DESIGN STYLES: ARCHITECTURE, INTERIORS & FURNISHINGS
The third segment in a three-part series
DESIGN STYLES: ARCHITECTURE, INTERIORS & FURNISHINGS
offers brief descriptions and identifying design elements of architecture, interiors and furniture styles
through history influenced by politics, reigning monarchs and governments,
economic conditions, material availability and creative artisans and craftsman.
A - H I - Q [R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z]
REGENCY c.1790 - 1830
English Regency became popular in the flamboyant reign of George IV, Prince of Wales, during the tenure of court architect John Nash, designer Henry Holland and decorator Frederick Crace. Featuring a wide variety of design elements, Greek and Roman neo-classical motifs dominated this style, embellishing the preceding Late Georgian style. Neo-classical design elements included mythological creatures, Gods and Goddesses, the lyre and the lion's paws. Napoleon's campaign into Egypt inspired motifs such as dragons, sphinxes, Egyptian heads, winged lions and palm leaves. Indian and Asian motifs such as Chinese figures and fretwork in vivid colors were also included. Furniture included commodes, caned armchairs and sofas with legs fashioned into saber swords, which ultimately gave way to straight and cabriole legs with hoofed feet. Oak, walnut, beech, mahogany, satinwood, rosewood and zebrawood were used in conjunction with bronze ormolu and gilding. Other elements include cremone bolts and espagnolette hardware, carved stone mantles, wainscoting, framed wall panels, stucco, bay windows, elaborate balconies, silver accessories and copper in the kitchen. (HEPPLEWHITE c.1780 - 1800) (LATE GEORGIAN) (NEO-CLASSICAL c.1810 - 1830) (SHERATON c.1790 - 1810) (THE ROYAL PAVILION at Brighton)
RENAISSANCE c.1300 - 1800
At the end of the Middle Ages, 15th century Italy fostered great scientific theories, which brought about one of the grandest periods of human development, fueling growth in city-states and fostering artistic expression throughout Europe. The Italian Renaissance Movement, or "re-birth", turned attention to the secular arts. The works of Michael Angelo and Raphael, among others, grew in importance. Florence, Venice, Milan, Rome, Sienna and Tuscany were thriving. Palaces and country manors were often built with symmetrical floor plans facing formal landscaped gardens, with comfort in mind. Architectural details include stucco colonnades, columns, pilasters, broken pediments, arched openings, clay roof tile, dome and barrel vaulted ceilings and stone flooring. Furnishings in oak and walnut with strap work feature carved scrolls, diamonds, stars and cartouche. Surfaces are adorned with hand painting and mosaics. (EARLY RENAISSANCE c. 1515 - 1547) (MIDDLE RENAISSANCE c. 1550 - 1610) (RENAISSANCE REVIVAL c. 1860 - 1870)
RETRO c. 2000
Retro is a nostalgic look back to the 1930's - 1980's in America, with its roots in the American dream. Technology was in the forefront. Television programming was center stage. Memorabilia from popular sitcoms like I LOVE LUCY, late-night movies and several Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe, in tandem with popular cartoons like The Jetson's all influence this style. Themes include the American kitchen of Leave it To Beaver featuring plastic laminate counters, chrome furniture with vinyl upholstery showcasing the newest appliances. Or, themes might include Hawaiian lounges with palm trees, rattan furnishings, Tiki torches and umbrellas coupled with tropical floral fabrics popularized by Elvis. Crescent shapes and rounded edges are found in furnishings, coupled with sleek lighting, harkened to space travel as Americans explored the universe. Diners with juke boxes, chrome and vinyl bar stools and galley kitchens are remembered fondly. In retrospect, this style reflects a somewhat naive look at the modern world.
ROCOCO c. 1715 - 1773
Derived from the French word "rocaille," shell-covered rockwork, Rococo departed from classical detailing and is distinguished by sinuous, asymmetrical S- and C-curves, delicate gesso appliqués, rocaille and shell motifs. Introduced in Italy, the style quickly spread throughout Europe and eventually to America, was heavily influenced by French designers for the royal court, such as Juste-Aurèle Meissonier, Jean Berain and Nicholas Pineau. Designed for the noble class these delicate, free-spirited embellishments were applied to all interior surfaces, high-end furnishings and decorative accessories. Design elements include scrolls, acanthus leaves, shell and Chinese motifs, curvaceous flora or fauna, as well as large scaled decorative paintings. Rosewood and fruitwood were used. (LOUIS XV) (REGENCY)
ROMANESQUE c.1000 - 1180
Architecture "designed in the style of Rome" flourished throughout the Middle Ages in France, Italy, Britain and Germany. The Christian church, the largest patron of the arts, constructed abbeys and monasteries in remote regions and large cathedrals in populated areas, spreading the style far and wide. Churches were often designed in the shape of the crucifix. Architectural details include massive rough-cut stone walls, flying buttresses, barrel vaulted ceilings, bell towers, domed ceilings, clerestory windows, interlaced arches, Corinthian capitals, arcades, colonnades, galleries and facades with relief sculptures. The most notable innovation of the time was the vaulted roof designed to replace fire prone wood roofs. Byzantine, Roman, Arabic, Lombard and Norman influences are found in design elements, which include animal and plant forms, chevron patterns, stars, lozenges and scallops carved in shallow relief. Enormous round, hand-painted, stained glass rose windows combined with elaborately carved stone borders, marble mosaics, large tapestries, gilded statues of Saints, ornamented book covers and chalices encrusted with precious gems also distinguish this style.
While not a specific design style, this term is generally used to describe any environment of a more seductive nature. Typically, lighting is filtered or dimmed to low levels or completely replaced with candle light to create a secluded atmosphere. Soft, sinuous fabrics such as lace, silk, satin and velvet are often teamed with fresh flowers, soft music and water features for a special ambiance. A romantic mood can be achieved within any design style from Medieval to Contemporary.
RUSSIAN EMPIRE c.1712 - 1917
Russia, with its capital in St. Petersburg, and close ties with France, Holland, Germany and Italy, along with the annex of Finland in 1809, offered a constant flow of talented artists and architects into the region. Furniture designs were modeled after imports, yet, they became more heavily adorned with various design elements including the Greek acanthus leaf or the Egyptian palmettos. Other motifs include caryatids, swans, rosettes, lyre and sphinx. Furnishings were created with grand proportions to match their monumental architecture and featured hand-painted finishes, elaborate mahogany veneers, brass overlays and gilding.
Generally, this style reflects simple country living. Buildings, furnishings and decorations are hand-made from local resources and materials for primarily utilitarian purposes. Primitive architectural details include exposed wood walls, wood paneling, rough-hewn beamed ceilings, wood floors and rock mantles and hearths. Sturdy hand-crafted furnishings lack ornamentation. Hand-forged iron, tin and pewter are used for hardware and utensils. Hand-made textiles including cotton quilts and embroidery, simple hand-picked floral arrangements adorn sparsely furnished rooms with small wood-mullioned windows. (COLONIAL) (SOUTHWESTERN) (LODGE-LOOK)
SCANDINAVIAN c. 1930 - 1950
Danish and Swedish designers created this Nordic style to bring life to the interiors of a region punctuated by darkness and frigid conditions. Scandinavian designs became popular upon their introduction at the 1930 Stockholm Exhibition and the 1939 World's Fair in New York. These lightweight, yet exquisitely crafted utilitarian furnishings feature sleek, simple lines and gentle curves constructed of birch, pine or bent plywood. Design elements include blond wood finishes, wide-planked wood floors combined with area rugs, minimal patterns, graceful accessories, light hues and white-washed painted finishes accented with bursts of color. (COUNTRY) (GUSTAFSON)
SHABBY CHIC c. 1980 - 2000
England's Rachel Ashwell created this 20th century design style, which is said to have been responsible for reintroducing slip-covered furniture into the U.S. market. This casual, nostalgic and eclectic blend of English Victorian affordable flea-market finds is upholstered in washable slip covers with white-washed or weathered painted finishes. Vintage fabrics, lighting and furnishings combined with architectural elements such as old pressed tin, garden ornaments and vintage lighting are combined to create a relaxed feel suitable for family living.
SHAKER c. 1783 - 1960
This distinctive rural American style, functional in every respect, epitomizes the religious beliefs of the Shakers and their philosophy of living, which can be found in every object they chose to create. Void of superfluous decoration, each piece was deliberately designed and expertly crafted to inspire serenity and grace in their effort to create "heaven on earth." Shakers established their own, totally unique approach to living, unlike any other. They made everything from baskets, quilts and furnishings to tools and toys. Expertly hand-crafted furnishings were constructed in maple, birch and pine with simple forms and light proportions. Interiors feature wood floors, built-in cupboards and drawers, wood peg rails surrounding the perimeter walls at eye-level, large tables, washstands and benches. (COUNTRY) (SCANDINAVIAN)
SHERATON c.1790 - 1810
England's Thomas Sheraton published "The Cabinet Dictionary" and in 1791 the "Cabinet Maker's & Upholsterer's Drawing Book" of furniture patterns, which became one of the most popular styles during the Federal period. Delicate, yet extremely sturdy furniture forms, were inspired by the Louis XVI style and featured round tapered legs, fluting and most notably contrasting veneer inlays. Most often Sheraton style uses mahogany, with satinwood, tulipwood, sycamore and rosewood for inlayed decorations. Elaborate painted finishes, brass fittings and many neo-classical motifs were used, as well. These furnishings include shell, star, swag, wheat shaft, oval medallion, acanthus leaf, lyre and urn motifs, along with lattice and reeding. The Sheraton style is very similar to Hepplewhite designs. (FEDERAL) (HEPPLEWHITE c.1780 - 1800) (NEO-CLASSICAL c.1810 - 1830)
SOUTHWESTERN c. 1500 - Present
Beginning with Native American Indians influenced by the techniques of the Spanish conquistadores this beautifully simple design style has been adapted by each generation to include Pueblo, Pueblo Deco, Santa Fe Style, Spanish Colonial and Territorial. Architectural elements include 18" thick adobe sun-dried mud brick wall construction, flat roofs, canale roof drains, decorative carved wood corbels, carved wooden doors, kiva fireplaces built of adobe bricks covered with plaster, vigas hand-hewn exposed timbers, latillas wood branch ceiling details and saltillo clay tile floors. Interiors feature stucco textured walls with neutral furnishings in natural wood, white-washed and hand-painted finishes. Accents of hand-forged iron, painted pottery, woven geometric patterned rugs, leather and cotton textiles softened the ruggedness of the terrain. Dessert motifs include the roadrunner and the sun silhouetted against the colors of the desert sky. (MISSION) (MEDITERRANEAN) (SPANISH COLONIAL)
SPANISH COLONIAL c. 1250 - 1600
Initially built as fortresses, missions and churches were outposts designed to protect the community from attack, pillage or even kidnapping. Thick adobe walls fortified a courtyard of protection. Heavily carved wood doors with iron hinges and narrow windows with iron grills served as protection. Interior courtyards with stucco walls and columns feature fountains, arcades and arched windows. Clay tile roofs and floors, wrought-iron light fixtures and handmade clay vessels accent heavily proportioned, hand carved, painted and gilded furnishings. (MISSION) (MEDITERRANEAN) (SPANISH COLONIAL REVIVAL)
SPANISH COLONIAL REVIVAL c. 1920 - 1930
California, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona (MISSION) (MEDITERRANEAN) (SPANISH COLONIAL)
Encompasses an eclectic blend of English Tudor combined with the more whimsical British Colonial, Neo-classical and Georgian alongside French Regency and Asian influences. Architectural details include fluted and round columns with capitals, pilasters, arched windows with curved mullions, driveway porticos, brick facades with wood trim, wood pediments and gables. Mahogany and cherry woods are decoratively carved into furnishings including four-poster beds, large trunks, high-boy, low-boy and wardrobe cabinets, large dining tables and buffet servers spread with an array of exquisite silver and porcelains surrounded by hand-painted wall murals depicting the orient, overseas travel and local landscapes. (ASIAN) (BRITISH COLONIAL) (FEDERAL) (NEO-CLASSICAL) (TUDOR)
A term used to describe the eclectic blending of traditional wood-carved elements with over-scaled furnishings upholstered in plush fabrics to create a soft, more modern approach to tradition. Wood finishes go beyond standard mahogany and cherry to weathered painted finishes, marquetry, inlays and gilding. Brass and silver are joined with cast and wrought iron, bronze and copper. Textiles include chenille, velvet, plain and printed cottons accentuated with elaborate trim. Overall proportions in case goods are increased to blend well with larger king beds and seating.
Caribbean and Hawaiian coastlines with their strong winds and swaying palms on the shoreline of the deep blue sea creates a relaxed, casual approach to living. The bright blues, turquoise, yellows, reds and oranges filling the evening sky are joined with the vibrant colors of the flora and fauna. Local materials are reflected in hand-woven and printed textiles and exotic woods with primitive ornamental carvings. Accents include bamboo, palms and various tropical motifs including leaves and native flowers.
TUDOR c. 1500 - 1600
The massive Tudor style with Renaissance and Gothic influences, ran through the reign of Elizabeth I and James I. Architecture included half-timber and stucco facades, steep-pitched roofs with slate shingles and ornate chimneys with elaborate brickwork. Furnishings are constructed of oak with peg, dowel or mortise and tenon joints to create sturdy, rectilinear furnishings with simple carved details. Furnishings included refractory tables, leather strapped wooden chests, large standing candelabra, 4 poster beds, benches and heavily carved wall cabinets. Upholstery includes woven tapestries and leather with fabric or nail-head trim. Bulbous turned legs, raised diamond carvings, heavily layered moldings, wainscoting and diamond-patterned leaded glass windows with stained glass medallions provide additional adornment. (TUDOR REVIVAL)
Based on the villas and farmhouses of Tuscany wine country, Florence, Sienna and other communities in northern Italy have inspired this adaptation of Italian Renaissance, which has become one of the most reproduced styles in America in the late 20th and early 21st century. Architectural elements include clay tile roofs, stucco walls, loggias and porticos, carved stone balustrades, simple stone columns with Doric capitals, stone mantles and over-mantles, wood or honed travertine floors with inlaid patterns, hand-forged iron balconies and decorative iron railings. Barrel vaulted ceilings, dome and beamed ceilings, arched openings and large Palladian windows are also commonly used. Interior finishes include Venetian plaster, weathered faux finishes, hand-painted frescos and murals depicting Roman scenes, stone walls, granite or stone counters, iron candelabra, chandeliers and sconces and elaborate mosaic tile inlays. Simple, rustic furnishings are constructed of oak and walnut with Elizabethan, Tudor, and British Colonial influences. Accents include elaborately carved mirrors, hand-woven area rugs, marble statuary, shuttered windows, painted tiles and clay pottery. The color palette consists primarily of terra cotta, weathered brown, golden ocher and beige. Finishes include dark stains, bronze, gold leaf and silver leaf. Design elements include cherubs, Roman deities, Venetian glass and carved stone tile borders. Opulent fabrics in silk, velvets, damasks and brocades are incorporated into bedding and drapery. (ELIZABETHAN) (EUROPEAN) (ITALIAN RENAISSANCE) (MEDITERRANEAN) (OLD WORLD) (VENETIAN)
VICTORIAN c. 1840-1910
Honoring Queen Victoria of England this style was the first to be mass produced by machine in the late 18th century. The architecture of this period resembles that of an elaborate wedding cake several stories tall. Architectural details included two- and three-story buildings with wood shingled roofs, wrap-around porches supported with turned porch posts, carved wood brackets or corbels and fretwork painted in strong, contrasting colors. Cupolas, widows walks, spires and brick chimneys add to the whimsy of this style. Interiors feature nine and 10 foot ceilings, wood crown moldings and baseboards, wood floors, wainscoting, double-hung and bay windows with decorative etched, stained or beveled glass, carved newel posts and stair spindles, elaborately carved wood mantles or iron mantles with marble surrounds, door casing with glass transoms, interior fretwork spandrels and highly decorative brass gaslight fixtures with etched glass shades. Furnishings constructed of oak, walnut and rosewood are elaborately carved and often have gingerbread details. Textiles include damasks, velvets, brocades, needlepoint, lace and hand-made quilts. Accessories include personal memorabilia, cut crystal, fine porcelains, palm trees and brasses. (AMERICAN VICTORIAN c.1840 - 1910) (ENGLISH VICTORIAN c.1800 - 1900)
WILLIAM & MARY c.1689 -1700
Introduced during the reign of King William III, born and raised in Holland and Queen Mary II of England, this graceful but rather heavy style is often confused with Queen Anne style. Frenchman Daniel Marot became architect to the monarch during this time. French, Dutch, Chinese and Indian influences can be found in furnishings carved in walnut, fruitwood and ebony. Distinguishing characteristics include marquetry, Chinoiserie, Oriental lacquer finishes, gilding and applied repoussé silver. Furnishings include heavily carved high-back chairs with upholstered or caned seats featuring carved turnings and stretchers, cabinetry on stands with ball, bun or carved Spanish feet and cabinetry with brass or iron ring or tear-drop pulls. Dark, heavily waxed finishes were accented with brightly colored painted details and gilding. Textiles include chintz, damasks and needlepoint. Design elements include the acanthus leaf, endive, tulip and other floral motifs, fruits, birds, shells, wheel patterns, oriental details, scrolls and spiral carvings. (COLONIAL) (QUEEN ANNE)
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