Friday, August 2, 2013

How to add detail to an interior with inspiration from Whitehall, The Flagler Museum in Palm Beach

My designer eye will scan a room and zero in on the details.  Many times the difference between an ordinary interior and outstanding one is simply in the details.
Sometimes the details are subtle, but not so in the splendor of the interiors of Whitehall, The Flagler Museum.   Details were abundant and exquiste!

I have already highlighted many of the details in my earlier posts such as on the ceilings and as trim on draperies or in the beautiful moldings used above doors and windows.  Here are a few more I saw on my field trip.

This ceiling in The Dining Room is plaster cast but fauxed to look like wood with gold leaf. As you can see the molding on the walls is equally as grand.
The Music Room has a domed ceiling that is lit from inside. 

The Drawing room is  more elegant with this painted ceiling with gold molding to accent it.

The chandeliers were spectacular all on their own but then you look up in The Library as see a beautiful coffered ceiling and it is even more lovely.

The West Room was originally a marble floored, columned veranda. ( Now it is enclosed)
Even in here the sky lights are surrounded by architectural detail. You can also see the detail around the arches with  wrought iron inside
While having such elaborate ceiling designs might not be practical in many of today's homes, I have actually designed a coffered ceiling for a home theater.  It is also effective in a home study/library.  What other areas would you use a coffered ceiling?
Domed ceilings are  a lovely addition to a foyer or dining room.  In fact you can add a "ceiling medallion" to almost any light fixture installation.

Ceiling medallions come in many shapes and sizes and are surprisingly affordable and easy to install.
Most of the walls in Whitehall were either wallpapered or upholstered and frequently framed by handsomely carved molding.  This silk damask is gorgeous.

Even the door knobs were over the top!

Underfoot, the floors were elegantly designed as well, such as this herringbone  floor with an inlaid border.

Here is a newly installed floor in a master bedroom.  I was delighted when I saw it in such a magnificent home as Whitehall a few weeks later!
The delicate detailed trim is not gold leaf, but aluminum coated with shellac.  Up until just after the turn of the century  aluminum was a almost as precious as gold leaf

This relief is gold leaf as were most of those found at Whitehall.

Wallpaper borders add the feeling of molding as they create frames for the wallpaper in some of the bedrooms. The Blue Room as this is known is furnished with original pieces.

Using wallpaper borders instead of applied wood moldings is an easy way to create a wall treatment. You can paper inside or paint the wall a contrasting color. Here they frame a whole section of a wall but you could do smaller sections all around a room or as a dramatic focal point.

What is your favorite way to add detail to your interior design project?  Did you get any inspiration from the pictures shown above? 
As always I invite your comments and welcome your questions in the comment box below.
                                              Happy Decorating!

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