By Sigrun WinklerOn Apr 10, 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.
Used as both a family room and a living room, the 20x30-foot space in this Atlanta home gathers its elegant energy from patterns that are even more subtle than tone-on-tone—they are created entirely from textures. The pair of modified wing chairs at the fireplace are covered in a beige fabric woven in small diamond motifs (no coincidence, the Pollack fabric is “Diamondieu”). Then look inside the fireplace. The brick firebox is laid in a herringbone pattern. Subtle. The fauteuil facing the fireplace is a taupe velvet cut to create a 3D swirl pattern. And both the sofa and the club chair opposite it play the texture game with their small-weave diamonds. With the exception of the decorative pillows, the only non-textured pattern is at the windows. A tone-on-tone. Quiet. Elegant.
When sophistication is the design goal for a seaside home, it pays to pause before bathing the living room in blues. “You have to test them to discover the ones that read sophisticated and not silly,” says designer Jack Fhillips, who did precisely that in the living room he designed for the Shippan Designer Showhouse in Stamford, Connecticut. A pale, almost Prussian blue painted on the walls reads as Old World elegant, especially brushing against white-painted dentil crown moldings. A white silk tufted sofa commands the conversation area with a formality that’s made approachable by a pair of comfy blue club chairs.
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