Inside Design by Michael Greer. Chapter 2- Queen Anne
Miniaturization and Reflection about Greer and Interior Design.
A Current Perspective.
According to Michael Greer, “Queen Anne, a girl about as diffident toward decorating as Pansy Yoku, had very little if not absolutely nothing to do with Queen Anne.” Arguably with some careful analysis and a little soul-searching, I would have to disagree with Greer. But first….Have you even heard of Pansy Yokum? Me neither. Apparently, she was one of the famous Dogpatch cartoon characters of Al Capp’s long-running syndicated newspaper strip which ran from 1934-1977. She was the pint-sized, highly principled, corncob pipe-smoking leader of her family, aka the Yokum clan and the town of Dogwatch. She certainly looks tough, doesn’t she? My first-generation Italian grandmother was a little like her. We could surmise that Greer, a NY native, was one of Capp’s admirers since Capps’ total readership exceeded 60,000,000 in the 40’s. Capp was born in New Haven, CT. So, while Cap entertained millions daily, Greer was busy designing posh Manhattan spaces while impressing his affluent clients.
Contemporary wing back chair painted in high gloss paint and upholstered in velvet fabric. Martha Stewart.
Schumacher, Arches Print in Bamboo. Geometric, bold, dramatic and colorful indoor/outdoor fabric ideal for upholstery, drapery and pillows.
Van Den Akker’s Pedrino Club Chair. Also available as a Settee. Shown in Maple with brass hardware. Other wood species and finishes available. Hardware can be specified in brass, nickel, chrome or studio bronze (which is currently on trend).
De gournay’s Japanese and Korean Wall Covering, Kiso Mountains Design on Statue India Tea Paper. Photo Credit: Natalie Didham.
Schumacher, Sonriza Print in Orange. Dynamic circular/spiraling pattern ideal for pillows, or upholstery. Available in Java and Pool.
Greer would not see the likes of the Yokum clan nor would they be traveling in the same circles. Originating in England, the peak period of the Queen Anne style in America, was in the late nineteenth century, and had several personalities: some homes were ornamental and fanciful while others showed more restraint, and yet some were asymmetrical in design. Since this style was during the Industrial age, factory-made, pre-cut architectural parts were brimming at the seams. Chinese-inspired early Georgian furniture with cabriolet legs terminating in a pad or drake foot (yum!) manufactured from walnut with flowing graceful lines were becoming exuberantly popular. Overdone, a space in this style could be perceived as being dark, heavy, cluttered and out of scale.
Today, there are so many directions a designer could take this style. Is it challenging? Definitely! Let me warn you, it is not for the faint at heart. Oh, the places you’ll go! Here’s where experience and yes, even some of Pansy’s brazen fearlessness comes into play. Boldly and with confidence, in today’s contemporary space, this is a designer’s dream. This would NOT be the time to hold back nor show hesitation. THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX, introducing PLAYFUL color and/or pattern (INTRICATE, ARCHITECTURAL, GEOMETRIC) done in BOLD ways is indeed the way to go. Why not wallpaper a ceiling or use whimsical over scaled wall covering in the powder room? Got a thing and the budget for hand painted silk wallpaper? The real finesse is knowing how to BALANCE without over doing- something outside of Pansy Yokum’s realm.
So here it is, with some deep soul-searching, some characteristics of which the Queen Ann style and Pansy Yokum might share: BRAZEN, BOLD, UNCONVENTIONAL and ECLECTIC. I think I may have been able to change Greer’s opinion over a cup of coffee. Bold as brass, eh?