The History of Decoupage

The beautiful art of decoupage is one that is timeless and yet unrelentingly vintage at the same time in today’s traditional design. And it seems to be making its rounds in some of today’s most enchanted showrooms. According to out friends at Design Sponge, the craft is thought to have its roots in East Siberian tomb art and was later perfected in China where it was used as early as the 12th century for decorative objects. Throughout Europe in the 18th century, Venetian artisans developed the technique of taking sheets of engravings which were hand-colored, and cutting and pasting them onto the surface of furniture. Several layers of varnish were applied to create the high-gloss sheen reminiscent of traditional lacquer work. The Venetians called this relatively inexpensive technique lacca povera and the French later renamed it decoupage.

“Magnolia” from the Mary Delany Collection at The British Museum

Spanish lacca povera box sold at Christies

Photo Credit: Design Sponge

Not Your Grandma’s Rocking Chair

If you’re like most, the image that comes to mind when you hear “rocking chair” is probably something involving a comfortable old wooden, creaky porch chair with a grandma not too far off in the distance gathering her knitting needles and yarn.

The creative individuals at Studiobility have set out on a mission to dispel rocking chairs’ associations with ho-hum docility and have created the “Rocking Beauty.” This modern chair is an extension of the inner beauty concept, a piece where masculine meets feminine, according to Interior Complex. Designed by Gudrun Lilja Gunnlaugsdottir, Rocking Beauty is made from water-jet cut aluminum, macralon and plywood.

The vertical stripes are a precise blend of creams, grays and whites of differing widths, which create a harmonious look. The floral decorations of the side of the rocking chair are quite unique and give the inside an open and airy look. It is these unique qualities which give a definitive appeal to this modern rocking chair.

The Wilton Playshop Presents: Italian American Reconciliation

Oscar, Tony and Pulitzer prize winning writer John Patrick Shanley’s Italian American Reconciliation is coming to The Wilton Playshop this spring with performances beginning Friday, April 30 and running through Saturday, May 8. The production is being sponsored by HSBC, The World’s Local Bank.

Directed by Jeanine DeFalco of Trumbull, the play is a romantic comedy set in downtown New York that captures the emotional ups and down of love, marriage, divorce, hot tempers, and torrid romance. The production includes a talented cast and crew from throughout Fairfield County including Michael Limone of Stamford as Aldo Scalicki, Glenn Packman of Norwalk as Huey Maximilian Bonfigliano, Dana Dicerto of Norwalk as Teresa, Jessie Gilbertof Weston as Aunt May and Nancy Anderson of Fairfield as Janice.

Tickets for The Italian American Reconciliation are available for performances Friday April 30th and Saturday May 1st at 8 pm, Sunday May 2nd, at 2 pm, with Open Captioning for the hearing impaired, and Friday and Saturday, May 7th and 8th at 8 pm.

Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors. For ticket information contact the Wilton Playshop and (203)762-7629.

For more information contact: Toni Lee, (203) 761-1268.

Does Travel Inspire You?

There’s usually no better vehicle for inspiration for a designer than visiting another country. Often times, international voyages provide them with a feast of ideas to bring back to the drawing room when planning their next remodel or maybe it rouses ideas for items to be on the lookout for on their next buying trip.

HM Oliver’s own Amabel Chan is no stranger to this concept of travel-inspired design. She took a trip to France last year and came back with tones of great ideas, as noted in our last post, “Get Inspired.”

Well now, the opportunity to travel abroad to seek out your own inspirations is all yours. Design Sherpa, the Atlanta-based Social Media marketing team, asks the question, “What Inspires You?”  in their upcoming designers contest. The designer with the most compelling answer can win $10,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Paris, France to attend the Maison & Objet show at the Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre.

At Home in Arkansas Editor-In-Chief Diane Carroll and renowned design blogger Tobi Fairley, will be part of the panel of judges that have been hand-picked by Design Sherpa.

Click here for details on your chance to win!

Get Inspired!

When you take a vacation to a new destination — be it exotic or simply different from where you live your daily life — there are plenty of adventures waiting to transpire. Maybe you take pleasure in seeing the architecture, savoring new foods, or hearing a different language. Maybe you just like the experience of a different culture and the feeling you get when listening to music and entertainment that is completely different from your own. Or maybe for you, the best part of traveling just might be the fact that it provides heaps of decorating inspiration! If so, voyage cautiously — there are definitely some common mistakes you’ll want to steer clear of.

Home Envy has put together a great DOs and DON’Ts list for travel-inspired decorating for those of you hoping to recreate that dream destination atmosphere right at home.

Inspiring design from the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild during our trip to France

A few of our favorites are:

DO make room for furnishings that look well-traveled or well-loved. A Turkish table with inlaid mother-of-pearl and ivory suggests a trip to Morocco or Turkey, while a vintage trunk may have traveled on the Queen Mary.

DON’T copy any regional style literally or you run the risk of developing “Epcot Syndrome”. Santa Fe style looks perfectly appropriate in New Mexico and works very well in Arizona and Los Angeles, but it may fall somewhat short in eastern Canada where geography and light are vastly different. Terracotta tiles, Navajo rugs, and religious iconography can however mix well (and look appropriate) when combined with other classic American-style furnishings.

Click here for the compete list.

The Song of The Crocus Fairy

Along with Tulips and Daffodils, Crocuses are flowers most commonly associated with spring. Fittingly, “The Song of the Crocus Fairy” is the first poem in Cicely Mary Barker’s classic book, Flower Fairies of the Spring, and crocus fairies are pictured on the cover. This very book has served as inspiration for some of the world’s most notable gardeners.

Crocuses are most often found in Lilac, mauve, yellow and white and there are approximately 80 species and 30 cultivars and they are an absolute sight to see during a spring shower. Be sure to keeps your eyes out for these beauties through the month of April!

Edwardian Style Was a Breath of Fresh Air After Stuffy Victorian Era

Queen Victoria had reigned for the best part of a century, and it was the beginning of a new century with a new king, King Edward VII, on the throne. But his reign was to be brief, lasting a mere nine years. After the heaviness, clutter and dark colours of Victorian interiors, people wanted something new and cheerful, writes Edwardian style was a breath of fresh air.

Influenced by Queen Anne and Art Nouveau, Edwardian style was fresh and light with many floral patterns, pastel colors, wicker furnishings and all with a feminine touch. Interested in introducing some Edwardian touches into your homescape?  BBC Home has a list of excellent tips.

A few highlights:

Wallpaper – choose wallpapers with a fresh, cheerful feel such as florals of roses, lilac, wisteria, and sweet peas, with trellises, ribbons and bows. Stripes are also typical – go for something simple but rich for dining rooms such as a gold damask and white, and candy stripes for bedrooms. It was considered too much to have both a dado rail and a frieze: most people papered up to the dado rail and then papered or painted the wall above that with plain paper or distemper.

Lincrusta – put up some lincrusta – embossed wallpaper – introduced in 1877. It has an almost rubber-like texture and comes in beautiful art nouveau designs. It is still being made today. It can be painted any colour although cream is probably best.

Colour schemes – choose pastel colour schemes in the colours of flowers – primrose yellows, leaf greens, the lilac of wisteria, and grey. Living rooms can take darker colours such as dark green for fabrics and cream walls.

Photo Credit: Geograph

Slugs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails: Keep Pests Away From your Spring Garden

Slugs and snails are the bane of many gardeners as the warm weather closes in, so here are some earth friendly tips from for controlling these often unwelcome visitors.

Photos Credit:

  • Steer clear of snail and slug bait containing metaldehyde or methiocarb wherever possible. These chemicals have killed countless thousands of domestic pets and birds over the years; not to mention beneficial insects and earthworms. Metaldehyde is toxic to all creatures that consume it, be it through direct ingestion or secondary poisoning from consuming poisoned prey.
  • You can make it a family activity, complete with gloves or tongs if members of your family don’t like the idea of touching them. Offer an incentive for the most slugs and snails captured! Create simple traps such as upside down plant pots and wooden boards. Snails and slugs like these sorts of places to hide in. You’ll need to check the traps daily.
  • Snails and slugs are repelled by the reaction of the slime on their bodies and copper. Try creating a barrier with copper strips around delicate areas of your garden or use copper tape on larger plants. These products should be available from your hardware store.

Click Here to see the complete list of tips.

The Wilton Historical Society Presents “Jack and The Beanstalk: A Marionette Show”

The Wilton Historical Society present a “Jack and the Beanstalk Marionette Show”, performed by the No Strings Marionette Company on Saturday, April 10.

From the Wilton Historical Society:

Come experience this well-loved tale retold with all the magic and mischief that marionettes can muster! The children’s tale Jack and the Beanstalk is brought to life with 15 hand-crafted marionettes filling the stage. The event includes an interactive sing along where kids get to be part of the show and an intimate question and answer session where everyone gets a closer look at the puppeteers trade.

Two showtimes are available: 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., both at the Wilton Historical Society at 224 Danbury Road. Tickets are $10 for Society members, $15 for non-members.

Reservations can be made at: or (203) 762-7257.