Archive for the ‘Classic Design’ Category

12 Aug

Louis, Louis

Beautiful, detailed Louis XVI chairs with gold gilt and ravishing couture velvet in spicy saffron.

Louis XI chairs in room

This style is more rectilinear and less fussy than the Rococo style and became popular during the golden age of cabinetmaking.  France was home to extraordinarily talented craftsmen who were highly regarded throughout Europe and beyond.

Louis the Sixteenth chairs

This pair have reeded legs, ribbon and rosette crest and acanthus carvings.

Louis XI chair detail


Louis XI back of chairs

C’est chic!

17 Jun

All About Toile

Everything old is new again as the saying goes.  So true with design trends.   Floral is out; floral is in.  Brown is the new black; gray is the new black.  Change all your brass finishes to satin nickel; now change them all back again.  Some classics survive the test of time, and toile is certainly one of them.

Toile fabric

We have a large variety of toile fabric patterns and colors to choose from.

Toile was introduced in the mid 18th century by an Irishman.  He used an engraved copper plate to transfer drawings onto white cotton and linen cloth and repeated that pattern both horizontally and vertically throughout the fabric. At the time, only one color could be transferred, producing the monochromatic designs we associate with classic toile.  In the late 18th century, craftsmen began using inked wood blocks to add other colors.

Toile became  popular throughout Europe, especially in England and France.  When we think of French country, a toile design certainly comes to mind.

toile lampshade

Lampshades in toile are a bright way to display these classic designs.

The types of toile designs are endless.  There is the classic, countryside scenes which depict various bucolic settings.  Also, historical, mythological, and exotic images were designed.  Almost any theme or story was reproduced.  One of my favorites is botanical toile, which is just floral without any people or animals.

There are usually two distinct ways to decorate with toile:  either go all out and put it everywhere — think the great Charles Fadre — or weave it here and there for a charming touch.  Most of us choose the latter.

Put it on the back of a chair, sneak it in with pillows, wallpaper the powder room, use it on a valance or bench.  And please don’t think you need to embrace French country or Colonial Williamsburg to pull it off.  Look how it works with modern fabrics!

Toile pillows and curtains

Modern or traditional - you decide.

I read somewhere once that toile fabrics celebrate life.  How true.  From the everyday farm or hunt scenes to those depicting great battles, toile chronicles the past and makes us smile.  I hope you think so, too.