Crowds fill the streets in front of retailer windows in New York City as the stores vie for viewers of their Christmas displays. Macy’s started the tradition in 1883 when it debuted an animated shop window. This was followed by stores in other states across the country, but we’re only talking New York City here. This tradition is also in lobby’s of major hotels and office buildings: the Palace, the Harley, the St. Moritz and the Park Lane hotels and the Park Avenue Plaza and Gulf and Western office buildings.
Rockefeller ice skating
We strayed up and down, round the town, all the way to Rockefeller plaza . . . and wouldn’t you know it, right across the way was the most spectacular lights extravaganza in the city, on the facade of Saks 5th Avenue.
The famous tree at Rockefeller Plaza
ABOUT SAKS FIFTH AVENUE
For years, it’s been rumored that a Yeti lives on the roof of Saks Fifth Avenue, making snowflakes during the holiday season. He’s inspired Yeti trackers around the world. He’s reportedly been spotted by security cameras. Now, he’s a holiday superstar, with a starring role in Saks Fifth Avenue’s windows and light show, a plush toy ($55) and a furry book by Stephan Bucher ($25).
And just in case you didn’t know Saks Fifth Avenue, it’s one of the world’s pre-eminent specialty retailers, renowned for its superlative American and international designer collections, its expertly edited assortment of handbags, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics and gifts, and the first-rate fashion expertise and exemplary client service of its Associates. As part of the Hudson’s Bay Company brand portfolio, Saks operates 41 full-line stores in 20 states, five international licensed stores, 72 Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH stores and saks.com, the company’s online store.
Do you have a favorite something about the holidays?
The Gothic style, 1150-1500, originated in France and spread over the whole of western Europe.
Round centered rose medallion colored glass window above the large windows
Tracery sections outlining the center of this window
Gothic art and architecture were the spirit of piety, humility and asceticism, which was the fundamental teaching of the church during the Middle Ages. The style was to appeal to the emotional side of a joyless people who were steeped in ignorance and superstition.
Notre Dame section
Chartres Cathedral, France
Typical architectural features are the pointed arch, ribbed vault, rose medallion windows, tracery and the supporting flying buttresses. Gothic cathedrals are tall, with soaring arches pointing heavenward. Rays of sunlight pour through high, stained-glass windows and bathe the wood, masonry and marble. Walls, columns, entrances and doors are carved with figures and scenes from the Bible.
Not only great cathedrals and abbeys but also hundreds of smaller churches were built in the style. A style that not only was expressed in architecture but in sculpture, painting, and all the minor and decorative arts.
Trinity Church in New York’s Wall Street area at 75 Broadway was built in 1846 by architect Richard Upjohn as Gothic Revival. The Revival style became prevalent from the mid to the end of the nineteenth century.
Have you been to France’s Chartres, Notre Dame or New York’s Trinity Church? Would you like to play hide and seek in one of these buildings?
Lord & Taylor history of the US Post Office. My Historic Romance, still being written, takes place in this era of major movement.
The Lord & Taylor 2004 holiday windows along Fifth Avenue feature scenes depicting the history of the United States Postal Service.
1835 – Mississippi River, MO: Steamboats traveling on U.S. rivers became important in transporting mail to local postmasters.
Local postmasters received mail within three hours of the ships docking.
The Continental Congress encouraged the use of stagecoaches to transport mail.
The use of stagecoaches to transport mail stimulated the growth of stagecoach lines.
As the railroad expanded, railroad lines were designated as postal routes.
Mail was sorted by route agents at many railroad stations.
Scheduled airmail began providing service in 1918. Pilots flew without navigation instruments.
In cities where postage income would cover the cost, free delivery was provided to residents.
City delivery required that Americans use street addresses on their letters for the first time.
The above were the Lord & Taylor 2004 windows along Fifty Avenue, New York City.
This link will give you more history about Lord & Taylor windows: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/deliver-the-joy-lord–taylor-holiday-windows-to-unveil-history-of-delivery-and-us-postal-service-holiday-ornaments-stamps-75375762.html (To view, copy and paste the link in your browser)
Read some about Christmas:
The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, Christmas music and caroling, an exchange of Christmas cards, church celebrations, a special meal, and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly. In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.
Ebony wood library shelves, white upholstery, colors from books and accessories. Varying textures to reflect and absorb light.
Color must be an integral part of room design and never an after-thought. Colors that you choose are dependent on the adjacent colors. All colors have three parts, hue, intensity and tonal value.
Hue identifies the color, intensity is the brilliance of a hue, tonal value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color.
Light colors reflect light, dark color absorb light. Color is never experienced independently, but in combination with one of several textures, in different material types. For example, a glossy satin will have luster and light, while rough textures with its shadows will appear darker. Textured fabrics appear darker than smooth fabrics in similar colors (hues). Smooth surfaces that have a glaze or sheen reflect maximum light causing colors to appear lighter than fabrics with a dull finish.
Most rooms have natural and artificial light. Natural light is white, but in comparison to artificial light, it has a bluish appearance. Today artificial light comes in many choices, from encapsulated incandescent and fluorescent (white to warm tones if dimmed) and LEDs (white).
Mark Hampton sunny space with upholstery and draperies that reflect and absorb light.
The amount of natural light in a room depends upon window placement, the size of the windows, and the window coverings. Rooms with sunny exposure will be warmer than those with no sun, as in a northern exposure. In a room where natural light is not plentiful, the colors for walls and ceiling should be light in tonal value, on a scale from 1 (darkest) to 10 (lightest), use an 8 or 9 value. Upholstery and color accents may be slightly darker and brighter in intensity.
Mark Hampton dark walls, tall windows, natural light
Darker tones on the walls (value 4 or less), depending on the character of the room, can be painted in a semi-gloss or satin finish for light bounce. Paint in a semi-gloss gives light reflections that help to maintain the luminosity.
What do you think? Did this color talk arouse your curiosity, would you like more. How do you think artificial light affects color?
Fallingwater Fireplace in Living Room section
If you are reading this, you are probably curious about Frank Lloyd Wright Interiors.
FLW was not a singer songwriter, he was not a shoemaker, he was not slothful, and he was not an interior designer. FLW was a creative genius in architectural methodology and an engineer. He knew he was an architect and engineer, but he also thought he was a designer of interiors and furniture maker. Fallingwater is a prime example of Wright’s
concept of organic architecture, “promoting harmony between man and nature through a design integrated with its site buildings, furnishings and surroundings as part of a unified, interrelated composition.”
His large sitting room at Fallingwater could have had several “conversation groupings.” There is ample bench-like seating that is designed for lots of people sitting side-by-side.FLW lined up the seating all around the perimeter of the room. Unless you are sitting with your sweetheart and holding hands, it is difficult to sit right next to someone and hold a conversation. The best seating is to group conversation areas so folks are sitting across from one another.
When last I visited his magnificent Fallingwater I found it curious there was no seating at the fireplace. The fireplace is a perfect conversation area, but the rock ledge he designed and installed is in the way.
Lined up sitting
The windows are behind the seating. It would be difficult to enjoy the view. A view or fireplace are natural focal points to group seating. Neither the view nor the fireplace was considered.
Fallingwater is the ultimate realization of his vision of man living in harmony with nature. Walls of glass enhance the site-and-house connection. But what about the functional connection for those using the space? He argued with his client about design and money. Instead of an agreed budget of $50,000 max, the cost escalated to $155,000.
Keep posted for a look at more of Wright’s ideas.
Victoriana was stylized as modern in the 19th century. The latest and newest interiors were influenced by the manufacture of ample materials used in profusion without any aesthetic considerations. Ornament was almost entirely produced by the turning-lathe. Balusters, spindles, wooden grilles, and dwarf columns were used in profusion without any consideration given to order. Layered mixed designs were used on all vertical and horizontal surfaces. Wall composition and orderly furniture arrangement were disregarded.
Excessive use of unrelated patterned surfaces on walls, floors, and upholstery were common. Walls were covered with wallpaper of poor design, painted stencil patterns, or real or paper-mâché imitation Spanish leather. Windows were dressed with heavy draperies, swags, valances, and jabots, enriched with heavy fringes. The machine, manufacturing furniture, accessories, wallpaper and accessories, all highly profitable products dominated the industry.
Drawing room in Robert Edis London house circa 1870
According to Peter Thornton’s book 1984 “Authentic Decor” this image depicts the profusion common in Victoriana. The ceiling had stenciled decoration. The deep frieze at the top of the wall was painted by an artist. Gas-piping beneath the frieze was used as a picture-rail. Walls were papered with William Morris’ designs in a pomegranate pattern. The cabinet was ebonized (stained in a black finish) and had painted heads representing the season. Curtains covering the shelves were common. Floors were covered with patterned rugs. Victoria and Albert Museum, London
These images show layers and layers and layers in design profusion of confusion. Even the most elegant interiors were smothered in mixtures of patterns, designs and color. Every corner, every window, every door had some kind of finish, not necessarily designed to work together.
The Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk, Connecticut built circa 1870’s had the same fate as the Robert Edis house. In its elegance the Drawing room walls, ceiling, floor, all surfaces and windows were covered with fabrics, furniture, accessories and mirrors to double your view. Take a real tour. See Victoriana for yourself.
Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum Drawing room circa 1870
Victoriana ended when it was realized quality of design had gone lost. New ideas of simplicity became easier to live with. And handmade furnishings became important again as they are today. If not for the history of Victoriana we would not understand the importance of uncluttered, organized, well-designed spaces.
Steampunk is designed to be tongue-in-cheek Victoriana.
Victoriana house remodeled to stylize Steampunk
You can have some fun, see Steampunk and roam through this house at www.modvic.com.
Enjoy. If you want to get some Steampunk, call the vendor. The contact information is below.
Don’t forget to leave your comments, questions and challenges. My question to you, what have you always wanted to know in interior design and didn’t have anyone to ask?
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Sharon, MA 02067