Is anyone watching the HBO series John Adams and loving the historic interiors as much as me? Though the focus of the series is the early survival of our new Republic and its second president, the plot for me are the room colors, wallpapered halls, and swagged window treatments with multi-colored fringe. Wasn't it George Washington, in the seventh episode, dining with Mr. Adams in a beautiful dining room with a minimalists backdrop, or was it Thomas Jefferson?...All I noticed was the soothing blueish white of the walls, the crisp linen table cloth, silver utensils and the gracefulness of the Chippendale dining chairs. The look was stunning... I had to pause the scene and study the decor. I was also stunned by the wood horizontal blinds and swag valances. I had no idea horizontal blinds dated that far back. It appears window treatments have just come forward from the 18th century. We're still using the same technology...pulleys for blinds and shades.
What we are viewing is the emergence of what we now term Federal style. It's roots are firm in British design but there are also strong French influences. Federal style exudes strong symmetry with the internal floor plan as well as window placement in the exterior. Federal style is more refined and curvilinear than its predecessor Georgian Colonial style. It includes decorative swags, garlands, urns and introduces more detail to furnishings and fixtures. Some additional features are: Tooth-like dentil moldings, oval shaped rooms, Palladian windows (Italian), and recessed interior wall arches.