Friday, January 29, 2010

Aintcha Mamma's Stencils: Floorcloths as Functional Art

Pin It Years ago, my father told me about a canvas flooring technique that he remembered from historic homes that he had the pleasure of restoring many moons ago. We went back and forth discussing how this was prepared; if it was practical and so forth because a canvas floor, in my opinion must be the most difficult surface to keep up and I thought to my self "That sounds pretty bonehead, who would put a canvas floor in their house?"

As I went to on to research what it was that he was talking about, I realized he was telling me about floorcloths (also known as oylcloths) that blanketed a large area of a room, serving as a regular rug would, but in other cases as a complete surfacing material with no other flooring in addition to them. Funtional, beautiful and incredibly sturdy, floorcloths have fascinated me since I first discovered them.  I used to have a small contemporary one in my former house, but decided to part with it when we moved, so it now resides in the home of a great friend who really loves it.

Floorcloths are comprised of industrial grade canvas, oil paint used in the designs, multiple layers of polyurethane, and finally a finishing wax.  Most popular in Colonial Williamsburg homes, they have been a mainstay in period interiors for hundreds of years.

While there are quite a few individuals that produce the pieces nowadays, most of the designs are quite country in feel and may have roosters or some other bucolic icon stamped within the design.  Those types of floorcloths don't really interest me, but when I had the delight of discovering Gracewood Design, based out of San Francisco years ago, my heart leapt a happy leap. While Gracewood does replicate a few traditional designs, it's how they have reinterpreted the craft that truly piques my interest. They have taken an age old technique and modernized the vision for their business while keeping the process as true to the original method. To me, they are hands down, the best resource for floorcloths on the market today.

Chains of connected squares make for a very interesting geometric pattern. As modernist as this is, I would pair it within a more traditional atmosphere, say, a room with lots of wonderful Imari dishes or even some flow-blue pieces could work beautifully with this design.





I love the honeycombed diamond pattern that they chose here. I would happily use this one in my sunroom as an alternative to the traditional checkered pattern that one would typically find in a glassed-in porch. 





This floorcloth reminds me of the encaustic tiles that you see in grand homes like the Biltmore. Sort of Neo-gothic slash Victorian (which Victorian was really a {gasp}, bastardization of Gothic with a few flowers thrown in, agree?) Probably not, but that's my take on the matter ;)



I love this colorway as well. Very sophisticated.





I love the interpretation of a rattan chairback here. I also applaud the use of primary colors within this design, they pulled this off very well. 






Here is a more traditional styled floorcloth, but again, Gracewood has the panache to pull off a  traditional look while breathing a modern sensibilty into the design.




I would love to pair either one of these floorcloths with a lucite dining table and gold chivari chairs upholstered in a luxurious mohair fabric for the seats. Sassafrass! 










Gracewood does a fabulous job on traditional designs. This particular floorcloth reminds me of a beautiful french needlepoint rug. Isn't it gorgeous?


This colorway may be my favorite for this pattern. I love that soft butter yellow paired with the muted marigold and graphite. Truly gorgeous!








I LOVE this one!. This would be so beautiful in a living room with a camel colored tailored slipcover sofa wouldn't it? 








I love this design. It feels crisp to me. Sunny and perfect for a kitchen. 







I really love this  piece.  It has such a neat pop-art quality to it. Perfect for a grown up with playful tendencies or a child in his or her playroom. I just love it!




As much as I love the restrained color palette with white walls and vibrant doses of color here and there, I'm always a sucker for complementary color schemes. This reminds me of our old house. The green had a little more yellow in it, but the reds were as scarlett as the letter. I loved it! 



I hope you enjoyed learning about floorcloths, and be sure to visit Gracewood's website. They also create beautiful concrete detailing. Look at how gorgeous this is! I have wanted to do this to my front porch for years since I 1st saw Gracewood do it! So fine! Right now, I'll have to settle for that gorgeous green astroturf that's on there now. What a blunder in taste! Wow. I say it 'makes me feel like I need a monocle and cane just to enter the front door!' Ha! 

Edit: Ms.Gwen of Gracewood Designs and I exchanged a few emails and she explained to me that GW Designs started out in San Francisco, but is now based in Portland. I apologize for the misinformation as I had discovered their site long ago when they were still based in SF! Either way, they are producing fabulous work no matter the locale! Keep it up Gracewood! 





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4 comments:

Jane Schott said...

I love floor cloths and the designs and colorways of these is amazing.

I am filing this one away.

Jane Schott said...

Didn't need to wait long...just got a nice project in East Hampton that both of these could be worked in. Perfect timing!

Thank you...

Andrea V.@ allthetrappings.blogspot.com said...

Jane! How exciting!!!!!!! I can't WAIT to see how you incorporate them. Going to be FAB, I'm certain!

So glad that I could help two people out and it pay off for both parties!!! Truly! That makes my day!

xoxo,

Andrea

Anonymous said...

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