Last week, our Sunday Spotlight featured manufacturer Sherrill Furniture. This week, we’re going in depth with one of Sherrill’s collections, DC Designs. (You can view the entire collection here.)
DC Designs is the eponymous collection of Atlanta-based designer Dan Carithers, whose work frequently appeared in every top design magazine for the last 30+ years, until his retirement last fall. Heck, it’s STILL showing up in some of them!
Carithers’ signature style was traditional, but always with some modern elements. He never allowed a space to take itself too seriously. He favored neutral palettes, with unexpected punches of color, and rich, tactile fabrics. This is just one of his spaces that appears in my personal design inspiration file:
When I was preparing last week’s article, I debated lumping my favorite DC Designs pieces in with the rest of the line, but truly, they have such a unique flavor, I felt they deserved a spotlight of their own. As I was trying to figure out just how I would characterize said “unique flavor,” I came across the words “Revved Up Traditional,” at the top of one of Sherrill’s catalog pages showcasing his collection. Yes! That’s it exactly! “Revved Up Traditional.” Have a look, and see what you think:
This was one of the first Sherrill pieces I ever encountered, and it still makes a impression on me every time I see it. I love the way they’ve taken a ho-hum English arm, and set it back, giving it such an graceful curve. And let’s talk about the fabulous use of decorative tape on those cushions. Wow. What could have been formal and stuffy, with a few minor adjustments, becomes compellingly elegant.
*MELT* This ottoman gives me heart palpitations. In a good way. :) It’s become commonplace to substitute an ottoman for a coffee table these days, and at 53×30, this one is scaled for that purpose. Normally, you’d find them wearing a plain old dressmaker skirt, that simply falls straight from the cushion to the floor. *yawn* But here, oh heavens, how absolutely lovely to let the skirt flow freely from the button tufting, so it hangs in those soft gathers, and yet, the decorative tape at the hem keeps it from being too fluffy or feminine. Inspired, is all I can say.
When I think of a piece of furniture having upholstered legs, the first thing that comes to mind is, “1985 called and they want their furniture back.” Not so this piece. Apparently, upholstered legs, and even wood-framed arms CAN be done tastefully… in fact, this one makes me drool a bit. Look at the shape of the frame, and the use of nailhead detailing. Love.
Ditto the above point. I find this bench so graceful. The shape is timeless, but the details give it a modern flair. I love this piece for an entry, in a bath, or tucked under a console table.
Can a slipper chair be regal? The extra tall back, deep plushy tufting, and gorgeous lines of this one in particular say that yes, yes it can. And those legs! Now those are some serious gams. Henceforth, all my important design edicts shall be delivered from this fluffy-wuffy throne.
When is the last time a dining chair surprised you… in a good way? Here, I’ll do it twice:
Surprise number 1: Seriously, how fabulous is this? I want to see many of these, lined up down a long antique dining table, preferably with two of these chandeliers hanging overhead:
But I digress. Sorry. NEXT!
Surprise number 2: The old-fashioned shield-back chair gets a modern makeover, and he’s stunning! Actually, I don’t know that I would use these in a dining room, where you’d lose the detail because it faces in toward the table. I’d want them to be statement pieces… a pair in the entry, or flanking a fireplace, or creating a conversation area. Because of the small scale, I definitely think they should travel in twos for maximum impact.
Oh. My. Gosh. I demand that this be parked in my master bedroom immediately, if not sooner. That is all.
I could go on and on (you know I could), but let me wrap up with a bit of Dan’s design philosophy, which I was amazed to read, as it so closely aligns with my own:
Design should run in tandem with the way we live. Comfort in the way you live is the order of the day. There are very few rules today in how you decorate, Thank Goodness. There are three elements of style that all blend together: modern, traditional, and “inspired.” The hallmark of an inviting space is to have your own personal signature. It is this blending that will make your style unique.
I think the moral of the story is to not be afraid to go outside the box. (But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to throw the box out the window!) Sometimes it’s the quirky, or the unexpected, that makes the whole space feel inspired. I hope this spotlight on DC Designs has inspired you!
What do you think? Do you like an unexpected element or two in a room?