Last week I was fortunate to have a few wins at one of the local Antique estate auction clearance houses. One of the items I was very, very keen to buy was this Georgian style (likely Edwardian) serpentine wing-back armchair. It has solid mahogany legs, original nailhead trim, and the original horsehair loose seat cushion.
Naturally it will be reupholstered, the orange velvet was likely not the first covering it had, but at any rate it's very threadbare and tatty and needs to go (as I vacuumed it more of the pile was sucked out). I'm going to have it in our casual living area, where I think it will contrast nicely with the more modern furniture we have there.
Of course, that lead to what to cover it in. This is clearly a Statement Chair, but how much of a statement to make it? Long time readers will know that my living area is a sea of neutrals… or has been, up until I had a rug made earlier this year with coloured spots in it, and also purchased a Designers Guild throw rug which has some of the same colours in it in varying sized stripes. One thing lead to another and I have finally decided to finish off this space. I've currently got 14 cushions in motion with the workroom in varying colours and sizes which will hopefully arrive soon, and so what to cover the chair in started to become a little confusing.
I could go with a bold colour, picked out from the cushions and rug… but I worried that with the chair already being antique and very different from everything else it would be a little too much of a statement. Then there was texture - I was drawn to velvet, but was concerned it would feel visually 'hot' when Adelaide's peak temperature runs of 40C in Summer started. In the end I've decided that it will be upholstered in a Manuel Canovas chenille (low pile) which won't look 'hot', and in a neutral mole grey/brown colour. But to tie it in with a little addition of the colour elsewhere in the space, I'm planning to use a contrast cord piping in tones of green/plum/reds on the arms. The nailhead will hopefully all be reused - it's a lovely mellow toned brass, and I'd like to keep as much original detailing as possible. The horsehair chair pad will go though - it's flat as a pancake and not comfortable at all… I'm thinking of redoing it with a down cushion pad.
I have a feeling this chair will be the favourite in the room. Men in particular love a wingback armchair due to its generous size, but the children are also drawn to it - perhaps it's the feeling of enclosure it gives at head height? A feeling of security perhaps? After its new upholstery has been completed it will go on one side of the fireplace with a modern table next to it for drinks, and probably a library lamp like this in bronze.
I'm also planning to complete the seating in general at long last in this space. The two sofas are fine, but I'd always planned to have a pair of armchairs on the other open side to offer different seating options (a variety of different seating options in a conversational seating space is always a good idea - there is no single chair/ sofa that suits all people for all social circumstances). This is one shape I've been thinking would work - a good combination of modern with traditional proportions, and a reasonably elegant design.
I can't remember if I've updated the blog with the lamps in this area too - I know I put them on Instagram, but a pair of these bronze sculptural table lamps are on either end of the sofa now, so I'm finally getting close to sorting this area out. The last room in the house in fact (odd given its our main living area).
The other item I purchased at the Auction house was a gilt mirror. The frame is very old, ornate and weighs a tonne. I think it probably had a painting in it once upon a time, although the mirror now there seems quite old. At any rate it's going to hang above the handbasin in the guest powder room.
Insert mirror here
A room that has been mirror less since the renovation. I've been waiting to find something the right size (everything was always either too big or just tiny or horrendously expensive), and the right style of course.
The gilt has a lovely age to it, and I think it will look fantastic in here. I'm getting my picture hanging woman in to hang it, as I'm concerned that due to the weight if I have a go at it we might hear an almighty crash one day...
I'm so pleased with the fountain - it looks like it's always been there, and the base is a very realistic cast iron looking fibreglass, so I'm happy with the quality of it all. The fountain itself (bronze) is starting to age with the green patination it will have.
We love the overall design, and have had a very positive reception from friends and family on it too (although that may be because they were looking at the dead grass for 10 weeks prior). The planting has gone into the gravel as well - the idea is to soften the margins between gravel and plants. Eventually the plants will all spill out over the gravel from the beds. Can't wait.
In the back garden my roses that weren't decimated by parrots eating the buds have put out a few sun bleached blooms
David Austin's Golden Celebration
And everything is growing like mad. I love this corner of the back garden - the textural and colour contrast is beautiful. The tree at the front is the Forest Pansy with its leaves that change to dark green in another month or so, then bright golden yellow in Autumn.
There are a few patches that need to be filled in - I have some seeds coming that I'll propagate to add into the patches - some salvia ground covers with interesting flat leaves.
So, I think that catches things up somewhat - not long until I can say the house itself is 'finished'… well, sort of. I think things always evolve, so maybe not that finished after all!
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