Interior Design Trends
A cushion mountain
A reproduction American pencil-post bed, made in Iowa to an early 1800s design, displays a mountain of cushions. Completing the exuberant effect are festoons of lace, a floral needlepoint rug on the floor, and tapestry cushions and soft woollen shawls on the blanket box.
Furniture that rests most comfortably in a bucolic retreat is the sort that has a slightly battered, yet dignified presence. It comes trailing clouds of history – tables that have been dented by collisions with pots and pans, dressers whose corners have been worn to a smoothly rounded patina and whose toggle handles have etched a grooved arc in the paint, and chairs whose stability relies on clever mending with glue and bracing plates.
In general, a look of strength and simplicity is most appropriate for the country: this means furniture of solid wood, carved, stained or painted. Veneers have to be approached with caution, as do fancy details and fussy catches. Modern, prefabricated furniture may be practical in bedrooms and kitchens, but it can never achieve the character of old-fashioned dressers and cupboards whose imperfections are part of their charm. Authentic built-in furniture tends to be as old as the house of which it is part, and clogged with the same multiple layers of paint.
It is important not to be afraid of colour: the days of ubiquitous stripped pine are over. No longer do you need to strive for the perfect, even finish, wielding blow-torch and paint stripper. Up-market decorators now spend hours learning techniques with paint that approximate the signs of wear and tear, and you will find many decorative finishes in this post that recreate the beauty of aged looks for your furniture.
Creating a civilized corner The crisp discipline of this old Southern plantation desk is tempered by a comfortable tartan club chair in which to muse.
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