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 Post subject: Re: Furniture/Interior Design thread
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:40 pm 
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Thanks for the vote of confidence, Ensiferous. I particularly like your use of the word "stewards." That's exactly how the Classic Beauty and I thought/think about ourselves as we've meandered around the United States finding architecturally significant houses to restore. Just for kicks, here's the first house we bought. We were 26 years old and had little knowledge about historic preservation, but lots of energy and enthusiasm! Two days before we closed, our firstborn arrived. Two days after we closed, I picked the two of them up at the hospital and our little band began a glorious adventure!

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Here it is. An 1848, Greek Revival, Fieldstone home with Limestone quoins and lintels. No central heat, well water, propane for the gas stove and oven. Believe me, it didn't look this good when we bought it, but the bones were good.
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And one side, showing the fieldstone courses and the limestone lintels and quoins
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Three acres of woods and lawn. I discovered the log building, seen in the deepest part of the photograph below, a mile away from the house when a barn was being torn down. Offered the farmer $500, disassembled it, rented a flatbed truck and a crane (with operator), reassembled it, tuck-pointed it and put a roof on it. The crane came in handy, as the average weight of each Oak timber was 900 pounds. No way our crew of four could have lifted those into place. Voila! A garage!
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A few years later, this jewel was nominated to, and placed on, the National Register of Historic Buildings.

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Just a year ago, it became a Museum! The Classic Beauty and I were happy with that outcome, though we had sold the house when my career took me to Chicago. As an aside, when I expressed reluctance to leave house and hearth, my then boss issued a memorable line: "Bill," he said, "you don't have to move, but your job's moving. Figure out what you want to do."

The four houses we've subsequently owned (in our peripatetic life) have all been architect designed, modernist houses. In their own ways, each of them has offered us opportunities to be stewards to the memory of those architects. Thanks again, Ensiferous! Your word choice probably got more prose than you wanted, but I enjoyed the trip down memory lane!


Last edited by Billax on Mon Sep 26, 2016 12:02 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Furniture/Interior Design thread
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:46 pm 
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^ That's a fantastic story. I hope that my first house is purchased with similar care and passion.


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 Post subject: Re: Furniture/Interior Design thread
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:32 pm 
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What a fantastic home, Billax. Being a steward of a historic home is one of my life goals, I have a few in mind where I currently live, but I have recently began to think that I should let myself dream big. So, who knows where this home will be!

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 Post subject: Re: Furniture/Interior Design thread
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:39 pm 
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Amazing stuff Bill, great story and a beautiful house!

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 Post subject: Houses 2,3,4, and 5
PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:15 pm 
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So, that was our first house. As mentioned, all the rest have been modernist. In short form, here they are:

House 2
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Cross Country skis leaning against the deck

House 3
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House 4
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House 5
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20 feet of window wall with sliding glass doors below two triangular pieces of glass, each of which is 9 feet by 6 feet.

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The last picture was taken just after the loggers finished taking down the big pines, so the lawn is pretty ragged – and will be until Spring.

And that's it. All the places we've restored and preserved.


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 Post subject: Re: Furniture/Interior Design thread
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:06 pm 
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Billax, thanks for your great chronicle of your house adventures!

I admire the fenestration of the gable end of your old Greek stone house, and the lintels too. That structure must have been a killer to fix-up, physically.

If an unsolicited suggestion is not unwelcome, I think that (should they appeal to you and your wife) your beautiful current residence's landscape would be complemented by waves of ornamental grasses such as Deschampsia cespitosa, Sporobolus heterolepis, Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', (I don't know if Helictotrichon sempervirens and Carex 'Ice Dance' are zone-appropriate for your area.)

I find the colors, textures, and animated effect of these grasses are such a perfect accompaniment to moderne, international, and Wrightian houses in any setting, and even shingle and neo-shingle especially in coastal settings.


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 Post subject: Re: Furniture/Interior Design thread
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:56 pm 
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Ensiferous wrote:
Billax, thanks for your great chronicle of your house adventures!

I admire the fenestration of the gable end of your old Greek stone house, and the lintels too. That structure must have been a killer to fix-up, physically.

If an unsolicited suggestion is not unwelcome, I think that (should they appeal to you and your wife) your beautiful current residence's landscape would be complemented by waves of ornamental grasses such as Deschampsia cespitosa, Sporobolus heterolepis, Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', (I don't know if Helictotrichon sempervirens and Carex 'Ice Dance' are zone-appropriate for your area.)

I find the colors, textures, and animated effect of these grasses are such a perfect accompaniment to moderne, international, and Wrightian houses in any setting, and even shingle and neo-shingle especially in coastal settings.
Thanks, Ensiferous! Your well-informed suggestions are most welcome! Timely, too. The Classic Beauty was, for many years, a docent at the University of California's Botanical gardens. She designed the gardens for both of our California homes and we have reached the point at which we're ready to undertake the design and planting in an entirely different climate.

Seeing that I'm largely colorblind, I'm a big fan of textures, leaf shapes, undulation, and differing foliage tones in gardens. I've read most of Nancy Ondra's books on those topics, and would be very interested in other sources you think would be useful. I am, perhaps not surprisingly, a big fan of sedges, and your suggestion of Carex resonates with me. They, along with Southern Maidenhair ferns, dominate our little Atrium and I am eager to have more varieties of Carex in less protected – and breezier – areas of our gardens.

Thanks, again!


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 Post subject: Re: Furniture/Interior Design thread
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:19 am 
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...a stunning visual chronicle of what is obviously a passionate pursuit. Thanks for sharing this, Bill.


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 Post subject: Re: Furniture/Interior Design thread
PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 1:22 pm 
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This is a different take on Interior Design – not residences, but an office. And a specific office – mine for the last ten years of my working life.

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The Interior Designer deals within serious constraints, but still is tasked with CREATING something unique that is ideally suited to the tastes of the client. The purchases she/he makes are mostly off-the-shelf, they fit within a budget, and the end result should perfectly suit the tastes and desires of the client. Thus, I believe the role of the Interior Designer is the most analogous to the role a man must play in designing his own outfits.

In reading over a hundred or so articles on Interior design principles, that set of principles that seem most relevant to this essay came from the an internet article on interior design which can be seen here:

Interior design is:
the design and coordination of the decorative elements of the interior of a house, apartment, office,or other structural space, including color schemes, fittings, furnishings, and sometimes architectural features.
The principles of interior design are:

BALANCE
Symmetrical balance – when half of your room mirrors the other. This creates a neat, ordered look which can be aesthetically pleasing.

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Asymmetrical balance – when opposite sides of the room have furniture or architecture which may look different or be arranged differently, but carry the same visual weight. ^Visual weight is the visual attention that a given object commands. For example, black is visually heavier than cyan, and a 2 seater sofa is visually heavier than a few armchairs.
Radial symmetry – where a center point has objects radiating from it in an obvious spiral pattern. Radial symmetry is most commonly created with staircases in grand foyers and ceiling fixtures, but can also be created using circular rugs, curved sofas, and other round pieces of furniture.

EMPHASIS
Each room should have one or a few focal points. A focal point is the visual center of attraction in any given room, with all the other design elements leading all visual attention to that point. This can be accomplished with colour, texture, size, and positioning.

CONTRAST
Contrast can define your focal point, and prevents your interiors from looking too uniform.
Shapes and colours mix things up and create a varied look. Even in minimalist and Scandinavian design, contrast is utilised to prevent the room from looking completely flat.
Positive and negative spaces. Positive spaces are characterised by color, furniture, artwork, area rugs and bold flooring. Negative space are the planes, white space, and emptiness that directs attention to the focal point. More positive space means more visual clutter; less means a colder, emptier look.

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RHYTHM
Rhythm is visual flow: the eye should be able to ‘flow’ smoothly across the room. Rhythm can be accomplished through the following means:

Repetition – the repeated use of certain objects or physical attributes of decor elements. For example: chevron patterns on both your sofa and wall tapestry, a series of similar vases lining a mantle or a stack of books on a shelf. Similarly-themed homeware and arts will also contribute to the theme of your interior design.

Alternation – a modular sofa with alternating colours of white and green, placing a small roundtable between two armchairs, or even differently-shaped wall recesses can achieve this effect
Progression – interior design elements placed according to size from smaller to bigger ones, or perhaps according to the gradient of their colours.

SCALE
Ensure your decor are of the same scale

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UNITY
Unity is what draws the whole design together. Simply put, every single item in your home should contribute to the overall interior design concept, not draw away from it.

I have included here a few pictures from the offices at my firm, as an example of some of the points in this article on Interior design. In 1997, I moved into my final investment offices here, working with a wonderful interior design firm, to have the offices turn out the way I wished them to be. The results were published in two hardcover design books and appeared in three different interior design magazines. The offices were also named by Interiors Magazine as one of the top workspaces of the year.

I specified only a few things: the style of furniture I wanted, the kind of wood I wanted, and sketched out the large case piece that dominates the room, saying I wanted it to have a Mondrian feeling. Those were my only instructions. The Design firm had a cabinet maker build the case piece and its associated fixed and pivoting screens on either side of the cabinet. The cabinetmaker also built the three repeating Anigre wall panels. The firm hugely exceeded my expectations! They were – and are – a wonderful interior design firm!

I believe the design language of the Interior Designer is as close as one can get to the needs of men to address their need to overcome physical shortcomings and create great looks for themselves.

©2017 William Welty

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