A Checkered Future

A Checkered Future

Every season has its own magic, but there’s just something special about Spring. New seedlings begin to sprout through the snow, windows are thrown open to let in lilac-tinged breezes, and winter woolens are gleefully stored in anticipation of a barefoot walk on fresh grass. This annual rite of rebirth is both reassuring and primal, and it affects how we see our surroundings. It gives us leave to bring the newness of the season into the spaces in which we live.

Color is an obvious way to bring Spring indoors, but pattern is another. This Spring we feel there’s something wonderfully fresh and optimistic about checks. Plaids suggest wool tartans and the cozy, fire-lit rooms of winter, but checks ~ the simpler cousin of plaids ~ tell a lighter, more relaxed story. One can’t help but think of crisply pressed, gingham napkins being set into a picnic basket or short-sleeved checkered shirts hanging on the line, blowing in the breeze. Here are a few examples of rooms where we’ve used checks to create the visually fresh simplicity of Spring.

In our room at the 2005 Kip’s Bay show house (above), we used an over-scaled and highly graphic, black and white houndstooth check from Bergamo on an elegant little club chair. Nothing sets off black and white better than a clear, strong color and for this room we chose coral. It looks so spiffy, who would have guessed that it ain’t nothin’ but a houndstooth!

Photo: Matthew White

Photo: Matthew White

In this country cottage we covered a clean-lined sofa in a large gray and white cotton check. To spark it up, we painted the room in bright, apple green. The casual feeling of checks is perfect for the country, but can also bring great charm to more elegant, urban spaces. In this setting however, the gray gingham provides just the right touch of Springtime year around.

Photo: Carlos Emilio

Photo: Carlos Emilio

In this Tribeca bedroom, we created our own checked pattern by combining two fabrics and designing a custom headboard and bed cover. The result is a dramatic statement in what would otherwise be a featureless, small New York bedroom. The tall headboard fills the room with drama while accentuating the height of the ceiling.

Children’s rooms should have a touch of fantasy and a healthy dose of charm. In this little girl’s bedroom, you may be shocked to learn that we used, of all colors… PINK. What we also used was an over-scaled gingham check.

Photo: Steven Nilsson

Photo: Steven Nilsson

Not only did we design the canopy and bedding, which incorporates a floral print with the checks, but we also designed the actual white lacquered bed itself.

Certain patterns evoke different feelings. If you are looking to create a crisp, Spring-like ambience, there’s nothing more delightful, and simple, than a woven check in linen or cotton.

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