Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The look

The look i love at the moment is a space that can handle dramatic furnishings, and bold, bright colours.
A space that can hold that massive rustic chandelier, or that crisp bed linen.
A space that every time you walk into it, it inspires you.
Industrial styled spaces are just what i'm talking about.

An industrial space for me breathes creativity, it's like a canvas- you can brush your own style into it.
At the moment i am working on a house on the northern beaches of sydney, the client has requested that she wanted something simplistic that would incorporate all styles in one- the ornate with the simple and the antique with the modern. 

Think foundation- a plain room with white wash oak floor boards and crisp Antique white walls.
Then add your layers that classic artwork you love or that fun contemporary coloured photograph above your bed head.
A handsome shaggy grey tasselled rug. beneath your bed.
Your lighting - ambience lighting a rustic chandelier that lets outs a feel of candle light. Or even photographers tripod lighting ( just cause i love them so much) 

Be bold with your furniture and linen add depth in your space, you can afford to add some vibrant colours as your base is a light tone. With your furniture something from our city chic range would suit perfectly, a gorgeous sophisticated style open bookcase painted orbit black on the outside and a deep lilac on the inside paired with a shocking pink throw for the end of the bed. 

It could also go the other way you could pair the style of your old rustic, antique chandelier to a long walnut sideboard. And to add a bit of edge and definition you could even throw in a shapely french 3 seater sofa fully gold leafed with a artwork on the upholstery. Both these options will also soften the industrial look just a touch.

But whatever you decide to do remember be brave with colour, colour plays real part in the transformation  It creates a unique focal point for your individual space.

Here is a picture that showcases this look in a unique way. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A note from the artist

The art of tradition...something that our team member Geoff Libonati- founder of Romantiques- knows all about. And after 25 years in the business, he should!

When I was first introduced to the team at Romantiques and entered the art department to get our art on furniture concept underway- I immediately became aware of the passion and love for antiques (and any type of furniture now that I mention it) that Geoff has. Known as a Master Polisher, specialising in all aspects of French polishing and antique restoration- Geoff takes great pride in doing things the traditional way- the way craftsmen and furniture artisans have been doing it in Europe for hundreds of years.

And this is why it's so important to relay the fact that here at Romantiques, we're not just all about the wild and wonderful when it comes to furniture- whether they be client's pieces or our own. We still embrace the traditional aspects of restoration...polishing, refinishing and breathing life back into beautiful antique pieces in need of some love. Just ask Geoff, his amazing practice and skill speaks for itself.

Some of my favourite moments in the Romantiques studio have been when clients have arrived to view their finished pieces. Seeing the look of wonder on their faces when they enter our studio- the 'vortex' of creativity, as it has once been called- is something that I always look forward to. Pass the louder pieces in the front, and arrive in a workshop harking back to those artisan days in the streets of Venice, where Geoff creates the magic. And it's not just the traditional methods that impress, it's the traditional materials. Between work on our newer ranges, preparing pieces for artwork, painted finishes, and his French polishing and refinishing, Geoff still finds time to make all of his materials...by hand. Waxes, polishes, stains, effect mediums like crackle and craze...all prepared in-house. Geoff even mixes his own paints to achieve those unique colours on our painted finishes. And all of this? Done entirely for a lifelong love of the craft, and the clients of course.

Which brings me to another aspect of the business...our client/craftsman relationship. Geoff has always stated that the best collaborations come from clients who enjoy working with us, just as much as we enjoy working with them. This sort of easy, enjoyable relationship produces the best work. And while the studio is often full to the brim with work, Geoff will never turn down the chance to meet every client's expectations, or forge new collaborations. There's never a want of something creative to do at Romantiques, let me tell you!

To sum it all up, I'll use a phrase that I've associated with what Romantiques- and Geoff's practice- represents. The breadth of knowledge, the height of quality and the depth of experience.

- Caldonia 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lights camera action

Nothing seems more apparent when re-styling the Romantiques studio than the importance of proper and strategically placed lighting.

That's what occured to me today when faced with the task of moving around the settings in our studio, to make space for all the new pieces we've been working on (and that's another story!) but also to change it around a little to contribute to everybody's sense of atmosphere and creativity- it's something that we're very much about here at Romantiques.

But the lighting...definitely a factor to consider when planning and designing your spaces, a very important factor. Light is the element that sets the entire mood of the room, which causes a range of mindsets for the people that inhabit the space. Think about it- what good is a calming evening without ambiant lighting and clusters of golden, flickering candlelight? Or what good is that investment painting on the wall without accent lighting to illuminate it? Even the pool...how can you take a dip on a balmy night without the proper lighting? You know it makes sense.

There are basically four types of lighting to think about, I'll tell you a little about each one.

Natural Lighting- Rooms can be arranged to take advantage of the position of the sun at different times of day. This type of lighting is also called kinetic lighting because the light from outside moves. It is one of the less reliable types, as it is affected by the seasons and the weather, but natural lighting can produce an effect unequaled by any artificial light source when used properly. Natural lighting comes through skylighting and windows depending on the time, season or weather. It varies in intensity and brightness.

Ambiant Lighting- Ambient lighting provides illumination for the whole room, and can be a hidden light source that washes the room with a glow. It creates very few shadows and is rather flattering. Perfect for romantic evenings- sigh. When choosing ambient lighting, you may want to think about installing a dimmer adaptability. Ambient lighting includes recessed downlights, cove lighting, valance lighting sconces, track lighting, chandeliers and portable fixtures. And don't forget the candles- those little pinpricks of brightness, so easy on the eye.

Task Lighting- This is a more practical lighting strategy, highlighting an area for daily activities such as reading, cooking, and desk work. Effective task lighting prevents eyes strain and helps with the performance of vital activities. The kitchen is a particularly good place to incorporate task lighting in your interior design. Task lighting sources should be unobtrusive and shielded to prevent glare. Task lighting can be effectively combined with accent lighting to produce lovely effects. Examples include valance lighting, pendant lights and portable fixtures such as desk lamps or task lamps- such a stylish addition to any desk.

Accent Lighting- Accent lighting focuses on illuminating an object like wall art, a statue or an architectural element of your space. It is provides more illumination than ambient light. You want to be able to enjoy and appreciate that beautiful work of art, and nowhere is the importance of accent lighting more obvious than in art galleries. Believe me, the art wouldn't always look so spectacular without the proper illumination. It would be like trying to see through dirty glasses. Wall washers, spotlights, sconces and track lighting are examples of accent lighting.

Remember, when modifying the lighting in your home, it's best to develop a plan covering the purpose, the desired mood and how you want to emphasize architectural and decor elements. The addition of lighting such as sconces and lamps can enhance any room. And remember to be creative about it, just think of all the lampshade possibilities...endless!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The week of romance

Valentine's Day the week of all things romantic- a commercial farce or an excuse to indulge in all things romantic? Whether you love it, or you'd rather leave it, this week has me dreaming of furniture, linens, decor- you name it. But then again, what doesn't?

And Valentine's Day is just the prompter, thinking and doing romance can go for any time of the year, all depending on whether it's your sort of style. Me? Most definitely.

When doing romance, there are many ways you can choose to go. For those who love passion and drama, think deep reds and golds, or conversely, bright reds (as seen in our Rose Table- and if that doesn't scream romance, what does?)

Match your painted finishes with large, dramatic floral arrangements- black roses with deep purple calla lilies is an eye-catching combination...or take this inspiration into the realm of linens and give your boudoir the treatment it deserves, or the treatment you deserve for those passion-filled nights with your lover. Think the Majestic Black collection by Ma Maison bedding- a regal gold Jacquard print adorning a striking black base elaborately corded and trimmed with embroidered accents and tassels- it's all opulence. The ambiance this style of decor will create is simply mesmerising.

Now, if you're more of the traditional 'romantic' type, if you love all things sweet and stylish, tread your path along these lines...delicate crystal chandeliers, antique whites, soft pinks, you could even silver leaf your bedhead. And for linens...think luxurious fabrics like silks and brocades. With these combinations, be ready to swoon.

Creating romance through your furnishings, linens and decor really will put you in the right mood, whatever that may be. For Valentine's Day, or any day of the week, it's a winning idea.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A gem full of possibilities

Something that's been kicking around in my head for a while now, another gem full of creative possibilities, you've obviously all heard of it before...it's called wallpaper.

While I'll continually keep you guys updated on all my fantastic new finds when it comes to wallpaper designs and the people behind these designs in seperate posts, this post is all about what the idea of wallpaper can do for your spaces, and indeed the atmosphere surrounding these spaces.
Now, we all know that decor in our homes has an impact on our psyche...whether it be to create a calming environment or a creative one, and that the colour of our walls can make or break whatever your intentions may be, but have you considered the idea of replacing mere paint with something infinitley more dramatic...something with texture, pattern, feel? It's a change that you probably won't want to abandon once you've discovered the possibilities on the market.
Many people think of wallpaper as no more than white noise for the eyes--predictable, innocuous and forgettable. Yet wallpaper is a centuries-old medium that has gone through countless transformations. For example...today, stunning French scenic papers from the 19th century can fetch up to six figures, and countless designers are challenging common assumptions about what wallpaper means in contemporary life. Wallpaper has literally turned into works of art.
But if you're afraid of this resurgence, this powerfully expressive and creative force that has the potential to turn your spaces on their heads, you're not alone. A whole new generation of homeowners haven’t yet experienced what can be done with wallpaper, they don't realise that wallpaper is an easy and completely reversible choice. And believe me, the benefits far outweigh the negative aspects, if there are any!
With wallpaper, you can afford to take risks with bold patterns, strong colours and interesting textures because it provides a warmth and feel that plain old paints can’t achieve. It’s a great way of introducing variety while still giving you the freedom to stick to your favourite colour palette, and if you didn't think that was enough of an incentive, it creates illusions of depth and space by introducing volume through pattern... an effective way to modulate moods, add personality or act as a punctuation mark. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

To that funky florist in paddington

Looking for an individual piece? Set your sights on this stunner. A beautiful second hand Maple parlour table, obtained from a deceased estate, meticulously hand painted with the image of a vibrant, dew-dropped red rose on its top, and thorny vine winding its way down a sleek black leg. Evoking images of evenings spent in the garden, this elegant table with natural patina is the perfect statement piece for any space.

By far one of the favourite pieces we've created here at the studio, our stunning rose table really is the perfect example of what we love to do - combine the visual splendour of art with furniture, a passion that's quite literally throw us head first into the realm of design possibilities.

Even though our table may seem tantalisingly contemporary, what with its obvious unique vibe - a vibe that sends itself towards the boutiques of city settings, or alternately, that funky florist in paddington, don't let this facade fool you. For what lies beneath the surface of it's vibrant colours truly is steeped in history.

Here at Romantiques, we delight in items of furniture with stories behind them, and we've always loved the idea that furniture is essentially immortal in the fact that it can outlive it's masters and remain a beloved piece through generations of owners.

The Rose table a perfect example of this. In it's original form, we obtained the maple table from a deceased estate in the Hunter Valley, the home of a family who had lived there for nigh on generations. While much of its history is indeed a mystery, like when exactly the family came to be in possession of the table, the fact remains the same .... when you look at this piece, there's much more to it than meets the eye.

We spent some time considering the possibilities for the pieces we've tested a smorgasbord of ideas, but in the end, we chose something simply, but instantly imputing. The reasons, to do what we love doing, but also to take this table on the next step of its journey. Who Knows where it may end up in the future.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ellie & Jay

The Lion and the Seal
Ellie & Jay

I would like to introduce you to our other two team members that are priceless they work very hard.

Jay (on the left) is our very own customs officer and Ellie (on the right) is head of public relations.

Four things that are Flawless

I'm always letting all you readers know what we do here at Romantiques - Furniture Art Studio.
But i thought it was time i do a few posts on things that inspire us here at romantiques, the things that get our brains ticking. The things that inspire us may relate or may not relate to what we do, but in some way or another it all comes together.

 Four things that have i am loving lately:

To start off the Moon Chair, has to be the at the top of my list.
For me this chair sums up ultra modern with it's curvy construction, acrylic legs and decorative button tufting.
I love the fact with this chair you have the choice to add a little touch of your own personal flair.

You have several fabrics to choose from acrylic, wood or steel legs, and for the button tufting you can choose to either have brass studs or Swarovski crystal accents or maybe you might even desire to have both.

I'm a big fan of the photographers floor lamps and i know many other bloggers are too.
What makes me love the photographer tripod floor lamp is that  it's inspired by the 20th century, when these lamps were used to soften and highlight actors expressions. 
Using these tripod floor lamps in a room creates ambience, drama and adds a focal point to the room.
I saw this picture and i had to put it up, it sums up my colour palette.
I love these vibrant pastel colours on everything from lampshades, wallpaper and upholstery to furniture.

Last but not least Natural timber table tops- with a painted base-
This is one of our very own pieces at the studio. I love the twist a round oak table with a base that is painted in a two tone technique. Black with cheeky pink coming through. - oh how i love my job


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Something to Inspire

I absolutely adore these pictures so i had to put them up, i don't know about you but they inspire me.. These pictures are of the Beaux Arts mansion Ralph Lauren built on the upper east side of Manhattan.The grand Beaux-Arts store is designed after architecture of the early 20th Century. The Beaux Arts styled limestone building was a collaboration between Weddle Gilmore and architect Thomas Hut of HS2 Architecture. This mansion is said to be a elegant tribute to French style from vintage jewellery to chinoiserie wallpaper. I love every inch of this and how it's been decorated from the marble floors to the amazing crystal chandeliers. From crisp classic to chic and sleek.  What more can i say take a look for yourself..




images and information from http://www.architecturaldigest.com/resources/features/2011/02/ralph_lauren_grand_gesture_slideshow#slide=9
information from http://ralphlaurendiscountclothing.com/archives/laurens-new-beaux-arts-store-888-madison-72-street

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The lowdown on the Louis

As you readers would have noticed by now...us here at Romantiques love turning the traditional and historic elements of furniture on its head and throwing it into the 21st century with a bit of innovation and added pizazz.

It doesn't matter the era, or the type, as long as it's furniture, we can do something with it. And this post? It's all about that wonderful piece called the Louis chair. We not only love it for its beautiful shape classic of French style furniture, or its history, but for the endless possibilities it presents us. Whenever we acquire a new Louis of our very own its always a debate as to which direction we'll take to achieve that finished product. Should we go down the traditional path with a beautiful painted finish and soft coloured upholstery? Should we gold or silver leaf the entire frame...yes and...should we match a jet black finish with a twist on the upholstery- an image of the queen of burlesque...Dita Von Teese. An utterly appropriate marriage for such a scandalously stylish chair, don't you think?

But in order for us to come to that decision, we had to consider that Louis chair's history. Was there anything out there to help us create the unique, yet distinctive feel the Louis chair exudes in unprecedented amounts? There was.

Where to begin? The style. It was the fashion in France at the time to name the furniture styles after the reigning monarch. For centuries, fashions came from the top, to the bottom, filtered down through the masses. Each new king had his own style that differentiated his reign from the others. And there was one that we were particularly concerned about- the Louis XV chair in the Rococo style. That's the one that most similarly represented our project, with its distinctive curved cabriole legs. But how did it come to be this way? Through an evolution in chair design, from the late Renaissance styles of Louis XIII to the Baroque style chair of Louis XIV, the Sun King. The same creative mastermind behind the redecoration of the French palace of Versailles. Our chair's wide seat and back were a result of a breakthrough in chair construction, with the back becoming higher and the seat becoming larger to accommodate the more ample space required by the fashions of the day (or a more ample backside, you choose!). The arms and legs of the chair were also usually heavily carved. Grand designs for grand spaces, we think.

This research led us down another path...inspired by the innovations behind the changing styles and designs of the Louis chair throughout history...we came to our conclusion. We would do exactly the same thing. Create our own design...continue the process of evolution, just with the same beautiful Rococo style frame revamped, and a change of upholstery, printed with the image of our favourite icon. Thus, the idea for our chair was born. Whew!

But bear in mind, readers, that this evolution can continue with your own ideas. If you have your own beautiful chair, it doesn't even have to be Louis...we can do the same thing, and revamp it with an image of your choice. Your beloved pet, that hunky actor you have a thing for, or your wedding vows...immortalised on your chair's upholstery. Who would have thought?

upholstery by John Camilleri