Saturday, December 25, 2010

Seasons Eatings!

Wishing a very happy holiday season to all!

We have some great posts planned for the new year but until then we hope you'll enjoy this entirely edible edifice we created complete with caramel block chimneys, shaved coconut snow, and windows of caramelized sugar.

Gingerbread house and photo by KS&D.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Hospitality

This holiday season welcome your guests with a cup of cheer served from the finest European cut crystal by Waterford, Val St. Lambert, and Baccarat.

Our barware rests on a romantic inlayed wood tray depicting an elegant lady courted by rival cavaliers. Along the back are placed inverted gold gilt wall corbels to tie in with the opulent golden frame on the dramatic angel painting in an exuberant Spanish Colonial folk art style.

This bold and imaginative work of art is flanked by hand painted tole cachepots brimming with burgundy hydrangea and gilded floral wall swags. Along the top hangs a round Chinese wood carving of horses framed by a pair of intricate Persian miniature horse paintings.

Adding height and drama are large scaled accessories including a matched pair of large sang de boeuf porcelain jars along with two unique armillary sundials. The vintage holiday magazines under the little suit of armor date from the 1940’s and 50’s and are a great source for retro Christmas cookie recipes and holiday decorating ideas. Scattered under an antique French music box are several charming vintage German Christmas cards featuring cozy holiday scenes.

All photos and styling by KS&D.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Trimming the Tinsel Tree

As promised in an earlier post, here are some of our eclectic holiday decorations including our over the top ultimate aluminum Christmas tree.

This year we went with a full on metallic color scheme ranging from silver through the whole spectrum of golds to copper and deep bronze. To keep the focus on the tree we’ve placed it against an original abstract oil painting flanked by Limoges china, antique Chinese silk embroideries, and gilded shadowboxes holding classical plaster medallions.

More than 50 years since they first debuted, vintage aluminum trees are now popular collectibles for their nostalgic charm and clever design. This small bundle of brown paper packages is quickly transformed into a glimmering pine by giving simply primping the branches and tucking them into the trunk. All branches are the same length with the angle of the hole creating the conical shape. We’re using a vintage cast iron tree stand for added strength and stability.

To fill the tree out we’ve wrapped the trunk generously with silver tinsel being careful to choose a wide thick tinsel that closely matches the needles of the tree. We wound the tinsel around the stand filling the entire table, after all what better skirt for a tinsel tree than yet more tinsel!

We’ve added beaded garland by hanging it from the branches on ornament hooks so as not to damage the aluminum needles. Since the branches on these old artificial trees don’t click into place the way the way modern ones do it’s important to hang decorations carefully to avoid accidentally pulling out the branch.

Finally we’ve filled the branches to capacity with European blown glass ornaments mixed with inexpensive discount store finds in multiple finishes including satin, shiny, and glittered. The deep spaces are great for displaying large ornaments or tall slender icicles and the long branches are capable of holding many ornaments with this tree taking over 200 to fill it.

If the cool blue and green color scheme from last year was more your style you might enjoy this white feather tree for another festive yet dreamy twist on holiday decor.

All decorations and photos by KS&D.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Shop New Arrivals Now!

Browse the most eclectic mix of unique antique and vintage home accessories from the comfort and convenience of home. Enhance the design of any interior with Knickerbocker’s carefully curated collection of American, European, Asian, and African fine and decorative arts. Our ever-changing inventory features an array of objects and artifacts from Victorian to Mid-Century Modern including lamps, sconces, art pottery, fine china, porcelain, crystal, art glass, prints, oil paintings, sculpture, folk art, primitives, nautical décor, and much more!

Click HERE to shop our newest arrivals now!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Russian Romantic

It’s been awhile since our last Interests post when our examples of Hollywood at Chatsworth reminded us of our love for period movies, particularly as sources of design inspiration. While the sets for Pride and Prejudice, especially the Bennett’s charmingly derelict Longbourn House, are certainly among the most beautiful, there is one lesser known film that has always captivated us.

In the 1999 film Onegin, based on Alexander Puskin’s mid-nineteenth century novel in verse, the title character trades the glittering palaces of St. Petersburg for the glistening snows of his Russian country estate. As the jaded Onegin (Ralph Fiennes) engages with the provincial nobility he is introduced to our heroine Tatiana (Liv Tyler), who resides in this rustic wooden manor house with dream-like interiors.

The main living space is a grand white neo-classical hall with banks of white gauze curtained windows, rows of double columns, and a gleaming parquet floor. Arranged around this airy interior are seating areas, a dining area, and even a grand piano.

Throughout the film we see the space transformed from an elegant living room to an intimate supper room from banquet hall to whirling ballroom. As lovely as this space is however it’s the next one you enter that really caught our imagination.

Through the elegant double doors we leave the Grecian temple behind and find ourselves in something like a giant humidor paneled entirely with raw wooden planks. Similar to a modern family room, such a space would have been known as a divan room for the long cushion backed sofas that dominate the walls.

The stark contrast between these two completely different environments is unexpected yet makes perfect sense considering in the long Russian winter it would be ideal to spend the few daylight hours in a bright airy space before retreating to a warm cozy den for the long dark evening.

According to Priscilla Roosevelt, author of the fascinating book Life on the Russian Country Estate, neo-classical architecture and rough plank walls contrasted with intricate parquet floors were common to manor houses of the period, most of which were lost to history following the Russian Revolution. Onegin recreates this lost world down to unique touches like the one-of-a-kind divans and these wonderful wooden floor-standing candelabra that represent the type of provincial furnishings that would have been produced on the estate by local serf craftsmen.

For a decidedly modern take on the divan room look no further than the April 2010 cover of House Beautiful touting "the new look of wood”. We’ve even seen a new lounge open in the neighborhood sporting an interior clad in planks of wood recycled from old shipping palates for a uniquely green twist on the trend.

Click HERE to view the Onegin movie trailer.

Images #1-6 from Onegin, #7 from April 2010 House Beautiful.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Victorian Aluminum Christmas Tree

Approaching our first holiday season here at Knickerbocker Style & Design we should probably warn you we’re absolutely crazy for Christmas. After all what time of year inspires more creativity and imagination in home decor than the holidays? As far as we’re concerned anytime after the Thanksgiving leftovers are put away is fair game to start stringing lights and trimming trees, so to get in the spirit we thought we’d kick off the season with a look back at last year’s decorations.

A Victorian styled aluminum Christmas tree might sound crazy but that’s exactly why this lavishly trimmed vintage sparkler is our favorite of last years trees. There’s something so over the top about a tree made entirely of tinsel yet when these glistening beauties first debuted over fifty years ago the fashion was to decorate them very simply with just a few ornaments for a modern Space Age look. Solid red or blue were the popular color choices but we’ve gone for a more sophisticated color scheme of wintery white with pale blues and light greens making for an icy effect against the silvery boughs.

Since the whole idea of a tinsel tree is over the top to begin with we decided to go all out and trim ours in the spirit of Victorian excess complete with beaded garlands and masses of blown glass ornaments. Instead of cumbersome light strands these aluminum trees were accompanied by a rotating color wheel which bathed the reflective silver needles in a kaleidoscope of colors seen here close up. Click HERE to see how we trim the tree for such a full effect!

The actual Victorians may not have had aluminum trees to trim but they did fashion their own ingenious artificial Christmas trees from dyed goose feathers entwined on wire branches. Here we’ve filled a white goose feather tree with a collection of European blown-glass ornaments ranging from original antiques and vintage baubles to contemporary versions by Christopher Radko and Waterford. The treetop Santa from Spode was charmingly designed as a replica of the tree topper on the company’s ever-popular Christmas Tree china pattern.

You can see we have a penchant for tabletop trees, as they take up virtually no floor space, are safely out of reach of pets and small children, and can fit just about anywhere. The sight of a tabletop tree trimmed by Queen Victoria and her family widely popularized the German custom of decorating an evergreen at Christmas. This fresh cut tree adorned with antiques baubles and seashells gathered on Nantucket is topped by a starfish and covered with a halo of gold French bullion; a fine slinky-like wire trim that creates a shimmering net to compliment the nautical theme.

Not to neglect the other yuletide trimmings here is a large holiday wreath festooned with flocked pinecones, dried-hydrangea, glittered glass baubles, metallic berries, and a flurry of white butterflies. We hope you enjoyed our eclectic holiday decor and check back soon for a look at this year's along with a closer look at how we trim an aluminum tree for a such a lavish final result.

All decorations, styling, and photos by KS&D.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Home for the Holidays

Thanksgiving will always-mean two things, family and food, but certainly having a beautiful place to enjoy both doesn’t hurt either.

Ten years after its original publication the beautifully photographed ancestral abodes featured in Family Houses in the Country by Alexandra D’Arnoux and Gilles De Chabaneix still captivate our imagination. Ranging from grand to humble the touchingly personal interiors on its pages exude the unique personality often achieved only after generations of family use, a look so rarely seen in shelter magazines today.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Find Great Gifts Now!

Browse the most eclectic mix of unique antique and vintage home accessories from the comfort and convenience of home. Enhance the design of any interior with Knickerbocker’s carefully curated collection of American, European, Asian, and African fine and decorative arts. Our ever-changing inventory features an array of objects and artifacts from Victorian to Mid-Century Modern including lamps, sconces, art pottery, fine china, porcelain, crystal, art glass, prints, oil paintings, sculpture, folk art, primitives, nautical décor, and much more!

Click HERE to shop our newest arrivals now!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Asian Inspired

Asian and Chinoiserie home accessories are always among the most popular featured in our shop and this vignette of eclectic standouts is no exception.

Sitting atop a Japanese stool with beautifully aged patina is a colorful Chinese figure of a girl and an intricately decorated bottle of cobalt blue glass, most likely crafted as the base of a hookah or water pipe. Resting beneath on a stack of old books is a ginger jar of rich cloisonné enamel giving a bold shot of color. The antique birdcage with its incredible Taj Mahal inspired onion dome is quite a dramatic piece.

Forming the backdrop is a beautiful Indian folk art painting at center flanked by a mother of pearl and black lacquer panel and another of whimsical Chinoiserie design. Draped along the shelf is an antique European tapestry for a touch of contrast while an unusual basket brimming with chrysanthemums lends its texture to the mix.

Photos and styling by Knickerbocker.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Whimsical Rustic Home

Mixing and matching art and accessories is the guiding principal of eclectic style and pairing the rustic with the whimsical always makes for a lively mix.

Here a domed wood and metal birdcage lends a whimsical air to trio of rustic pieces including a wonderful folk art Indian maiden statue, a primitive pottery jug, and a charming buttocks basket brimming with colorful gourds and corn. The stately brass barely twist candlesticks add a subtle metallic sparkle.

This festive scene is a riot of colorful whimsical pieces including a trio of richly costumed monkey musicians playing the cello, a violin, and even bagpipes. The Italian majolica pyramid of fruits and vegetables fits right in among gourds and pumpkins, as do a pair of colorful fruit bowls and the pitcher and creamer, all of hand painted Italian art pottery.

Adding a few extra boldly colored books around the carved Chinese chest ties the bottom in with the rest of the arrangement, we’ve also included a few at the top for good measure along with an unusual basket holding dried hydrangea seen fresh in a previous post.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Graves Great Gatsby

As a break from our usual art and design books we’ve decided to feature our favorite piece of full-blown literature, albeit one showcasing both art and design.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is easily among the most well known novels of the last century but this rare edition is part of a limited run of 400 fine press copies created in 1984 by Arion Press. Featuring illustrations by the iconic architect Michael Graves, the volume is beautifully produced with cloth trimmed outer case and pages of thick cotton paper soft to the touch.

Graves charming sketches and illustrations depict various design elements of Gatsby’s world from the cocktail glasses to a bird eye view of his entire Gold Coast estate yet none of the characters themselves are shown leaving those details to the reader’s imagination.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thanksgiving China

With food, family, and fabulous china, what’s not to love about Thanksgiving! This year why not create the perfect table setting for your loved ones with unique antique and vintage china tableware.

Beneath our pretty pale pumpkin sits a of stack of old china bowls the perfect shade for serving butternut squash soup along with a stack of creamware dinner plates in an intricate pattern appropriately titled American Traditional. A good heavy turkey platter such as this antique English ironstone piece is one of the most important pieces on any Thanksgiving table second only to the gravy boat of course such as this charming floral piece by Staffordshire.

The white porcelain gravy boat is ideal for a more formal table setting, especially when paired with the luxurious sterling silver ladle complete with mother of pearl handle. The stack of vintage floral ironstone china dinner plates coordinate nicely with the antique transferware casserole dish brimming with autumn gourds. Imagine serving fresh apple cider to your guests with this unusual porcelain pitcher and cup set lavishly hand painted with acorns and oak leaves displayed here before a Currier and Ives print depicting a wild turkey hunt on a long ago Thanksgiving Day.

Photos and styling by Knickerbocker

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shop New Arrivals Now!

Browse the most eclectic mix of unique antique and vintage home accessories from the comfort and convenience of home! Enhance the design of any interior with Knickerbocker’s carefully curated collection of American, European, Asian, and African fine and decorative arts. Our ever-changing inventory features an array of objects and artifacts from Victorian to Mid-Century Modern including lamps, sconces, art pottery, fine china, porcelain, crystal, art glass, prints, oil paintings, sculpture, folk art, primitives, nautical décor, and much more!

Click HERE to shop our newest arrivals now!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Casual Layering

One of the best design features of this antique oak sideboard is the narrow shelf along the top ledge perfect for casually layering framed art works and a slender piece of Blanc de Chine.

Overlapping a large bird print with a small equestrian scene and a piece of Chinese silk embroidery takes the formal edge off the elaborate pair of brass rococo wall sconces flanking them. We’ve kept all frames the same shape for a sense of unity yet each has a different contrasting finish ranging from raw wood to gold gilt.

Using an old botanical shade on a marble pedestal lamp again mixes the formal with the casual for a light playful feel. Clustered around its base are an art glass ball with an antique French Gothic music box and a pair of Waterford crystal decanters in the Lismore and Glandore patterns. Dusty hued hydrangea fills a blown glass urn lending just the right dose of soft color and texture next to the pair of huge sang de boeuf porcelain jars.

Photos and home styling by Knickerbocker.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Collections: Statues, Sculpture, and Objets d’Art

Nothing adds more personality and individuality to a space than carefully chosen works of art. Paintings and prints are a great place to start but sculpture and objets d’art are a wonderful way to add that interesting finishing touch.

This collection of classically inspired antique and vintage sculpture range from a realistically designed horse figure to an unusual nautical allegory of a regal woman with an anchor.

Three unique works of art include this antique sculpture of a gentleman in Elizabethan garb crafted of copper, a classical porcelain bust, and another unusual allegory featuring a beautiful woman bearing a globe and laurel wreath.

Michelangelo’s David, perhaps the most famous sculpture of all time is represented here in a beautifully detailed replica complete with an elegant marble base, the bust of a male most likely Jesus at the forefront is carved of solid white Carrara marble and features a wonderfully distressed finish from decades of weather exposure. Finally the imposing huntress with her dogs most likely represents Diana the goddess of the hunt beautifully depicted in bonded Carrara marble with loads of romantic patina.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Photographing the Ultimate Art Form

With its heady mixture of music, drama, scenic architecture, lighting, and costume design, opera has often been referred to as the ultimate art form and to celebrate this ultimate art form only an ultimate art book will do.

In the generously over-sized In Grand Style: The Glory of the Metropolitan Opera, photographer and artist Nancy Ellison beautifully captures the visual impact of twenty lavish productions on the stage of New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. From the temples of ancient Egypt to the streets of nineteenth century Paris the artists of the Met have been creating these magical worlds on the stage for over 120 years.

The nearly three-foot wingspan of the book allows for sweeping images such as this breathtaking scene of Imperial China as envisioned by Franco Zeffirelli for his lavish 1987 production of Turandot. The fact that such a deep volume might prove difficult to fit in your average bookcase only proves the point that a work of art like this should be left out and about where everyone can inspired by its fantastic imagery.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Library Nook

The recent addition of a book column to this blog shows how much our style is influenced and inspired by our collection of art, history, and design books. We hope you’ll enjoy hearing about some of our select favorites and maybe even find a new volume to add to your own library at home.

Not only are our books one of our favorite sources of design inspiration but one of our best-loved design elements as well. The rhythm of all those colorful spines filling the antique mahogany bookcase lends warmth and richness to this little library nook.

The green and burgundy hues of the fresh hydrangea echo the muted shades in the mid-century vintage print behind them. Looking down over the scene from a shabby antique palm frond corbel bracket is a charming Chinese porcelain figure of a child with a large gilded fish. Contributing to the gilded theme are an unusual gold gilt rococo scroll mirror and a carved wood corbel bracket.

The top of the bookcase provides a perch for a small famille rose porcelain table lamp a contrast in proportion to the pair of over-sized ox-blood red Chinese porcelain jars beside it. Finally it would seem every library no matter how small should have at least one classical bust, here ours is displayed with a tiny Victorian print overlapping a larger antique English print on the wall behind.

Photos and styling by KS&D.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Auction Items Now Running!

Browse the most eclectic mix of unique antique and vintage home accessories from the comfort and convenience of home. Enhance the design of any interior with Knickerbocker’s carefully curated collection of American, European, Asian, and African fine and decorative arts. Our ever-changing inventory features an array of objects and artifacts from Victorian to Mid-Century Modern including lamps, sconces, art pottery, fine china, porcelain, crystal, art glass, prints, oil paintings, sculpture, folk art, primitives, nautical décor, and much more!

Get great deals on auction items running now to October 2nd!

Click HERE to shop now!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Architectural Treasures at Auction

When England’s greatest country estate cleans house no ordinary tag sale will do, which is why October 5 – 7 Sotheby’s will be hosting a sale of over 1,000 lots containing 20,000 objects removed from the store rooms of Chatsworth House.

This magnificent estate in Derbyshire has served for centuries as the seat of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, including the famous Georgiana as portrayed by Keira Knightly in the 2008 film The Duchess. Chatsworth House itself is no stranger to the silver screen having appeared in numerous films, most notably as Pemberley in the 2005 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice also staring Ms. Knightly.

While the sale includes mountains of furniture, china, glass, and fine art the most eagerly anticipated items are rare antique architectural elements salvaged from among the many castles, manors, and estates owned by the family over the centuries, including this eclectic grab bag of beautiful gilt-gesso architectural fragments dating from the late 17th and 18th centuries.

Among the rare fixtures and fittings are many long forgotten elements salvaged from Devonshire House, the palatial London residence designed for the family in 1733 by the great English architect William Kent. Once the epicenter of English society this “lost palace of London” was demolished in 1925 with many of the finest interior flourishes, including this pair of Kent designed brackets, making their way to the attics of Chatsworth where they lay forgotten and collecting dust for nearly a century.

The rediscovery of these artifacts provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of England’s architectural heritage as Kent’s work is now only to be seen in important preserved historical buildings. Aside from the 18th century a broad scope of historical English design periods are represented including this beautiful collection of 15th century carved oak Gothic tracery fragments that would look incredibly chic and romantic simply displayed and enjoyed as works of art.

Among all the grand and imposing antiques we were especially taken with this unusual little pair of charming late 17th century carved oak candle wall sconces in the form of flowering crocuses with beautifully aged patina.

Photos via Sotheby’s
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