8.27.2015

Layering, Part IA, Naked

My first post on layering touched on one aspect that goes a long way towards giving a room the layered look, window dressing.

Of course there are always exceptions.

Spectacular views require naked windows. Which makes me wonder if minimalists are exhibitionists at heart if not in actual practice.

Minimalist beauty. Ultra terrifying. The Vanger House.
from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

A sleeping porch on Flathead Lake, Montana via pinterest.

Exacting architectural details and beautiful furnishings can easily trump a window dressing.

Dennison Dampier Interior Design

Carolyn Roehm's Charleston House

Charming breakfast rooms.

Also from Dennison Dampier Interior Design.

And of course one reason to have naked windows is plain old dislike. OK, you're a minimalist without the exhibitionist element. I get it.

Another might be a bad fit for our value system, i.e., investing in experiential entertainment (travel, restaurants and the like) or tuition (I can think of a million others) are high priorities and window dressings will never, ever be on the list. I get it.

The above being said, I am a huge proponent of refraining from informing others that a) their value system must align with ours and/or b) curtains/blinds/shades are ugly because we don't like them.

You are probably wondering why I include this caution. I was once sucked into a conversation where one participant described curtains and window dressing in general as "dust catching eyesores" and why would anyone ever want them. Privacy came immediately to mind but some conversations are not worth continuing. Another fine example of living long enough to see and hear just about everything.

OK, I'm officially off the soap box.

Next installment, Undergarments. For Windows.

Thanks for reading,
Linda Pakravan

Layering Part I, Fully Clothed

Elle Decor, one of my favorite shelter mags, says the layered room has color, texture and pattern.

Examples are always helpful. Elle Decor's.

Kristen and Lindsey Buckingham's LR via Elle Decor.


Holy Cow! Way too intense for me. But let's not abandon layering just yet.

Restart. Andrew Brown's Birmingham cottage in Veranda.

Andrew Brown via Veranda

Color, texture, pattern. All here. Andrew Brown then adds layers that give the curated versus decorated look. Antique chairs in several styles in various materials and finishes. Small details like the banding on the curtains and the curved curtain rod.

And something that takes an expert eye to pull off, mixing proportions and scale: a pair of oversize urns, huge mat for small art, three distinctly different tables.

Several layers are good. They give a room character, depth, interest, insight into our personality or maybe a glimpse of our family history.


The mirror hung in Katie Ridder's childhood home.
Sitting underneath the mirror is Katie's grandmother's Sheraton style sofa.
via New York Social Diary

Take Katie Ridder's living room (above).

Three upholstery styles. A Sheraton style sofa from Katie's grandmother keeps company with a modern sofa and traditional club chairs. Stained doors and door frames with painted moldings. The art deco influenced fabric on the modern sofa rests on an antique rug. The curtains are taken up to the crown molding and the border echoes the rug.

Last example.

Nick Olsen
Mr. Olsen was apprentice to Miles Redd, Color Master Supreme. 
Both of these gentlemen are so young but their approach to windows is unapologetic traditional. 
And executed with couturier detailing.




Nick Olsen on HouseBeautiful
N.B. The first pic is the cropped beauty shot. This is the human eye view.

A bedroom Nick Olsen did for a client. Hanging the curtain above the window frame makes an ordinary ceiling height less ordinary. The Zig-Zag chair was designed in the 1920s but it looks modern; a brave choice with the white French desk. Green edged ruffles echo the printed fabric's vines. I think the chevroned chest is an IKEA hack.

Three totally different looks.

All these rooms are layered, whether we like the style or not. But overall,


they look finished.

Let us be real for a moment. Finished rooms do not happen overnight. Or even a few months. I have to believe Ms. Ridder and Mr. Brown have been collecting antiques and beautiful stuff for years.

Don't click away just yet. Maybe we don't have collections or collecting skills (i.e., some of my husband's yard sale finds, OK, skill is not the issue, the thrill of the hunt clouds his aesthetic judgement) or family furniture.

We can all do the layer that requires no family history, zero expensive travels to exotic locales, nor decades of collecting:

fully clothed and dressed windows.

For me, a room without window dressings (window treatments, if you prefer) rarely looks layered, it feels unfinished and the windows look naked. I can easily live with a room that has very few layers if the windows are done.

Not everyone is on board the dressed window train, or layered rooms for that matter, and that is OK. It is your domicile, not mine.

Geography and the view play a big role on whether to dress or not, but that deserves its own post, Layering Part IA, Naked. Windows, that is.

Thanks for reading,
Linda Pakravan