously seen here) can come in different versions, like a wide or narrow track, or even a traditional rolled arm--but you will never see a pillowed or overstuffed arm on a Lawson.

Since it is so neutral, there are a few details that can make a Lawson sofa stand out. The type of fabric chosen for upholstery can make the sofa seem sleek (fabrics with sheen or metallic thread) and modern (chenille and nubby fabrics in green tones can invoke a Mid-Century Modern feeling) or traditional (pastels or classic English cabbage rose chintz). A skirt at the bottom (which will hide the legs) can lend a more relaxed, cottage feeling. And finally, a nailhead detail can add some interest (shiny chrome nail heads on a black velvet sofa would make a dramatic, dressy statement!).

Happy Designing!

Monday, June 27, 2016

History of Furniture: The Eileen Gray Side Table

For this installment of The History of Furniture, let's take a look back at a staple of modernist design, the Eileen Gray Side Table.

Between 1926 and 1929, Irish interior and furniture designer and architect Eileen Gray (above) collaborated on the design and construction of a modernist villa with her lover, the French architect Jean Badovici. Located in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the south of France, the house was very forward-looking with a flat roof and floor to ceiling glass windows to take advantage of the views of the Mediterranean. Gray named it the E-1027 “Maison en bord de mer” house, a name which contained a secret code: E for Eileen, 10 for Jean (J is the tenth letter of the alphabet), 2 for Badovici and 7 for Gray.

For this home, Gray designed the interiors and pieces of furniture as well. And one of the most enduring of her designs is the iconic side table she created for her sister, who liked to have breakfast in bed. The table has an open circular base that allows it to slip under a bedside or sofa, letting the user bring it as close as possible. For maximum function, the table itself adjusts up and down. Featuring a tempered glass top, the body is made of stainless steel, inspired by some of the tubular steel experiments of Marcel Breuer at the Bauhaus (previously here).

Here is an archival photo of the table in situ at the E-1027 house in 1929!

As you can see, the design, while minimal and streamlined, is timeless and can go with furnishings from the 1930s, the 1960s or 70s, or with any current styles. It is a perfect accent or occasional table.

The table is now produced by ClassiCon, under authorization of The World Licence Holder Aram Designs Ltd, London. Design Within Reach is an authorized dealer as well.

Happy designing!

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Malachite Moment

Malachite is an exquisite saturated green mineral that is considered a semi-precious gemstone. Its circular pattern is fascinating and designers from Tony Duquette to Kelly Wearstler have loved using this mineral for furniture, tile, or printed on textiles. It is a rich, luxurious accent in any room.

Below is a shot from a corner of The Garden Room at designer Tony Duquette's Shangri-la-esque estate Dawnridge. The malachite wallcovering is paired with the same pattern in lapis lazuli for drapery panels. The fabric is available through Jim Thompson.

Here is the malachite fabric in drapery panels...

As I mentioned, Kelly Wearstler used malachite to great effect in the lobby of The Viceroy Hotel in Miami.

Wisteria has a series of mineral prints and this pair of malachite close-ups makes a dramatic statement over a console table.

Italian porcelain manufacturer Fiandre make a wonderful large format malachite-looking wall tile which adds a sumptuous feeling to any space, especially the bathroom seen below.

Designer Shelley Johnstone put a malachite-patterned wallcovering on a ceiling.

Whether it's a piece of furniture, a mirror frame, or on a wall, malachite adds a touch of glamour and sophistication to any space.

Happy designing!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Urban Fabric Rugs Go Around The World!

I'm always on the look out for that special product or accessory that will turn a room into a work of art. And I recently discovered a rug company with a very special product!

Urban Fabric Rugs make cut pile rugs with relief plan views of major world cities! Urban Fabric Rugs say that their products can come in any color and they will create rugs in custom dimensions. I'm itching to put one in a living room or sitting room for a client.

Here we see a view of Dublin in a gorgeous watery blue with the River Liffey cutting through it...

...or perhaps you fancy a saturated fuchsia map of London on your wall?

The geometry of Paris is cooly subtle in a neutral tone...

...while Shanghai practically vibrates off the floor in red!

A recent addition to the city roster is an ancient one...The Forbidden City in Beijing.

They also make a map of Manhattan which, due to the elongated nature of the island itself, would make a fantastic runner in a hallway.

There's also a great view of Los Angeles.

And if you don't see the city of your choice or can't choose, they make a marvelous, conversation piece rug of the time zones of the globe!

Happy designing!