Monday, August 26, 2013

Showing Some Leg.... or Not



Have you ever noticed that some upholstered ottoman/coffee tables look like fabric-wrapped, steroid-enhanced hunks that have been plopped in the middle of a room? Perhaps that's one reason why I find this particular upholstered table, seen above, so attractive. Designed by Paolo Moschino, the table is a lightweight, slimmed down approach to the traditional upholstered ottoman table.  The void in the bottom two-thirds of the table is so refreshing and airy.  The shelf, on the other hand, helps to visually balance the top part of the table and provides a perch for books.  And that fabric is so crisp and snappy, perfect for this former fisherman's cottage in Cornwall, England.

The table immediately made me think of those great upholstered ottomans, chairs, and beds in which the legs were upholstered in fabric, too.  This kind of seamless upholstery seemed to reach its height of popularity in the late 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s and counted all kinds of devotees like Angelo Donghia, Billy Baldwin, and Stephen Mallory.  Sometimes the piece of furniture was covered in a solid fabric, while on other occasions, a zippy print was used.  What's interesting to note is that there are times when a slipper chair or ottoman, for example, can look squatty with its upholstered legs.  For this reason, it's probably best to consider this kind of upholstery on a case by case basis.

And hopefully you'll notice that I didn't include photos of fabric-covered bun feet.  That is something entirely different and not altogether very attractive.




Angelo Donghia's raffia-like upholstered dining chairs are so timeless looking, especially considering that this room was decorated in 1975. Actually, the entire room still looks great today.




A white cotton upholstered daybed, feet and all, in this Kips Bay Show House room decorated by Stephen Mallory sometime in the 1970s.





I love this zebra print covered chair and ottoman in the apartment of decorating doyenne, Betty Sherrill. The photo was taken in 1968.




The bedroom of Jay Crawford and Anthony Tortora was swathed in a geometric-print chintz. See how the bed's short feet were fabric-covered just as the bed's box spring was?





I have always admired the East Hampton home of Harry Hinson. Ignore the crease down the middle of the photo and try to get a good look at the small upholstered slipper chair. The fabric, I believe, is Hinson & Co.'s "Merlin", a long-time favorite of mine.




The Library of a Park Avenue duplex, which was decorated in the 1970s by Arthur Smith. The green fabric that was used on the chairs and sofa add a splash of color to the otherwise brown-toned room. Smith even trimmed the legs and bottom edge of the chairs in nailhead trim.





These waterfall-style stools were completely upholstered in quilted fabric, as was the nearby sofa. (David Whitcomb, designer.)





Would you have guessed that this 1970s-era room was located in an 1882 townhouse in Savannah, Georgia? This space was a dining-sitting-garden room, which explains the choice of white fabric for the upholstery. (Home of designer Pratt Williams Swanke and her architect husband.)





So, the Crayola colors and flamestitch rug scream 1960s. Still, think about what these chairs would look like if covered in updated fabrics and placed in updated spaces. (Braswell/Cook Associates.)


Top photo of Paolo Moschino interior from House & Garden, British edition, August 2013, Paul Massey photographer; photos #2-4 from New York Interior Design, 1935-1985, Volumes 1 and 2 by Judith Gura; #5, 7, 8 from Architectural Digest New York Interiors; #6 from Architectural Digest Country Homes; #9 from Decorating American Style by Jose Wilson and Arthur Leaman; #10 from The New York Times Book of Interior Design and Decoration.

19 comments:

  1. I ans just crazy about you JB! I can hardly wait to see you this Fall...just to hot in the ATL for DT at the moment! xx.DT

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    1. DT- You better come visit us soon! Perhaps it's better to wait until sweater weather.

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  2. Anonymous9:50 AM

    Surely the Crawford room was inspired by Billy Baldwin's St. Regis pied-a-terre for the Paleys?

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    1. Anon- I never thought about the resemblance until you mentioned it, but the room does bear striking similarities to the Baldwin room. I believe the printed fabric was quite similar between the two rooms as well. A very interesting observation!

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  3. BB was the King of upholstered pieces. These other designers were on the mark, also--timeless spaces.
    Thanks.
    Mary

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    1. Mary, BB was indeed the king of upholstered pieces! He always nailed it with the shape, size, scale, etc.

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  4. Jennifer, wow, this and the last few posts have been just terrific. Loved the international entries, and especially Rory Cameron's. He had good friends in Atlanta, and I'm sorry I never knew him. Has anyone read his sister's autobiography, "A Lion in the Bedroom". In addition to talking about what it was like to grow up in their rarified world, she was somethin' else. Hoo-weee. :)

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    1. Hi Frances! I have not read his sister's autobiography, but I'm certainy going to do so now! I'm intrigued.

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  5. Love this concept of the upholtered Leg-!
    I found that Painting in the second Image most Intriging-!

    Enjoy your blog - even more so now with LARGER IMAGES-!!

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    1. Mary Maki Rae, I'm glad that I finally figured out how to make the images larger! :)

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  6. I love how the upholstered-leg pieces update the traditional design I favor. It allows me to place larger scaled pieces in my smaller rooms without closing them in. Wonderful post, Jennifer, and I am now officially dying until the book comes out!

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    1. Dana, Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy my book. It's hard to believe that Oct is right around the corner...

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  7. Your last few posts have been fantastic and I had comments for them all, but each time I wasn't able to leave one. Not sure what is up, but I am trying again for good measure!

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    1. Thank Tokyo! There must be some glitch with Blogger. Don't you just love technology.

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  8. Hi Jennifer, this is a great post. The waterfall-style stools are the most unique stools to enhance any contemporary room. I like the bedroom of Jay Crawford and Anthony Tortora. The geometric-print chintz has such an warm and inviting look.

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    1. Sarah, Thank you so much for your comment! I love those waterfall-style stools, but I have never seen anything like them in any of the furniture lines. It's a shame because they have a really appealing size and shape.

      I love that bedroom too!

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  9. Jennifer Dengel4:45 PM

    Jennifer, I'm just catching up on your posts and I must agree with Frances! Ironically, I just found a circa 1980's Parsons-style fully upholstered bench a few months back. I couldn't resist and brought it home despite the fact that I am running out of house!

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  10. I love everything about this post! I think boxier, fully upholstered furniture works so well next to more delicate tables and chairs.

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  11. These rooms are gorgeous snd most importantly timeless! As a designer I think we all strive to create timeless environments. Great post!

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