Monday, June 19, 2017

Decorating With Santos Cage Dolls

You have seen them..... silently watching over a collection of brocante items lovingly arranged atop tables and shelves in a rustic French Provincial farmhouse. They are called Santos cage dolls and after becoming more and more popular over the past few years, they now are enthusiastically sought after by collectors and designers that want to add old world style to their homes.

Originally started as copies of 17th century carvings by priests and called saint dolls or Santons in French, Santibelli in Italian, and Santos in Spanish, cage dolls are primarily associated with the Italian and French Crèche (nativity and crib scenes). They were used as forms for decorating the Crèche and are still elaborately displayed in Italy and in the Provence area of France. The term cage-doll is due to the bottom portion of the body resembling a cage. 

Skillfully hand made of solid hardwood with polychrome paint and gilt, these dolls have a long and deep religious history. Their use dates back centuries when they were a crucial part of in-home altars in small, rural villages. These villages were without churches and access to priests so the cage doll statues were used as replacement altars and in Catholic religious processions. Their development flourished in Europe in the 1700's and 1800's, primarily due to wars. These icons were crucial in the quest to Christianize not only the peoples of Europe but even into the Americas.

It is getting hard to find original cage dolls and they can be very expensive. However, reproductions that are fashioned after antique originals are becoming more common. They too are usually hand carved and hand painted and their understated beauty can be an asset to any interior.

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The Santos cage dolls are a part of what is called Saint Art which consists of carvings in ivory or wood of various and plentiful Catholic saints, angels, or the Virgin Mary.

These iconic religious figures have been adored throughout history and would occupy a place of prominence in the home. 

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I am Protestant but am still looking for a cage doll to mix in with some more French pieces just because I think they are lovely. The cage doll is not relegated to religious symbols so feel free to enjoy them for their historical as well as aesthetic value.

Here is an example of two kinds of Santos dolls, the traditional style and the cage style which is actually called a bastidor doll, bastidor meaning “frame” or “framework. It is like the traditional from the torso up but has the cage on the bottom.

This cage framework would usually be covered with cloth made to resemble the figure’s skirt. Originally the cage would also serve as storage for religious relics or other small trinkets.

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Santos cage dolls are most often rustic in nature, yet with delicate details.Their serene faces are what makes them so charming.

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Wonderful whitewashed Santos cage dolls like this one were frequently dressed in elaborate gowns or ornate religious garb, often topped with golden crowns, and used in Catholic religious processions.

Mix the Santos cage dolls in with some more traditional or French pieces for a beautiful old world look. Many people find them a bit eerie when standing alone so adding in other items seems to change their minds.

Antique cage dolls frequently have glass eyes, while reproductions usually have beautifully detailed painted eyes.

While painted in colors like pink, brown, ocher, and sienna, blue is the most common color used to paint the bodies of Santos cage dolls.

Another great feature of the cage doll is the articulation of the arms. This makes it easier to dress in lavish garments for use in religious ceremonies and also allows it to be positioned in various poses.

The visible parts of these images such as the head and hands are usually carved in wood, covered with a fine layer of stucco, and delicately poly-chromed. The arms and forearms are joined to the body by wires and the trunk is attached to the skirt with nails.

Collectors scour French flea markets for Santos crowns. They are sought after decorative items for dressing a cage doll.

Iris Apfel's NYC apartment via Architectural Digest

Cage dolls are one of those items that just looks good in a vignette .........of any style from antique to modern.

Veranda Magazine

Santos cage dolls are especially lovely at Christmas as they work well with other figures involved in a tabletop Crèche.

Many people dress their cage dolls as angels during this time of year.

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My favorite way to display Santos cage dolls is in their simple unadorned state. However you choose to display yours the result will be the same......a source of serenity and charm for your home.

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Decorating With Art Deco Inspired Padded Headboards

Just when you finished your tufted headboards............well you know the rest of the story. The latest trend in headboards is the padded Art Deco style. You will be seeing more and more of Art Deco influences in today's home decor as it will have a huge impact in 2017. This post features a small way you can ride this trend wave without spending huge amounts of money. The bedroom is a good place to incorporated some elements of this style and the headboard is a good jumping off point. First you need to understand the aesthetics of the Art Deco bedroom so you can choose the best padded headboard for your needs. 

Held in Paris in 1925, the Exposition Internationale des ArtsDecoratifs et Industriels Modernes launched a decorative style that would quickly spread throughout the world and become known as Art Deco. Following the exposition, America soon became the center of the artistic movement as Art Deco began to appear on skyscrapers and movie sets making it a symbol of Hollywood glamour.

Famous New York buildings such as the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and Rockefeller Center were erected using Art Deco design elements and helped make the style one of the most fashionable international design movement in America from 1925 until the 1940s. The aim was always to provide a monolithic appearance celebrating the rise of commerce, technology, and speed. 

Nothing evokes Jazz Age elegance like Art Deco with it's clean lines and geometric patterns. Art Deco ornamentation consists largely of low relief geometrical designs, often in the form of parallel straight lines.
Parallel columns seemed to reach to the heavens on buildings.......

and on Hollywood sets.

The vertical column became a work of art in itself and was seen on everything from public buildings to home decor.This touch of sophistication and opulence created one of the most striking of outlines which is perhaps one of the most recognizable features of Art Deco. It is the vertical emphasis of these parallel columns and the Hollywood glamour of the new look in Art Deco that inspired the padded headboards this post is concentrating on.

If you love the reemergence of Art Deco interiors, you are not alone! Art Deco is best known as the flamboyant reaction to the austerity of World War I. This style introduced a dose of glamour into art because of it's gleaming decor and strong ties to bold geometric shapes and designs. 

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Bedrooms are definitely being influenced by this design style. The trend in bedroom design puts the focal point on the bed, it's headboard, and the wall behind. The most popular type of headboard for the Art Deco bedroom is the padded vertical columns style.

It was important that the look of the bedroom be sumptuous and luxurious. The padded Art Deco style headboard instantly brings a touch of glamour to the bedroom. A fabric with sheen will look the best alongside furniture with reflective surfaces. 

The padded columns of the Art Deco headboard can even run from floor to ceiling. This one is backlit and really makes a modern and chic statement. Remember Art Decor is all about a bold visual appearance with an artistic and modern touch.

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Avoid flowery or floral prints on your padded headboard. Art Deco style headboards typically have solid colored fabrics in neutral colors or patterns with geometric designs as well as richly colored leather, vinyl, suede and mohair.

The effect of the padded columnar shape of the Art Deco headboard in this bedroom is echoed onto the duvet for a really streamline look that is typical of the Art Deco style.

source unknown

The new Art Deco look is strong and bold with no fussiness anywhere in sight. This headboard has the pronounced ascending vertical elements of Art Deco but is softened by the luster of the polished fabric and the gleaming metallic look of the coordinating pillows.

If you prefer a warmer look you can still achieve an Art Deco inspired bedroom by covering your padded headboard with a small geometric pattern like this and adding in some coordinating fabrics on your chairs and windows. The use of vertical stripes throughout and especially the vertically striped wallpaper behind the headboard is what really makes this work. Keep in mind the reflective surfaces when choosing other furniture and accessories for the room.



If you are considering a bedroom makeover include a hint of the Art Deco style and give it an instant style upgrade.

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Art Deco is all about geometry, lines and modern pieces. Angular forms, exotic materials, and linear decoration are characteristic features of Art Deco bedroom. Here the designer has used a padded columnar headboard in front of a wall that sports a fluted design to create a great Art Deco space.

Having reached the height of its popularity in the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, the signature aesthetic still evokes glamour, luxury, and exuberant design. The vertical lines on the fur bedspread and padded headboard will glam up any space with Art Deco style.

Art Deco represents a style that is elegant, functional and modern. This bed's padded head and foot boards, complete with nailhead enhancement outlining each padded column, gives this homeowner a spectacular bedroom that looks impressive and feels exclusive.

Your headboard needs only a few padded columns to bring the look of Art Deco to your bedroom.

This and the following two images show how padded headboards can add the Art Deco look to an already eclectic bedroom.

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The Art Deco columnar look can also be achieved in your bedroom through a folded wall treatment like this.

Homeowners are infusing their bedrooms with Art Deco style by making the space behind the bed look like one giant padded headboard extending up the wall.These headboard walls are becoming very popular because of the luxe look they provide.

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If you want a really dramatic look at the head of your bed you can make the entire wall into a padded headboard that creates an Art Deco focal point to your bed.

The Studio Harrods Interior Design & Innovation

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The columns of your padded Art Deco style headboard can also run horizontally if that is your preference. Framing the headboard is another nice touch that really emphasizes the glamerous Art Deco theme. The headboard becomes a piece of art.

I love the soft burnished colors that make up the Art Deco palette. The padded headboard is a wonderful backdrop for a plethora of stylish pillows. This is one approach to the Art Deco bedroom......sleek and luxurious.

Or you can use pattern. When choosing patterned fabrics for you padded headboard remember Art Deco is all about geometrics. There are tutorials on line to help you if you are crafty and want to make a padded headboard as a DIY project.

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

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