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
Related Posts with Thumbnails