Monthly Archives: October 2015

Classic Christmas in Atlanta style Home

Published by:

Design a livable space for a house

A mixture of antique and reproduction furniture

During their 1963 honeymoon, which included days at Colonial Williamsburg, Rosemary and Harold Youmans say they took more photographs of architectural details than they did of each other. Their interest in 18th-century, style is today as strong as it was then. Rosemary, a former schoolteacher turned full-time homemaker, and Harold, an insurance agent, live in a one-and-one-half-story brick Georgian-style house in Vinings, Georgia, just north of Atlanta, with their son, David. Their home is decorated with a mixture of antique and reproduction furniture. At Christmas, heirloom ornaments bedeck the Christmas trees and toys from David’s childhood add to the festive look.

mixture

In 1992, Harold heard through a friend about a new development of 18th-century-style homes being built in Vinings. “We already had a Williamsburg-style home outside of Atlanta, but Vinings just seemed the perfect place to build a dream home,” says Rosemary. The location offered easy access to the Chattahoochee River and several Civil War sites of interest to the Youmans. Called Highgrove, the development is set on three-and-one-half acres lined with pin oaks, with a small commons at the center. Each of Highgrove’s 12 homes features a different, but traditional, architectural style.

Specific vision for a house

The couple worked closely with the builder, Cornerstone Associates of Atlanta, and the firm’s residential designer, William T. Baker, who specializes in historic American architecture. “They had a specific vision for their house and were inspired by Williamsburg’s George Wythe House and the Red Lion Tavern,” says Baker. Details such as narrow dormers, a pair of end chimneys, six-over-six windows. and a wood shingle roof were modeled after the restoration’s houses.

The couple’s house is built on what Rosemary describes as a “postage-stamp” lot, 65 feet wide and 117 feet deep. The structure was designed to accommodate a formal garden in the back. The Youmans maximized the landscaping by planting flowering shrubs in the backyard and adding a rose arbor, based on one at Williamsburg, along the side of the house.

Rosemary did all the decorating, mixing 18th-century reproduction furniture with Colonial Revival and earlier pieces. She relied on William Baker for specific 18th-century-style interior woodwork details.

“We put in cornice moldings in the first-floor rooms and wide heart-pine flooring throughout the whole house,” says Baker. The arched niches in the living room are exact copies of Williamsburg models, down to the height and width of the shelves. During their many trips to Colonial Williamsburg, the couple was impressed with the varied color palettes of the interiors. Notes Baker of the pair: “They knew the right colors to use for the period and weren’t afraid to break away from white.

Livable home space design: a challenging part

“The other challenging part of the project was the Youmans’ request to make the basement as livable as the first-floor space,” explains Baker. The designer put in large windows at the back of the house, which is built on a steep slope. A concrete floor was scored to look like expensive tile. “You can get a rich look without spending a lot of money and it looks just like tile,” Baker says.

Design a livable space for a house

Design a livable space for a house

Rosemary and Harold still enjoy collecting antiques. “When we went on our honeymoon, we had very little money, but we bought a dainty fruitwood chair in Tennessee for $20,” says Rosemary. “That was really when our collecting began.” They are always on the lookout for early 19th-century English porcelain, tole, and have begun collecting Staffordshire figures. The couple also enjoy decorating their home for Christmas. “It’s probably when we are closest as a family, and it’s a joyous time of year,” says Rosemary. She specializes in making 18th-century-style garlands, cones, and table arrangements with pomegranates, pineapples, and other fruits. “It’s the time of year when I want to entertain and share our home with friends and family,” she says.

Tai and Rosita: designing Missoni for the future

Published by:

How did furniture design change?

Furniture Design: How did it change?

We had no responsibility in the beginning,” Rosita Missoni remembers, her tone leaving it uncertain whether she thinks those times better than these. She is watching her husband Tai, who is at the other end of the long dining table in their home on the family compound at Sumirago, Italy, playing with the couple’s first grandchild, Marguerite.

How did furniture design change?

How did furniture design change?

“Much of the business is being taken over by machines,” she continues, as if musing about the passing of the horse-drawn cart. But, regaining her focus, “the creative part of it is still in our hands.”

Over the past 30 years, Tai and Rosita Missoni–Italian fashion’s George and Martha Washington–have seen their knitwear business grow from five workers and three hand looms to a $30-million-a-year business. Now, they have responsibility.

Creativity is still in our hands

In the beginning it was something else altogether. The Missoni story reads like the most hopelessly romantic Harlequin novel. Ottovio (Tai, for short and for always) was born the son of a sea captain and a Dalmatian countess. He fought in the great battle of El Alamein during World War II, and was captured and kept in an internment camp until the end of the war. Ever the athlete, Tai placed first in Italy in the 400 meters hurdles race and went on to the London Olympics of 1948, where he placed as a finalist. It was during the games that Tai met Rosita, an Italian studying in London. They were married five years later.

computer creates a difference

computer creates a difference

Somewhere in all of this hazy romanticism, they began to produce knitwear. Tai Missoni had begun his fashion career producing wool track suits and athletic uniforms, and he even outfitted the Italian light athletes, football and basketball squads for the London Olympics. With his marriage to Rosita, the focus changed to women’s knitwear.

But all that was in the beginning. And even though Tai and Rosita may look backwards with fondness at those early years, they are calculatedly taking their company into the computer age. Video and computer technology are next.

As a harbinger of things to come, their spring/summer women’s collection shown in Milan in October treated press and retailers to a look at the future: From behind a backdrop with the Missoni name carved out, a bank of 50 video monitors projected blowups of the fabric being shown on the runway.

Luca, the couple’s 27-year-old son, is the Missoni’s master of computer wizardry. “Years ago, it took at least three days to try a design,” Luca explains, warming up his terminals and video monitors in one of the factory’s design studios. “Now we can program a design into the computer, and the tape can be read by the looms. You get instant design and it is easy to make a modification.”

Furniture design with computers

Furniture design with computers

Luca demonstrates with a pattern from the current collection, changing colors and even drawing new patterns simultaneously on top of the old. Luca becomes totally immersed in his gadgetry and mumbles to himself, “maybe it’s better with more blue.”