Sunday, June 24, 2012

Anatomy of a Room

Ladies Parlor at, My Old Historic House.

This was the centerfold of the June 2011 issue of Victorian Homes Magazine.

     I am not sure that getting the anatomy of room is something that can be taught. In my experience, it is a God Given talent and something that can come along after many years of trying. One of my favorite teacher ,in college, taught me a little thing to do when decorating and it can really help. When you think you have a room done to perfection, look at it through almost closed eyes. If you see the room as a whole at first, and not one thing jumps out at you, it is right. After the first look when the whole picture is a unit, then one should see  single items. All colors should blend and no object should out shine another. This is true to every element, wall color or covering, floors, art, drapes and so on. This is especially true with the decorative accessories. No matter how fine and important they are, they should never jump out at the first glance of a room. It's the entire picture we are looking for.

A mixture of elements make up a great room. This is a French 19th century bronze candle stick

Hand painted decorations on a ruby glass luster

A 19th century formal portrait of a man, notice the reds in his face, pick up on the other reds in this room

    The anatomy of a room contains many layers. Just as important as the other, each one makes for the final picture. Never consider a product, such as a carpet, for it's price tag, but for what it can add to your rooms final look. Never consider a carpet because you already own it, if it is not right, it would be better to leave it out, so the final picture is perfection. If a carpet is needed to create quiet, warmth or some other reason, it should as well work in the final picture of the completed room. The same goes with wall covering. Paint color can be one of the hardest things to pick. To me it never looks the same on the wall as it does on that small sample. If you are in doubt, it probably is wrong. Buy a pint and try it out, before painting the entire room.I often pick colors for fabric or something I plan on using in the room. Most paint stores today have computers that can match the color to your item with pretty good results. Wall paper is far easier for me to pick than paint. It is a challenge as it is an all over pattern, floor to ceiling and can influence what other patterns you might be able to use in a room. I love wall paper and can not imagine a world with out it. I once wallpapered a ice box, that was in the 60's. need I say more.It is not for everyone, and it has a tough time in today's world. I am not afraid to mix patterns, to me it is second nature, but I have to admit, it is not easy for every one.

The yellow paint color for this room came from the wall paper boarder. 

Cranberry glass is a common accessory in this room

   The making of a great room does not have to mean spending huge amounts of money. I have to say, it usually helps if there is a big budget. Most people think they need expensive crown moldings and trim to make a great room. It doesn't hurt, but is not an absolute rule. The same effect can be made with paint, wallpaper or other fun products. The result is usually more eye catching and every one remembers it far longer than the do crown molding, which, to me, is as common as dirt. Sorry, if I said the wrong thing, that is just my thoughts.I like mixing low budget items with expensive one. The expensive ones make the cheaper things look better. No one can see a price tag when the walk into your room. To me a great room is one that looks like you have been collecting things and living in it for years. A few family treasures are always some of the first items to be noticed. I have a few T J Max and Home Good items in my house and no one, not one person, has ever said that looks like  Home Goods. Now if the whole room is from that store, they probably will say that ,as it is an advertisement for that store. Too much of any thing can be bad. One has to learn when to stop.

Cranberry glass continues in the chandelier

    A beautiful room will be layers and layers of things. Starting with the bones of  the room. The walls, floors and windows. Then comes furniture. There is nothing worse than furniture that is too big or too little for a room. Scale is a major thing. You will learn scale with experience. To me it comes natural. I also have a good rule I follow. If it is a small room, instead of a lot of small stuff, I like to use a few large pieces. This is tricky, but can be done and makes the room seem bigger and more important. I never thought that I would ever say this, but too much  stuff, can mess up a room faster than bad art. You have to learn to trust yourself to say, 'that's enough." And speaking of bad art, if that's all you have, don't use any. Bare walls are better than walls full of bad. And family pictures have there place, if you want them in a formal space, go ahead, but make them an accessory, not a focal point. No one loves your family like you do.
   Today decorating has taken a change in pace. Most rooms in most homes are void of color and lack excitement. Accessories are cheap resin and an after thought. Beautiful carved wood has gone away and big over stuffed pieces has taken it's place. I do admit they are comfortable, but have we no sense of beauty and wonderment left in  our lives??? I do not look at many magazines these days, all the rooms look alike.  Even the homes of the rich, have no desire or excitement. They are all off the rack and boring. Gone are all the great decorators that I used to dream about. Mark Hampton, Sister Parrish and many others. Oriental rugs have been turned away for uncomfortable sea grass and jute. Have you ever walked bare foot on that stuff?

A fancy wall treatment of today's choice is ragging. People are in love with decay. What's up with that. I worked all my life for prosperity, I want my home too reflect that I have it.
    There is no real ending to this post. I could write a book. I am sure I have stepped on some toes. I am sorry in advance. I am only saying what I feel. My  mind means very little to others. If you like my thoughts and they help in any way, I am glad. Please come by some time for a real tour of, My Old Historic House. I will leave the rights on and Sissy Dog is always at the door with a jump and a kiss.I have been away from blogging for awhile. I was busy opening my new antique mall. it has been doing pretty good. I also neglected, my home. Yard work is endless and so is dusting, especially dog hair. Oh well, that's what's next. I might have more time to blog in the winter.I just want to say thank you to all my sweet followers who have emailed and asked about me and Sissy. Some of you also said they missed the blog, so that's what has made me come to the computer today. Thanks and I love you all.

The accessories are all very romantic, suitable for a ladies parlor

Lots of gold leaf carvings add to the regal look

Even Sissy, the queen Beagle, fits right in.

Another snap shot from the June 2011 issue of Victorian Homes magazine.