22 July, 2010
Colonial Williamsburg...Truly Classic
I was recently in heaven. Colonial Williamsburg to be exact. Don't laugh! I really believe this is a period of architecture and design that is more often than not, given a bad rap! I've found people often think of traditional design as lacking in color or creativity, and they couldn't be more wrong in this case. The homes of Colonial Williamsburg, which have been painstakingly recreated to be extremely accurate to their original state, are awash in brilliant, lush colors and textiles, and long on beautiful millwork, the quality and quantity of which I rarely see in newly built, million dollar homes. If you've visited, you know the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has worked long and hard to take the historic homes back to how they were originally used and designed in the 1770's, and they've done an amazing job. As a student of design, it has always fascinated me how certain stereotypes are associated with design of the18th C., the period in which Williamsburg flourished. The association with drab colors and a look that we tend to think of as boring, antiquated, can I say somewhat dismal, could not be further from the truth. Yes, I realize I am referring primarily to the homes whose owners could well afford to use beautiful shades of green and gold, and lapis as well. And, let's not forget, the most amazing wall and floor coverings I've ever seen replicated. But, even in those homes of the lowest worker in Colonial Williamsburg, they strove for quality of craftsmanship and a sense of creativity. Well, enough personal commentary. You get my point, Colonial Williamsburg is a study in how creative and extraordinary design was utilized during the 1770's. I hope you get to visit one day. Oh, and you know what amazed me the most? The fact that the wooden blinds with fabric tapes throughout all the homes, including the Governor's Palace, are historically accurate to the period! I never knew! (Patents were taken out in England by Gowin Knight in 1760 and Edward Beran on 11 December 1769, but Venetian blinds were known to the French long before then). That is truly a labor of love to have had to make those blinds almost 300 years ago! And, many of the blinds are stained the most exquisite shades of green and many other unexpected colors! Enjoy!