A Beautiful Room & A History lesson

June 27, 2011

I feel like it’s been a while since I simply posted a beautiful room, this one has it in spades.  I mean it’s not even furnished and it’s spectacular.  The paneled woodwork in the foyer of this home certainly gives a sense of old world tradition and a quality seldom seem in todays newer homes.  The origins of wood paneling are attributed to aristocratic families that occupied castles that used wood to improve their interior comfort by covering cold stone walls and floors with wood from the surrounding forests.  Paneling has evolved in architecture and design, decorative treatment of walls, ceilings, doors, and furniture.  Consisting of a series of wide, thin sheets of wood, called panels, framed together by narrower, thicker strips of wood. The latter are called styles (the external vertical strips), muntins (the internal vertical strips), and rails (the horizontal strips).

In Europe, simple paneling on doors was used in Greco-Roman classical architecture, as it was in the transitional Italian Romanesque interiors. Its extensive use on walls and furnishings, however, began in the Gothic period. The richness and warmth of interior wood paneling is a highly characteristic aspect of the Tudor and Elizabethan styles of decoration in England. Early Tudor walls are profusely carved, often in fielded panels, in which the central area is raised above the framing. One particularly popular form of fielded panel was the linenfold, featuring stylized carvings that represent vertically folded linen; Hampton Court Palace near London contains many superb examples. In the English Renaissance, paneling became simpler; in the France of kings Louis XIV and XV, it was lavish and ornate; and in the Italian Renaissance, architects restricted its use to ceilings. In 17th-century New England, paneling was used but without decoration; in the 18th century it became more decorative, especially in the Southern colonies of what became the United States. (Colonial times).

The other stand-out in this space is the hardwood floors.  The herringbone pattern always reminds me of of the houses ansd apartments of Paris. Hardwood got its start as flooring in the 1600s, often as unfinished planks supported by wooden joists over dirt or stone, but developed style and elegance during the Baroque Era (1625-1714). Beginning in 1625, artistic French parquetry and marquetry patterns began to appear. These floors were made from pieces of wood cut by hand and fitted together in contrasting three-dimensional designs. Then they would be scraped by hand, rubbed with sand, stained, and polished to a sheen. This meticulous hand-craftsmanship was affordable to only the most affluent clients and royalty.  The design is both modern and classic, suited for many interior styles and I love it.

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