An early 20th Century Oak side table with barley twist legs joined by barley twist stretchers for added strength. | source: 1stdibs
Keegan Robinson, of Lemon Drops Reclaimed, chose a sleek black paint finish for this vintage barley twist occasional table which gives it a striking contemporary edge. | source: Lemon Drops Reclaimed via Instagram
What is the definition of Barley Twist?
Have you ever heard someone mention the term “Barley Twist“, “Barley Sugar Twist“, or “Barley Twist legs” and wondered what on earth it meant? Well, now you have to wonder no longer – we will define Barley Twist for you! Here is the latest addition to our Decorating Dictionary…
Barley Twist: is a turned furniture feature resembling a spiral corkscrew-like form named after “barley sugar twists”, a type of traditional sweet / candy. Hugely popular in the 17th century, the barley twist was often a favoured choice for furniture legs, struts and decorative furniture trims. This turned furniture feature was inspired by the ancient Solomonic column, a twist-fluted column frequently used in Eastern and Byzantine architecture of the Late Antiquity period. Another variation of this design feature is called an “open barley twist”, which has two intertwining twists and a hollow centre, similar in shape to that of a double helix.
Last month, inspired by a post we spotted on Emily Henderson’s blog, we wrote an article about the current trend of using armoires, traditionally meant for the bedroom, as feature pieces in the rest of the home.
We accompanied the post with a lovely roundup of locally-found contemporary storage cabinets that could serve as statement display units in every room of your home.
Now, while I was prepping the article and curating our “8 Contemporary Storage Cabinets for Your Home” shopping list, I was quite astonished by the number of striking bar cabinets I came across during my search. Not only were these drinks cabinets absolutely gorgeous, they were also all local available – the majority being exclusive pieces designed and manufactured by South African designers. Elite to say the least!
I immediately bookmarked a few designs and made a mental note to follow-up our contemporary storage unit article with one about bar cabinets.
Where previously the open display of alcohol in the home might have been deemed a tad vulgar and Mid-century kitsch, the ever-growing popularity of boutique and craft spirits and liquors has resulted in a home bar revival. I mean, what is the point of owning beautifully designed bottles filled delicious, locally-stilled, limited-edition drinks and then not being able to show it off?! I bit hipster, I know, but I can’t help it!
An early 20th Century oak side table with barley twist legs joined by barley twist stretchers for added strength. | source: 1stdibs
Designed by Italian furniture designer Lucian Ercolani, the “354” nest, or rather the “Pebble” nest as it is affectionately known, is a Mid-century Modern classic. | source: The Salesroom
What is the definition of Nesting Tables?
Have you ever heard someone mention the term “Nesting Tables“, “Nest of Tables“, or “Nested Tables” and wondered what on earth it meant? Well, now you have to wonder no longer – we will define Nesting Tables for you! Here is the latest addition to our Decorating Dictionary…
Nesting Tables: (also known as a “nest of tables” or “nested tables”) is a set of occasional tables varying in size in order that the smaller tables can neatly slot underneath the larger ones to save space when not in use. A set can consist of anything between two to four tables although a set of three is most common. Made popular during the Mid-century Modern era of furniture design, nesting tables are prized for their practicality and flexibility.
Rose recently spotted a lovely article on Emily Henderson’s blog that set the inspiration cogs in our heads turning. In the post, “Why You Should Be Using Armoires in Every Room”, Emily elaborates why furniture pieces like armoires should not be hidden in the bedroom but incorporated as feature pieces in the rest of the home.
Before we get all tripped up over terminology, let’s quickly look at the definition of “Armoire”…
As we have previously defined in our Decorating Dictionary, an Armoire is a large loose-standing two-door cabinet, usually containing shelves, hanging space, and sometimes drawers below. Generally used for storing clothing or household items, interestingly enough it was originally used for storing arms.
Emily had the following to say about this atypical trend:
“Let’s talk wardrobes, or armoires if you’re feeling fancy, and how to bring it into our modern day lives because even though likely none of us are currently living in a sprawling French chateau, these heavier pieces of furniture can be used successfully (and VERY chicly) in nearly every room of the house. It’s one of those pieces that are often overlooked, but let’s all agree to stop that right now and consider the armoire.
Sure, with a name like “wardrobe,” you’re thinking they have to be relegated behind closed bedroom doors. But we’re all for thinking outside the box around here at EHD and like to be trailblazers in anything if we can. We’re not in this instance, but we’re loving what we’re seeing from other like-minded people. Because really, armoires are essentially just cabinets for storing things so why can’t we use one anywhere and everywhere we need storage, right? Plus, because they take up more vertical space than horizontal, they’re great for smaller footprints.”
In her blog post, Emily shared some gorgeous examples of both traditional and contemporary armoiresused as storage and display in various unexpected parts of the home – from the bathroom and entryway to the dining room and living room.
Drawing inspiration from mid-century design, the Ayva Nesting Table set pairs natural marble with gold-toned legs for a glamorous look. | source: Decor Pad
The lacquered wood and tubular steel “First” Chair designed by Michele de Lucchi and produced by the Memphis Group, Milano. | source: Sotheby’s Home
What is the definition of Memphis Style?
Have you ever heard someone mention the term “Memphis Style” and wondered what on earth it meant? Well, now you have to wonder no longer – we will define Memphis Style for you! Here is the latest addition to our Decorating Dictionary…
Memphis Style: is a postmodern movement pioneered by the Memphis Group, an Italian design and architecture collective, in the 1980s. Inspired by earlier styles such as Pop Art, Art Deco, and 1950s Kitsch, Memphis Style has been described as “a shotgun wedding between Bauhaus andFisher-Price”. The somewhat bizarre and humorous style is known for its bold use of colour, abstract graphic patterns, and asymmetrical geometric shapes. The Memphis Group designed and exhibited many furniture pieces, decorative objects, and household items in this peculiar style. While Memphis Style was often seen as “bad taste” and misunderstood, the designs received much acclaim and had many admirers – David Bowie had a massive Memphis Style collection. In recent years, renewed interest in Memphis Style designs has resulted in a minor style revival both in the fashion and interiors sectors.
This classic jewellery box has an embossed emerald green shagreen exterior trimmed with brass and lined in suede. A glamorous and functional addition to a well-appointed dressing table. | source: Sotherby’s Home
This chest of drawers is crafted from poplar wrapped in richly pebbled, faux off-white shagreen – a true ode to Art Deco styling. | source: Dear Keaton
What is the definition of Shagreen?
Have you ever heard someone mention the term “shagreen” and wondered what on earth it meant? Well, now you have to wonder no longer – we will define shagreen for you! Here is the latest addition to our Decorating Dictionary…
Shagreen: is a highly textured rawhide or leather originally obtained from the rumps of horses and onagers, and later, from the skins of sharks, stingrays and dogfish. Historically, this exotic skin was used to cover the sword hilts and bows of Japanese and Chinese civilisations past. Shagreen was popularized as a luxury decorative material in the 18th century by Jean-Claude Galluchat, a master leatherworker in the court of Louis XV of France. It quickly became the epitome of sophistication and style amongst the French aristocracy. The decorative use of shagreen saw a revival during the 1920s and 30s as it was often used in Art Deco furniture pieces – a popular interior style during this period. Today, the majority of shagreen products are made from faux/artificial materials.