Design by the Details: Gilt and Gild

What: Think of gild as the process of applying a thin layer of gold-leaf or gold-colored finish.  Gilt is the finished object.  You can gild a frame as a DIY to then have a gilt frame.
History: Humans are attracted to shiny objects and this process began as early as (if not before) the 5th century in Egypt and Greece.  You can use a relatively small amount of real gold to cover large area and make it look rich, luxurious, and expensive.
Use: Gilt adds richness and patina to any home.  Anything that you can imagine could be covered in gold-leaf or painted gold.  Just a touch can be added to furniture, like the chaise above or entire pieces can be gilded.  Paint a tissue box gold, spray a light fixture, gild a thrift-store frame.  By incorporating a few luxe touches into any room, you’ll have instant glam.
An elaborate gilt mirror is tempered by a modern desk and deconstructed chaise in this Spanish home designed by Andina & Tapia.
carrier and company
Gilt tables mingle with warm yellows in this home designed by Carrier and Company featured in House Beautiful September 2013.
Gilt candlesticks help lighten the dark wood desk in this library designed by Studio Peregalli.
Gilt touches abound in this English home of Will Fisher featured in World of Interiors.
You can always count on Atlanta designer Suzanne Kasler to incorporate gilt.

Design by the Details: Plaster


New Orleans Race and Religious lets the failing plaster set the tone for their events and photoshoots.

WHAT: A powder usually including a finely ground stone (sand and limestone are most common) mixed with water to form a paste that is applied to walls to harden or shaped into decorative moldings and adornments for walls and ceilings.

HISTORY:  Mixing stone powder with water resulting in plaster has been around as long as, well, stones and water.  But once humans arrived on the scene we could finally do something with it.  There are different types of plaster – generally depending on use and what exactly it is made from, but we’re talking about the type that goes on walls primarily today.  If you’ve ever seen the inside of walls in an old building with horizontal timbers (laths) oozing with lime plaster – this is what was used until drywall was introduced in the 1950s.  Plaster is applied in multiple coats by an experienced artisan- the benefits to plaster are fire-resistance, better insulation for sound and air, and it is highly durable – if it doesn’t move.

USES:  Plaster has been used to build entire structures like earthen dwellings, mold statues, and as a fire retardant.  But I’m focusing on the wall treatment in this post.  While there are products out there that seek to replicate the look of plaster, true plasterwork is a highly specialized craft.  Plaster gives your walls a depth and luminosity that paint could never achieve.  But despite its benefits and superior aesthetics, it is labor-intensive and time consuming.  Venetian plaster has marble dust in the mixture and is polished to a high shine.  While plaster is a old-world technique, it can be used in a modern way.

450 Architects made the plaster walls a highlight with minimal everything else.
A fresh traditional bathroom, Wendy Young Designs showcases plaster in two tones with hand-painted stripe between the two colors.
The home of Rory Cameron originally featured in the April 1984 issue of World of Interiors as seen on The Art of the Room demonstrated the flexibility of plaster in this nautilus inspired staircase.
Sometimes plaster has been hidden under layers of paint and wallpaper, as it is in the apartment of Thea Beasley featured in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles.
The tonal variations and depth of material is evident in this hall designed by Whitman Design Build Inc.

The original walls of the house are tsuchi-kabe (mud plastered), a traditional technique used in old houses. For an updated look, the walls were covered with shikui, or traditional Japanese plaster in this Japanese storefront featured on Remodelista.

Design by the Details: Eglomise

Pronounce: A-glo-mees-A (hard "A" sounds)

What: Back-painted glass so design show through on front using gold- & silver-leaf.

History: There is a long tradition of this technique in Italy, examples as far back as pre-Roman times.  It was revived in Italy in the 13th century and then again by Jean-Baptiste Glomy, a French art dealer and decorator to which the technique received it’s name.

Use: Used to gussy-up furniture, mirrors, frames, and other decorative objects.  Since it is made with gold & silver-leaf it is not inexpensive. But it adds dimension and layers to an object that nothing else can. Great for adding a bit of glam to a space or introducing furniture that is not visually heavy.  Light bounces around and is softer than plain mirror or glass.

Eglomise mirror featured in Michelle Smith home.

Miriam Ellner Eglomise Entry
Celerie Kemble Kips Bay Showhouse 2011 featuring eglomise ceiling by Miriam Ellner.

Geoffrey Bradfield designed home in Palm Beach with intricate eglomise bedside table.

Eglomise closet doors by Darren Henault
Learn more of Design by the Details:
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below if this elegant technique could find a place in your home.

Design by the Details: Passementerie

1. Ribbon Fringe from House of Passementerie 2. Gimp from Samuel & Sons 3. Rosette by Samuel & Sons 4. Tieback from Spina 5. Tassel from House of Passementerie 6. Tape trim with Jute Embroidery from Samuel & Sons 7. Flat Braid from Samuel & Sons 8. Piping from Houles

Pronounce: pass-mon-tree

What: Ornamental edging and trims applied to curtains and furniture, often just called “trimmings” today.

History: Passementerie origin is in France, the first known use is in the 18th century.  No doubt to adorn lavish homes and people’s clothing.  There are several different kinds of trimmings that are considered passementerie: gimp, braids, trims, tapes, fringe, tassels, cords, piping, & tie-backs and further descriptions include the materials used: embroidered, beaded, pom-pom, leather, etc.  For example you can have leather tassels and leather piping, there are fringe pom-poms, and pom-pom trim.

Use: Some passementerie is purely ornamental and others serve a purpose, such as preventing a cord from unraveling or tying back curtains.  Since people are living much simpler today passementerie is used less often and is generally not as fancy as it once was.  Simple trim around a lampshade or to frame and finish a wallpaper.  A 2″ plain braid placed on the leading edge of curtains or a border around pillows.  Passementerie can add a small amount of detail that will finish a space.  Keep it tone on tone if you’re afraid of commitment.  You can also add a tassel to your furniture key or tiebacks.

Alessandra Branca used trim around chair seats and on curtains.
Waldo’s Designs used curtain tiebacks with tassels in Elizabeth Taylor’s living room.  
Check out that fringe trim on the sofa and pillows in Ellen Niven’s French home.
Timothy Whealon used brown tape trim to frame the roman shades & on pillows.
A greek-key tape trim adds just the right amount of detail to this home featured in Lonny December 2012. 
To read the other Design by the Details:
and coming in June: Eglomise!

Design by the Details: Tree of Life

design by the details tree of life objects by capella kincheloe interior design

What: Tree of Life, this is a difficult one to describe in just a few sentences, but it is a common motif represented in many cultures, countries, ideologies and religions. Usually represented with roots in the earth, a strong trunk, and branches climbing into the sky.  Often though these elements are present, it may not appear very tree-like because the tree of life can be geometric, abstract, modern or naturalistic.  Often there are animals or birds near the tree or in the branches. History:  The concept of the tree of life spans cultures, countries, and religions.  Some intrepretations are: evolution, underworld-earth-heaven, interconnectedness of all living beings, gifts from God, humanity, soul-physical body, and divinity.  If you’d like to see how far-reaching the tree of life is check out its wikipedia page.  Because the tree of life is a concept held by many people it is widely available as a design on tapestries, textiles, pots, paintings, rugs and many other decorative objects from all corners of the globe. Use: The tree of life is depicted on many different types of decorative objects.  It can be placed almost anywhere in your home from rugs on the floor to a textile hung on the wall.  It is widely reproduced on fabric and wallpaper. You can find it on objects from Turkey, Greece, India, China, Ancient Egypt, Ireland, and so many more.   So whatever your style, you’ll find a tree of life for your tastes.

My first introduction to the tree of life (can you believe this is where I used to have lunch?)  This is also the document that he based his “Tree of Life” fabric on (see below). 
Southern Accents, Our Most Beautiful Bedrooms, Summer 2009
Home of Gael and Francesco Boglione in Vogue Living Australia May/June ’09
Where could tree of life fit into your home?
capella kincheloe interior design