The reign of King Louis XIV (1643-1715) brought splendor and opulence to the world of interior design. During this golden age, French taste became the standard of excellence and was the envy of Europe.
King Louis XIV commissioned his own furniture, namely enormous pieces with lavishly ornate design. His royal style is typified with his love for large-scale beds. He reportedly found his so comforting, he often held court in his bedroom. Other Louis XIV designs include plush chairs and sofas set against a backdrop of palatial columns and pilasters.
The furniture, rectangular in design, featured compass-created curves and upholstered silk embellished with hand-woven fringes and silver or gold nail heads. Undeniably formal, these pieces were surprisingly comfortable and displayed a striking color contrast to the often pale background colors of the room.
The massive beds fashioned in Louis XIV style were often found sheltered in an alcove adorned with tapestries. Richly carved ornamentation is the norm for Louis XIV furniture, including secretaries and marble-covered tables topped with busts, pottery and terra-cotta urns to accessorize the room.
The Louis XIV bedroom wouldn't be complete without at least one marble-crafted mantle with detailed woodwork. Large plate mirrors placed above the mantle and other locations throughout a Louis XIV styled suite reflect chandeliers and paintings of mythological scenes or historical portraits enclosed in circular frames on oak finished walls.
In the time of King Louis XIV, bedroom furniture frequently topped oak parquet or black and white marble tile floors. Thick, plush carpets dotted the floor, reflecting patterns and colors complementing the architecture. The use of gods, goddesses, cupids, fruit cornucopias, as well as the king's monogram and his symbol (a sun with spreading rays), were placed in a cartouche above door entries or in the center of a wall panel.
Louis XIV style is a timeless design perfect for those who want to lounge in a French-inspired bedroom.
Kilim Rug: A Story to Tell
Kilim (pronounced kE-ilEm) is a word of Turkish origin. The kilim rug is a pileless textile used as floor covering or displayed on a wall. The first kilims were communication centerpieces for telling stories and legends. The essence of a kilim is said to be love, peace and understanding; kilims are rich in symbolism with their use of motifs, designs and colors. The rug is created by using a flat weaving technique, a practice believed to have originated in Central Asia. The interweaving of various colored wefts and warps and finished edges make a kilim rug a unique addition to home decor. Wool is the primary material used to make kilims, though sometimes cotton and animal hair – such as goat or camel – are used with the wool. Often an artist will embellish a kilim with beads or gold and silver thread. Artists find the wool easy to handle when spun or woven and able to readily absorb dyes. For the owner, the subtleness and durability of this rug make it worthy of a family heirloom.
Caring for your kilim requires special guidelines. When placing a kilim on wood flooring, use a padded backing. Keep the rug out of direct sunlight and when placing the rug under furniture, use coasters to distribute furniture weight more evenly. Choose a low traffic area to place your rug to avoid extra wear and tear. Vacuuming a kilim should be done using a low suction setting. Vacuum both sides, but not the fringe. Washing a kilim is best handled by a professional specializing in this type of rug. Never send your kilim to a dry cleaner or general cleaning company as they often use chemicals that will damage the rug. Professional cleaning should be done every three to five years. With special care, a kilim is sure to be a family treasure passed on from generation to generation.
Where to Find It
Louis XIV Bedroom Furniture
Though the furniture designed during the days of King Louis XIV was larger in scale, today's furniture designers still create reminiscent bedroom sets for modern homes.
Complete bedroom furniture sets designed true to the Louis XIV period can be purchased at Bookout's Furniture. The company has three locations: 2439 11th St., Niles, Mich., 616-683-7340; 104 Front St. in Buchanan, Mich., 616-697-8610; and 3108 S. 11th St. in Niles, Mich., 616-683-0370. Visit their Web site at www.furniturefind.com.
For antiques and reproductions: Royalton Antiques & Reproductions. This Canadian wholesale distributor receives weekly shipments from overseas. You can reach them at 800-567-6165 or visit their Web site at www.royalton.on.ca. The showroom is located at 3470 Laird Road in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
D'Roma is an importer of fine French antique furniture and reproduction furniture. You can find them at 9520 W. 40th St. in Miami, Fla., or by calling 305-223-3536. Visit their online gallery at www.dromafurniture.com.
Wirthmore Antiques in New Orleans, La. offers two locations: 3727 Magazine St., 504-269-0660; and 3900 Magazine St., 504-899-3811. Peruse their Web site for current inventory at www.wirthmoreantiques.com.
For reproduction Louis XIV furniture see Global Traders Co. located at 680 8th St., Ste. 165, San Francisco, Cal., 415-626-6219 or visit them on the Web at www.globaltradersusa.com.
Kilim Rugs KEA Carpets and Kilims, 477 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y., 718-222-8087. Kilim rugs can also be found at 79th Street Rug Shop, located on 2829 Peachtree Rd., Atlanta, Ga. Call 877-603-8155 or shop online at www.79thstreetrugshop.com.
Kilim.com is an online store that is based in Istanbul, Turkey. It sells antique and new kil