Canopy beds at Colonial Williamsburg

Love them or hate them, there’s something commanding about a canopy bed.

I wrote about them not too long ago; designers such as Alessandra Branca and Thom Filicia are putting a fresh spin on canopy beds, and some of them are just lovely. Some use gobs of fabric, and some merely hint at a canopy-like structure. A canopy bed can add definition to a cavernous room, but surprisingly, it can be effective in a tiny room (especially one with strange dormers and slants).

Canopy bed in blue bedroom

Help – I don’t know who designed this room. Anyone? Anyone?

On our recent trip to Colonial Williamsburg, the canopy beds were delightful. I don’t know if there was any real function to them — privacy? Keeping the bed’s occupant warm? Something about something in Medieval times? )

Canopy bed in the Governor's Palace, Colonial Williamsburg

Canopy bed in the Governor’s Palace, Colonial Williamsburg

Socially, though, the purpose of a canopy bed was to impress. You know how expensive drapes can be, in part because they use So. Much. Fabric. Well, a canopy bed can require even more. So in Colonial Williamsburg, if you had a canopy bed, you were doing pretty well.

(I did wonder, how often do you bring the people you’re trying to impress into your bedroom? But then I remembered: the first floor of a fancy house often included a bedroom, so I suppose there’s a good chance your local Lord or fellow revolutionary would catch a glimpse. But I digress…)

Here’s a canopy bed at the Governor’s Palace:

Canopy bed at the Governor's Palace, Colonial Williamsburg

Daughters’ bedroom, Governor’s Palace, Colonial Williamsburg

(Two quick sidebars while we’re in the Governor’s Palace? First, check this out:

Governor's Palace, Colonial Williamsburg

Bed skirt and rug

See how the rug surrounds the bed but doesn’t actually go underneath it? It’s called a “bed round,” and people had them because, well, they didn’t want to put all that expensive rug where no one would see it! I think we should bring this back, don’t you?

Second, how awesome are these Chinese Chippendale chairs?!?

Green Chinese Chippendale chair at Colonial Williamsburg

Chinese Chippendale at Colonial Williamsburg

Now back to our regularly scheduled topic…) Here’s another canopy bed at the Governor’s Palace:

Canopy bed at the Governor's Palace

Canopy bed at the Governor’s Palace

Check out the top!

Governor's Palace, Colonial Williamsburg

Governor’s Palace, Colonial Williamsburg

A canopy bed at the George Wythe House:

Wythe House, Colonial Williamsburg

Wythe House, Colonial Williamsburg

Wythe House, Colonial Williamsburg

Wythe House, Colonial Williamsburg

I wasn’t sure about the checked fabric against the floral wallpaper, but the tour guide assured me that this was au courant in 18th-century England.

Green wallpapered bedroom, Wythe House, Colonial Williamsburg

Wythe House, Colonial Williamsburg

Wythe House, Colonial Williamsburg

Wythe House, Colonial Williamsburg

And finally, a canopy bed in the home of Thomas Everard, whose life was a rags to riches story.

Everard House, Colonial Williamsburg

Everard House, Colonial Williamsburg

Everard House, Colonial Williamsburg

Everard House, Colonial Williamsburg

Mr. Everard was an early embodiment of that most American of American ideals: the self-made man. He went from being an orphan in London to a merchant’s apprentice, a court clerk, and Mayor of Williamsburg. Twice

Perhaps he with the most to prove has the fanciest canopy bed?

Bossy color is a full-service interior design firm in Washington, D.C. We design outrageously beautiful homes for fascinating people.

Go ahead: hang art on your bookcases

I think hanging a big old painting on the front of a bookcase is one of the most elegant looks around.

Portrait painting hung on bookcase

House Beautiful

There’s more than one way to hang art on bookcases, of course. (Notice that I didn’t say, “right or wrong way,” which shows amazing restraint.) My favorite style is layered and casual — almost messy:

Artwork hung on bookcase

Design by Studio Peregalli

You get this look by hanging large-ish pictures — often more than one — on bookshelves absolutely crammed with books. Books that are arranged by subject or author, not color or size.

It’s so library to me. So cozy. It feels authentic.

Paintings on the face of bookcases

House Beautiful

That said, I think a more tidy look is beautiful, too — a single piece of art in front of books that are carefully arranged…

Artwork on bookcase

Elle Decor

Photograph hung on blue bookcase

Trevor Tondro for The New York Times

…or artwork on the face of a bookcase that’s carefully styled, with more objects than books.

Picture hung on bookcase

From the blog Chic and Glamorous

Small painting hung on bookcase

Design by bossy color

Worth considering, don’t you think?

Bossy color designs outrageously beautiful homes for fascinating people. We’re a full-service interior design firm in Washington, D.C. 

Let’s check in with Anthropologie, shall we?

@AskVirginia just resurrected L.G. Tumbletown’s absolutely hilarious article about Anthropologie furniture and its maddening tendency toward absurdity.

Even though Anthro no longer makes many of those particular pieces, you can’t argue with the concept.

Unlike my attitude toward Restoration Hardware, however (remember when I wrote them a letter with some constructive criticism?), I view Anthropologie with a mixture of amusement and fondness. Sure, some Anthropologie furniture is, well, a bit silly:

Anthropologie furniture Boline Chair

Anthropologie furniture: Boline Chair

Anthropologie furniture Finn rocking chair

Anthropologie furniture: Finn Chair

but a) it’s less silly than it used to be, and b) there are several items that I REALLY like right now.

I may even love the Rhys chair and ottoman. It’s just mid-century enough, I love the green leather, and the details are great:

Anthropologie furniture: Rhys Chair and Ottoman

Anthropologie furniture: Rhys Chair and Ottoman

Back of Antrhopologie's Rhys Chair

Back of Rhys Chair

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 11.36.01 AM

Detail, Anthropologie’s Rhys Chair

I also think the wooden bar cart is pretty spiffy. Check out the leather-wrapped handle (and remember that a bar cart is something every man should have in his home):

Anthropologie furniture: Wooden Bar Cart

Anthropologie’s Wooden Bar Cart

Anthropologie furniture: Wooden Bar Cart

Anthropologie’s Wooden Bar Cart

And the Willoughby Sofa could be perfect in a slouchy, femme-y living room…

 Anthropologie furniture: Willoughby sofa Anthropologie furniture: Willoughby sofa

Anthropologie’s Willoughby sofa

…although not when there are blow-dried Papillon triplets guarding it.

Anthropologie furniture: Willoughby Sofa

Anthropologie’s Willoughby sofa with potentially rabid Papillons

So there you have it. It’s possible to mock the past AND love the present. Which is probably a good thing for all of us to keep in mind :)  .

Bossy color is a full-service interior design firm based in Washington, D.C. We design outrageously beautiful homes for fascinating people.