specializing in california casual interiors

We get pretty nerdy about design history (not that we’re apologizing for it), and one of the best ways to look at design history is through the evolution of the chair. Chair design has changed enormously over the centuries, but the “modern” chair didn’t really begin to take shape until fairly recently.

Before the 19th century, chairs were valued based on how much time went into making them and how ornate they were. It wasn’t until the industrial revolution that making chairs became cheaper and easier. New machinery and materials gave designers the freedom to design furniture that was created for the masses, not only for the elite. Plastics, steel and molded plywood became popular materials which, as you can imagine, changed the look of interiors forever.

Many of the designers who made the largest impact came directly from the Modernist movement. This movement originated at the Bauhaus school, a German school of arts and crafts, which influenced the designers listed below and the chairs that they created. Even if you know nothing about modernism or chair design, some of these chairs will probably look familiar because they are just that iconic. Click on each image to buy the chair!

Designer: Eero Saarinen

The Tulip Chair, 1957
This chair is a true classic and is quintessentially modern. The soft curves of the pedestal base are a simple alternative to the typical four-legged chair. It’s made out of fiberglass, which was one of the new materials being explored at the time. It’s counterpart, the Tulip Table, is another revered piece of furniture.

The Womb Chair, 1948
This chair is another classic. It’s known for its comfort, and for being able to support multiple sitting positions, which is why it was named the Womb Chair. We can attest to the comfort of this chair because we’ve sat in it, and yes, it does live up to its name!

Designer: Hans Wagner

The Wishbone Chair, 1950
The Wishbone Chair’s seamless organic shape and simplicity is a reminder of how much furniture had changed during this era. The chair is minimal, like so many of its comrades, and is made out of natural materials. Yet it is vastly different than the wooden furniture that was so popular in previous decades. The chair’s curved back marries form and comfort, making this chair an icon in modern design. (Four of these babies live in RWD designer Leah’s dining room!)

Designer: Marcel Breuer

The Wassily Chair, 1925
This chair is one that shows up A LOT in contemporary media and commercial designs, so it probably looks familiar. Inspired by the bicycle, Breuer used steel tubes, a popular material at the time. In doing this, he reduced the classic club chair to basic planes and lines, changing the course of furniture design. The chair is simple, yet effective, and definitely memorable!

Designer: Ludwig Mies van de Rohe

The Barcelona Chair, 1929
The Barcelona Chair is another iconic, modern piece of furniture. Its designer, Mies van de Rohe, famously claimed that “less is more”, which is perfectly exemplified by this chair. The chair is simple, but absolutely gorgeous with it’s sensual curves and fine craftsmanship. In the same family, the Barcelona Sofa is another favorite!

Designer: Harry Bertoia

The Bertoia Chair, 1952
Like so many other chairs of the time, the Bertoia Chair is a celebration of industrial material. However, what is special about this chair is that it makes a tough material look soft. The chair is more like a sculptural work of art than the typical chair, but its shape came from a careful consideration of the human body, and what the designer himself wanted to sit in.

Designer: Charles and Ray Eames

The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, 1956
The smooth, curved, molded plywood that makes up the base of this chair was ground breaking for its time. It was designed to be comfortable and welcoming, compared to the other popular seats of the time. The Eames’ wanted to show that modern could still be comfortable, and obviously they succeeded, as this is still one of the most beloved chairs to come out of this era.

The Eames Molded Plastic Armchair, 1950
This chair was originally designed for the ‘International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design’, held by MOMA. The competition was meant to address the need for low-cost housing and furniture in the post-war era. The plastic body of the chair made it study, easy to manufacture, and perfect for mass production. It’s still a favorite to this day!

We hope you enjoyed this little tour through modern chair design!

XOXO,

RWD

Dining Room Design

Our client felt that her dining set was too small for the space, and she wanted to give everything a re-fresh. She’s a fan of country style and wanted a lot of color, so we found her a classic farmhouse dining table, complete with bench seating, and painted a wall blue for a pop of color. Our client was the one who picked out the art, and we think she found the perfect piece!

Living Room Design

Out client also hated her black furniture and wanted to make the room more colorful and bright! We gave her lighter and brighter furniture (including a yellow chair, see here) and lots of fun pillows to liven it up. It was also important to provide a lot of seating for her family, so we selected a sectional, plus a side chair and ottoman.

Vibrant Country Chic

Office Design

She also loved shiplap, which fit in perfectly with her country design style! We suggested that all of the walls except the shiplap wall be blue, so that the white shiplap could be the attention-grabber. We also found the perfect art that was inspired by her two pooches, a lab and a pitbull mix! The desk area also got a makover to fit better with rest of the design.

This project was so fun to work on, and we think it turned out great. With all of the country style, color, and light and bright feels you can dream of! To see the project in it’s entirety, click here!

XOXO,

RWD

The term “Interior Decorator” was first used in America in the early 1900’s. Elsie de Wolfe (1865 – 1950), an American actress, is thought of as the first interior design professional because she was the first to be “commissioned” to decorate. In 1913 she also published the first interior design book, “The House in Good Taste”. Source

In the 1930’s the term “Interior Designer” was first used in the magazine “Interior Design and Decoration”. The magazine went out of print between 1943 – 1952, during which time a competing magazine, “Interiors” insisted on strictly using the term “designer” instead of “decorator”. When “Interior Design and Decoration” came back into publication, it dropped the “and Decoration” from it’s name, distinguishing designers from decorators. Source

The worlds oldest remaining area rug, the Pazyryk rug, is estimated to be 2,500 years old. It was found in the grave of the prince of Altai, near Pazyryk (modern day Russia). The carpet was preserved so well because the grave of the prince was robbed, exposing the rug to the elements and extremely low temperatures. This froze the rug, preserving it in ice for 25 centuries! The design on the rug features men walking and riding horses, and elks with anatomically correct internal organs. Source

The first ever design show was called Changing Rooms which aired from 1997 – 2004 on the BBC network. In the show, neighbors swapped homes with each other and were given 2 days, £500, the help of a design professional, and a handyman to re-design a room. All rules were thrown out the window, which honestly resulted in some truly horrific design situations, many tears, and some very unhappy neighbors. Non-the-less, it holds an important place in our hearts as the first design show ever! Source

The word “sofa” comes from the Arabic word “suffah,” which means bench, and dates back to 2000 BC Egypt. Some fun stats on what the average sofa goes through: in it’s lifetime it will see 782 visitors, 1,663 spills, and will be used as a bed 489 times. On average, we spend about 4 hours a day sitting on our sofas, eat 13 meals a month on them, and will watch about 782 movies on them! Source

The word “modern” actually refers to a specific design era, not just a clean style that is on trend right now. The modern era started with the Bauhaus movement in the mid 1900’s. This movement began at a German art school founded by Walter Gropius. It is characterized by “economic sensibility, simplicity and a focus on mass production” according to this source. “Contemporary” is actually the correct term to use when talking about the clean style that is currently trendy.

Hope you enjoyed these interior design facts! Which one interested you the most? Tell us in the comments below!

XOXO,

RWD

Images: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 //

October 17, 2019

Photo via Your Enneagram Coach

Back with some random goodness that could change your life! 🙂

Today’s three:

1. Essentialism

I just finished reading this amazing book and now I have to re-read it.  It actually could be a life-changing read!  I kinda had my mind blown.  This book says so much of what I think I knew to be true deep down, that it is not about saying yes to everything, doing all things for all people and multi-tasking.  We make a much bigger impact on our lives and others, our work our home, our health, if we just focus on one thing that is MOST ESSENTIAL to what our goals are in life, and do it well.  This will mean saying no to many good opportunities so you can say yes to the best one.  Instead of doing many things moderately well, you will excel at the one thing that matters most at that moment.  Do yourself a favor and pick up the book here and read it! You’re welcome.

2. What 3 Words

So I heard a blip about this app on the radio.  Apparently this app can pinpoint your location and as accurate as GPS coordinates.  It can give you location down to 3 cubic meters.  They have mapped out the entire world and each 3 cubic  meters is given three random words to describe it.  Apparently, emergency services in Europe have been using this to find people.  It can give them information as to whether that person is ground level or on the 10th floor.  You can tell your friends exactly where you are in a crowd at a concert.  If you want a package delivered to your back door, just give the 3 word combo assigned to that spot.  Kinda creepy, kinda cool. Go check it out for yourself, here!

3. Enneagram

I LOVE personality tests so when I learned about the 9 Enneagram types. I went and took as many free tests as I could to verify what my type was.  Looks like the consensus for me is Type 9: The Peacemaker.  If you have not tested your type yet, what are you waiting for?  I think these things are fun to confirm what we already know about ourselves but more importantly our loved ones in our life!  It’s easy to understand ourselves but harder to fully grasp others.  Take the test here, and learn more about it on Pinterest which is full of fun things about Enneagram types, or read the book “The Road Back to You” which is on my list.

XOXO,

Rebecca Ward