Design Blocks

Archive for the ‘Interiors History’ Category

Oh Hooked on House’s has posted another lovely home that I had to share with you all especially for my history II students. This week she shared the beautiful Frederick C. Grable craftsman home in Pasadena, California. It has been renovated meticulously and now actually runs on solar power! Please click here to view this fantastic post and beautiful pictures. If you happen to be in my History II course now I encourage you to bookmark this post so you can reference it when we come to the craftsman period.

Check out the inglenook around the fireplace.

{All images via Hooked on Houses}

I came across images of Stylist Aaron Hom and I wanted to share his work with you. You can see the original post here at Desire to Inspire or you can go directly to his website here. What grabbed me was all of the classic furniture pieces. I found myself looking at each picture and naming off the designer of each piece. So I challenge you to identify as many designers as possible. :-)Hint most of them come from the mid-century period.

{Images via Desire to Inspire}


Yesterday I shared the link to photos illustrating Kelly Wearstler’s Malibu mansion which were photographed by Jamie who keeps the blog From Me To You. Recently, while working in Abu Dhabi she visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and posted the stunning photos to her blog. I am calling all of my interior design students to view this as it is a wonderful example of Muslim Design and helps to illustrate design history. I hope you take the time to look at each picture and identify the various types of ornamentation. Click here to view all of her posted photos!

{All Images via From Me To You}

This is one of the best retrospectives I have found on an iconic designer before. Pam Keuber at Retro Renovation has put together a fabulous tribute celebrating Eva Zeisel. Ms. Zeisel was an iconic ceramic designer during the mid-century period and she continued working until her recent passing at 105 years old. If you do not know who Ms. Zeisel is then here is your chance to learn all about her and her contributions to the design world. Please click here to view this wonderful tribute!

{Image via Eva Zeisel}

From what I can tell (text is in Swedish) this unassuming home from the exterior is located and is for sale in Malmo, Sweden. I highly encourage you to click here to view all of the images as it is quite a unique home. It is just fascinating to look at each room and see all the different styles of furniture and architectural detail that has been used. You would definitely not realize looking at the outside that it looks like this on the inside! Can you identify the different styles and types of furniture used?

{All Images Via Here}

So in the contemporary reinterpretations post I included images of various types of furniture based on historical designs. The first one I illustrated was this sofa which is available from West Elm:

{Image via West Elm, Chester Tufted Sofa}

Were you able to determine that this updated classic is based on of the original Chesterfield Sofa?

The true origination of the Chesterfield sofa is uncertain but via a Shelter Pop article from AOL it states:

“This icon of the furniture world is widely thought to have been commissioned by, and consequently named in honor of, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, in the 18th century. Aside from being a much-admired politician and writer, the suave Earl was a known trendsetter. When the Earl requested a cabinetmaker to construct a piece of furniture that would allow a gentleman to sit upright in the utmost of comfort, thus was the inception of the Chesterfield sofa with its characteristic deep buttoned upholstery, rolled arms, equal back and arm height and nail head trim. There has never been any solid confirmation of this noble beginning. However, this namesake is certainly appropriate. Stanhope was a noted writer of letters to his illegitimate son, extolling all method of manners and morals. The Chesterfield sofa is certainly a refined and mannerly example of seating.”

This sofa is constantly being updated and reinterpreted in new and interesting ways, just look at this Google search and you will see tons of images. It’s important to note that the classic characteristics of a Chesterfield is that seat back is all one height, it had deep buttoned upholstery, rolled arms and displays nail head trim.

I like most other people flip through all the furniture catalogs that I get in the mail. I enjoy viewing all the style trends for each season and seeing historical designs reinterpreted in contemporary ways.  Here are some images from West Elm’s fall collection and I would like to know if you can identify what historical furniture designs they are derived from. I will post again tomorrow with images of original designs. 🙂

{Image via West Elm}

{Image via West Elm}

{Image via West Elm}

{Image via West Elm}

Recently I posted images from my visit to Atlanta where I visited a playground designed by Isamu Noguchi. Well lo and behold Dwell is featuring a slide show of images detailing mid-century playgrounds. Click here to check it out!

{Images via Dwell}

I know it can be very difficult for students to draw furniture in plan and elevation views when they are first learning to draft and use AutoCAD. For this reason I love when furniture companies include line drawings with dimensions in their catalogs and online website. It is an excellent resource for students to learn and interpret how furniture looks in a picture to a floor plan or elevation drawing. One such company that includes drawings in their catalogs and online is Design Within Reach (DWR). You can click here to subscribe to their catalog to start receiving it at home, it is free. 🙂 It is important to note that not every image includes a line drawing but there is a great many of them, including light fixtures and tables. It might just take a little time of looking and exploring their products. I also highly encourage you follow their blog or newsletter which you can view here, it is chock full of furniture design news and history.

I encourage all of you to actually pick a few furniture, lighting or case pieces and actually practice drawing them in plan and elevation view. The great part is if you are working in AutoCAD you can save them as a Wblock and add to your furniture library to reference in future projects. Also, for those websites that do not include line drawings the best tip I have is to look at all the furniture images. Look to see if it has a straight or dead on side view. This way you can look at the dimension specifications and still draw what you are seeing. You can also import the JPEG image into AutoCAD scale it and then trace the image. Though that can be time consuming and you might actually spend less time drawing it from scratch.Check out all the furniture images and their drawings below:

This one would be great for you to reprodce as it is a very simple chair and sectional design that could be verstile when illustrating furniture plans.

{The Simpatico Collection via DWR}

 {Nube Armchair via DWR}

{The Bantam Armchair via DWR}

{The Era Round Arm Chair would be a great one to practice for the curved lines. Image via DWR}

I have been meaning to post about the modern Isamu Noguchi designed playground in Atlanta for a while. Over spring break my husband and I visited Atlanta again and I finally made it to to view this wonderful play area. In our field Mr. Noguchi is better known for this furniture piece.

{Boomerang table via The Noguchi Museum}

It is important to note that Isamu Noguchi was actually a sculptor with a dedication to public works. I encourage you all to visit the Noguchi Museum website to learn more about him and view his works! This is actually the only playground designed by Noguchi that was ever built. I found this description of the playground via Bluffington University website:

“Noguchi designed sculptural play equipment for all of his playground designs, including this spiral slide. His playgrounds provide a place of exploration rather than one of regimented play, telling the child what to do.”