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DECOR SCORE- Sitting Pretty Without a Chair PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rose Bennett Gilbert, Creative Syndicate   
Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:22


Pull up a stool and dine elegantly at the gilt-and-glass table in a living room rich with other works of art.

Q: Do you always have to use chairs with a dining table? I have a small table (seats just four) that I put in one corner of our living room. When I pull up chairs, it looks as if I've fenced off the table. It's too many legs and backs! I was about to buy stools, but my husband won't hear of it. He says you should be able to relax at the table. What do you think?

A: I think you're both right. Yes, dining is for relaxing. Maybe not Roman-style, stretched out on a couch but comfortable seating encourages leisurely conversation, which is the very best compliment any meal can elicit.

That said, I also see your point. A small table can look lost-in-the-forest when it's ringed by large, imposing chairs. Imagine the totally chic dining scene we show here with that lyrical gilt-and-black glass table surrounded by all those arms, legs and backs, instead of a quartet of low, little stools. Don't you think that the entire mood of the meal would change -- from intimate, sexy, and elegant to, well, pass the mac 'n cheese?

This is a setting for caviar, instead, borrowed from a handsome new book by architect/interior designer Suzanne Lovell, "Artistic Interiors."

This cool, intriguing room is designed around the back-painted glass eglomise murals mounted around the walls of a room with no view, according to Lovell. Who needs to look out anyway? Look down and the custom rug features a city plan of Milan; look up and there's a rare black Baccarat chandelier.

Look through the candles and you can bet there would be an intriguing dinner guest on the other side of the table, happily perched on the little horsehair-upholstered stool.

Q: Are you ready for curtains made of peacock-feather fabric?

A: They're available, according to Ann Linares, materials specialist at Material ConneXion, one of the most intriguing design resources in the world.

Based in New York, with connections everywhere from Bangkok, Beijing, and Cologne to Seoul, Shanghai, and Istanbul, Material ConneXion is the brainchild of entrepreneur George Beylerian, who has just been inducted into Interior Design Magazine's Hall of Fame.

Beylerian's remarkable creation is a wonderland of new and often astonishing materials that can be adapted by designers, architects, manufacturers - - by anyone who's looking for what's different and exciting, such as fabrics made of peacock feathers and rayon -- shimmering and iridescent -- or of real cork, thin slices bonded to a blend of polyester, cotton and polyurethane.

Dazzling members of the International Furnishing and Design Assn., New York Chapter, Linares led a virtual tour last week through some of the more remarkable materials in the ConneXion collection. Also on the design horizon, fabric with metallic filaments that can be formed into different shapes; reflective wallpaper with glass micro-spheres bonded to the surface; fabrics textured to look and feel like hairon pony hide; and leather made from -- get ready -- the stomach of a cow. Once a wasted byproduct of the meat industry, the leather is thick, fuzzy and takes three months to tan. Coming to a club chair near you!

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Manhattan Style," and six other books on interior design.