By Sandra HolzOn May 07, 2018 Design
Elegant living rooms display fine design without appearing flashy. And it’s harder than it sounds. This living room in the home of Washington, D.C., designer Skip Sroka reaches the pinnacle of elegant traditional design with gentle curves on the window treatments and furniture. Both chairs and the sofa have beautifully rolled arms as well as subtle curves at the back. The windows are adorned with curved Roman shades in a damask tone-on-tone that underlie simple pleated silk panels. All together, the curves convey a shapely beauty that ties the room together. This is the essence of soft decorating. The coffered ceiling and quiet palette continue the understated charm.
A surfeit of square footage thankfully is not essential to an elegant design, as this cozy living room in the Atlanta home of designer Lori Tippins proves. In fact, the human scale of the space contributes to its elegance, for design is as much about how a space lives as it is about how it looks. Here beauty begins with the bones of the room. Pairs of French doors flank a small antique marble fireplace for a full flow of natural light, symmetrical balance, and pleasing proportions. The trumeau above the fireplace is a major player in getting the right proportions, drawing the eye all the way up to the same height as the curtain rods. (It’s also gorgeous!) These, too, are placed high on the walls, nearly a foot above the doors to skim just beneath the extra-thick crown moldings. Decorative elements are few but fine. The pair of floor lamps, for instance, were converted from gilded iron candlesticks. The vertical border on the draperies introduces color and pattern in an exquisitely subtle fashion.
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.
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