The parlor of the Cross House, late 2015. The room is missing its picture rail, which was 22-inches below the ceiling. I will be recreating this feature. The wine-colored sofa will remain.
I discovered, hidden by layers of later wallpaper, and a radiator, the original 1894 damask-pattern wallpaper of the parlor. Way cool discovery. I would love love love to replicate the paper but, alas, cannot possibly afford to do so.
Well, THE PLAN is to instead do solid color walls, and patterned draperies. So, the walls below the picture rail would be this. Although the actual color is a bit more…vivid. The wall above the picture rail and ceiling will be white.
I was planning to use these draperies. But I need ten panels and was only able to get six. And the draperies are, in real life, a bit more purple than blue. Poo.
The other day however an idea popped into my head. Why not flip THE PLAN? Why not pattern on the walls, and solid color draperies? Why not stencil the walls? Oh, cool! This will cost WAY less than wallpaper. So I did a Google search for Large Damask Wall Stencil (I am not a petite scale kinda guy, and nor is the Cross House), and this pattern immediately captured my special attention. What I particular liked was the overlapping patterns, differing tones, and the fact that one would not need to precisely align each medallion to the others. Cool. To me, this look is a modern take on the original 1894 damask. I am uncertain at the moment of what colors I would stencil with, although I am planning to still use the wall color shown above.
And I can get ten panels of these Dupioni silk draperies. The color makes me weak-kneed, as does the 80% discount now available.
I have a long background in architecture and design. And restoring the architecture of the Cross House is MUCH easier than trying to figure out how to decorate the place!
For, I have never decorated a house built in 1894. To me, the challenge is trying to create a decor which complements rather than mimics a Victorian-era decor. I have no desire for a decor which looks like it could have been lifted from an 1894 image. No, I really like that the Cross House has been a witness to a 122-years of history and design, and want the finished house to reflect this.
So, while the parlor will have a period-correct gas/electric chandelier and sconces, the adjacent library is going to have five hanging 1970s Hollywood-Regency pendants hanging low over a shelving island. In the parlor, I am desperately seeking a classic marble-topped Saarinen tulip table to sit under the gas/electric chandelier rather than a coffee table (I loath coffee tables — too low!), and fit well with the curvaceous sofa:
The sofa. I actually have two of these. The second one may end up in my bedroom. Or the carriage house.
A classic Tulip Table. The center shelving island in the adjacent library will also be marble-topped.
Above the Tulip Table will be this, with glass shades.
While in some room I want to hang a classic Sputnik chandelier. Maybe my bedroom?
In short, I am vying for an eclectic look.
It is fascinating trying to artfully blend together 122-years of decorative history while at the same time complementing the 1894 structure. The whole process seems to have a magical quality — ideas take hold then fade while other delicious concepts are dashed by the dreaded OUT OF STOCK notice as initially unpromising thoughts grow and are nourished into fabulous possibilities — and it will be interesting to see what I finally end up with.
Your thoughts are invited!