Friday, December 23, 2011

Obelisks in contemporary decor

Obelisks are sleek and chic! They works easily in contemporary decor as demonstrated by some leading interior designers.

Eric Cohler decorates gorgeous spaces. I love this living room with it's pale colors and modern art work. The white marble obelisks on the warm wood bureau are the perfect accent.

Designer: Eric Cohler

Veranda - Designer: David Phoenix for Rose Tarlow

These wonderful specimen marble obelisks on the mantel add interest and a pop of color to an other wise pale palette.

We happen to have a pair that are similar. I love them! These are in our entryway, and serve as a frame to our pressed glass sculpture. 

Whether you choose obelisks of a single color marble or rock crystal, or a more colorful specimen marble mix, obelisks are terrific in contemporary decor.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Unusual obelisks

Obelisks take many forms from the classical designs based on the originals in Egypt to the fanciful and exotic. In the 19th century they were bought as souvenirs of the Grand Tour, or used as decorative specimen marble examples.

We ran across this interesting obelisk at the Masterpiece Antiques Fair in London this year. This obelisk is used to display intaglios. They describe this as an early 19th century 'Grand Tour' gilt wood and glass obelisk containing a collection of plaster intaglios depicting the heads of Roman emperors, classical scenes and muses, with makers label: 'William Davis. Carver, Gilder, Printseller.'
Signed on label: Christmas 1816. It's 22 inches tall. 

 Veranda - Designer: Charlotte Moss

The designer, Charlotte Moss, found an unusual pair of 'striped' specimen marble obelisks for this bookcase. I haven't seen this style of specimen marble before. 

Veranda - Designer: Charlotte Moss

In the same house, Charlotte Moss placed another unusual set of obelisks on this iron entryway table. 

It's fun to keep an eye out for for something a bit different whether it's modern, or antique. It's great having conversation pieces as part of your decor. Makes it so much more interesting

Friday, December 9, 2011

Michael S. Smith and the Classic Interior - with obelisks!

Obelisks are classic. It doesn't mean that they only work in classic interiors (as this blog demonstrates), but they ALWAYS make an interior classic!

Who better to demonstrate how to mix modern and classic but Michael S. Smith - the decorator chosen by the Obamas to work with them on the White House!

Architectural Digest - Designer: Michael S. Smith

The designer, Michael S. Smith, knows how to integrate the classic with the modern. In this Manhattan apartment, the owners are art collectors. Smith skillfully juxtaposes the modern with the antique. In the top photo, the painting by Liubov Popova, works beautifully with the tableau on the table including a Tang horse. 

In the bottom photo, a Grand Tour obelisk sits happily besides a Henry Moore statue on the table in the fore ground. The obelisk enhances the sculpture, rather than distracts from it. It almost serves as a partial frame. 

 Elle Decor - Designer: Michael S. Smith

Place an obelisk on a coffee table at the center of a room for instant chic! This room is comfortable and contemporary yet includes a number of classic elements - notice the Greek inspired X-stools and the urns on the etageres.(See Auction Decorating for more on X-stools).

Smith knows how to create classic modern interiors, and an obelisk is always a nice addition!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Brazilian stylesetter loves obelisks

When I opened my latest issue of Elle Decor I was thrilled to see the fabulous Sao Paulo apartment of 'stylesetter' Fabrizio Rollo. It's full of fabulous fabrics and decorative layers. It's quirky in a chic way, and does not look in the least bit 'decorated'. And he loves obelisks!

All photos Elle Decor

Not only are there multiple obelisks in Rollo's apartment, but there are different types for more interest. In the top photo on the console table in the rear, there are two colossal white marble obelisks, and then a smaller rock crystal placed randomly in between. Then there are black obelisks on end tables either end of the sofa. He proves the rule that you can't have too many! 

The middle photo shows another angle of the living room, reflecting one of the large white marble obelisks, which contrast so nicely with the rich fabrics and animal prints - always a chic detail.

The bottom photo is the library, and if animal prints work on pillows, why not obelisks. Here we see a zebra striped large obelisk making quite a statement. 

I love every room in Rollo's apartment, and the obelisks add such chic!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Italian style with obelisks in Naples

In this month's issue of Architectural Digest there is a profile of an apartment in Naples designed by Laura Sartori Rimini and Roberto Peregalli, partners in Studio Peregalli, a Milan based architecture and design firm. They use obelisks to great effect in several rooms in the apartment - how very chic!

Living Room


 In each room, obelisks enhance the classical display on each of the tables. In the living room, a pair of obelisks set off an antique clock. In the library, another pair frames a Roman bust. And in the bedroom, the obelisk sits nicely on the side of a dresser topped with a bust, some books, flowers and a lamp.

Italians know how to add instant decorative chic with obelisks!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Obelisks in the contemporary bedroom

The priority in decorating a bedroom is to crate a tranquil space. We spend a third of our lives at least in our bedrooms, so it needs to be beautiful and a space that makes us happy.

This sleek contemporary bedroom in an Amsterdam apartment exudes cool and calm. The decor is simple and functional. The obelisks on the console table under the window (left) fit in perfectly!

We live in a modern house in Columbia County NY, and our bedroom includes a large lapis lazuli veneered obelisk with the most wonderful pietra dura inlaid designs on the plinth of floral and fauna. 

We might think of obelisks as classic design elements, but classic works well with contemporary. I think of obelisks as the perfect decorative element because their simple design works anywhere!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Grouping obelisks

We often think of obelisks in pairs, but a group of obelisks of different styles and shapes can be even more interesting. If you collect obelisks, this is a great way to display them.

In this New York home designed by the Dutch architects, Decoration Empire, they grouped three obelisks of different styles and sizes on a coffee table to create a chic display. 

 Elle Decor - Designers: Timothy Haynes and Kevin Roberts

In this Manhattan dining room, the table holds a collection of glass obelisks by Venini and Baccarat. They are all sleek, modern, and add refracted color to the room. The glass and crystal made in to simple forms stands on it's own and moves beyond the classical style of many obelisks. 

These are just a couple of examples of obelisk collecting, and great display!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Working obelisks

My desk has several decorative objects on it along with some family photos, all of which make me happy when I sit down to work. I, or course, have an obelisk as well!

I sometimes change the obelisk to suit my mood.

Lonny Magazine - Designer: David Flint Wood

In the Caribbean home of David Flint Wood (partner of India Hicks) he includes family photos of the British Royal family (India's relatives), a vintage toy car for a bit of fun, and three obelisks. It looks like there is a pair along with one more. Nice idea!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mixing it up obelisk decorating

Obelisks are so fun to collect. They need not be pairs, but work well mixed together in different sizes and styles. This designer is almost an example of 'you can't have too many obelisks!' He makes great use of them in his Manhattan apartment.

Lonny Magazine - Designer: Christian Leone

The owner and decorator of this Manhattan apartment has created a comfortable and relaxed space. In the living room he uses a calming blue upholstery on the sofa with contrasting throw pillows, but adds some edge with a zebra throw on the floor. The coffee table is decorated with a number of objects, including two obelisks - one tall and cream colored, and the smaller one looks like it might be malachite veneer. 

There are two other views of the fabulous red lacquered living room in Christian Leone's apartment. In an interesting continuity test, the same coffee table in the first and second photo of the blog now has a black marble obelisk with white veining. That's OK by me!

In the bottom photo, the etageres are a great way to display collected objects. It adds real interest to a room, and a great place for your guests to admire your collections and ponder what they say about you! The etageres are topped by a pair of mirrored obelisks which complete the look. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ashford marble obelisks

We were in London recently and were taken by Ashford black marble obelisks. The ones you find are mostly mid to late 19th century and inlaid with floral and geometric designs. Ashford is in Derbyshire, England.

I took these photos at a US auction house and they reflect the most frequent floral and geometric inlaid designs found on Ashford obelisks.

The first marble mill was established in 1748, but "in 1835 the industry was transformed when William Adam of Matlock, at the suggestion of the Duke of Devonshire who had seen Florentine mosaics while on a visit to Italy, introduced the art of inlaying." (From the Black Beauty of Ashford Marble published in Reflections Magazine 2004). They took off in popularity after the Great Exhibition of 1851, as Ashford marble was shown favor by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The factory remained in production until 1905.

"Today Ashford black marble ornaments are greatly prized collector’s items, and the dramatic beauty of it’s highly polished black surface still graces the counties stately homes at Chatsworth, Keddleston, Haddon, and Hardwick." (Same article as above).

The examples one finds today are generally around or under 24 inches tall. We did, however, see a very tall pair in London recently that were probably over 3 feet tall and gorgeous.

I took this photo at a London antique store. This has a classic geometric pattern on the obelisk with a floral inlaid pattern on the plinth, and stands about 20 inches tall.

The Buxton Museum in Derbyshire England has many examples of Ashford marble objects, including obelisks!

Ashford marble obelisks are wonderful and decorative collectors items! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Obelisks in the dining room

Dining rooms are used mostly at night. When thinking about the decorative scheme, the effect of lighting and adding drama should be among the guiding principles. Think lighting, reflective surfaces, and moody colors.

Here the designer Amy Turner used a pair of etched mirrored obelisks in this classic Tennessee house.

Via the blog Belgian Pearls

You'll notice that the dining table doesn't have the usual candle sticks as decoration, but these etched mirrored obelisks make the statement. When the table is set, and the chandelier is lit up in the evening, the pattern of these obelisks will pop.

 Designer : Marshall Watson

There must be something about mirrored obelisks and the dining table. Here the designer Marshall Watson also makes a dramatic statement with etched glass obelisks. They would add a wonderful lighting element at night when they reflect candles or a chandelier.

In the latest Architectural Digest they profile the home of the jewelry designer Elizabeth Locke. I have always loved her classically inspired jewelry designs, and her house in Virgina hunt country is also really lovely. It's classic and colorful. She isn't afraid to use color on the walls. In her dining room she painted a wall peach with matching curtains. She has placed an interesting antique obelisk on the mantle for added elegance.

Dining rooms can be dramatic - from lighting to decorative objects. Obelisks will contribute to the mood you set for your guests.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Smart design with obelisks

Just when I think I will find no more design photos with obelisks, I stumble on some that grab my attention. It's not just about the obelisks - It's about the overall design aesthetic in which obelisks are just one element.

Designer: Mark Rowley via Fauxology blog

The Prestonfield Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland asked the designer Mark Rowley to design the Rhubarb Restaurant in the hotel. What wonderful, bold use of color and pattern! Nothing matches (wallpaper, upholstery rug...) but it all works for a warm dining room. He obviously loves obelisks too since he includes three pairs on the mantel. It all works!

 Designer: Alberto Pinto

What better place to find obelisks but in Egypt - the birth place of the obelisk. This wonderful Cairo apartment was designed by Alberto Pinto. He adds many Egyptian decorative elements. Among the mounted metal dishes on the coffee table are a pair of specimen marble obelisks (look hard as they are hard to see!).

Obelisks add another layer of decor that complement the overall design enhancing the result!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Designers who love obelisks - Anne Coyle Interiors

Anne Coyle's interiors have a modern vibe influenced by the cool 1960's. She uses obelisks to great decorative effect in her wonderful designs.

Here she uses a pair of modern metal obelisks on a coffee table for added impact of chic.

In this very 1960's looking room, she uses an obelisk lamp on the end table.

Obelisks are the perfect chameleons of design. They fit in design styles from classic 19th century to the cool 1960's to the most contemporary 21st century. Change your style, and bring the obelisks along! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jamie Creel, Marco Scarani and their obelisks!

Jamie Creel and Marco Scarani decorated their  fabulous Paris apartment with classic flair.

 Photos via Elle Decor

The Paris apartment of Jamie Creel and Marco Scarani shows a love of obelisks. The bedroom is very handsome, and has some unexpected decorative elements. The painting is a bold modern statement in an otherwise classic design. The dresser underneath the painting includes a pair of marble obelisks which help frame the painting.

The library is full of saturated color. The dark walls are the perfect back drop for the deep red upholstered furniture. The built in shelves house a collection of architectural models, and a pair of mirrored obelisks flank the mantel tucked away in niches built in to the wall. The whole design is warm and cozy. I just want to sink in to that sofa with a good magazine!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Obelisks in contemporary designs

Obelisks are classic, but modern at the same time. They are sleek by design, and choosing one or a pair that fits a contemporary room will present lots of options.

Elle Decor - Designer: Todd Klein

The designer Todd Klein creates wonderful contemporary rooms. They combine elements that are modern with classic touches. On a modern coffee table he includes a pair of simply designed obelisks along with an ovoid form on a pedestal. 

Elle Decor - Designer: Emma Pilkington

In the Hampton's summer home of Chris Cuomo (son of former NY governor Mario Cuomo) the designer Emma Pilkington creates a casual and comfortable sunroom. On the antique Italian coffee table she adds simple decorations including a covered bowl, a vase and flowers, and a pair of sleek obelisks!
Photo via Fauxology blog

The source of this photo does not give a credit, but don't you love the bold use of paint on the walls, and the skull and crossbones on the upholstered chair. This living room is lots of fun and welcoming too! There are lots of wonderful design elements and layers in this room, and a pair of rock crystal obelisks on the coffee table!

Contemporary design doesn't mean lacking in decorative elements. Layers of decoration add character and warmth. Obelisks work perfectly!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Inspired by David Hicks style

David Hicks was an icon of 1960's and 1970's decorating. His style continues to influence today.

 Designer: David Hicks

The graphic carpet and the dark lacquered walls make a dramatic space, and are signatures of David Hicks style. He often used obelisks as decorative elements, and here are two of sleek modern design on the mantel. They anchor the bold modern painting in the center.

Designer: David Hicks

Here is another graphic carpet and colorful modern paintings. Of course, there are a pair of obelisks in the foreground on the table as well as on the mantel.

Designer: Greg Jagmin

The Chicago designer Greg Jagmin used a David Hicks Hexagon wallpaper to give this room a the mid-century aesthetic. He tops a Saarinen table with a pair of crystal obelisks to complete the look. 

 Designer Muriel Brandolini

This room designed by Muriel Brandolini looks very inspired by David Hicks' aesthetic - the dark lacquered walls, and the wonderful graphic carpet are stand outs! She, f course, puts her own distictive stamp on the design, but I think David Hicks would approve.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Obelisk Inspirations

Obelisks bring a classic look anywhere they are added.

curry15 via Flikr

This house in London has a classic vibe with the obelisks and sphinxes flanking the entryway. 

Designer: David Hicks via Savoir Faire blog

The designer David Hicks uses graphic fabrics and carpets with modern furniture, but includes a console table full of classic decorative objects - three obelisks of different sizes and marble urns. He creates a modern look with classic roots.

Designer: Suzanne Kasler

Suzanne Kasler creates a welcoming entryway with layers of casual and decorative objects. The obelisk included on the console may be a bit difficult to see, but I added a circle since it's a clear crystal.

Obelisks come in all shapes, sizes and materials, and mixing them up can be lots of fun!
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