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Mixing Modern with Baroque

The term “baroque” is from the Portuguese noun barocco meaning imperfect pearl, not round but of unpredictable and elaborate shape, reflecting the style’s use of exquisite materials and composition of asymmetrical parts. In informal usage, the word baroque can simply mean that something is “elaborate,” with many details, without reference to the Baroque styles of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.


The latest baroque revival, some call it the ‘new’ romantic design trend, others refer to it as “baroque ‘n roll”, is a real treat for the eyes, mixing modern lines with 17th century baroque charm. I’m attracted to modern simplicity anyway, a classy clean sofa (room + board’s delancy is nice, especially in dagmar dove) paired with crystal urn lamps, sumptuous textiles (damasks, linens…), an ornate mirror (that was once gilded gold, now is white), and a dressy baroque wallpaper on the walls.

This month, Australian Home Beautiful (August), does a nice job spotlighting this trend with clever examples of how to mix modern pieces with baroque-inspired elements in the most pleasing way. I love how damask softens the lines of modern stark furniture, bringing a bit of personality into the space and uncovering perhaps a little bit of an adventurous streak in the homeowner.

Looking to create the look in your own home? The look works best if you keep in mind how to build it. Here’s how:

1. Start with black, grey and white as your foundation colors. You build from there.

2. Incorporate metallics (either silver or gold, not both) and/or mirrored surfaces, crystal, or acrylic. This step must be done tastefully. Be careful not to overdo it.

3. Now, you’re ready to add bursts of color. Remember, no more than two colors should be added. Stick to romantic hues. For romance, try lavenders and pinks, or blues. For bold, use red, purple, teal, navy blue… I prefer the softer hues myself, I would opt for a soft blue with pink. You can even keep the look very understated by mixing in various shades of grey, beige, white, bits of black, and a touch of pale blue or a bit of chocolate.

4. Furnishings – invest in pieces that glam up the space. An ornate mirror, headboard, chair. You can find such items in antique stores, auctions, estate sales… Even inexpensive reproductions can be easily found (and won’t leave you baroque, errr broke). Paint these statement pieces in high gloss black, or for a softer vibe, white. Upholster soft furnishings with damask, for instance. (If your home is pet-free, opt for sexy blue velvet.)

5. Avoid going over the top, unless you want your home to resemble Windsor Castle. You don’t need 5 statement pieces in a single room. Sometimes, just a few pieces that are carefully placed will give the room that “it” factor you seek. Think of a focal point piece, and then, as I like to do, a “surprise” piece. For instance, when you walk into the room, the focal point may be your amazing sofa. However, once the guests are seated on that sofa, you can have a surprise piece that they wouldn’t see unless they were seated on that sofa (or standing on that side of the room). It can be a beautiful mirror over a sleek buffet, a wall of wallpaper, a sassy chair, a great lamp, etc.

6. Home Beautiful magazine gave a great tip on how to give the space a contemporary spin: Mix patterned fabric with bold striped wallpaper in similar colors. Vertical stripes are classic but pick up the clean lines of modern furniture, giving the room height and creating a sense of spaciousness.

7. This trend works best if you use small prints, monochromatic ones, on large pieces of furniture (keep the prints in a single shade).

8. Most of all, have fun and invite a friend over with a good eye, someone who may already have this style going on at home and can offer you some great tips. Order thai, uncork the vino, put on some tunes, and decorate!


(images from home beautiful and restoration hardware)

Posted in diy, tips, trends on August 17, 2006

Brookdale Farms

In my coffee + cre8tive post this morning, I mentioned a nearby farm that I frequent for fresh produce and flowers called Brookdale Farms. Visiting the farm is a simple pleasure that I enjoy, especially since I’m a city girl and until now, never had the opportunity to live near a working farm before.

Brookdale Farms

We often enjoy walks through the orchards at night to discuss our day while enjoying the sunset over golden fields. We also pick strawberries and apples on the farm when they are in season, and feed the one and only resident sheep fresh grass. A cute story from last night – I walked over to the farms with my husband to feed the lone sheep. I think that I fed him a little too much grass though, because when we started to leave, he made all these strange sheep sounds and started bucking around in his pen like a little bronco – I guess all the fresh greens perked him up quite a bit. He acted a little nutty. I began to wonder what was in the grass, you know? But it was cute because he was happy and making that connection to an animal is something that I personally find great joy in. It’s beautiful. Even if it’s just a nutty sheep that I’ve nicknamed Charlie.

greenhaus.jpg

faded beauty

Brookdale Farms

Brookdale Farms

Brookdale Farms

Brookdale Farms

Brookdale Farms

Brookdale Farms

Brookdale Farms

If you’re in the New England area and fancy a country drive, why not visit Brookdale in New Hampshire? It’s packed on the weekends with Bostonians looking for fresh air and colorful blooms. Learn more about Brookdale…

I’ve taken a few photos of Brookdale from inside the shop, they’ve just renovated the entire store to include more gift items, so I now have the pleasure of residing near a fabulous gift shop as well as a farm, all within 100 steps from my front door. I snapped a photo of their greenhouse space, which is bare at the moment but in another month, it will transform into a lush humid paradise with wall-to-wall flowers and plants.

I hope all those of you that read decor8 from other parts of the world will enjoy peeking in on a special country store that I regularly shop at, here in my part of the world.

(Photos: Holly Becker for decor8)

Posted in Shop Tours, trends on April 10, 2006

Pretty as a Peacock – Accessories

I found a cute quote that makes me think of how we sometimes don’t notice how spectacular we are. Even the peacock has his doubts… “People are crying up the rich and variegated plumage of the peacock, and he is himself blushing at the sight of his ugly feet.” – Sa’Di

Enjoy these pheasant finds – could be a nice touch to freshen your space. Perfect for those who love vintage modern design!

peacock place card holders, set of 4, $37.50, reed + barton
peacock plate, $48, john derian
peacock black + white plate, $56, john derian
beauchamp noveau metallic wallpaper, gallica, alexander beauchamp
striking for a small space in your home or for one wall in a larger room.
contact the boston design center stark showroom to view or order.
peacock trinket box, $28.95, zgallerie
peacock feather placemats for your tabletop, set of 6, $119.70, zgallerie
these would look pretty on a sofa table with a large vase or candle in the middle
peacock rubber stamp for creating pretty stationary, $10.10, addicted to rubber stamps

Posted in trends on February 13, 2006

coffee + cre8tive [mon feb 13 06]

Inspiration of the day. Strut your stuff!
Ahhh. The iridescent tail of the male peacock…

I’ve always been attracted to these lovely creatures, which started when I was 4 years old and my mother hired Cyndi, a radiant italian interior designer that installed a huge blue-green vase with the watchful eyes of peacock plumage shooting forth from it in our living room. I remember how it reflected in our gold wallpaper, my cat watching the plumage with a suspicious eye, careful not to go to close.

Lately, I’ve been spotting more and more peacock in patterns, from decoupage trays to fabric, rubber stamps, clothing, earrings, or images of them on pillows. Yesterday, when Domino magazine arrived, I found even more, so I thought it made sense to showcase my favorite peacock accessories for the home here today. I think that first, so we can all better appreciate the peacock, we should read up about these regal creatures; so click here!

I’ll be back later today with peacock accessories. Until then, shake your tail feathers!
(photos from wikipedia)

Posted in trends on February 13, 2006

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Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

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