This past summer I had the opportunity to travel to France and Ireland and was amazed at the rampant beauty in architecture and design so prevalent in Europe. It never ceased to amaze me. The history of interior decorating and design was right in front of me, 24/7 , and some of today’s influences are rooted in the styles of old Europe. The period styles in each of these countries could not have been more different. I soaked it up, knowing that I would be back home in no time, reminiscing of the castles, churches and palaces of times long past.
Ruins of a medieval castle amidst the hills of Northern Ireland
From bustling cities to rolling green hills, gothic architecture was the predominant architectural style in Ireland. Abandoned castles as well as centuries old pubs and residences displayed Ireland’s medieval charm. I could not help but feel as though I was drifting back into the 14th century.
Donegal Castle (15th Century) displays clerestory windows typical of the Gothic period.
Inside Donegal Castle, a medieval style dining room.
Trinity College, Dublin.
Then in France, the architecture changed, quite dramatically, to the opulent French Baroque and Renaissance styles. In 17th and 18th century France, architecture was the backdrop to hand crafted furnishings where structure, painting and sculpture were coordinated into the entire building. It was definitely a feast for the eyes, no matter what your preferred style is!
Along the River Seine in Paris, France
Napoleon’s Quarters as displayed in the Louvre Museum. An example of a bed, chair, and sideboard in the French Renaissance style.
Napoleon’s Quarters – Intricate detailing of accessories and wall panelling is still seen today in more traditional interiors.
One of the hallways in the Louvre displaying a tall window dressed in an extravagant window covering. There is also an example of plaster relief work on the wall and intricate detailing in the railing.
From traditional to modern interiors we see the influence of period styles living on in today’s interior design. Whether we stay true to one particular style or incorporate a mixture of styles into eclectic and modern interiors, it is always a stretch of the imagination. In any case, a little bit of travel and culture goes a long way in creating inspiration for almost anything in our lives including our next design project!