THE HIDDEN COLUMN

THE HIDDEN COLUMN

Versailles Palace

Versailles Palace

Dim sunlight filled the palace’s cavity. Sharp shafts of light shimmered on the decorative gold moldings. A distant sound, barely perceptible, echoed.  Marie Antoinette, in her flimsy night dress, caught her breath and swallowed hard. What could that be? I see no one. The sound came again. Marie listened.  She looked around, she saw no one, nothing, nothing but for her reflection. Tall mirrors, short mirrors, wide mirrors all framed in glittering gold. Her widened eyes caught the light as she turned to the sound. The sound of a muffled laugh. She bit her lip. But there is no one here, where would it be? She called, “Hallo.” Her voice reverberated. She walked towards the sound. It bounced off all the hard surfaces, mirror, wood, moldings, it got louder. She clasped her hands over her ears, but the sound boomed like she had an ear trumpet. Her night dress caught at the bottom of the column, she fell forward and stumbled over her feet. She gathered herself up, her heart pounding too many beats.

Hall of Mirrors

Hall of Mirrors

There it is, the laugh, its coming from the column at the wall. She put her ear to the column. Nothing. She gulped, swallowed her breath and slid her hand over the column’s edges. There it is again, that muffled laugh. Bang, a door smashed open right in front of Marie’s face. “Yikes.” Out popped her husband, a small jeweled box in his hand, he in his night dress, void of his powdered wig , slight of girth, tall and handsome, just the right size to squeeze into the boxy column.

Wall columns in hall of mirrors

Wall columns in hall of mirrors

She gasped and pushed her lips together, her hand over her heart, “Oh Louis, I will whip you for this.” He stuck out his hand and grabbed hers. He pulled her to him, so close their lips almost touching.
“My sweet wife, how could you be so crass? Might my peace offering  dissuade you?”

“Chocolates. Chocolates from France.Yes, I can be dissuaded.” She said as she placed the delicate bon bon in her mouth.

His gaze lingered on her lush lips and said, “Marie, did you remember  this day? It is the yearly celebration of our marriage. Will you permit me to take you to my bedchamber so that we can pleasure ourselves?

Marie’s face goes crimson as her mouth drops open. She glances with apprehension at Louis. She takes a breath, her mouth dry.”What would you like to have then Louis?”

He tilts his head to one side and smiles his oh-so-special smile at her. “I would like to have you.”

“This one time Louis, I will be what it is you like.”

What are you doing this chocolaty day? How are you celebrating the world of love? What do you remember from days like this that have passed?

Happy Valentine’s Day. Enjoy your bon bon’s.

A brief history of Versailles from Wikipedia:

The Palace of Versailles or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles.

When the château was built, Versailles was a country village; today, however, it is a wealthy suburb of Paris, some 20 kilometres southwest of the French capital. The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.

WINDOWLESS ROOMS

WINDOWLESS ROOMS

The sun warms our planet, provides us with light and is crucial to all life on Earth.

One of my readers asked me to talk about windowless rooms.  I sent a query back to her explaining that rooms w/o windows can be so depressing.  “What tactic do you want me to take? ”

Her answer:  Safety from natural and man-made disasters. Not depressing.

Well folks, with my 40 plus years of interior design work, I can tell you that a windowless room can be depressing.  So, before I talk about creating one that has live-in possibilities in case of disaster, I want to let you know that without access to natural light and fresh air, bacteria has no way to dissipate.

It’s the ultraviolet light of the sun that grows our veggies that make us healthy, and kills the bacteria that make us sick.  Oh sure, you can get special indoor artificial lighting that does some sun imitation, but living in a space where there is no natural light of the sun, is not ideal.  Not ideal physiologically or psychologically.

The president of the company always gets the corner office.  The one with the windows.  It’s not priority by seniority, it’s productivity by possibilities.  The ones who make the decisions get the best window(s). Important decisions are made in this conference room.

Conference room with natural light, lots and lots and lots.

The more important it is, the bigger the windows.  The industry tried to change this philosophy, but it did not work.  The natural light makes the grade.

When’s the last time you gazed upward and marveled at the mysterious, life-giving force that is the sun?

If you believe the whole staring-at-the-sun-makes-you-go-blind thing (which is actually true), you’re probably not doing a whole lot of sun-gazing. But it’s a real marvel: The sun warms our planet every day, provides the light by which we see and is necessary for life on Earth. It can also cause cell death and make us blind. It could fit 1.3 million Earths inside its sphere [source: SpaceDaily]. It produces poem-worthy sunsets and as much energy as 1 trillion megaton bombs every second [source: Boston Globe].

All of this, and our sun is just a plain old average star, by universal standards. It’s really just proximity that makes it so special to Earth. We wouldn’t be here if the sun weren’t so close.

And what about cruise ships?  My son Paul frequently goes on cruises with his friends and family.  He gets an exterior stateroom with a balcony, but there are interior staterooms as well. But those staterooms have no balcony and are windowless.

Ship interior stateroom windowless

They use the old mirror trick to give the impression of light.  The mirrors are in the oval/round shape of the ship windows.  Not too shabby.

I prefer windows, even on a ship.  A windowless room, bah, humbug.  Even if you got stuck in a basement apartment when you got out of college, just a slit of a window inspired a happy dance.  But if you have one of those theatre rooms,

Windowless Theatre Room

most likely in a lower level with no windows or you cover the window or eliminate the window.  Now we are talking about an on-purpose windowless room.  This room is not to live in unless…unless there has been a disaster and you must stay in this room until the disaster ends.  The room pictured here is pretty fun to spend some time.  Light colors and reflective surfaces, and if you turn out the lights and put on the movie projector, turn up the sound, munchies at hand, not too bad.  Add battery powered lighting, shelving, canned/dried food/water and potty, some warm clothes, you got a great place to wait out a disaster.

A safe place, a secret room below ground, a tomb in a pyramid.

King Tuts Tomb

New for 2020.  Tomb construction with all the amenities for windowless winning spaces.  Protect the people, protect the environment.

King Tut's tomb map to make your own passage

Will this go over big in the future?  Will we need to construct windowless rooms with secret passages to protect our sanity, our children, our lives?

 

 

 

 

Sun photo above courtesy of NASA

 

GLORY TO THE WARDROBE

GLORY TO THE WARDROBE

I remember Grandma’s wardrobe.

Grandma’s wardrobe was almost like this one.  When Grandma didn’t need it anymore, she passed it on to me.  I used it for clothes mostly, but when we moved from Long Island I left it behind.

Victorian Wardrobe (Closet)

After I became an interior designer, I thought about it from time-to-time.  If it were today, there would be no way it would be left behind.  Now, as an interior designer, my appreciation for well-designed and functional furnishings take precedent.  This one is handsome in solid mahogany, Queen Anne hardware, a Chippendale bracket feet at the base and a pierced pediment with a center shell motif.  There are several other designs applied to it like a true Victoriana wardrobe.

Dream.  Imagine what you could stuff into this amazing wardrobe, namely today’s storage cabinet.  Bottom drawers to hold cool summer clothes in the winter and hold snugly winter warm clothes in the summer.   Mirrored doors hide hanging clothes and more drawers and shelving in-between.  Those studio apartments in New York could use this wardrobe as a room divider.

The wardrobe, also known as an armoire from the French, is a standing closet used for storing clothes. The earliest wardrobe was a chest similar to this cassone, a 16th century Italian chest. This type of chest  usually referred to by its Italian name, was most often used as marriage chests to hold brides’ household linens, every item of which would have been woven by hand and embellished with hand lace or embroidery or other fancywork. The cassone was especially popular from the 14th to the 16th century.

During a large portion of the 18th century the tallboy

Tallboy 1790

was much used for storing clothes.

A common feature was to base future size of the wardrobe on the eight small men method. A considered good size double wardrobe would thus be able to hold within its capacity, eight small men.

What’s your preference? A Victorian wardrobe, a cassone, a tallboy, or eight small men?

 

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