Monday, February 8, 2016

Decorating With Sofaless Seating Arrangements

I love sofas! That being said, I do find myself strangely drawn to the alternative seating arrangement that ditches the sofa in order to use four chairs, usually matching, although you can prefer them not to match up.

This style of sofaless seating makes alot of sense and is growing in popularity. I think it's unconventional look keeps homeowners from taking the plunge. I know when people come to my house they seem to prefer sitting in a single chair and usually not more than two people sit on the sofa.

If you are wanting to update your home with little to no effort, you might want to give this sofaless seating arrangement a try. It will give your living room or family room a chic face lift with minimal effort and expense.

via Pinterest

I love debunking those time honored decorating rules and mandatory sofas is definitely a rule that needs to be broken. The sofaless seating arrangement is quite lovely as you can see in this picture.

When the chairs are all the same style and color, the sofaless grouping has cohesion. Placed like this they give the feel of sofas but could be arranged in a different way for a more singular look.

Another example of arranging your sofaless seating with two chairs, side by side, and directly across from each other.

Currently the more popular way of arranging a sofaless seating area is to place the chairs in a more circular fashion with something like a table or ottoman in the center.

To anchor the sofaless seating arrangement and create a comfortable balance that will promote conversation, the ottoman is a functional choice. If you add a tray it will double as a table with easy access for everyone since it is placed in the center. Another plus is that it can provide additional seating if needed.

This sofaless seating arrangement feature two different style chairs but since they are covered in the same fabric they are seen as a unit.

This type of sofaless arrangement could work for any space from modern casual.......

to a bit more formal.

It is easy to see that the purpose for the sofaless seating arrangement is social interaction in a room that doesn't have a TV.

Tobi Fairley

Since most people prefer conversations face-to-face, a seating area like this without a sofa is probably the best conversation arrangement

Plus the arrangement of this sofaless seating area provides a much more intimate space.

Michael Matrka, Inc

When everyone is facing each other there is none of that uncomfortable twisting and turning. I hate leaving someone's house with my neck sore!

I know I hate being the one in the middle of the sofa being twisted on both sides. I much prefer a chair of my own and plenty of elbow room.

Pamela Pierce 

A lovely French style sofaless seating area.

In this sofaless English style living room the chairs are not identical but this works because they are similar in style and scale and have a good mix of patterns.

New England Home

This is the perfect seating area for a room where it seems almost impossible to place a sofa.

You will be surprised how easy it is to create an inviting and functional furniture arrangements without a sofa.

If you try the sofaless seating arrangement in you living room yet sometimes feel the need for a sofa, you can always slide a couple of the chairs together for a loveseat effect.

James A. Grove

Club style chairs are an excellent choice for this sofaless type of seating arrangement. The curved back echos the circular arrangement.

Sofaless seating arrangements are current and chic right now so if you are in the mood to try something new, this unconventional look is worth your consideration.

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Decorating With A Billot de Boucher........French Butcher's Table

I recently did a post about the marble topped presentation tables used by French butchers that look so beautiful in a French style kitchen. However, nothing quite warms up a kitchen like a well worn French butchers table. This blog post is dedicated to introducing you to the ‘billot de boucher, ( pronounced bee-o de booshay). This style table with it's thick slab top was a preparation table, ideal for tasks to get the meat ready to be displayed in the butcher's window. They were usually made of beech, oak, or maple banded with iron braces. The billot de boucher was usually double sided with a carved scalloped apron over large drawers for holding knives and other butcher's tools. Decorated with bronze cow head details on the backboard this table sat on four fluted legs.

The ‘billot de boucher is the perfect accent for you rustic French kitchen and a real conversation piece for your home. They are expensive so if you have one or are considering one for your kitchen I am green with envy.

The French butcher table (billot de boucher) was designed to last for decades. As with most French furniture this piece was functional yet aesthetically appealing as well. This butcher table has the traditional shaped skirt typical of the earlier blocks and a beautifully decorative detail.

The most valuable are the large oak French butcher's tables built in the 19th century as they are considered the most rare. Billot de bouchers that include features such as a knife holder or storage drawers are also considered to be more valuable.

The French billot de boucher had a backsplash usually decorated with a shield (or in this case a shell) in the center and bronze cow heads on the pediments. Also there might be an original enameled maker's plaque still in place.

Hard to believe that these wonderful French butcher's tables were at one time just business furniture. Now thought of as a beautiful element that combines functionality and  aesthetics, their character helps this piece anchor your French kitchen.

Aged cow head details on backboard of this billot de boucher. This one is made of wood instead of bronze.

The surface of the billot de boucher provided ample working space for one or two butchers.

A French butcher's table is a lovely rustic accent table that is perfect for the kitchen but would look equally great in a foyer or hallway.

via Pinterest

Muriel Priou / Photo : Sophie Lloyd....via Elle maison

A French butcher's table is a wonderfully functional piece and perfect for the kitchen of someone who really enjoys cooking.

The fundamental element of the billot de boucher is obviously the cutting board made ​​of pavers ( pieces of wood) that have a thickness ranging from 8-20 cm. The plateau is surrounded by stainless steel brackets that hold the wooden elements tight to each other.

A beautiful single butcher's table, still with all the elements of the double table.

I love the drawer on this butcher table.

Even without a backsplash this French butcher's table is an asset to any interior.

This French butcher's table has drawers and also shelves for storage.

Authentic Original Antique French billot de boucher -  c.1890 


If you don't want to use it for a kitchen work table, use your billot de boucher as an accent table for displaying collections or even as a kitchen desk.

There is no mistaking an antique billot de boucher. It will definitely be worn in the center from all the use it has gotten over the years. Don't let anyone fool will be bowed in the center!

Many antique French butcher table collectors have a passion for restoring and refinishing their tables, however this may decrease their value. This is definitely a piece you don't want to over restore.

Old beech wood billot de boucher standing above two drawers. These pieces were sometimes referred to as "logs".

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Decorate With Collections Of Creamy White Ironstone

The simplicity, durability, and variety of styles makes antique ironstone one of the most sought after collectibles. Who can resist it's creamy goodness.

Old ironstone with it's beautiful crazing and stains was England's cheap, but durable alternative to porcelain, and was mass produced for the colonies. Josiah Spode was producing ironstone by 1805 and exporting it in mass quantities to France where it's popularity surpassed the traditional faience pottery. It was, however, actually patented by the British potter Charles James Mason in 1813 . Many other European countries including Sweden produced white ironstone during the 19th century. 

If you are a collector, the question is how do you display your beautiful winter white treasures. I like authenticity and believe ironstone collections should be displayed in cupboards close to the kitchen where they were meant to be. These dishes were used regularly, not seen as part of tabletop vignettes throughout the house. I also prefer a casual stacking of dishes, bowls tureens etc. as opposed to single pieces lined up for show. Also don't think your collection need be made up entirely of Ironstone. There are lovely English and French white porcelain dishes that are perfect compliments to the display. It just looks more in keeping with what a French or English kitchen would actually look like. 

If you are interested in collecting Ironstone I would highly recommend that you begin by purchasing a lovely old cupboard to display them in and then let your collecting take off. Scour vintage stores, flea markets, and even yard sales for pieces at great prices. Of course at antique stores you will pay more unless you luck up like I did a few weeks back when I found a great tureen at 40% off.

Collectors have created a demand for Ironstone and the price has risen accordingly, but you can still have fun searching for that perfect piece.

With the popularity of the French style home, collections of these white dishes against a white or light background has become a favorite look. By the way, there is no iron in Ironstone. It is named for it's strength and durability. 

My personal preference is to see these Ironstone collections displayed "en masse" for impact.

source unknown

Although the price for  Ironstone has risen significantly,  you can still find a good piece at an affordable price if you are willing to treasure hunt a bit.

Ironstone prices vary greatly.The cost of a piece for your collection will depend on several things such as  pattern, condition, and rarity. Also whether you buy from an antique store or scour flea markets will make a difference in price.

A few years back ironstone was fairly easy to find because of lack of interest. Now so many wonderful tureens and covered dishes are being collected by people wanting to bring a French farmhouse look to their homes.

I especially like ironstone collections with the stacked look.

My own white collection displayed at Christmas in an old built-in cabinet located down the hall leading to my kitchen. I have some really good pieces of English Ironstone and then I also have some random white English pieces (Johnson Brothers Old English Staffordshire "White Granite" ware, and John Maddock & Sons Royal white porcelain) that are thrown in simply because I like them and couldn't resist adding them to the collection. I love it all, tureens, casseroles, compotes, plates and platters. I am also not opposed to a chip or stain.......makes it look authentic because when being used these things happen. 

I enjoyed using my tureens twice during Christmas entertaining. Covered serving pieces made my mashed potatoes and other vegetables look so elegant while desserts presented on my cakeplates (decorated with a bit of holly and covered with cloches) were a hit with visitors.

Sometimes a piece will tell you that it is ironstone, but not always so you need to get educated on the look and feel. There are marks, however, it is not uncommon to find pieces that aren’t marked at all. Be aware that just because it isn’t marked doesn’t mean it’s not ironstone. www.k-co-copenhag... FOTO : Bjørn Stiler.

The best way to tell is by look and feel. Pieces may range in color from white to cream and even a darker tan color.  Ironstone will feel heavier than you think it should and you will notice that pieces may have crazing, (cracks in the glaze). If you are considering a collection of Ironstone, learn to appreciate the imperfections that come along with such vintage pieces.

via Pinterest

To make your display of Ironstone more interesting add a little variety to the collection. There are so many wonderful and unique pieces out there just waiting to become part of a fabulous collection.

via Pinterest

People have their favorite pieces of Ironstone to collect. Some love pitchers, some platters. Like this collector I love tureens and covered dishes They seem to beckon me!

I think an Ironstone display looks best when your collection is mis-matched. Don't worry about getting all the same pattern, or for that matter a collection made up entirely of Ironstone. A mix looks much better anyway!

Whether dressed up or countrified, Ironstone complements every style.

Ironstone platters displayed in a plate rack.

Some pieces have cracks and chips, and all have the marks of being used. Ironstone was made to be used so a good collection should include some of these pieces if you want your display to look authentic.

You don't always have to use a cupboard for display.This is an interesting way to show off a collection of Ironstone in a way that makes it look like it is still being used.

source unknown....please let me know who to credit

Another example of a collection of Ironstone tureens.

Pretty French style dining room with crystal chandeliers, distressed furniture and a collection of creamy white ironstone.

White Ironstone collections are a great idea for adding a French flair to your kitchen.

Nathalie Vingot Mei

Let me encourage you to use and enjoy the pieces of Ironstone in your collection. These wonderful white dishes are not meant to be kept strictly behind cupboard doors.

Collections of Ironstone have a special magic around Christmas when greenery is added into the mix. I think they're perfect for serving on holiday tables. The white simplicity of these dishes will never go out of style.

Don't you just love the creaminess and patina of old Ironstone? And if a French farmhouse style kitchen is your heart's desire, then you must create a cupboard overflowing with white!

Click here to see the previous post

This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

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