Monday, March 27, 2017

PORTIERE: Victorian Coziness and Elegance

So, this weekend, Billy went out of town for a charity event, and I had a bit of time to think about some Spring cleaning and re-arranging- I decided to remove the overlay of cognac gauffraged cotton velvet (an old bed coverlet!) from my one draped table, to show off the nice bright colors of the silk plaid table skirt- and one thing led to another...

I decided to see how a portiere would look in the small opening between my tiny foyer and the living-dining room...something I had wanted to do for quite some time.

Here it is! - tied back-, a fun bit of D.I.Y. that I enjoyed working on this weekend- and here are some other images of portiere that I found online - as well as some more of my own creation- this creates a remarkably cozy feeling, particularly at night- and I recall my Mother's decorator, Jonathan Arbuthnot using portiere when he first decorated her house in North Carolina, they were so elegant in ivory moiré cotton with gorgeous gadrooned silk tie backs in avocado!  Rich!

Above, this is how it looked before the tie back- and I liked it this way also- as it reminded me of an old villa or castello somewhere in Italy or Spain- and I already had the hardware from a previous project on the east coast of Florida!  (see similar in below images)

One can see how not tied back gives a completely different feeling and look- check out these tied back versions below, including my own!


Above, you can see where I also played with using a mirror where before I was using some boating pictures I had from a previous (waterfront) apartment.  Here's a few more, hope these inspire you to create your own cozy Victorian revival!  DF *****



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  1. Tied back is the way to go, for sure. While I am not a fan of puddling, I recently ate at a restaurant in upstate New York that used portieres as a way of creating a small vestibule to stop the cold air coming into the restaurant when people entered. However, the idea was somewhat defeated by the fact that the draperies were 6 inches off the floor. Portieres have a very practical side, especially in large openings with no doors.

    1. Dear Cynthia,
      Yes, I do believe they originated in old chateaux and castles to keep drafts out. Mine are quite modest but they add to the ambiance of a mock English gentlemen's club. I agree about too much on the floor can be a bit sloppy, and I do like a deep sway in the tie back as I have seen in Paris hotels and apartments.