By Gerda MenzelOn May 17, 2018 Design
This fireplace view of designer Skip Sroka’s Washington D.C. living room reveals more of his secrets to creating an elegant space. The gold-leaf mirror above the fireplace is ornamented with a Greek-key motif, the grandfather of classic patterns. (Think the opposite of trendy.) The mirror does more than introduce classic lines, however. It also swings out to reveal a flat-screen TV. This kind of cleverly concealed hard-working function provides one more clue to the meaning of elegant decorating. Efficiency. (Apple products’ efficiency makes them the most elegant in their industry. The same rules apply to both interior and industrial design.) The entire fireplace presentation is refined through the symmetrical balance of the mirror between a pair of antique sconces.
In New York renowned Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse, designer Noel Jeffrey went against trend by allowing the living rooms original dark-stained woodwork to have its say. And it is the language of elegance. By not painting the lovely paneled walls and fireplace, Jeffrey allowed the space to bask in the warmth of the wood’s rich grain. He underscored that warmth with creamy furniture upholsteries, a white rug, and billowy beige silk draperies that ensure a dramatic contrast between dark and light.
Inspiration for the bright white living room in this Seattle home was the Hamptons house of Diane Keaton in the movie Something Gotta Give. That clean, almost effortless look of the movie’s beloved home actually is as sophisticated as it is simple. As interpreted here, it’s a crispness that emanates from the architecture. A deeply coffered ceiling works in tandem with the careful gridwork of shelving that flanks the fireplace to define the space in bold, linear strokes. Symmetrical balance extends to both the architecture and the clean-lined furniture to impose formal structure on an informal, feel-good style. So just two words to remember: clean-lined and balanced.
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