Sometimes a door is well, just a door. Other times, they are THE design statement of a room or entry. Doors are so commonplace in our lives they tend to not get much thought. Unless you’re an architect or an interior designer, then doors become a very serious consideration. It was the same for ancient Egyptians who represented double doors in paintings of the tombs. This is the start of the recorded history of doors.
King Solomon’s temple doors, made of olive wood, were noted in the bible (I Kings 31-35.) During these early biblical times many types of timber were used for doors including cypress, cedar, elm and oak.
In late 2010, archeologists unearthed a 5,000 year old door in Zurich. It is thought to be the oldest door ever found in Europe. It was made from ancient poplar wood with hinges and unusual planks holding it together.
Fast forward to modern times and you’ll find the door hasn’t changed much. It’s still hinged and replete with door handle or knob and often times a door knocker. Materials are varied but many types of wood especially oak remain popular. Mass manufactured doors took over the majority of the market of handcrafted custom doors here in the US but there are still many upscale homes which require custom doors.
We often spend some time on this aspect of design as we are trying to encapsulate the entire design concept into one door! Talk about pressure! One of my favorite things to do is to add an old antique door somewhere completely unexpected into my interiors. I’ll save those pics for another post!
Detail of the front door to Westminster Abbey in England which is thought to be the oldest door in England.
Shown here is the intricate metal work of the front door to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.
You might think the living room an odd place to hang a chandelier. However, despite their seemingly non-traditional nature, they were commonplace in many rooms of homes and palaces from 12th century on. Let’s revisit a bit of the chandelier’s history to find out just how far these beautiful fixtures have come.
The first known chandeliers were created for medieval places of assembly around the 12th century. Their construction was that of a wooden cross with candles attached to the top of each of the four arms. They were then rigged with rope from a hook in the ceiling and over to be secured on the wall. Perhaps they were very primitive and very basic, but a good beginning nonetheless.
So you’re flipping through your design magazines, or even the latest Restoration Hardware catalog, and might have come across some of these wooden chandeliers. Do you wonder, are these new or modern, what inspired these designs? Who new, these chandeliers have their roots from early 12th century designs!
Oly Isa Wood Chandelier, Available through Interior Designers
Restoration Hardware Chandelier
Restoration Hardware Chandelier
In the 15th century came a more complex design based on a ring or crown with multiple candles secured around it. These new and improved fixtures became popular decorative items in the main rooms of houses and palaces of clergy, merchant class and nobility. These extremely expensive fixtures were a sign of status and wealth. These are still very popular chandeliers even today, and many lighting designers incorporate these 15th century designs into modern day fixtures.
This is a gorgeous crown inspired chandelier designed by Julie Neill Designs.
Carol’s Crown St. Chandelier
Clearly inspired by the crown design concept by Julie Neill Designs.
I find it so fascinating no matter how inventive we are in our designs, and products there is always a trace of the past to be found!