Archive for the 'Drapery' Category

18
Jul
07

Patterns, Color and Winterthur Revisited

I’m intrigued by how good designers mix patterns. Henry F. DuPont’s, Winterthur, is a great place to see a seemingly infinite number of ways to do it.

I took John there for his birthday a few years back because I knew he would enjoy the craftsmanship of some of the finest examples of wood furniture in the U.S. As DuPont turned his estate into a survey of high quality non-native American furniture (approximately Empire and before), he also created a giant canvas on which to layer his talent for putting rooms together (and gardens, but that’s another post).

Julie and I have been exchanging comments lately about color in neutral rooms. While the elements of DuPont’s dining room are a little more reserved than Julie’s more worldly style, the basic idea of using color with a neutral background is here—the fabrics carry the color.

Dining Room

The architectural elements are allowed to shine on their own with a neutral coat of paint (more of an oyster than the pinkish color you see here), and maybe a few highlights (see the trim on the doors). The rich wood of the furniture also gets to play a major role.

I like that the drapery fabric and the chair covers are the same medium sized pattern. Sometimes I think I’m afraid to use a fabric in other parts of the same room. I don’t know why (maybe it’s an attempt to avoid the catalog look). But a few repeated fabrics, even a vibrant stripe like this one, can give a room unity of design, calming the space. If I remember correctly the stripe and the large pattern of the rug are the only two fabric patterns in the room and the differences in scale work well together.

floating staircase

The stair hall (not a great picture, sorry) is an even more refined space, with light and airy Federalist pieces, which play nicely with the floating staircase – delicate, but sturdy. Anyway, the green of the settee fabric, which in another application might be considered bank-ish or too heavy handed looks downright understated in this setting.

chinese parlor 2. jpg

There’s nothing understated about the Chinese parlor. I love it, with all of its game and tea tables everywhere (mostly, if not all, American Rococo, aka Chippendale), and that great (in every sense of the word) wallpaper that makes you feel like a character in a giant storybook. The whole room is a big, elegant play room for grown-ups, but really, wouldn’t kids be happy here, too?

chinese parlor

I’ve never worked with pattern on the scale of this wallpaper, but I like it, especially that DuPont made it work with two large rugs and the large pattern in the two different green damasks. The sturdy forms of the furniture ground things. And now that I look at it so do the drapery and sofa fabrics, which even though they are a damask pattern read as a solid when seen next to the wallpaper.

If you are a furniture/design or even a garden buff, Winterthur is well worth a trip for inspiration.

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07
Jun
07

Sheer Off – 2007

As the bedroom evolves it is taking on a coastal feel—probably due to the gold accents, the blue paint and the dark wood furniture. John noticed it first. Then Dave mentioned that the space was making him think “British colonial” (more the Caribbean island colonies, than the original U.S. 13).

All of which is fine, but if that’s the direction the room is going, the window treatments need to follow. I’ve already ordered Ambria matchstick shades (color: Fruitwood) from Lowes, unlined so light can filter through. This leads me to my next seemingly ridiculous design quandary: What fabric to use to soften them up. Dave suggested something light, which I think is a good call. Sheers are perfect (typically cheaper than other kinds of coverings), but which sheers are right? There are hundreds.

Well, after shopping this weekend I narrowed it down to two. So I’m presenting anyone who is interested the opportunity to weigh in on Sheer-Off 2007.

Here are the candidates side by side in two photos. Lefty is a polyester. Righty is a silk organza. FYI- the window is east facing and we keep it open a lot of the time. Let me know which you prefer and why. I wish you could touch them.

Sheers  (14) copy

Sheers 2 (21) copy

Since it will be two weeks before the blinds are installed I don’t have to make a decision right this second, but it’s hard for me not to have an opinion now. John has one, too.