The wonderful designer Joni Webb, of Cote de Texas fame, has just begun a series of posts outlining her Top Ten Design Elements.
What a terrific idea!
I'm certainly no designer but, as they say, I know what I like. And Joni encouraged her readers to make their own lists, so without further ado, here is mine:
1. Pattern -- I have seen beautiful rooms that are calm and serene and mostly white, but I don't think I could ever live in one. New Jersey has so many snowy or gray days that we need some warmth and pattern to wrap round ourselves in the winter. Besides, I grew up with pattern -- in wonderful wallpapers and beautiful tea-stained fabrics, and they are still among my favorite building blocks for a comfortable room. I love the wallpapered ceiling in our library (above), and the big floral patterned curtains.
2. Antiques -- Even one beautiful old piece will give instant presence to any room. And family heirlooms are even better. The black Seth Thomas mantel clock in the photo below belonged to my maternal grandfather. It is one of my most cherished pieces. The Bristolware vase, (above) was a thrift store find, but antique and quite lovely.
3. Books -- Any kind will do, but I always love to include some antique books; their colors and the often gilded typography on their spines make a beautiful addition to bookshelves or tables.
4. Needlepoint -- I go weak at the knees for needlepoint pillows. I know that a lot of people think they are impossibly "granny," but I just love the texture and the handmade feeling that they bring to a room. And double points if they portray a floral subject.
5. Dishes -- Transferware or anything with flowers on it. They make any room feel a little lighter, perhaps a little feminine. Love that!
6. Curvy Furniture -- Oh how I love a Chippendale sofa, or a wing chair with it's sinuous curves. Again, it's that feminine touch. I also love French fauteilles, with their delicate legs. So beautiful!
7. Ottomans -- I just can't get into coffee tables. This is a totally subjective opinion. Instead, I love to have a beautifully upholstered ottoman on which to place a tea tray or a few books. And of course, they help make a room comfortable and approachable. You can't feel stiff in a room where you can put your feet up.
8. Throws -- I love the feel of a beautiful wool or cotton throw. Again, they make a room more comfortable. I have throws in almost every room, and I use them every day. They can also lend a softening effect to a more formal upholstered piece.
9. Flowers -- Real flowers shine in any room, but can be expensive. So yes, I do use some dried or silk flowers (horror of horrors!). I also almost always have flowers present in either fabrics or china or vintage botanical prints. Lately I've been collecting pressed flowers in small frames. They make a pretty grouping on a wall.
10. Light -- Especially from true divided light windows. Yes, they are hell to wash, and not really all that weatherproof, but they have such charm. And I'm all about the charm. :)
Well, that's my list. Be sure to visit Joni and read her wonderful post. And let me know what your favorites are.