At Beekman 1802, we love books—books of all types. We especially love academic books that are stuffed with information or details so specific that you can’t even find them on the internet in one place. (Note: if a book also has the word ‘cyclopaedia’ in the title, we are also immediately enamored.)
We’ve been working on the designs for the Beekman 1802 furniture collection for about 3 years, so you can guess how excited we were when our neighbor published this simply titled but incredibly authoritative book:
An excerpt from the book:
NOTES FROM A DECORATOR
Fully upholstered frames are major components of any living room, library or family room and have been for hundreds of years—the first fully upholstered sofa is widely recognized as the “Knole Sofa” from Knole House in Kent, England (ca. 1550).
The use of fully upholstered furniture to create comfortable seating areas is often associated with Anglo and Anglo-American tradition, though other European countries had similar models.
The English Country House Style, of which I am a practitioner, has existed unofficially in British and American homes for more than a hundred years, but was codified by the Anglo-American Nancy Lancaster in the 1930s. The long-lasting appeal of this look is its easy combination of comfort with elegance (which the French never quite achieved). Many people today still wish their homes to be furnished with a mix of graceful eighteenth- or nineteenth-century mahogany antiques, painted furniture and fully-upholstered sofas and chairs with comfortable down-filled cushions. Such rooms, often juxtaposing oil portraits of family members with contemporary art, appear effortlessly composed but are completely thought out in every detail, down to the last silver bowl or the inlaid souvenir box purchased from a street vendor on a holiday to Istanbul. The past decade or so has seen a gradual evolution toward a slightly less formal look even in rooms decorated in the English Country House Style.
A careful selection of sofas, loveseats, club chairs and/or other seating pieces allows an interior designer to impart color, patterns, texture and of course proper scale to that room. I generally use semi-custom and custom upholstery because of the ability to change the dimensions of a piece—especially the length of a sofa or the width of a chair. This is
crucial to seating arrangements, particularly in a room with two or three different groupings. A smaller 72-inch sofa, 36-inches deep, fits in more readily with a slope-arm chair and two slipper chairs than a behemoth purchased from a retail store that is 90 inches long and 45 inches deep.
In thirty-odd years as an interior decorator, I have used, almost without exception, English and American upholstery models though I have tried to broaden my scope with the examples chosen to be included in this book.
There are two reasons for this. The first is historic. As a former British colony, the United States was steeped in English tradition and culture for hundreds of years, almost to the exclusion of the influence of other European countries. American architecture and interior design was merely a distillation of that which came from England, though often incorporating regional variations.
Another reason is adaptability. The relative plainness of much Anglo American furniture – especially the straight legs, simple curves and fewer carved details of the late Georgian era – lends itself to modern-day interiors, either by inclusion of the antiques or quality reproductions themselves or simplified versions thereof, which take on a more contemporary feeling by eliminating skirts, changing legs or arms, or by paring down details.
After all, regardless of your preferred style, a sofa is a sofa is a sofa –as long as it’s comfortable!
And be on the lookout for a giveaway contest on our Facebook page coming soon!