17 December 2010

DIY: Faux Paneling

A dining room in a house decorated by Asheton Langdon.

Genius is in the eye of the beholder. One man's bright idea is another's been-there-done-that. That being said I continue to be impressed by the do-it-yourself gusto of New York interior decorator Asheton Langdon, who died earlier this year, aged 82.

The dining room of the New York house, which has a countrified Regency flavor, is lined with pickled-wood wainscot. The upper sections of the walls has been stretched with a nubby fabric divided into panels with woven-jute upholstery webbing.

Recently I visited a house Langdon decorated and came back elated, my digital camera loaded with snaps of inspiring details. Several of them record the Brooklyn-born designer's creativity with, of all things, upholstery webbing. You know what I mean: the woven jute strips that keep one from falling through the seat of a chair. Typically this humble material is hidden beneath fabric, stuffing, and springs. Langdon, however, recognized that webbing could be a decorative element, particularly when deployed as trim and utilized in the creation of trompe l'oeil paneling, as shown in the dining room shown at the head of today's post.

A close-up of one of interior decorator Asheton Langdon's do-it-yourself boiserie, as seen at a house he decorated in New York. Measured and mitered, common upholstery webbing has been applied to a nubby fabric to create panels.

In the same house, Langdon transformed upholstery webbing into smartly tailored passementerie, trimming portières in a book-lined corridor that connects the public areas of the house to several spare rooms (see below). The red-black-and-buff color scheme was taken from ancient Greek ceramics, examples of which are displayed on brackets, along with related antique engravings.

Upholstery webbing trims the curtains that flank an interior door. The panels of the wainscot were created with gaffer's tape.


balsamfir said...

I just realized that you're saying he died. I am so sad to hear it. He clearly had great talent, and with a library like that could only have been an interesting person.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Well, Balsamfir, Mr Langdon appears to have had a long, full life (he was 82 when he died). I hope to learn more about him as time goes by.

Anonymous said...

These are great posts. I think it's a good time to return to the thrifty old Yankee mentality. Down with McMansions and pre-fab junk, up with thrift and ingenuity!

John J. Tackett said...

Clearly Mr Langdon was a very talented and resourceful designer!

David Long Designs said...

Subscribed... Great blog and content great suff! I always admire paneling for interiors. Especially heavy bolection for a georgian property...

Though you might be interested!

The Drawing:




Thanks for sharing.


Toby Worthington said...

Hasn't David Hicks used upholstery webbing to create
panels? Though admittedly, it starts to make more textural sense when the webbing outlines fabric
not paint, as Mr Langdon has done.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Oddly, just a few hours ago I came across an old roll of upholstery webbing in a closet, and pondered what an attractive material it really is---a French expatriate friend once used it stunningly as border trim on some pillows.

Loved this post. So much better than Diana Phipps style DIY (I once had a sublet apt. in Palm Beach with green and pink floral sheets stapled and tented everywhere a la Phipps. It was seriously frightening, but for the view of the ocean. She has a lot to answer to)

Penelope Bianchi said...

He was a genius. I love this stuff you uncover. Your eye is unerring.

Was that HIS library? I thought he decorated it for a person whom you visited. That "garage" is up there with the true great things John Fowler and Nancy Lancaster did when everything was "rationed" during the war. That is a talent.

We may need to get busy with some of that stuff soon.
I am really liking burlap these days.....

More information.......oh pleeeeeeease! He obviously was not a publicity-hound. Under the radar.......so cool.

ps 82 is WAY too young!!!

Reggie Darling said...

You are on a roll here, Aesthete! I can only imagine what other DIY treats you have in store for your lucky readers. Thanks, Reggie

HOBAC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

such a great look by enlarging all the pics, thanks for that.Perfect to see it(probably) much as it was & looking very smart still-love the tailored tied up details of the dining -but that corridor is a little stroke of genius too. I think we can agree there are many unsung "geniuses" of design past just waiting to be sniffed out. glad you are on the hunt. pgt