When it comes to decorating, it seems that the buzz words people use are "transitional, chic, edgy." However sometimes it's appropriate to use a word which has fallen out of fashion to describe a room---pretty. Whenever I'm in Paris, I find myself thinking, "Oh my, that is so pretty!" Whether I'm looking at a sweet scene which has been woven into a centuries old tapestry or gazing at the delicate gilt-work on a ceiling, "pretty" seems to sum up the craftsmanship and style of many Parisian rooms.
Of course several rooms, both public and private, are also impressive, often meant to reflect the status of their owners or patrons. Every detail has been taken into account from the carpet and parquet floors underfoot to the intricate boisserie on the walls and fascinating scenes depicted on the ceilings. Upon closer inspection, one realises how much he has to learn. Each figure seems to come from the mythological world or stem from the realm of literature. From gods and goddesses who evoke certain traits to flora and fauna which are rooted in symbolism, each detail has been executed on purpose.
Sumptuous fabrics and textiles also play a dominant role in the decoration of Parisian rooms. Upholstered walls soften a grand space and create an atmosphere of warmth in what could otherwise be an imposing room with its marble floors and serious furniture. Impossible amounts of fabric are used to dress the windows which frame romantic views of the city of lights. Furniture upholstered in silks and velvets work together with these elements to create a place that is both luxurious and pretty at the same time.
Experiencing these rooms first hand has allowed me to see that "pretty" is a good thing. My goal is to bring this prettiness into my own home and into the homes of my clients. Even if I'm not working on a palace, I can still use elements that have inspired me from these grand spaces. Perhaps I will incorporate a beautiful statue or tapestry. Maybe an interesting color palate taken from a rug at Versailles will inform a new project here in America. Regardless of how we incorporate history and tradition into modern life, let us not forget that "pretty" is not a bad thing.