09 September 2011

going with the grain

I always prefer hardwood floors, always let the woods show a good bit around the room if you have rugs or must have them.

whether - rough hewn- warped- sleek- polished- painted or stained the rich textured grain goes best.

Rose Cumming was a great advocate of bare hardwood floors-and was known to polish them herself. Mark Hampton writes in his Legendary Decorators of the Twentieth Century- 'The floors were bare and rather highly polished, surprisingly enough. She adored the effect of French chairs standing around at odd angles on bare floors."

This creation from CELINE is hard to resist-

I do like rugs too- but polished bare rich woods are for me, not to mention a hand polished Ruhlmann inspired table.

This one -from QUATRAIN,

"To create something that lasts, the first thing is to want to create something that lasts forever"

Ruhlmann Pavilion at 1925 Paris Exposition 
Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes

add to that touches of natural luggage color leather-again from CELINE.

& another Ruhlmann inspiration-this time a QUATRAIN chair.

So what about my design alter ego?

QUATRAIN describes this chair as  Danish Neoclassical.
- so like Hamlet- Shakespeare's Dane.

But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill.
Shakespeare's HAMLET

Bernhardt depicted by Alphonso Mucha as Hamlet.

the chair, the play, the room.
& The room?
It's one of those rooms. There are always those rooms-something unforgettable. I can't put my finger on it. The warmth of the fire on a sunny day? The warmth of leather ? The warmth of the frayed grey curtains?

Interior Design by Michael Lee, image from AD here

Is it the practical side of Luxury? The fact that leather endures-whether the sole of a shoe trodding the sidewalk? the boards? stalking the moors?
Now we're getting somewhere.
Whether it's the brooding Dane or the brooding Rom-
It's Classic-like the novel, the play right?
The play's the thing.

Mucha sketches of costumes for Hamlet

Regardless of what you favor-
Bronte? Shakespeare?
Art Deco? Neoclassic?
when Rich in detail-it is Enduring- Addicting.
even Practical,
but don't tell anyone that.

clutch bag by CELINE

1st image by Fritz Eichenberg, Heathcliff Under the Tree, from Wuthering Heights, 1943, wood engraving
Ruhlmann here


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    But I am dying for Celine....oh would, I wear wood, if I could.
    Again, I will sleep better after finding your post.

  2. clutch bag kills. too marvelous for words.

    but then, all your posts are ;)


    p.s. the house: beyond gorgeous- the railing divine- bravo, brillig!!

  3. A highly polished Ruhlman desk....love.

  4. You would make me pine for something with a little fir, balsam or knotty look to it. I love that nutty caramel leather too. Even though, now everything I love seems to have some sort of heavenly white oyster-esque color to it.

  5. That Ruhlmann interior is extraordinary, so rich in textures and shapes and colours and yet so restrained.

  6. Polished wooden floors? My floors are wood and they shine but not with wax - far too dangerous, in my experience. I once went headlong down a spiral staircase after the new maid had, unrealized by me, waxed and polished the treads. I had gone up wearing shoes but went down in woolen socks. That's how you learn not to wax a floor or, if you do, wear shoes all the time and anchor the rugs.

    Love the woodcut of Heathcliff. I never could bear the story, but the image does remind me of the wind on the moors around Haworth and for that matter where I was born on the other edge of the same moor.

  7. Hi Gaye,
    I loved the post, not the least for the Quatrain pieces (thank you) but also for your original connections between furniture and fashion, and literary associations for depth, romance, and making it all come alive. I love the very contemporary, very 21st century attitude of the clothes, and yet referencing something from the past, a mood, visceral like Heathcliff, or yearning in the kind of poignant idealism of Hamlet.
    A delicious, rich, and thought provoking post.
    Thank you.

  8. Always creative and inspiring, Patricia! (and I have finally figured out how to win over Google not allowing me to comment on your blog...if anyone has the same problem try to sign out of your account and sign in again)

  9. Though I have beautiful hardwood in my living room, I have re-thought hardwood in my bedroom. I laid down a simple oatmeal/white carpet with a very thick (memory foam) padding in our two small bedrooms. I have a rugs on top of them. I've loved it ever since and would never go back. The rooms are cozier and even, yes, prettier. I often wonder, "what was I thinking?" to endure the hardwood for so long. I have a huge Persian in my living room, so the hardwood is just reduced to the corners. I also found my grandchildren were much more inclined to sit down and play with grandma (as in sorting out my "jewels") for that, the comfort of carpet is priceless.

  10. So smart. I loved this and must have the Celine clutch. Great examples from Quatrain + fashion pairings. Superb!! ; )

  11. I love the garland supports for the arms of the Danish neoclassical chair! __ The Devoted Classicist

  12. What a playful post--I loved the twists and turns leading to the end. I also love wood, although here in sunny Taiwan I am devoted to my marble floors.

    pve design's comment reminded me of the old "wooden" phrase: "I pine fir yew and balsam."

    --Road to Parnassus



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