Tag Archives: tufting

Nothing New Under the Sun

I haven’t blogged during the past couple of weeks because I have been busy traveling back in time and around the world. Okay, not literally, but my day class on Period and Country Decorating Styles took me all the way back to Ancient Egypt. My class was only three hours per day but along with the heavy homework load, I can now more fully appreciate the challenges facing a working mom: from finding childcare to getting dinner on the table, and house cleaning? What’s that?

Today is my first day back in my “real life” and with the children screaming at my feet I am looking at the clock, wishing I had a babysitter coming to my rescue in the next fifteen minutes. Instead we will resume our normal routine: seeking entertainment outside the home in order to maintain everyone’s sanity.

Fast forward in time and my husband is back home to entertain the kids and I’m hoping to entertain (at least interest) you with some of the things I learned during my class. We learned a lot about what details and designs have marked decorating in certain periods of time and how they show up in North American design today (both traditional and modern).

The oldest knowledge we have of interior decor goes back to Ancient Egypt. Would you believe that the design for the ever popular X shaped stool is over three thousand years old? It started like this:

An actual X stool from Ancient Egypt.

An actual X stool from Ancient Egypt.

In modern decor you’d recognize something more like this:

modernxstool

While in traditional decor today you might expect something more like this:

tradxstoolFly yourself East to China and you’ll find the origin of the the “Greek key” pattern which is not so Greek after all.

chinese greek key

Here is one way the Greek key has been applied in modern decor:

moderngreekkey

In more traditional decor it is very popular as a trim on draperies:

Very popular as a trim on drapery.

We can also attribute one of 2014’s decor trends, fretwork, to Ancient China. I love the application of fretwork in both modern and traditional design:

Used as a room divider in a modern living room:

modernfretwork

And as a lovely design feature on the ceiling of this traditional dining room:

tradfretwork

Who knows what other goodies we have missed out on from long ago China? Apparently with each new dynasty, the artwork and design etc of the previous dynasty was destroyed.

Into more familiar territory, there are oodles of decor goodies which have been passed down to us through the history of Europe which will likely be recognizable to you. Did you know that the parquet which we so shudder at today originated during Tudor times in the 16th century? Their version of parquet was a far cry from what we see today:

A tudor parquet pattern.

A Tudor parquet floor pattern. Breathtaking.

Somewhere in the 20 century things got off track and they began manufacturing the terrible, honey blonde slabs of parquet which most of us associate the word with. Thankfully, after many year of this duddy flooring the design gods have gotten back on track and started coming out with lovely patterns like this:

I don't know about you but I would consider putting something like that in my house. gorgeous.

The pattern almost looks like a Greek key and I love it.

While today we enjoy the luxury of radiant heating and gas fireplaces, during the reign of Queen Anne in the 18th century, people had to come up with innovative ways to keeps themselves warm. One such idea was the wing back chair. The premise was that the wings of the chair would block the draft and keep their heads warmer. Today we continue to enjoy the classic lines of this chair.

Here is a very modern, dare I say almost space age, version of the wing back chair:

modwingbackchair

The wing backs in this traditional living room give you a better idea of the original design:

tradwingback

There isn’t much of a positive spin that can be put on Napoleon’s reign in the early 19th century but if I could shoot at one, it would be that the sleigh bed took off at this time, though its earliest roots are in Rome.

This super modern sleigh bed is pushing the edge of what a sleigh bed is but I love the look: it reminds me less of a  sleigh and more of the toboggan I rode on as a child.

modernsleighbed

You are likely more familiar with the kind of sleigh bed seen in some more traditional bedrooms these days:

tradsleighbed

Around the same time Napoleon was wreaking havoc in France, Germany was perfecting the art of wood veneering. Though this was not the beginning of veneering, the Germans excelled at the craft and created extraordinary pieces of furniture in what is known as”Beidermeir” style.

beidermeirvenner2

A stunning Beidermeir secretaire

Veneers are used in much the same was as seen above in today’s traditional decor but are also used to help create sleek modern designs such as in the kitchen below:

Veneering is an eco-friendly (all-be-it) expensive way of using exotic woods.

Veneering is an eco-friendly albeit expensive way of using exotic woods.

The funny thing is that they used these veneers due to the economic necessity of not using too much wood. Now-a-days, to get a piece of furniture with that quality of veneer it may well be more expensive than a piece of solid wood furniture.

Once we reach the Victorian era, starting in 1837, there is not much new under the sun. This period of history marks the beginning of the first truly eclectic decor style where the good, the bad, and the ugly of all the previous generations were incorporated to create Victorian style. They did however add some distinct pizazz at this time with excessive trim and the first tufted furniture. I’m not a big fan of trim but give me tufting any day.

Here this modern sofa is enhanced with a few selective tufts:

modtuftedsofa

This sofa would fit as well in Victorian times as it would in a traditional living room today:

victoriantufted

From there we hit the 20th century and design history repeats itself. There is nothing new under the sun, simply new applications of old design. But aren’t we lucky that we had such design-savvy ancestors to pave the way?

Special thanks to Bea O’Driscoll for the passing on of this knowledge and to my husband for helping me carve out the time to relax and write this post.

 

 

 

 

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6 Months In: What’s Trending in 2014

I have a theory about decorating trends. Prior to each new year the most popular designers and design bloggers of the world give a forecast of what they think the trends will be in the coming year. My theory is that they simply pick design they like and propagate it through their own popularity until it becomes trendy.

That being said, for one of my final projects in my Modern Decorating Styles class I had to present some of the trends for 2014. The fact that everyone on the web was putting out different ideas of what they thought the trends are made it difficult for me to pinpoint what the actual 2014 trends are.

Thankfully, my hard working instructor spent tens of hours researching 2014 trends in order to present our class with a thorough and well researched presentation of what is actually trending throughout North America and Europe. And so, with all research credit going to Bea O’Driscoll, I’d like to present what’s been trending this year.

1. Painted Vintage Furniture

Famous designer Karim Rashid forecasts that antiques will become irrelevant in the near future but thankfully, they are alive and well in interiors this year.

greenmidcentury

Great idea if you love mid century modern design but hate the orange colouring of the wood. Painted furniture was also trending last year. Move over Karim Rashid.

Stores like Crate and Barrel also sell colourful reproductions of classics like the bentwood chair below.

bentwood chairs

FYI, the chairs in this particular picture are not from Crate and Barrel.

2. Painted Cabinet Interiors:

paintedinsidecabinet

Wallpapering the inside of the cabinet can have an equally stunning effect and unlike wallpapering walls, is an easy DIY.

3. Fretwork:

Most trends are nothing new. The idea of incorporating oriental fretwork into American design has been popular for over a century.

These Jonathan Adler chairs have been a favorite of mine for years. By the time I can afford them they probably won't be "trendy" but I'll still love them!

These Jonathan Adler chairs have been a favorite of mine for years. By the time I can afford them they probably won’t be “trendy” but I’ll still love them!

4. Statement Chandeliers

These are something I have been consistently noting in magazines in the past few months. Some of them are a bit out there but if you are looking for a conversation starter…

I guess not too many conversations get started in the bathroom but you get the idea.

I guess not too many conversations get started in the bathroom but you get the idea.

5. Chevron Flooring

Chevron area rugs have been trendy for years and now this trend has made its way to tile, wood, and wall to wall carpeting as well. I love this look but probably could not commit to it in as bold a way as shown below.

chevronfloor2014

6. Lighter Wood Furniture

Scandinavian design has used lighter woods for a long time and it is no wonder, with North America whole heartedly embracing Scandi-Chic design, that these wood tones are one of 2014’s trends.

Some more statement lighting here.

Some more statement lighting here.

7. New Gold

Golden accessories and accent pieces are classic and with the creation of “new gold”, a softer, brushed gold, even those who are a bit gold shy may be converted.

"New gold" seen on geometric vase and wall art.

“New gold” seen on geometric vase and wall art.

8. Moroccan Influence

Where drum stools were the big thing last year, ottomans with Moroccan inspired lines are what’s trending this year.

This is another trend that I've been noticing in recent design magazines.

This is another trend that I’ve been noticing in recent design magazines.

8. Faux Furs

If you are fond of flipping through design magazines you may have noticed this trend. The use of faux furs isn’t anything new but it is being used in creative ways as pictured below.

Not your traditional use of faux fur. You will notice a similar look on the cover of the latest Style at Home Magazine.

Not your traditional use of faux fur. You will notice a similar look on the cover of the latest Style at Home Magazine.

9. Nail head Trim and Tufting

Tufting first became super popular in the 80’s and unlike many trends from the 80’s, I’m happy to see this one taking off again. Nail head trim, now that’s just a classic.

How beautiful is this couch!

How beautiful is this couch! I love the contrast of the sleek couch with the roughness of the concrete floor and the stack of fire logs.

10. The use of screens:

Whether it is being used for a room divider or simply eye candy, screens make a beautiful statement in any room.

OpenFretworkFoldingScreen

So what are  your thoughts? Love it? Hate it? Either way, expect to see more of it.

 

 

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Shebajoux Custom Headboards

My first custom headboard

My first custom headboard

After having my daughter I went through a creative phase and decided to start my own little headboard making business. I called it Shebajoux (a combination of my two cats’ names, so silly) and set it up on Craigslist and etsy. Between watching Peter Fallico on HGTV and reading some helpful DIY blogs I figured out how to make them credibly. I originally started out just stapling the fabric to the headboard like most people do, then after taking a sewing class through Vancouver continuing education I decided to start sewing the edges to give my product a more finished look. Here are some pictures of my favorites:

This headboard is made from an old coffee table missing its glass. I painted it and inserted padding and fabric. This is its second incarnation. It had a different fabric when it hung in my bedroom. I re-did it for an interior designer who stages condos in Vancouver.

This headboard is made from an old coffee table missing its glass. I painted it and inserted padding and fabric. This is its second incarnation. It had a different fabric when it hung in my bedroom. I re-did it for an interior designer who stages condos in Vancouver.

My first international headboard. The super tufted ones were popular.

My first international headboard. The super tufted ones were popular.

Sofia has liked to be in the middle of things since she started moving

Sofia has liked to be in the middle of things since she started moving

When I became pregnant with my second I put an end to what had become a stressful, and somewhat busy business. I am thankful for the time that I spent creating in this way because it is what propelled me forward in deciding to start working towards my diploma in interior decorating. I am no longer satisfied to stop at the head of the bed, and I now love learning to apply textiles in different ways around the home. Making headboards was a bit of a stressful stint, but I smile to know that my little fling with small business resulted in my creations being displayed in bedrooms across North America.

photo

Headboard made of three separate panels

Headboard made of three separate panels

Due to the way the pattern ran on the fabric I had to sew this in three panels to pattern match. Thank goodness for DIY blogs!

Due to the way the pattern ran on the fabric I had to sew this in three panels to pattern match. Thank goodness for DIY blogs!

My last custom headboard

My last custom headboard

If you are thinking of trying to make one on your own. Here are links to some helpful sites:

http://www.allthingsthrifty.com/2012/11/how-to-make-upholstered-headboards.html

This one shows you how to make a simple headboard with the fabric stapled on. If you go to the foam shop with your dimensions or a tracing of the shape they can cut it out for you with their special saw. If you are buying the foam you might as well get them to do the hard part since it is no extra charge to get them to cut the shape for you.

http://www.bhg.com/rooms/bedroom/headboard/upholstered-headboard-how-to/?ordersrc=rdbhg1101695

If you are sewing savvy this website shows you how to make a more complicated headboard. The piping isn’t necessary if it is too hard for you. I cheat a bit by sewing the side and top pieces to the front piece of fabric then I staple the sides to the back of the headboard. This way you get the nice clean seams at the edges of the headboard but it has a tighter fit than if you sew the back piece on to make a slip cover.

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