As we move into a new year, it's a great time to think back not only on the last year but also on all those years and decades and centuries that preceded it. A huge part of how we think about and use our homes comes from the past, so here's a compendium of some of our favorite history-related posts from 2012, selected to commemorate the designers we love, the time periods that inspire us, and some of the legacies that we probably take for granted.
I passed through Madrid on the way home from Morocco last week, and was lucky to catch a Christmas market in the city's Plaza Major. While markets aren't as widespread here in the U.S. as they are abroad, there are some major cities keeping the tradition alive.
Long before the Elf on a Shelf was a glint in parents' eyes, my family used to hide knee hugger elves for me and my brother to find on Christmas Eve. It was a December version of an Easter egg hunt, and it's just what we did. I don't know how the tradition started, or who came up with it, but it was a staple of our holidays throughout childhood. I didn't realize until I was an adult that others didn't do the same thing, and had no idea what I was talking about.
Napkin rings can be a subject of much debate: are they a pretty and purely decorative piece of tabletop jewelry designed to complement a place setting on formal occasions? Or are they a utilitarian object that should never be brought out in front of a guest?
I remember visiting my grandmother's house as a toddler and the monolithic TV in her living room. Encased in wood and decoratively adorned, it was massive and sturdy like an old oak desk. Saying "they don't build them like they used to" is an understatement. Long before the iPod, a stereo cabinet holding all of your hi-fi equipment and vinyl records could take up an entire wall of the living room. Electronics were as much furniture as they were media devices then, but over time we've cut away all the bulk until essentially all we were left with was the media.
There's something about the tulip chair. No other design embodies quite so well that space-agey Jetsons aesthetic. With its organic shape, it seems to have sprouted up from the ground, rather than been made, just like the flower it takes it name from.
The courtyard of the Baker showroom in High Point, North Carolina
Baker has been around a loooong time - it got its start, as Cook & Baker, in 1890. Over the years, it's reputation and commitment to quality has grown, fueling Baker's relationships with talented furniture makers and designers. Now, as Baker looks to the future, they recognize the richness of their archive of designs, and as part of their collections, they are bringing the best back again.
If you liked Ike, you'll love this 1950s palette. From poodle skirts to shell chairs, the colors were sweet and cheerful: cotton candy pink, robin's egg blue and diner-booth red for a post sock-hop burger.
You know that dream where you discover a really cool room that you didn't know existed? The one with the skylights and everything else you've deemed awesome? Well, Virginian Joe Svato kind of had that dream. Except in real life. And instead of finding a new room, he found a whole log cabin.
Designer: Frank Lloyd Wright, 1867 - 1959 From: Richland Center, Wisconsin
It could easily be said that Frank Lloyd Wright is America's most famous architect. Admired by both casual design enthusiasts and those in the architecture profession, Wright has made a lasting impression in American design, including art, furniture, architecture and community planning.