I last talked about the beautiful Conservatory in Druid Hill Park which is large enough to enclose full size palm trees and while even a much smaller, cozy conservatory can warm your heart on a winter’s eve, we recently were able to transform a tiny unused nook into a spectacular room.
A friend’s home had a small space, not a room, barely a nook with a door that was used to access the backyard. So insignificant was it that you would scarcely be aware anything was actually there. It was merely the way to get outside! When asked to “do something” with the windows and back door, we decided to re-think the entire space.
The existing white windows and trim were a big part of the problem. They were so ordinary and so plain that they simply faded the space away. This was the true definition of a “left over” space!
The solution – a double story tall series of feature windows with stained mahogany and beautiful art glass. Of course a new back door would accompany the windows and the entire ensemble would be tied together with a stained mahogany wainscot. Out of nothing – using no more floor space than before, an entirely new and enchanting room was created.
Since the architecture of the house was not strictly classical, we had the liberty to design the window glass in the style of the turn of the century Arts and Crafts style. Our friend, the homeowner, was enamored with the decorative arts of this period and loved the design. The wood trim work was also designed in the Arts and Crafts style with simple detailing distinctly different from the typical classical motifs.
Add two red leather wing chairs, a side table and beautiful stained glass lamp to the new space and what was once a mere void, no more than a walk through space, became an elegant parlor.
While many of our conservatories reflect the decorative tastes of mid nineteenth century Victorian society, the simplified design aesthetic espoused by the Arts and Crafts movement can be equally engaging.
The Arts and Crafts movement developed in England during the latter part of the century as a reaction against overtly ornamental Victorian design. It was a movement away from the mass industrialization of the time and while expressed in art forms, was essentially a social and economic reformist movement.
Industrialized mass production of products was to be replaced by traditional craftsmanship. Simple construction and decorative themes hearkened back to an idealized medieval folk style.
*** Morris Chair, Gustav Stickley, produced in 1902. An example of Arts and Crafts style furniture design.