by Lynn Byrne
Tented ceilings have been a means to make a dramatic design statement ever since the Empire period. Here at the Chamberlain Hotel, where I am staying while I am on BlogTour LA, the tented effect is used in two places. The hotel’s Bistro restaurant tents the dining tables to lovely effect. Additionally, there are the inviting tented pavilions found on the rooftop pool area–where I plan to spend the remainder of the afternoon, before BlogTour kicks off with a welcome dinner.
Interior designers Percier and Fontaine started the rage. During the Empire period, Napolean’s wife Josephine overspent her decorating budget with Percier and Fontaine and installed them throughout her chateau Malmaison. While her marriage to Napolean didn’t last (fighting over the decorators perhaps?), the tented room has become a design staple.
In addition to Malmaison, there are a few other iconic tented rooms that design addicts should recognize. For example, noted designer Madeleine Castaing adored the Empire period and installed this tented room in the 1950′s.
Another well-known tented room is found in the master bathroom of the amazing historical home in Florida, Vizcaya.
Doris Duke installed a tented dressing room in her magnificent retreat in Hawaii, Shangri-La.
And Renzo Mongiardino created a this famed tented room for his client Lee Radziwill.
Sometimes the tented effect is achieved with paint, like in the fabulous theatre at Guild Hall in East Hampton, and this incredible living room by Mary McDonald spotted in her book: Mary McDonald Interiors: The Allure of Style.
Here are a few more of my favorite tented spaces. Love the tented ceiling in this very ” English country house” dining room spotted in UK House and Garden.
Timothy Corrigan’s colorful dining room packs a wow.
And I can’t get over the effort made to design this incredible home gym. I know I would exercise regularly here!
Obviously creating this type of space is a huge commitment. If you are creating the tent with fabric, it requires massive amounts of yardage. Paint is not much easier given the necessary precision. Still I love the cocoon feeling created by a tented room. It is on my fantasy design list. How about you?
Photo credits: Josephine. Josephine’s chamber Malmaison Madeleine Castaing Vizcaya bathroom via The Finest Rooms in America by Thomas Jayne with Anne Walker Shangri-la, Lee Radziwill Guild Hall, Timothy Corrigan Home gym. Nicky Halsam. Images of the Chamberlain Hotel, my own.