When we think about contemporary style, the soothing beauty of simple lines comes to mind. I am starting a new design this morning – a contemporary living room for my clients in Arlington, Virginia. Their home is a lovely penthouse with a gorgeous view of the Potomac River. I close my eyes for a moment and images from Milano, Cantù, the Brianza region and beautiful Italian furniture slowly go by.
My cappuccino is ready. The sweet smell of coffee transports me to Milano and Carlo De Carli. Is it thecontemporary furniture style itself that has me transfixed, or is it that I see myself with the same expression of De Carli’s famous picture in front of his drawing board at the Milano Politecnico-an expression that says, “I love designing”? For interior designers and decorators, beauty is the ultimate inspiration. There is something special about natural beauty as expressed in contemporary style. The style was born as a response to the social conditions following World War I in the Bauhaus, Germany, and is characterized by minimalism. It brought a new concept of beauty to interior decorating—the enhancement of beauty in natural materials by minimizing the structural lines. Now the grain of the wood is the center of attention of the piece—no carving, no dyes; now the delicate grey lines of the Carrara marble come to life on the coffee table with a mirror polish that reveals a fine crystalline texture.
My clients love walnut wood, leather, marble and white walls. They also need storage space. As they were describing their tastes, a photograph from theInternazionale Feria del Mobile came to mind. I went back to my files and there it was. I looked at it and thought, “Very close,” but this is from Milano. What can I do for my clients in Northern Virginia? Would I be able to get an original design paired with a competitive estimate? There’s only one way to find out. I started working on it.
While listening to Vivaldi, my pencil was moving quickly. The design of the16 x 30 ft. contemporary living room was appearing on the paper. Their color scheme is neutral, so I chose latte leather for the sofa and the chaise. A soft 100 % semi-worsted New Zealand wool- area rug in tan shades would blend with the leather.
A combination of high quality white lacquered modules and open shelving for the northern and eastern walls would address the storage request. They are made in Italy and within my clients’ budget!
I need to separate the sitting area from the entrance of the house, but we need to keep the view. One solution I can offer them is a modular bookcase with glass shelves and the same lacquered white finish as the other modules. This space planning would provide additional shelving. That is a plus.
I am almost done. I need another cappuccino. The bright afternoon sunshine through the panoramic triple windows on the western wall needs to be softened. A hard, but not too hard, window treatment would be ideal; sliding panels of screen shades in an espresso tone would blend perfectly with the walnut hardwood floor.
I think they need some sconces in addition to the floor lamp in the corner, but I need to talk to them during our next appointment so I can find the perfect lighting for them.
I can’t wait to show them the design. They will love the floor plan!