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Chicago 194-F. S., Geo. M. Hanson, 508 S. Dearborn st., Room 1260.
Champaign 363-F. S., Rude Schwietzka, 51 Market st. Carterville 758 R. S., L. M. Woolverton.
East St. Louis 215-R. S., C. T. Beasley, 3100 Summit
Pullman 265-F. S., Wm. J. Cassidy, 52 W. 114th st. So. Chicago 225-R. S., Otto Haupt, 8053 Washington
Alpena 628 Sec'y, Sidney J. Miller, 823 8th st. Benton Harbor 40-Meets first and third Wednesdays at Eagles' Hall, Benton Harbor.
Escanaba 811-F. S., Arthur Houle, 313 Georgia st.
Grand Rapids 119-Bus. Agt., H. A. Sinclair.
MINNESOTA. Rochester 723-R. S., L. B. Farrar, 516 Kansas st. Bus. Agt., F. S., E. P. Larson, 318 S. Broadway. Chas. M. Hurd, 905 N. Broadway. Meets first and third Saturdays in each month at Painters' Hall, Goetting Blk.
MISSOURI. Kansas City 4-Bus. Agt., G. M. Hamlin, 3181⁄2 East 9th st. Springfield 375-R. S., W. S. Eaton, 2040 National blvd. St. Louis 774-R. S., Chas. Osborne, 3224 Nebraska ave.
Billings 167-R. S., E. A. McDonnell, 219 N. 24th st. Kalispell 745-Sec'y, N. R. Howes, Box 608.
NEW YORK. Amsterdam 32-R. S., M. J. Mullarkey, 9 Lincoln ave. Auburn 113-F. S., Geo. A. Davis, 10 Silver ave.
Hamilton 135-F. S., Jos. Koons, 805 Campbell ave.
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No. 126 Light Oak
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Of Interest to the Trade
The highest art is the one that promotes the welfare of mankind.
9 By STEPHEN WATT-SMITH
HE expression "decoration" is so wide and so vague that it might reasonably be applied to every craft known and practised. The view which I propose to take is more particularly associated with my own craft-that of interior decoration as applied to houses and public buildings; but as far as possible I wish to avoid the danger of my remarks becoming a trade epitome, and for that reason I will say very little from the actual craftsman's point of view.
It is reasonable to suppose at the outset that our houses and public buildings generally require of necessity an embellishment more than the usual architectural and constructional features provide; and although many schemes of decoration, both internal and external, have been successfully carried out by the use of stone and timber only, the relative cost of such schemes forbids any save the very wealthy from adopting them; and even then the employment of color and ornamentwhether in fabric, metal, or painting-has generally to be adopted in some measure to complete the decorative scheme.
The houses in which we live are decorated, first, according to our pocket; secondly, according to our surroundings; and finally, according to our taste or ideas. Periodically, however, a craze for something new seizes the public mind, and some so-called "new style" is evolved, which, whether suitable or not, is adopted unreservedly by many who have no ideas of their own, and who will be guided neither by specialists nor friends. In fact, the desire to be "in the fashion" is responsible for many atrocities nowadays in decoration, habits and dress.
Most, if not all, of these crazes have some redeeming features and have generally sprung from a healthy origin; but in their evolution the original idea and intention is invariably lost, and the result,
if novel, is deemed satisfactory.
Simplicity in construction, as well as decoration, will ever remain a satisfactory course to adopt. But this does not by any means invite eccentricity in form and an absence of color, such as many of our recent designers have given examples of. Bare simplicity has often been accepted as a hall-mark of beauty, but this can only be seen when the form, though simple, is elegant and beautiful as well. We have many examples of this fact, both from a good and bad standpoint, in much of our modern furniture, whilst in decoration the craze for whites and greys on woodwork and walls, shows us to what extent we may be led.
Of course, from a trade point of view, these fashions and crazes are very beneficial and profitable, but from a healthy art-craftsman's point of view they are to be deplored. What could be more monotonous, as well as ridiculous, than to find every other house you enter possessing ivory white woodwork in every room, hall and staircase and even the kitchen; as well as white ceilings, cornices and friezes?
Yet this has been largely the case with many of our modern decorative schemes, and has been spoken of as being simple and refined, and possessing a unity of form and color which in more elaborate and complex schemes is found wanting. I do not doubt it for a moment, but I also think it exhibits in a very marked form a paucity of ideas, and in many instances ignorance of form and color.
This craze for white surroundings has, I know, a great many things in its favor, but like everything else it requires skilful handling, and should in nearly every case be used only as a foil to other colors in masses and details. For instance, a white ceiling, cornice and frieze is very useful in most decorative schemes; but surely it stands to reason that such a large mass of
white must ultimately prove most uninteresting and monotonous, unless it be broken up in some way by colors in ornament, no matter how simple the ornament may be in detail. If in the frieze, the ornament may be of more value as a piece of color than as a decorative detail; and if on the ceiling, the ornament can always be arranged to assist or correct the proportions of the room.
This is applied decoration in a most simple form, and is invariably successful. The cornice or moulding should in nearly every case be left white, as in itself the various lights and shadows of the members provide sufficient color and relief; and, what is more, one seldom improves a moulding by the addition of colors. In this respect the results of some of our house decorations are worse than awful!
Amongst the few ready methods of applied decoration which decorators hav to assist them, none is more simple and effective than that of the stencil. I believe there is no part of the decorator's craft which has received more abuse than that - of stencilling.
The general public are well acquainted with the grave atrocities, perpetrated in the name of Art, which have been stencilled on door panels, shop fronts, friezes and borders. Yet the art of stencilling remains today, in the hands of the true decorator, the most useful form of expression in ornament and color that he can have. It is the first step from the mere machine-man to the art-craftsman, and the possibilities are illimitable. But I will speak more fully of stencilling later.
The printed wallpaper of today occupies a most important position with reference to house decoration, and I do not think there has ever been in the history of Art a time when wallpapers were so prolific, both in design and quality, as at the present. This is not an unmixed blessing, as the chances are that the wallpaper, instead of being an unit in a decorative scheme, becomes the main feature around which everything remains subservient.
Now I think it may be generally accepted that the wall space in our middleclass residence, should be treated as a suitable background for other features and details in the room. By this I do not mean to suggest that it should receive scant consideration, but rather that it should receive secondary consideration.
There are many things which must be regarded before the wall space; the furniture, pictures, curtains, hangings and upholstery, and the people themselves. It is
only by a careful consideration of these that a successful scheme can be evolved. Take, for instance,
This must above all things be kept light and cheerful. I think all bedrooms should have friezes of a medium depth, and these be kept white or in some plain, soft shade of color. If a pattern frieze be adopted it should be kept at a suitable distance below the cornice, leaving sufficient plain space above as a restful ground for the eyes.
I cannot imagine it being an agreeable sensation for one's eyes to see a long expanse of loud ornament going round the room, the last thing before sleeping or the first view on awakening; yet this must necessarily be the case if a pattern frieze be fixed immediately below the cornice moulding. Nothing I think is more unsuitable for a bedroom than a papered ceiling covered with ornament, a cornice picked out in colors, and a pattern frieze in many colors over a busy-patterned wallpaper.
I dare not, of course, lay down any rules for the treatment to be adopted, but I do believe that a most suitable scheme for the average bedroom would be a plain ivory white ceiling, cornice and frieze over a suitable shade of color complementary to the prevailing colors of the hangings and carpet, kept plain or with quiet ornament, and the wood work treated in a pale tint of complementary color to the walls.
If there is need for any additional ornamentation, it may easily be applied. For instance: a simple stencilled ornament at convenient distances on the frieze, in a nice bright tint or tints of color; a similar ornament on the two top panels of the door, at a level with the eyes, or a little higher; and if one wishes to further embellish the walls, a suitable stencil in a lighter or darker color than the color of the walls may be very successfully placed on either side of the fireplace, in the recess formed by the chimney-breast and side walls.
Of course this scheme I have just suggested is one of simplicity. We know that individual tastes and opinions differ, and on no topic more so than decorations. Thus, we have the pretty bedroom, the restfully quiet bedroom, the gay bedroom, the dull bedroom, the light and dark bedroom
all appealing to different tastes, with more or less justification. Chintzes have entered into the bedroom decoration very largely in recent years, and a very dainty effect may be obtained by the use of a wallpaper and chintz of the same or similar pattern and coloring. The unity of the