Q: The staircase in our "new" old (l926) Georgian has a small landing under a big window. There's not enough space for a piece of furniture, but it could use something.
From the entrance hall below, it just looks plain. Mirror? Painting? What?
A: Any -- or even all -- of the above should relieve the plainness. But there are other options, even for a small landing.
In the sweeping, classically beautiful stairwell we show here, a slender demi-lune ("half-moon") table just fits on the landing, where it becomes the focal point of a three-part arrangement: table, vintage gilded mirror and a collection of handsome blue-and-white ware.
Tidy, self-contained and gently colorful, the grouping adds just the right visual interest to the architecture, which is already rich with period detail in this grand late-Georgian-style home. According to authors Suzanne and Lauren McGrath (who lent the image from their smart new book, "Good Bones, Great Pieces") every spindle and molding detail on the stair was hand-carved nearly a century ago.
A more extroverted arrangement would be just too much eye candy, don't you agree?
Suzanne and Lauren, the mother-daughter designer team who wrote the book, are great believers in just the right thing. In fact, according to their thesis, there are seven pieces of furniture that are essential to every home: the aforementioned demi-lune table, a love seat, an upholstered bench, a dresser, a slipper chair, a side table, and an occasional chair.
It is size and shape -- not decorative style -- that make the seven so essential, say the authors. They spend the book's 206 pages eloquently defending their choices by showing how each of the magic seven pieces can move from room to room and from job to job. A demi-lune, for example, easily comes off stairwell duty and into an entry foyer ... or the kitchen ... or a bedroom ... or it can even team up with its other half to flank a living room fireplace.
Q: Need something to write home about?
A: Consider writing it across the back of your dining room chair cover, all over a canvas tablecloth or inside your new bookcase. Calligraphy is newly cool in interior design.
At the Spring Furniture Market in High Point, N.C., ultra-chic French Heritage debuted its "Constitution Chest," inscribed all over with "We the People," etc. (In English, of course. They wrote en francais across the backing of their massive "Maison" book case.)
Stylesight, the New York-based trend forecasting company that influences fashions all over the globe, couches its 2013-14 predictions in terms of typefaces.
Thinking organic? Think sans serif (no foot on the letters equals a clearer connection to nature), Stylesight's Global Trend Director Jamie Thomas told artists and designers at last month's SURTEX surface design show in Manhattan. Helvetica, Garamond, Arial, Times New Roman -- many of the most distinctive typefaces are leaping off the page (or screen) and into home and apparel fashions.
"I'm a graphic designer," Thomas explained. "And fonts send a distinct message."
Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design. To find out more about Rose Bennett Gilbert and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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