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.