If there's a trend, it's toward detailing

July 12, 1992|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Which trends are likely to dominate the home furnishings scene during the next few years? Put that question to any five interior designers, and you'll probably get five different answers.

One of the most noticeable developments, however, pertains to the use of detailing in all sorts of furnishings. Whether expressed in intricately cast steel or in carved or painted pieces, fine and elaborate detail is what distinguishes much of today's furniture from what was being manufactured just a couple of years ago. We may be going back to basics in our dressing and in some other aspects of life, but that's certainly not the direction in which interior design is heading.

These days, painted walls are more often than not textured and trimmed with decorative borders, crown moldings and architectural fragments. Trompe l'oeil painting is no longer a rarity. And traverse draperies with four-inch pleated headings, once widely popular because of their simple appearance, are now frequently used only as light-controlling under-curtains beneath a much more ornate window dressing.

This photo shows a number of decorative elements that, not so long ago, would seldom be seen outside the most sophisticated traditional settings. Today, with a bolder and over-scaled interpretation, these same features are found in many contemporary-style interiors. The change is evident in wall-to-wall carpeting. No longer is it almost exclusively a single-color broadloom. Many carpets now feature borders of contrasting colors and textures.

In this bedroom corner, designed by Mark and Susan Chastain for the San Francisco Showhouse, the off-white carpet is bordered by a rose-pink strip. The contrast is accentuated in the dressing area by diamond-shaped patterns in the same color as the border. The carpet by Philadelphia, Hampton Hall, is made with Du Pont Stainmaster yarn.

Window coverings are likewise undergoing some stylistic shifts. They seem more relaxed in their construction, although this casual appearance is typically achieved through detailing and an abundant use of fabric.

In this model, the two-tiered valance trimmed in contrasting color with a pleated border is enhanced by a similar treatment at the inside edge of the drapery panels. The same kind of dressmaker detail shows up in the upholstered chair as well. With its deeply pleated skirt, the chair looks less stiff than would have been the case had the pleats been carefully pressed and the skirting raised an inch or two off the floor. Here we also see tufting with rosettes around the buttons. Again, this is a traditionally inspired treatment that's being applied to some of the most modern chair designs.

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