By Sharon Allan
It could be that incredible mahogany armoire that is just so big you almost sold it before moving and then you discover how amazing it looks in your new master bedroom—or, it could be wing chairs, tufted in grey velvet, at the ends of a mid-century modern dining table for a little luxe-a-go-go.
At a recent High Point, North Caroline furniture show we saw a dozen various square decanters with their tops cut off, a hole drilled in the bottom, hung upside down, electrified and made into pendants.
This multi faceted lighting was beautiful. At the same show there was a classic fruitwood dining suite and over it a length of barn beam was hung by basic metal chains and then several black wired trouble lights were coiled to hang down at different lengths. The juxtaposition made the beautiful detailed finishing on the dining room pieces that much more precious.
Luxury never leaves—it morphs, or gets repurposed. We are having a great time adding vintage and antique kilim pillows to simple, upholstered seating – little blocks of colour, texture and uniqueness all in one.
My husband prefers to drink wine from antique crystal glasses but he will quaff beer from the bottle. And he will polish silverware—bless his shiny soul. After years of abuse in the dishwasher, he has restored the family silver-plated cutlery to its original lustre and ready for Sunday dinner. And I have taken a large linen table cloth, that I hated ironing, and had it made into two long runners that are used instead of placemats.
I have always admired the utilitarian furniture designs that Napoleon Bonaparte invented so he could take his luxury living on his world conquering campaigns. Pieces were fitted with brass corners and recessed handles so they could be transported. Chests came apart in sections that acted like trunks. Writing desks and night stands were kitted out with organizing interiors. Decades ago Kaufman Furniture manufactured a line of fine wood furniture inspired by and known as their campaign style. Can you see mixing campaign styled wood pieces with mid century modern upholstery?
Under the mantra of ‘form follows function’, I am a huge fan of finding a great rug in order to start a room design. A rug gathers and defines an area—essential in open concept—helps with absorbing sound, can be used to establish a colour palette and feels good under foot. Ralph Lauren has been known to stack two and three hand knotted rugs on top of each other for the ultimate in cushy-ness. And I have been known to place a good rug on broadloom. A fine rug can dress an entry providing the perfect first impression and a quality rug will last a life time.
Trends are examples of morphing styles. Classic designs such as Greek key and herringbone are showing up everywhere from lighting to furniture details to carpeting and fabrics. Beautiful things are taking to the stage in design—detailed construction—more refined and less rustic.
Who among us doesn’t crave a little luxury—some of the finer things in life?