Right at Home: Old World styling for fall


By Kim Cook

English poet Percy Shelley wrote, “There is a harmony in autumn, a luster to its sky.” This fall, that’s especially true in home decor. Rich, interesting hues, textiles and materials work in concert to welcome the season when we all move back indoors.

As Gary Friedman, CEO of Restoration Hardware, said, “We’re coming out of a very modern, minimalist moment in design into a period where people are responding to a mix of historic periods and classical references.”

Designers and retailers are offering furnishings inspired by late 19th- and early 20th-century Europe and America. You’ll find warm colors like plum, mustard, persimmon, teal and charcoal. The newest wood finishes are often hand-turned and hand-rubbed to a lustrous glow. There are details such as tufts, nail heads and evidence of artisanal handiwork.

Linens are high weave, with patterns that reflect tapestry and embroidery.

And in tabletop, we’re seeing lots of painted ceramics, vintage industrial objets d’art and basketry.

New wall art includes reproduction antique merchant signage, folk art and bracketed shelves for collectibles. This trend is all about feathering the autumnal nest with more traditional things, which evoke the past and spark conversation.

Restoration Hardware’s collection draws from elegant salons, old factories and the rustic countryside. From Belgian brick palettes to architectural elements to distillery floor boards, the pieces have an authentic look.

Along with wood corbels and reproduction archival city maps, there’s a copy of a 19th century Italian gas streetlight, and a glass orb pendant inspired by one found in a Victorian hotel.

Look too for tables and mirrors crafted of salvaged wood from 100-year-old British mills and distilleries; pieces like the muscular Balustrade coffee table and ornate Entablature mirror make strong statements. Bow-and-arrow shelf brackets resemble ironwork in the grand old European train stations.

A French Empire bed is a regal piece; with toned-down accoutrements in the rest of the room — perhaps some simple linen drapery, softly hued bedding and a few well-loved mementos — this would be a most inviting sanctuary.

Rowe Furniture’s new Robin Bruce sofa group features several tufted, voluptuous pieces that suggest a luxe Paris apartment, circa 1920s.

Crate & Barrel’s Scarlet Chaise is a show-stopping swoop of luxe velvet comfort, and the Dylan wing chair in buttery, pewter-toned leather just needs a book and a blanket to be the perfect curl-up spot.

If the notion of a farmhouse in Tuscany or the Loire appeals to your inner decorator, you’ll find lots to work with this season. At Pottery Barn, painted linen pillowcases look like plump Van Goghs. Wrought iron candelabra, lamps and horse-head hooks have a rustic charm, as does a roughhewn dining table and bench. Hammered copper vessels have great texture. And a collection of heirloom quilts from the crafters at Gee’s Bend, Ala., among other artisans, brings America into this relaxed, rural style mix. Crewel work lampshades and pillows have a nice folk art look; find more at Homegoods, too.

Boston-based Nikki Dalrymple’s Acquire design studio and store has a great industrial lamp made of shesham, glass and nickel that holds a vintage style Edison bulb. It hits the antiquarian chic trend square on, and would complement any of fall’s new decor.

The old days never looked as fresh and new.

For more information: restorationhardware.com; potterybarn.com; acquireboutique.com; rowefurniture.com; crateandbarrel.com.