Living In Luxury

by Laura Barnett Sawchyn, IIDA TCW

Even in lean times, purchasing just one fine piece of furniture is an investment that can be appreciated for many years to come.

When I was a child, my mother bought a sofa upholstered in white silk cut-velvet. The fabric was soft and sumptuous, the cushions were filled with down and feathers, and the lines were sleek and elegant. Everything about it was, in fact, luxurious – until it was encased in ubiquitous clear plastic slipcovers. No longer was there evidence of the opulent fabric or down-fill. Like Sleeping Beauty, the very life of the sofa – what really made it beautiful – had been sheathed in a glass sarcophagus.

Over the years, even our grandmothers have tossed away their plastic slipcovers, but some of us still keep the metaphoric ropes up around our favorite possessions, saving them for company only, special occasions or “for show.” Just because we possess luxury items doesn’t mean our lives are actually luxurious. Unless you use your beautiful things, you can actually feel deprived even when you have a home full of them. It’s not about living with luxury – it’s about living in it.

So let’s pull down the ropes and really enjoy our homes. Resist the temptation to cover the dining table with pads and a cloth – bring out the placemats and enjoy the patina of a beautiful wood-grain finish. Sure, relegate the snack food to the kitchen and make the kids wash their hands and wipe their feet first, but even they will appreciate the difference and think it’s well worth the sacrifice. I know I did. When the slipcovers finally did come off, I discovered it’s so much more satisfying to live in luxury.

Be inspired by antiques and fine reproductions...

Nobody can deny the luxury of fine antique furnishings. Their solid wood construction, beautiful patterned veneers and French polished finishes are quite remarkable. Just look at this authentic Biedermeier table paired with Empire chairs. The upholstery is a simple grospoint fabric, so no attention would be drawn away from the luster of the wood and its natural honey tones.

MOSERform is a new division of Thomas Moser Furniture. They’ve added European and more modern classics to their catalog, including this stunning Art Nouveau-inspired writing table. Constructed of American Black Walnut, it can be finished in espresso (shown) or cinnamon. Available at Pauline-Grace.

Interior Crafts Furniture is known for their fresh take on Art Deco furnishings. Their armoire of Hawaiian koa wood veneers is as luxurious as the original French cabinet that inspired its design. Use it anywhere in your home for an elegant and functional storage solution.

Koa wood goes French on this Louis Philippe chest of drawers from Hamilton Furniture, available at Filsinger Chicago, and Neo-Classic on this round dining table from Interior Crafts, which is highlighted with ebony inlays and teak trim.

Even Charles Eames would be proud of the curved wood back on the Asprey Chair from Christian Liagre at Holly Hunt Ltd.

Check out the wood veneer pattern on this dresser with a floating glass top. The wood specie is avodire, another exotic texture; this one is imported from Africa. Available at Interior Crafts Furniture.

Enjoy the stunning hue, especially when set off with exceptional detail.

Thomas Pheasant gets white right in his collection for Baker, Knapp, and Tubbs. The classic swoop of the Bel-Air chairs is accentuated by the nail head trim, which is usually found on more traditional styles. Even the tufting on the back of the chair benefits from the nail head piping.

The “Look” chair by John Hutton for Holly Hunt Ltd. makes you do just that. Notice the channel and piping detail on these architectural lines.

Interior Crafts highlights the lines of this linear sofa with a banded wood frame.

Applied to beautiful furniture, these spell luxury with a capital “L.”

Great Plains’ sumptuous mohair on the Holly Hunt Ltd. sofa is a perfect example
of the luxurious fabrics plus beautiful furniture formula.

This J. Robert Scott sofa is upholstered in extraordinary embroidered chenille from Kirk-Brummel. Dive into the down pillows and the J. Robert Scott mohair and brush fringe.

Edelman Leather stocks the classics as well as these specialty leathers. These chairs are covered in Luster Leather, which has a pearlized finish and the floating shelf is wrapped in Shagreen, a custom-colored sharkskin texture.

Silk and linen at its finest comes from Nancy Corzine. The damask pattern on the bed is a blend of both natural fibers. The banding on the drapes is actually the reverse side of an iridescent silk fabric. The bronze face of the fabric has green highlights that shimmer when it moves.

Like a pair of gold earrings, these add upscale detailing to any canvas.

The gold leaf trim on these benches from Interior Crafts breathes new life into a familiar frame.

Swarovski Strauss Crystal is world-renown for its clarity and sparkle. The Birdcage Chandelier is a contemporary design by Matteo Thun for Italamp. Available at Pauline-Grace.

Hundreds of pearl-like stainless chains adorn this sandblasted glass unit designed by Roberto Lazzeroni for Luminara. Available at Pauline-Grace.

Baker, Knapp, and Tubbs Merchandise Mart Suite 6-187
Nancy Corzine Merchandise Mart Suite 622
Edelman Leather Merchandise Mart Suite 1873 D
Filsinger Chicago Merchandise Mart Suite 1870
Holly Hunt Ltd. Merchandise Mart Suite 1728
Interior Crafts Furniture Merchandise Mart Suite 614
J. Robert Scott Merchandise Mart Suite 1873
Kirk-Brummel Fabrics at Brunschwig and Fils Merchandise Mart Suite 6-121
Pauline-Grace 1414 North Kingsbury Street

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