Nov 192013
 

Even though we are having 60 degree temperatures, fireplace weather is just around the corner.  I have an amazing collection of great fireplaces.  Too many for one blog post.  Whatever the season a fireplace is a focal point for the room and all of these images have outstanding fireplaces.  Whatever your decor I am sure you will find plenty of inspiration.

This one is very unusual with the over mantle built out the same depth as the fireplace.  Love the cornice on the top.

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For a less formal fireplace this design has interesting proportions.

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Decorators Supply has a wonderful fireplace piece very similar to this.

#27092 Flemish Plaster Shield 35-1/2″ x 12-5/8″ $223.37

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Simple panel above a gorgeous fireplace.  Effective use of wall color with the furnishings.

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The mirror, fireplace screen and candelabras really make this fireplace stunning.

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The Fireplace and Mirror combination offers endless possibilities.

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Paris Apartment Thomas Pheasant

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Maurice Fatio

If you have a plain fireplace, adding swags is a great addition.

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This is a fireplace and cabinet makeover we did using composition ornament.

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More swags.

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I love the fireplace but the over mantle treatment doesn’t work for me.

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7. champeau and wilde paris

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Lonny Hotel

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Champagne and Wilde, Paris

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Benjamin Dhong

Living Room

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In my next post I will continue great fireplace inspirations Part 2 with stone and antiques that have some great ideas for adding ornament and faux finishes to existing fireplaces.  In the meantime, Thursday, November 21st is the last day to qualify for my book giveaway of Howard Slatkin’s wonderful Fifth Avenue Style.  Here is a link to comment and like it.

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Nov 152013
 

slatkin-5AS-cover It is a pleasure to review and offer a free book to one of my readers of Interior Designer, Howard Slatkin’s New York apartment Fifth Avenue Style.   Not only is it filled with creativity, artistry and craftsmanship, but practical ideas for organizing the working parts of a home.  According to Howard, “This interest in the inner workings of a home is the genesis of the book in your hands, and perhaps an integral part of the success I have been fortunate to have had as an interior designer. A home doesn’t run smoothly and effortlessly unless all these service areas are well planned.”

It is a visually beautiful book.  Tria Giovan’s excellent photography captures the exquisite details, and lighting which is Howard’s obsession. Another purpose of the book is to show the inspiration for the rooms and the choices, decisions and what he would do differently today, hoping that the reader will benefit from his process and be inspired to follow your dream for your home. I so enjoyed that aspect of the book.  His design philosophy “is that rooms should be deeply personal; make yourself comfortable in them, and others will be too.”  Another reason for the book was to create a record of what was done and most importantly what a group of superbly talented artisans achieved.  That there are craftsmen today who are committed to beauty and quality with the skills and talent to create it.  He is a patron for all those in the field of the decorative arts.

I love the organization of the book.  It is like a personal tour beginning with getting off the elevator into the Elevator Vestibule with panels made from an eighteenth-century Chinese black lacquer screen that had serious water damage.  A visit to  Monplaisir, Peter the Great’s summer palace in Peterhof, where an amazing Chinese-style room with gilt-decorated black lacquer panels inset in moldings was his inspiration of his vestibule.  He refers to sources of inspiration as a point of departure (POD) which gets him going on the design for the space.  The floor is incredible.  It was inspired by the floor in Empress Maria Feodorovna’s bedroom at Pavlovsk outside of St. Perersburg.  It was done by Alexander (Sasha) Solodukho.
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Chinese Room in Monplaisir

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Empress Bedroom Pavlovsk Palace

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From the Vestibule you enter the Gallery.  One of my favorite rooms.

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His POD for the design was the early-nineteenth-century French scenic wallpaper panels that he found at a Paris antique dealer.  The book has many beautiful photographs of this space along with background information about all the details that went into creating it.  The apartment had no ornamentation or architectural details.  Everything was designed and created by Howard and his team of artists and craftsmen.  This also included all the fabrics most of which were also embroidered.

The ornament used to create this space is beautiful.  As an inspiration for us,  here is a similar ornament  from Decorators Supply which is on the doors.

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The Living Room, which was quite small in the original apartment, was combined with an adjoining sitting room to create a light filled room overlooking Central Park.  However, it resulted in a long, narrow room which he remedied with  painting  the eighteenth-century oak parquet wood floor he found in Paris a color similar to the boiserie paneling.   The floor was installed upside down because he did not want to destroy the original honey-colored finish and he preferred “the unfinished underside’s rougher, more textural surface”.

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The living room niche was another remedy for the ‘bowling alley’ feeling of the long room.

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The Library has embossed leather panels with  horizontal and vertical strapwork borders which  he commissioned.  The book has great closeups of the walls.  Love the Louis XIV style pilasters inset with patinated mirrors.

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The Dining Room’s POD was Raphael’s Loggia at the Vatican which was copied at the Hermitage and also the interior of his favorite restaurant, Le Grand Vefour in Paris.

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Here is his inspiration,  Le Grand Vefour, which  is said to have the most beautiful, romantic dining room in Paris.

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To enter the drawing for this wonderful book please like this blog post on Facebook and send me a comment  by Thursday, November 21.

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Nov 062013
 

I attended a luncheon and Presentation entitled “Like It, Love It, Cherish It”  which was hosted by the Washington Metropolitan area’s ultimate hardware store, Union Hardware on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, Maryland.  The presentation focused on the Energy that results from your  feelings about your surroundings.  They said people are willing to spend up to three times their budget with an emotional connection.

Exterior Mural  by David Gordon using personal collection of hardware

union-hardware-mural“Like It, Love It, Cherish It” is an interesting approach to understand the motivation to reach for the best.   Union Hardware incorporates this brilliant idea to feature artists, designers,  innovation and the best products in their industry along with a philosophy that encourages the pursuit of your highest desire.     Certainly peaked my curiosity with our related niche of providing solutions to necessary but  nonetheless modern intrusions.   Union Hardware sells decorative plumbing solutions, Beaux-Artes sells and manufactures  decorative solutions for heating and air conditioning ventsdrywall and recessed lighting .  So what is the deciding factor in the choices made for  these areas.  For us it is attention to detail.  I always notice and wonder why a beautifully done interior has an industrial louver instead of a decorative grille.  That white louvered grille is very noticeable.

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So here is their observation.  Like it would be the best choice from a big box store.   Love It would not be available at big box stores but at finer retailers and online.  Union Hardware is filled with lots to love.

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Artwork, I love the water splash of this gown.

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 Then their is a Cherish It choice where every time you see and use it you are affected by the item, and Cherish It, as perfect in every way.  This is an item such as this amazing Baccarat faucet.

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 The Showroom has won their industries, Showroom of the Year Award which I imagine there was little competition with their sophisticated presentation of modern necessities, bathroom fixtures, door hardware and accessories.   Their approach is the result of careful thought about the need for artistry, quality, design and respect for the objects.  The Cherish It factor.  When I first walked in there was a beautiful wall display with Baccarat  and  Lalique.   Baccarat has just come out with a new book;   Baccarat: Two Hundred and Fifty Years. This book on my Christmas Wish List.   This gorgeous faucet would be a Cherish It purchase for sure.

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These knobs are stunning.

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In 1914, Union Hardware was an old fashioned hardware store serving DC residents. Company founders Abraham and Jennie Goldberg chose the name “Union” because of the growing strength of labor unions.

In 1954, their son Charles Goldberg expanded this traditional hammers and nails hardware store to include a small selection of decorative plumbing and hardware products. The demand for these products grew so fast that it wasn’t long before the decorative product took over the adjacent building. In 1970, a bold risk was taken to move from the city to the “outskirts” of Bethesda, MD.

Grandsons David and Barry serve as Vice Presidents of the company to make Union Hardware a third-generation, family-owned and operated business.

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Leather Door Handles – Fabulous

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I love this porcelain wainscoting.  As one designer pointed out it is much more elegant than tile.

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Lovely embossed panel.

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Just love the beautiful stone used in this sink and shower.

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Another beauty.

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Owner, David Goldberg and Jim Bartak offered some insights into interactions in the design process which led to Cherish It choices.  As a designer and artist those experiences of creating designs and objects to Cherish is the best.

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Oct 222013
 

Thirty years ago I had a black living room.   At the time, it was quite a statement, so much so that I had to paint everything before the house would sell.  Everyone loved it but couldn’t picture their furnishings in it.  Here is an wonderful collection of basic black today.

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Black is dramatic and elegant when paired with white.

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black and white

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35. bkh design

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2. milestone hotel london

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34. black and white

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black kitchen 3

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Classic!

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Oct 142013
 

The best-known ‘first World Expo’ was held in 1851 in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, under the title “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations”.  It is sometimes referred to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition in reference to the temporary structure in which it was held.  The expo was organized by Prince Albert, Henry Cole, Francis Henry, George Wallis, Charles Dilke and other members of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce as a celebration of modern industrial technology and design. Its prime motive was for Great Britain to make clear to the world its role as industrial leader.  Although the Great Exhibition was a platform on which countries from around the world could display their achievements, Great Britain sought to prove its own superiority. The British exhibits at the Great Exhibition apparently held the lead in almost every field where strength, durability, utility and quality were concerned, whether in iron and steel, machinery or textiles. Great Britain also sought to provide the world with the hope of a better future with technology, particularly its own, as the key.

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The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and plate-glass building.  More than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in the Palace’s 990,000 square feet of exhibition space to display examples of the latest technology developed in the Industrial Revolution. Designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, the Great Exhibition building was 1,851 feet long, with an interior height of 128 feet.   Because of the recent invention of the cast plateglass method in 1848, which allowed for large sheets of cheap but strong glass, it was at the time the largest amount of glass ever seen in a building and astonished visitors with its clear walls and ceilings that did not require interior lights, thus a “Crystal Palace”.

After the exhibition, the building was rebuilt in an enlarged form on Penge Common next to Sydenham Hill, an affluent South London suburb full of large villas. It stood there from 1854 until its destruction by fire in 1936.

This expo inaugurated World Expos as the hallmark events of a world aspiring to strengthen its connections, celebrate its cultural diversity and marvel at its technological ability that have continued to be held to the present time.  The next World Expo takes place in Milan, Italy, in 2015.  The focus: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”.  The UAE is bidding to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.  The World Expo has never been held in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia in the history of the event.

Every five years and for a period of six months, World Expos attract millions of visitors who explore and discover pavilions, exhibitions and cultural events staged by hundreds of participants including nations, international organizations and businesses.  World Expos remain a key meeting point for the global community to share innovations and make progress on issues of international importance such as the global economy, sustainable development and improved quality of life for the world’s population.

Each World Expo is a catalyst for economic, cultural and social transformation and generates important legacies for the host city and nation.  Here are some highlights.  Shanghai 2010 World Expo helped transform a heavily industrial city-centre area into a thriving cultural and commercial district while also bringing its theme “Better City, Better Life” to the attention of 73 million people.

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The 1958 Expo in Belgium is best known for the construction of the Atomium.
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1962 Seattle

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1901 Buffalo. Niagara Falls powered all those lights.

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1889 Paris.

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Oct 012013
 

Powder Rooms and bathrooms are perfect rooms for wall panels.  Lots of possibilities from plain panels to ornamentation.

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wall panels

Panels offer symmetry and organization for different colors, sheens and textures.  The panels create lots of options for the limited wall area, inside the panel, outside the panel and the panel molding.

Sargent Architectural Photography

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The smaller the room the taller the panels works really well.

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Panels with mirrors.  I prefer aged mirrors in a small space when they are used as a wall treatment and not a mirror.

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Panels are always perfect for framing murals and decorative painting.

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A great addition to standard board and batten style panels is Beaux-Artes Spanish Empire ornament. For tall panels as in the picture below, I would use one on the top and bottom.

spanish empire board and baton ornament

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Sep 272013
 

Today we are experiencing the latest in a series of renaissances that have periodically refreshed the classical tradition throughout the history of Western art.  This revival is fueled by technology.  I have blogged about how Beaux-Artes is utilizing the latest technology to recreate our Arts and Crafts decorative HVAC grilles.  Here is a combination of technology, imagination and innovation representing the beauty and artistry of today.

Dubai Architecture is amazing.

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Recycled bicycle chain chandeliers by Carolina Fontoura Alzaga

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Ceasarstone

CaesarStone’s inspirational new masterpiece collection, the unique Concetto range, is an unmatchable collection of extraordinary surfaces hand-made from individually cut and bound semi-precious stones. A harmonious blend of art, nature and technology Concetto is created by fusing nature’s hues and designs with individually cut semi-precious stones to form the ultimate luxury stone surface – a dream for designers and architects alike.

Some of the semi-precious stones in the Concetto Collection are breathtakingly translucent and can be backlit for added effect. With its vivid colors and awe-inspiring designs, the Concetto range brings out the innate brilliance of the stones while enhancing the luster of their natural hues and shades.

Highly heat, stain and scratch resistant, Concetto

Violet

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Violet backlit

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Enignum_Canopy_Bed_Joseph_Walsh2Waterjet Cut Marble Floor

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Fiber Optic Fabric for Nursery window and glow pigment.  I designed and painted the nursery.

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Mural with Glow pigment by night

arl nursery mural at night after

Ceiling Medallion

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Jacuzzi Chromotherapy

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Pae White

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Sep 242013
 

The most important surface in a room are the walls.   The Architecture of the Classical Interior by Richard Semmes’  states that  the essential task of the wall treatment in any room is to make a strong connection between the floor and the ceiling.  “The wall must artfully carry the lines of the ceiling down to the floor in accordance with the principle of fictive structure.”    The order is the primary organizing device of the wall, so every wall is treated as an order.  The classical order organizes the wall giving  it the proportions and its ornaments. “The use of a complete order (pilasters or columns) is usually reserved for the grandest or most elaborate rooms.  Nothing endows a room with honorific character as powerfully as a fully articulated order–particularly the Corinthian.”  Spencer House, Princess Diana’s home.

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Cream Dressing Room (1)

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“You can also have a perfectly classical room in which there are no columns, pilasters, or any other explicit evocation of an order.  In many rooms, especially in more intimately scaled and domestic interiors, the appearance of a full order would be overbearing.”   A typical tripartite division of wall surfaces into dado, panel, and cornice is seen in nearly all classical wall treatments regardless of material or elaborateness of detail.  Most classical rooms are astylar or without columns or pilasters.  French designers of the mid- to late eighteenth century developed a style of wall treatment in which the paneled room reflects an implied order.  The order is infered from the proportions and ornamentation of the boiseries which divide the walls into bays by phantom pilasters.  

 

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Sep 172013
 

panthenon interior
Steven Semes masterpiece, The Architecture of the Classical Interior is a comprehensive, thematic study of the architectural conception and treatment of classically designed rooms.  In his preface he states so eloquently, “..this book is intended neither as an historical survey nor as an academic theoretical treatment but, rather, as an exploration of perennial themes that have shaped the classical interior throughout history, regardless of style or period. ”

That is our interest as well.  The classical tradition has a rich heritage of architectural beauty and as Mr. Semmes points out,  it was all there was until contemporary arrived.  “The classical tradition is the mainstream of Western art.  From its origins in ancient Greece to the decline of Rome, and again from the middle of the fifteenth century until the second quarter of the twentieth, it would have been unnecessary to define or explain it.  Rich and varied in its ideas and its products, the classical point of view was the way most European artists and architects during this period-and their artistic progeny around the globe-thought about the world and their work.”

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The Parthenon

parthenon replica- Nashville

Parthenon Replica, Nashville

 

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Pompeii

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Pantheon

Roman House

Roman House

Verseille

Verseilles

 

Library-of-Congress

Library of Congress

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John Adams Syon House

The three countries that have done the most to define the classical interior as a work of art are Italy, France and England. The United States has done more than any other to sustain the tradition into the present. Semmes offers a “how to do it” rather than “what it means”.  His hope is to inspire interest in classical architecture to readers in general and deepen an appreciation for the artistry of the interior in those already devoted to the classical muse.  Classical Addiction shares the same interest.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Period Room

Metropolitan Museum of Art Period Room

He goes on to note, “But the most important contribution to the present-day renaissance of classical art is unquestionably made by the patron, without whom the aesthetic sensitivities of artists come to nothing, the skills of craftsmen go unused, and schools no longer teach the traditional wisdom.  Hence, this book is addressed to the patron as well as the student and practitioner.”

This blog is an opportunity to look at  the amazing work that is being done today in the decorative arts.  I love to feature artists and designers.  So what a  pleasure to show this amazing work by Alan Carroll of Decorative Imaging, for the Kips Bay Show House.  Decorative Imaging designed and produced the surface treatments for this room using a combination of digital and traditional decorative arts techniques. The floor and doors are inlay designs using their revolutionary new digital marquetry process. They have been imaged to wood veneer and applied to the respective surfaces.

John Adam design

Foyer after Robert Adam
Decorative Imaging
34th Annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House

The Neoclassical, architectural moldings surrounding all of the doors were designed and produced as custom digital wall coverings on mural canvas. The 3D effect has been digitally composed into the print to create the illusion of depth. Digital Imaging controls the angle of the light and shadow effects to match the direction of light coming into the room.  The  2006 Kips Bay Show marked the debut of this process.

Adams Style Ceiling Kips Bay Show House Decorative Imaging

Adams Style Ceiling
Kips Bay Show House
Decorative Imaging

This “Adam Style,” design was created and digitally imaged to mural canvas as a custom trompe l’oeil ceiling. Simulating the appearance of carved, plaster relief, this design mirrors the basic layout of the floor, an Adam trademark.

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Digital images on wood veneer applied to a pair of large metal fire doors.  These door treatments were designed for their stately impact.

These rooms are definitely today’s wall art masterpieces.  Some more examples of Decorative Imaging’s products for walls.

Grottesqua

Custom Digital Wallcovering – Digitally painted, foliated, scrolling grottesque wall panels in polychrome.

grottesque

Neoclassical Architectural Wallcovering - Neoclassical, trompe l’oeil architectural wall frieze. Digital image on Type ll Class A wallcovering.

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Ornament for wall and for frieze bands. Digital image on Type ll Class A wallcovering.

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Neoclassical Faux Plaster Relief - Digitally imaged, faux plasterwork.

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Patterned Veneer - Horizontal striped pattern in Amboyna Burl, Ivory and Padauk. Digitally imaged, patterned veneer wallcovering.

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Digitally imaged, faux marbre wall panel.

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Out of time for today.  More to follow.

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Sep 122013
 

I love this new category.  It will be fun to explore and pick the classics to share with you  in the Arts, Design, Architecture, and Beauty.  These classic furniture pieces work in any decor.  They add style, sophistication and classical beauty.

19th Century French Settee, Loveseat, Sofa

sofa

 

365

 

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charles-spada

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The iconic Bergere

“Other than baguettes, berets, and Brigitte Bardot, few things are more classically French than bergères. Popularized in Louis XV–era salons, these cushy armchairs survived the revolution, adapting easily to the changing fashions of the Directoire and Empire periods. Today they remain as in vogue as ever. And for good reason—with their plush upholstery and regal frames, bergères blend comfort and style seamlessly.”  Elle Decor

What sets them apart from other stately seats are their characteristic closed arms, loose seat cushions, and exposed-wood frames.

“Bergères were really designed for palaces,” notes interior architect Beata Galdi. Still, she finds their elegant form fits into even the most contemporary rooms, whether grouped in a formal seating area or standing alone in a bedroom. “Excellent design is timeless,” Galdi says.

Louis XVI

jasper-furniture

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Club Chair

Sargent Architectural Photography

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This is a recliner from LazyBoy

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Timeless English Leather Chesterfield
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manroom6

chesterfield

A favorite classic of mine.   Had my first kiss with my life partner and business partner next to a Morgan+4 he was rebuilding, which he still has.

Morgan Roadster

3

Morgan+8

Morgan +8

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