Monday, April 25, 2011

Bed Time, Part II: Headboards that Soar

If you're after bedroom, no, no.  Please, we're discussing headboards.  A headboard that rises up to the ceiling offers cool drama and sophistication.  Witness these lofty examples:

House Beautiful published this breakthrough apartment by architects Shelton Mindel ages ago (it seems) and for me it was a watershed in my thinking about good design.  And part of it was this tall headboard.  It still looks great, and I still love it. (photographed by Langdon Clay)

At well over $200/yard I'm not sure I'd choose horsehair, that the designers of FT2 used here, but this headboard will virtually last forever.  Plus, it looks smart, in part due to the channeled design.  The vertical lines also accentuate the height...but you already knew that, didn't you. (photographed by Simon Upton for British House & Garden)

Now the channels run horizontally, and it also looks great.  Designer Tom Scheerer used raffia to set just the right mood for a house in the Bahamas.  (photographed by Eric Bowan for House & Garden)

Designer Bill Ingram creates a minimalist guest room with headboards that reach to the ceiling.  Even with a close-up it's hard to tell what these headboards are made of.  Is it painted canvas?  Perhaps faux cowhide attached to boards?  It's framed with a sliver leaf frame that appears to be the kind you'd find in a frame shop.  Whatever, it looks cool and elegant. (source unknown)

Designer John Oetgen seems to be channeling (word play!) mid-century icon James Mont in this over-scaled headboard with great details. (source unknown)

Next time we'll look at headboards that extend across rather than up.  

Thanks fore reading, everyone!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bed Time, Part I: Upholstered Headboards

You know all the cliches about how you spend a third of your life in one.  In our generally sleep-deprived world, I wonder if we need to revise those statistics.  All that aside, the bed --specifically, your bed-- is an important part of your existence.  You can research mattresses until Kingdom come, but the mood is created by how it's surrounded.  So today, we're going to begin our look into a very intimate part of one's inner reality.

This simple upholstered headboard by designer Thomas Pheasant gets its style from the center panel, which is continued through to the bolster.  I love design tricks like this...great way to get a good bang for your buck: use a simple fabric for the body and a more expensive one for the panel.  In this case, it appears to be attached, but you could just as easily make it removable, so it's practical as well.  When it gets dirty, just take it off and take it to the cleaners. (photographed by Durston Saylor for Architectural Digest)

Here's another great looking headboard that also can be very practical.  The back appears to be metal, but on a budget, you could use a solid door (typically 80" long --perfect for a king-sized mattress, or it could be cut down) and either paint or stain it, or clad it in a fabric.  Then attach this cushion with velcro and voilà:  Instant bedroom!  Of course, the gorgeous fabric from Nancy Corzine helps, as does the innovative design of Dineen Nealy Architects. (House & Garden; photographer unknown)

This is another simple design with great style.  (source unknown)

Tufting is always a nice detail for a headboard, and in keeping with the overall tailored look, designer John Oetgen wraps the coverlet around the bed.  (Southern Accents; photographer unknown)

This has tufting combined with a pretty curve, and if you look closely, you'll see that instead of buttons, designer Suzanne Rheinstein has used rosettes. (source unknown)

The Greek key ribbon inset is a nice idea in this very masculine bedroom. (source unknown)

This is one of my new favorites, which appeared in the latest edition of Coastal Living magazine.  Here, designer Tim Clarke inserts antique mirrors to create an interesting, glamorous border around this headboard. (photographed by Lisa Romerein)

Speaking of glam, this curvy headboard has it in spades!  Barry Dixon designed this one with the room's ocean view in mind as it "visually echoes the shape of a wave."  Sheer poetry in design!  (Southern Accents; photographer unknown)

Think Vincente Wolf was channeling a wing chair when he designed this iconic headboard?  It certainly does create a stylish cocoon.  Also, notice the ribbon detail on the hem of the bedskirt.  The next photo shows the leg of the headboard; more great attention to detail.  (Metropolitan Home; photographer unknown)
Aren't these cute little legs?

This elegant headboard also features tufting as well as a touch of wood, another nice detail for an upholstered headboard. (Interior Design; photographer unknown)

In this swank Manhattan apartment by Thad Hayes, filled with important 20th century art, a 1938 bed by Jules-Émile Leleu is upholsered in a luscious melon color, which highlights the mellowed blond wood. (Elle Decor; photography by Thibaut Jeanson)

The rich wood trim really sets off these curves.  (Traditional Home; designer and photographer unknown)

The scale adds great appeal to this bed by Donghia.

I love the shape of the headboard and the legs...not so sure about the heraldic symbols that appear to rise from the back (perhaps a veiled reference to the medieval theme of a "sword in the bed?")
(Metropolitan Home; designer and photographer unknown)

There are a lot more beds to look at, so stay tuned...and thanks for reading, everyone!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Curtain Call! Encore

I know, I was winding this down.  But then I unearthed some tear sheets that had not yet made their way into my archival files, and I wanted to publish them.  So here are a few window treatments that deserve a look.

In this Manhattan bedroom, Jeffrey Bilhuber creates a serene space for repose. Focus, however, on the curved rod that supports the draperies.  It's a wonderfully subtle touch, but it's an important detail that contributes to the room's special feeling. (Architectural Digest; photographer unknown)

As long as we're on the subject of curves, don't you love this drapery rod that follows the curve over the doorway?  The designer (unfortunately unknown) could have just as easily used a straight rod, but this extra effort makes the room.  (House Beautiful; photographer unknown)

I've always loved the look of a deep contrasting border for drapery panels.  And I love the button detail on this one by Barbara Westbrook. (photography by Bruce Buck for Traditional Home)

In a Rosemary Beach, Florida show house, interior designer Philip Sides runs a rail around the entire room to hang his charming grommet-topped sheers. (photographed by Tria Giovan for Southern Accents)

Interior Designer Clare Fraser used a winsome tasseled fringe as the border for her Roman Shade. (photography by Tim Lee)

The answer to the questions posed at the end of my previous post are:  

  1. Carol Burnett who spoofed that famous scene from GWTW, striding forth as "Miss Starlett" 
  2. Her "gown" was designed by the master of show biz costumes, Bob Mackie.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Curtain Call! Coda

This is not really the final curtain...I'll post more great looking window dressings as I come across them.  But I'm going to wind down the series, and since the theme has been theatrical, what better way to end it than with two marvelously over the top treatments.

British designer Nicholas Haslam does this great room proud.  As he noted in this feature for Architectural Digest,  "'The ceiling's plasterwork and the Chinese broken valances in the drawing room are simplifications of details at Claydon House in Buckinghamshire.'"  (photographer unknown)

The subject was also chinoiserie at a former Kips Bay Show House, where Anderson Papachristidis Raeymaekers's salon featured opulent cornices inspired by pagodas.  (House & Garden; photographer unknown)

Are any of you wondering what happened to Miss Ellen's portieres?  You remember...the ones Scarlett was in the midst of yanking down for Mammy to fashion into a fancy dress (see my post of March 20, "Curtain Call!  Part I).  As usual, Miss Scarlett got her way (although she didn't get the $300 from Rhett to pay the taxes on Tara) and here's the final result:

What a way to use a tieback!

Then my clever, charming and handsome childhood friend sent me this blurred image from an old TV show, which I think just brings down the house!

Any idea who this is...and any idea who designed the costume?

Find out next time...and thanks for reading, everyone!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Curtain Call! Part VI -- "Charmed, I'm sure."

My personal style tends more towards a mix of French thirties and forties with a splash of American modern.  Streamlined with a healthy measure of luxe and just enough curves to keep it from being static.  But over the years I've saved tear sheets of lots of window treatments that can only be described as "charming."

There's just so much appeal here.  It goes back to that primal desire for home, hearth and a white picket fence.  Not to say that these selections are unsophisticated.  Au contraire.   But I'll let you be the judge.

Lambrequins and lace curtains...sophisticated?  Not usually what leaps to mind.  However, in the expert hands of Kitty Hawks (a very sophisticated interior designer) for actress Candice Bergen (long time goddess of cool sophistication) this combination is utterly cosmopolitan.  This lady's dressing room was part of a 2000 Traditional Home show house, and Bergen was one of the honorees. (photographer unknown)

Here's a close-up of the curvy lambrequin.  The tassels and trim are the perfect detail to finish it off.    The lace is almost like a shade or scrim, which keeps it feeling more modern.

In Charlotte Moss's office, stitched down pleats with a gentle curve and a fringed hem conspire to make wonderfully charming valances.  While the floral print does add to the charm, a solid fabric would tone down the traditional vibe.  (House & Garden; photographer unknown)

In a 1990 Kips Bay Decorator Show House, designer Bunny Williams used two tiers of a custom appliquéd fabric to create winsome curtains for this sitting room.

Bunny Williams again; this time at home with a draped valance that adds warmth to her library.  (both this photo and above photographed by William Waldron for House & Garden)

Once again, great interior design happens when  you look at a  things with a fresh eye.  In a Kips Bay Show House room from 1996, Mariette Himes Gomez does just that.  The valance with the ruffled edge looks new in its spareness, but what I really love is that flounced table skirt!  (source unknown)

Mario Buatta may be known as the Prince of Chintz, but here he's the Chairman of Charm  (sorry, I just couldn't help myself.)  A nursery or child's bedroom is the perfect location to have some fun with ruffles and such.  I love this cheery little valance, and the window-length curtains are the perfect accompaniment. (House & Garden; photographer unknown)

Another prime location for delightful window dressing is the bedroom.  It's also practical because that's the one room where shades or blinds are often necessary, and what better way to hide their unsightly headers than a valance.  This is a particularly pretty shaped one; it's simplicity also gives it a lot of style versatility.  (source unknown)

Another natural for charming valances is in a country house.   These  pom-pom fringed valances and curtains feel right at home.  (source unknown)

While we're on the subject of country houses, I love the look of these short curtains designer Marc Charbonnet used in Michael J. Fox's country digs.  They set just the right mood in this breakfast room. (Architectural Digest; photographer unknown)

The great designers know that less is more.  Atlanta designer Dan Carithers used a charming blue print for both upholstery and windows in a Kiawah Lake house.  The windows on one side of the family room are softened with puckered and fringed valances and draperies (only one window is in view.)  But in the alcove, he left the widows bare.  Smart move.  It keeps the room from being too precious.  (Veranda; photographer unknown)

This valance has a graceful shape and is lovely for a bedroom.  But to bring it into the 21st Century, I'd use lighter fabrics --perhaps layering two very modern sheers.  It's this kind of unexpected dichotomy that keeps a room interesting.  (source unknown)

I originally saved this tear sheet for the great sink, hoping to find one some day.  But the shade in this butler's pantry is sweet.  (source unknown)

In this old Zoffany ad, the ruffled trim on the hem just exudes charm.

So next time you're planning a feminine bedroom or sitting room, a child's room, a nursery or a place in the country, keep these looks in mind.  A little charm offensive can add an unexpected's fun and not so serious.

Next time will be the final installation of the Curtain Call series.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Curtain Call! Part V -- The Return of the Valance

Not that it really went away, but in this Mid Century Moment we're having, valances are not de rigueur as they were in the excessive 80s.  However, they do serve a practical purpose:  they hide unsightly mechanisms and cover uninteresting windows.  They can also add a certain finish to a room, and of course there are cases when draperies just don't work.  I think it's time to reconsider the valance (I'm using that word generically) and here are some photos that show how it can coexist in less traditional settings.

If you remember the Curtain Call "Ballgown" post, I cropped this photo to show just the drapery part of this elegant treatment by BLS Design.  Well, here it is in its full glory.  It's one of my all time favorites.  But it works best under certain conditions.  Since it's designed to resemble a shirred bodice, "inspired by a Balenciaga dress," by definition it needs a narrow expanse of window.   High ceilings also help, although it can be modified to work with lower ceilings than these.  Silk, used here, is ideal, but not necessary.  

I have to admit that I shamelessly copied this treatment (indeed, the sincerest form of flattery) under less ideal circumstances, as you'll see in the next shot, and it still looks beautiful.

With apologies to Messrs. Bentley, LaRosa and Salasky, here is my version of their shirred valance.   In this situation, the ceilings were 9 feet high (theirs' were probably 12+) and the fabric was a semi-sheer wool crepe.  However, the window was tall and narrow.   That ( plus having it made by a pro) makes it all work.  Photograph by Andrea Brizzi.

Here's another soft yellow bedroom with great modern furnishings and a good looking valance (or more specifically, a cornice).  If you enlarge the photo, you'll see that the trim appears to be tiny silver nailheads.  Great touch.  (House & Garden; photographer and designer unknown)

These two photos above are in a London townhouse designed by Kelly Hoppen.  They illustrate her  deft and whimsical touch with two-toned treatments.  (photography by Henry Wilson for Metropolitan Home)

In this promotional photo for Corragio textiles, they feature a most elegant valance (see next photo).  While appropriate for this rather grand room, it could just as easily be at home in a more modern setting.

Here's the close-up of the valance.  It is exquisite in its drape and detail.

Stripes and the border trim give this pleated valance a casual appeal.  (source unknown)

In a Montauk house, designer Phillip Gorrivan gets great mileage out of this pleated valance by using three very different fabrics.  (Traditional Home; photographer unknown)

Whoever did this room cornered the market on this striped fabric (yes, it's on the ceiling, too!)  But it looks great, and I especially love the simple valance --notice how the fabric is worked on the border.
(Traditional Home; photographer unknown)

When you have a situation like this, a window framed by built-ins, an inset cornice is a great idea.  I love the shape of this one.

This London townhouse has the most beautiful dining room, and the soft window dressing adds to its charm. Under different circumstances, it could be heavy and stuffy, but with Jeffrey Bilhuber's masterful touch it feels fresh and new.  (Elle Decor; photographer unknown)

At his home on Maryland's Eastern Shore, designer Joseph Paul Davis used a tailored cornice to soften  a corner window.  (source unknown) 

Bay windows can be difficult, but this one is handled with a wonderfully light touch.  Notice how the curtain is draped over the valance.  (source unknown)

I'm sorry for the quality of this image.  Like many of the photos ripped out of magazines over the years to add to my idea files, this one got a bit damaged in the process.  But designer Jackye Lanham created beautiful cornices for this Atlanta house, photographed by Michel Arnaud.  I would describe the furnishings more as "classical" than "modern" but these tufted cornices that frame the windows transcend those labels.  See photo below for a close-up.

To obtain the best effect, these cornices should be made by an upholsterer.

This dining room in an old Henredon ad may well be a stage set, but there's a great idea here, especially for windows that are plain or views that are worse than plain.  It appears to be a scrim over the entire window, and it has a clean, modern look.

I've always loved these Roman shades (photos above and below) that T. Keller Donovan designed for a Manhattan apartment.  The navy edging gives it a crisp, tailored look (photography by Tria Giovan for House Beautiful)

Here's the bedroom's version of Donovan's shades.  While these appear to be operative, you could also use a faux Roman shade, and get the same effect for less expense.

What a jaunty variation on the tried and true roll-up shade.  Easy and adaptable, it would be great in any casual setting.  (source unknown) 

I hope these images give you some food for thought.  My next post will continue our consideration of the valance and other examples of window treatments that just exude charm.

As usual, I want to thank everyone for reading, but especially a new "Follower."  Greet Lefèvre is an interior designer from Belgium who writes a wonderful blog called "Belgian Pearls."  I highly recommend checking out Greet's posts, which have a wonderful aesthetic and point of view.  You'll enjoy them.