When Mark and Carol Goodman bought a traditional house in Baltimore City, they moved in without any furniture for the living room. The Goodmans, who moved here from a high-rise apartment in New York City, did have some contemporary pieces, but they had been shuffled into the den.
After looking at an empty living room for about a year, Mrs. Goodman hired interior designer Donna Foertsch of D.L.F. Designs and together they decided to look first for fabric. "When I am starting from scratch in a room, I really like to find the boldest, most multi-patterned fabric first," says Ms. Foertsch. "Then, I work with it to pull out other colors and patterns."
The design scheme for the Goodmans' living room took off when Mrs. Goodman saw a fabric in a magazine ad for Baker Furniture. Called "Russian Plate," it was a cotton material of vivid red, blue, gold and green that featured people, flowers, birds, animals and vines in a folk pattern of Russian origin. "When my husband first saw the fabric, he said it was kind of bright for a living room," recalls Mrs. Goodman. "But when I saw it, I just loved it."
With the fabric in hand, Ms. Foertsch began decorating in earnest. First came an overstuffed Lawson-styled sofa covered in "Russian Plate." Then the generous-sized living room windows were treated with pinch-pleated draw draperies and swags in the same fabric.
Two French bergere chairs covered in a blue and red moire plaid and a loveseat covered in a Scalamandre blue damask were purchased to contrast with and compliment the sofa. Together the pieces created a sitting area around the fireplace.
The Lacey Champion wool rug was custom-made in 16 colors selected by Ms. Foertsch and Mrs. Goodman. And after searching for just the right piece of furniture to go under the front window, the women decided on a large, tufted ottoman trimmed in two layers of fringe.
Once the major elements of the room were in place, Ms. Foertsch scouted for accessories. Her finds included Tole vases from Niermann Weeks and a chinoiserie hand-painted coffee table. But the biggest excitement was reserved for a Barbara Lipman oil painting of flowers whose colors echoed the "Russian Plate" fabric. It was quickly hung over the sofa.
Now that the living room is completed, Carol Goodman says it is the "best room in the house." And what is her favorite thing in the "best room"? The fabric from the Baker ad that started it all.