Wednesday, April 16, 2008

John Adams: Federal Style

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.

John Adams home in Quincy,Mass


Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

That must be a fascinating show! It is so intriguing to see the architecture and notice all the fine details!

Thanks for sharing (maybe I'll catch that show sometime...)


teaorwine said...

Not a subscriber to HBO, I am unable to view the series at this time. I have, however added it to my Netflix queue. I hear nothing but admiration for this production.

The Designer said...

Thank you for your comment on my going green article. There is more info to come on that subject. But to comment to the John Adam's program, I do not have HBO but look forward to seeing the DVD. But the views of the house on your site brought back such memories. I have visited this home and it is spectacular! You actually see items that belonged to the family as none of the items have been removed. I went through the home with tears in my eyes, what beauty! Please visit if you have the chance.
The Designer Insider

Tammy said...

Yes, watched an recorded all 7 parts and yes it was George Washington eating with John Adams. I hope to someday get to Adams home. By the way, thanks for the message on my blog. Tammy

Laurie Y. Burke said...

I have also been following the John Adams mini series for the architectural references as much as the story line itself.

Thank you for a beautiful blog and sharing your design point of view. I will add bookmark to add your blog to my reading list and add you to my blog roll as well.