2.7.17 Design Speak 101 - Lesson 3

Eyes on Design | Susan Brunstrum

It’s time for session three of Design Speak 101, an occasional blog-seminar in which I unravel the mysteries of interior design lingo from A to Z. I hope you have some fun and learn something new!  

Photo Courtesy of tchevalier.com 

Aubusson weaving is a richly detailed style of handmade area rugs and wall tapestries, mostly from the 17th century. They are named after the French village where they were made, and they often feature people and/or animals in scenic landscapes. The example above is part of a series of six tapestries, representing the senses, that are housed in the Cluny Museum, Paris. This one is "Sight." I'm so impressed that Aubusson rugs and carpets are still being made by hand 1,281 years later, just four hours outside of Paris. 

Photo Courtesy of nhhome.com 

Bench made furniture refers to custom-made items built by one craftsman, perhaps on a work bench or carpenter’s bench. Typically these pieces are constructed with exceptional quality and craftsmanship, though power tools are used and the completed item may be passed on to someone else to apply the final finish.   

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Peas Design 

Cabriole legs – These curvaceous furniture legs resemble an animal’s leg from the hip to the ankle, and are sometimes finished with a claw at the base. Your pets may think they have a rival in the house! Cabriole legs are most often used for tables and chairs, and were popular in the first half of the 18th century. But modern-day manufacturers are still producing this style of furniture. To make a bold statement at the Lake Forest Showhouse two years ago, we chose a couple of all-white pieces with cabriole legs, including accent chair above. By the way, as I was researching this term I discovered that Victorian era housewives did not cover these sensuous legs with fabric out of modesty. That story is just a myth.  

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Peas Design

Camelback sofas are true to their name – they have a curved back like a camel, and are usually designed with one or two humps. The curve(s) can be rather dramatic or subtle, such as the double-hump sofa I designed for a client, pictured above, but the look is typically traditional.

Photo Courtesy of homeanddesign.com 

The hump is mandatory for a camelback sofa, but aside from that you can choose from a variety of styles for arms, legs, cushions and fabrics, and add a border of nail heads if you like, as in the delicately proportioned camelback sofa above. And here's another myth busted - camels do not store water in their humps, they store fat that their bodies use when food is scarce. I learn something new every day! 

Photo Courtesy of commons.wikipedia.org 

Eight-way hand-tied springs – If only we had this much support in every aspect of our lives! This labor-intensive technique is the gold standard of furniture suspension - it prevents the springs from shifting for many years. The tops of the springs are connected to each other by twine knotted together front-to-back, side-to-side and diagonally. Webbing on the bottom of the piece is used to support the springs from below.  

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Peas Design

When we reupholstered these chairs for a client we specified eight-way hand-tied springs for the seats. You can't see them, but for the comfort and durability they offer, you'll know they are there! 

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About the Author: Susan Brunstrum

Susan Brunstrum is principal and founder of award-winning Sweet Peas Design, which she launched in 2003 as a one-woman firm. Today she heads a full-service studio with a staff of six in downtown Libertyville and an office in Chicago. Susan is known for her versatile LivableLuxe(TM) style, which is relaxed and elegant, comfortable and refined. She considers it the “little black dress of interior design(TM)” – custom tailored for each client, perfect for any occasion. If you have questions or want to schedule an initial consultation please contact the studio at 847-816-1296. Or contact Susan at Susan@SweetPeas-Inspired.com.