September 22, 2013

Gilding the frills in home decor

Gold accents and flourishes add a Midas touch to a room, using traditional design with a more modern twist.

By MARY BETH BRECKENRIDGE Akron Beacon Journal

Designers are once again going for gold.

Gold rush is on in home decor
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The doors of Baker Furniture's St. Honore Chest have a detailed design and gold finish that add drama.

Photos by McClatchy Newspapers

Gold rush is on in home decor
click image to enlarge

The complex gold finish on Crystorama’s Garland chandelier brings an updated look to a traditional shape.

Additional Photos Below

The metal has been on the decorative outs for a couple of decades, but it's making its way back into home decor -- this time in a burnished, warmer form.

Gold and other yellow metallics are showing up in furniture, lighting, even fabrics and wall coverings. They bring a little glimmer to a room, a little understated glamour.

This isn't some ornate casbah look or a return to staid Colonial style, however. Today's gold metals are soft and subdued, often with the complex look of handcrafting.

Doty Horn, who runs the color marketing firm ColorVoyant in Holicong, Pa., thinks gold's resurgence is tied to the economic recovery, but not because of its association with money. Gold is in the yellow family, which she said is a happy, positive color.

"It's a sign of optimism," she said.

Rose gold is especially popular now, Horn said, its pinkish hue adding complexity without the hardness and rustiness of copper. Brass is coming back, too, although in a lower-luster finish.

Indeed, "the finish really is key," she said. Shiny gold is out. Gold with a more complex, matte finish is in.

The reappearance of gold is also an indication of the renewed popularity of traditional design, albeit with a fresher, more modern twist, said Jennifer McConnell, vice president of design for furniture maker Pearson Co.

McConnell likes adding little gold accents to furniture pieces -- maybe a gold-leafed stretcher on a bench or antique brass ferrules on the tips of a chair's legs. Nailhead trim in gold metals is starting to replace chrome, she said, and gold leaf is popular on accent tables as a way of adding just a bit of glitz to a room.

Even shiny brass has its place in the gold comeback, although McConnell tends to use it in small doses and often in combination with antique brass so it doesn't look dated.

Her company introduced a modern cabinet last season with an ivory shagreen front and an Art Deco starburst motif inlaid with gold leaf, as well as some polished brass accents. "You would never in a million years think Williamsburg," she said.

Nor would dated colonial decor come to mind from some of the pieces being offered by trend-setter Baker Furniture.

Baker's use of gold runs the gamut from subtle touches such as the handle on the back of a chair to eye-catching details such as the carved, gold-leafed doors on a chest.

And "sometimes a room needs a showstopper -- that one piece that catches everyone's eye," James Nauyok, Baker's vice president for product development and visual display, said in an email. Gold gives a piece like that its drama.

Brad Kleinberg, president of chandelier maker Crystorama, said the new gold appeals mainly to younger consumers with a keen interest in style.

With the economy strengthening, those consumers are feeling freer to be more fashion-forward in their home design choices, he said. So they're throwing off safe choices like chrome and satin nickel and reaching for something with a little elegance and bling, something a little more cutting-edge.

Crystorama specializes in updating traditional lighting designs, so Kleinberg said it's using a lot of multilayered finishes to give its gold chandeliers the hand-worked look that's on trend now. Those finishes often start with a layer of gold leaf and sometimes have a little silver in them, he said. Some even have a sandlike texture.

This contemporary take on gold may be complex, but it's hardly fussy. That sets it apart from the older uses of gold, which tended to be more ornate, Bath Township interior designer Christine Haught said.

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Additional Photos

Gold rush is on in home decor
click image to enlarge

A gilded finish gives Pearson’s 9744 Cocktail Table a feeling of luxury. The glass-topped table has a lower shelf for display.

Gold rush is on in home decor
click image to enlarge

Chella Textile’s Facet, Medallion and Quicksilver outdoor fabrics are woven with metallic yarns for a hint of glitz. The polyolefin fabrics are made from recycled materials and can be used both indoors and out.

 


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