Don’t know a cornice from a valance? Wouldn’t know mohair from muslin, damask from duck or a rolled edge from an egg roll? We often use terms that are familiar to the trade only. Well, fret no more…our Word of the Week will have you sounding like an industry pro in no time!
A pleat with two, rather than three folds to distinguish it from the basic pinch pleat. Butterfly pleats are made by pushing back the top corners of the outside folds of a typical two-section pinch pleat giving the look of a butterfly opening its wings.The corners are hand tacked in place.
The three-section butterfly pleat is made using the same technique, but starting with a three-section pinch pleat. The butterfly pleat is best for light to medium weight fabrics.
Despite being around for hundreds of years, it was Ralph Lauren who made equestrian style commonplace in our homes. Originating in the English countryside, leather upholstery with nail heads and heavy, dark wood furnishings usually come to mind. While today’s designers continue to embrace this style, many are interpreting it in a more casual, modern way.
Ashley Garrison of Ashley Garrison Interiors is one of these. Look at what she did do to incorporate an Auburn, AL teenager’s love of horses into her bedroom design. Garrison’s challenge was to create a bedroom that would capture her imagination and evolve with her as she grows older. Our challenge at DIW was to make and install everything in a month…there was no time for any horsin’ around!
The room features a custom headboard upholstered in a graphic black and white Bergamo fabric and a “mane” trim that Grant added during the installation. A palette of pinks and chartreuse was used to add a bright splash of color. With Pantone’s 2011 Color of the Year being Honeysuckle, “a dynamic reddish pink”… that is “encouraging and uplifting,” pink will be very popular this year.
A vibrant pink and lime floral fabric by Jane Churchill was used for the hand sewn curtains and pink tones were used in the other fabrics and accessories.
The shower curtain features butterfly pleats and covered buttons that were sewn by hand and the rectangular skirted table DIW built is covered in a playful leopard print with the inverted pleats and piping in a multi colored stripe. We lined and inner lined the table skirt.
Two of the pillows are boxed and button tufted with a custom dyed trim and the other pillow has a box pleated trim.
So, by making an iconic statement with the headboard, Garrison created a chic, modern equestrian feel and let this teenager’s love of horses show through without decorating the entire room around a traditional horse theme.
Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet….
Whether you call them footstools, tuffets, poufs or ottomans, these small furnishings serve an important function. The low-lying, legless “cushions” are an icon of taking it easy. They do it all - from footrest, coffee table to extra seating – you can always find a place for these gems.
The history of footstools and ottomans in Europe can be traced back to before the start of the 17th century. During the reign of King Louis XIV of France, when chairs were status symbols and no ordinary person could aspire to own one, a hierarchical seating system featured a fauteuil (an armchair) for the king and queen to sit upon. No one else was allowed an armchair in their presence, except for another monarch. A chair with a back but no arms was considered appropriate for those closest in rank to the king, such as his brother or children. The tabouret, an elaborate, upholstered stool with curved wooden legs and tassels, carried by a liveried and wigged servant, was awarded those holding the rank of duchess. The duchess was automatically granted the honor of sitting in front of the queen. This stool became such a symbol of privilege that when Louis XIV’s mother, the Regent Anne of Austria granted the tabouret to two non-duchesses, such a protest was raised that she had to remove them. Everyone else was afforded slightly less comfort, right down to footstools for the least ranking nobility, with the poorest expected to stand.
At one point, Louis XIV’s brother Phillipe, the Duke de Orleans, pushed for an armchair in the king’s presence instead of the armless chair he was allowed. King Louis XIV gave this explanation to his brother for denying him the elevation of rank:
“It is in your interest, brother, that the majesty of the throne should not be weakened or altered; and if, from Duc d’Orleans, you one day become King of France, I know you well enough to believe that you would never be lax in this matter. Before God, you and I are exactly the same as other creatures that live and breathe; before men we are seemingly extraordinary beings, greater, more refined, more perfect. The day that people, abandoning this respect and veneration which is the support and mainstay of monarchies, the day that they regard us as their equals, all the prestige of our position will be destroyed. Bereft of beings superior to the mass, who act as their leaders and supports, the laws will only be as so many black lines on white paper, and your armless chair and my fauteuil will be two pieces of furniture of the selfsame importance.”
And while simpler wooden footstools were widely used in Europe, specifically during the time of the Tudors in England, the upholstered ottoman footstool gained prominence during Louis XIV’s reign. His vast estates, including the Palace of Versailles near Paris, were showpieces for the latest furniture, art and design. When the enormous palaces of Europe were first decorated in new styles incorporating comfort, design and the latest fashions from abroad, word spread that the current must have furnishing accessories included footstools and ottomans.
European nobility were much influenced by French tastes and replicated much of what they saw when they returned home from trips to France. The Habsburgs of Austria decorated many of their palaces in the French style and the Hanoverian Kings were so impressed that they did complete makeovers at their castles and palaces in both England and Germany.
Footstools and ottomans thus became the must have furniture accessory for the wealthy of Europe in the 18th century, and became increasingly popular in the United States with succesive waves of European immigration in the 19th century. The earliest ottomans were distinguished from stools by being completely covered in padding and fabric with no legs and sat directly on the floor. Many of them had a box-like construction that could be used for storage, with larger ottomans being used as blanket boxes. The smaller ones had a cushioned top for added comfort as a low seat or footrest. The word pouf means “something puffed out” in French, to denote the style of this little seat or footrest.
The European influence on furniture was overwhelming as French dominated furniture design was quickly adopted by increasingly affluent Americans. Most of the high-end designs were upholstered in leather or fabrics sourced from upmarket European weavers. When a burgeoning textile industry began to emerge in the United States by the middle of the 19th century, furniture makers became less reliant on European influences and an American furniture identity began to emerge on its own. This typically featured ottomans with intricate stitching and designs such as nail heads or buttons. Chairs often had matching footstools or ottomans and as time progressed the ottomans evolved into stand alone pieces. As tastes and fashions changed, ottomans were constructed in different shapes and sizes to suit different purposes.
The word “ottoman” as associated with furniture used as a footstool is widely believed to have come about in the late 18th century. The origin of the term can be traced to the invasion of Egypt by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798. Egypt was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, notorious for its brutality, and often had to endure long periods of torture. Footstools were used to rest the damaged feet of these victims. Once Napoleon had established a French presence in the Middle East, traditional footstools were renamed ottomans and Europeans made a great show of resting their feet on one of the most powerful empires in the world.
Its names may be many, but whatever you call it, today’s ottoman is a versatile object that can be used as a low stool, a comfortable foot rest, a makeshift coffee table, a trendy storage space, extra seating or as an attractive focal point in any room of the house. It’s much more comfortable to put your feet up on something soft instead of wood or glass. And an ottoman or pouf softens up the whole feel of the room, eliminating those hard corners that everyone seems to bump into as well as adding a soft texture to an extra seating area.
This round pouf is as functional as it is fashionable. It’s perfect for use as a dining stool, extra seating, side table or a comfy place to prop your feet. Upholstered in Velvet Geo Turquoise by Robert Allen, the geometric pattern of velvet circles and squares gives it a contemporary twist.
It measures 19”D x 20”H.
These cool little perches make a stunning accessory and give great character to any room in your house.
Each square ottoman is upholstered in used burlap coffee sacks. Eco-friendly and locally made by DIW, they are all completely unique and show the branding and markings of the bags used in the process. This is one piece that definitely will have people talking and each one has it’s own story to tell.
They measure approximately 20”W x 20”D x 20”H and have small glides on the bottom to prevent wobbling.
This beautiful round pouf is a little larger than the other but still as functional and fashionable. It is upholstered in a chocolate and cream fabric with a modern edge.
All poufs and ottomans are available for purchase at ShopDIW. They are also available in custom sizes.