It is often said that there is nothing truly original anymore, and whilst this may be true we can often find great pleasure in modern updates or new takes on an original. Here I take a look at a few of my favourite design and decorating trends that hark back to historic influences.
The Chaise Longue
Chaise longue’s have been around since the Georgian era and have been loved ever since. As time and trends have moved on the style of the couches has evolved but the principle has remained the same, a long reclining chair. You will see the chairs everywhere now in many different interpretations, and are a great luxury for modern homes. They really stand out as a fashionable piece and can add instant glamour to a bedroom or lounge area. the piece pictured is by the highly sought after brand Christopher Guy.
The Wing Chair
Introduced in the 1700s the wing chairs design was created to reduce the drafts felt by its occupant or to protect a ladies delicate skin from the effects of the heat from a roaring fire. No longer required in practical terms its interesting and dramatic shape is favoured by interior and furniture designers the world over withs ome amazing contemporary forms evolving from it. The above example is gain from my favourite Christopher Guy. You can see mor examples of his work on my Pinterest boards at http://pinterest.com/lathaminteriors/latham-lewis-style-board/
Velvet is a luxurious fabric that has been used for centuries, and more recently it has been brought back in to fashion and updated with differing vibrant colours. There are several different types of the fabric and they vary in textures and patterns. Velvet is created by two types of woven tufted fabric in which the cut threads are evenly distributed with a short dense pile. The fabric goes back to the fourteenth century and was originated in Kashmir. Velvet can often be seen as a little 70s but can really be an edgy an interesting way to add a cosy twist to your home. Look for high quality pieces in a colour that can stand the test of time.
A great deal of wallpaper design tends to follow the current trends in textiles. The Regency period was no exception to this custom. Trompe L’oeil patterns (as above) were very popular and beautifully executed. Columns, freezes and pillars were often used in an attempt to fool the eye. Flowers, figures fruit and urns were typical images you would find used.
Modern interpretations have seen the flock patterns from the Regency Era make a come back over recent years. Often found in two bold colours, the intricate patterns have been reused in fabrics, wallpaper and in soft furnishing. It’s hard to find a modern home nowadays that hasn’t taken the damask flocked wallpaper and made a statement wall. Damask and printed wallpaper has the instant ability to liven up any room at a fairly low cost and low level of effort.
Mirrored furniture became very on trend a few years ago and is still popular today. As for the piece above, designed by William Yeoward and inspired by the Chinoiserie style it would sit beautifully in any modern day scheme. Mirrored furniture can be a little expensive and it does need regular cleaning to keep it looking tip top, but it really does add the wow factor to a room.
Chesterfield couches have been a classic example of popular English design for many years. The origins of the word ‘chesterfield’ is a little blurry, with some putting it down to the style being made within the reign of the Earl Of Chesterfield. The distinctive buttoned leather is the classic design that we all know and love. Later adaptations have seen the design slightly more simplified and other fabrics used. Bold coloured velvets are very popular at the moment and you will often see it used on Chesterfields, like this one below. They are a real investment piece and are just as in demand now as they were over a hundred years ago!
The sunburst mirror
A resurgence in the popularity of the sunburst mirror, which originated as far back as the 1600s with the reign of Louis XIV of France, who was known to the world as the “Sun King” has added a touch of glamour back into our interiors. Apparently, King Louis liked to gaze into a sunburst mirror when he woke up in the morning so that he could see the rays of the sun radiating out from his head. The sunburst was found in mirrors and other art throughout the world during the Renaissance period and up until modern times.
Elaborate curtains and trimmings still adorn some of our most glamorous properties. If you are lucky enough to have the grand scale of windows found in many Georgian and Regency properties you can certainly enjoy these effects. Today there are still a great many designs of finials, to match such grandeur, with a touch of contemporary to bring them up to date.
I specialise in taking influences from history and bringing them up to date within modern homes. For more on my work as an interior designer, check out my website.