artSparx.com - Federal Style. Interior design knowledge for the creative lifestyle.

With the end of the Revolution and the birth of the new republic, Americans looked to ancient Rome for cultural as well as political inspiration. At the same time, newly professionalized American architects sought to express the power and influence of their patrons by creating dignified yet democratic homes. The result of this political and aesthetic cross-pollination was the Federal style, which soon became identified with the hopes, ideals, and character of the young nation.

Ironically, the guiding light of ancient Rome shone on the new republic by way of Old England. Federal period architects like Charles Bulfinch enlivened a somewhat poker-faced Georgian colonial template with classical detail straight out of stylebooks of the Adam brothers, the most renowned architects of the British eighteenth century. A typical Federal home had pragmatic Georgian bones (symmetrical brick facade, balanced rows of windows around a central door) adorned with graceful Adamesque flourishes. A semicircular fanlight over the front door, arched three-part Palladian windows, dentil moldings or a balustrade around the roof all served to soften square Georgian lines. The centrally placed front entryway was the focal point, with the door flanked by sidelights, pilasters, or slender columns and possibly topped by a small portico.


To create a convincing Federal setting, use a judicious mix of homespun American colonial furniture and more refined Adam-style pieces (Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Sheraton). Pewter and silver, luxurious but understated textures -- cream-colored damask, polished wood floors -- suggest the optimism and increasing prosperity of the new nation. Colors should be light and delicate: powder blue, cream, yellow, soft pink and muted rose. Of course, the quintessential Federal detail is the American eagle, soaring above the mantelpiece. And while some might consider a plaster bust of George Washington to be a bit over the top, for the true neo-Federalist it will add just the right patriotic touch.


Color Essentials

Fundimentals of color. It will set you free!

Using color at home or in the office - for paintings, furniture or any artistic challenge - takes a good eye, a little know how, and a creative imagination. Create custom color schemes and color effects in your home or office. Learn how to use the best base color, create a glaze, mixing colors, and more.

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Painted Scrolls on Ceiling Beams
Painted scrolls on beams

The charm of painted scrolls on ceiling beams needs no introduction. This decorative accent is a delightful addition to any room. And though beams are common elements in many interiors rarely do one see them used as a focal point for decorative applications. Whether you enjoy the old world charm of Italy, or the contemporary flair of a San Francisco loft space, these tech iques can be adapted to suit the most creative inspiration.

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Lithos Venetian Plaster

Finishing Venetian Plaster with natural polished marble effect

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Lithos is the contemporary version of the famous ancient Stucco Veneziano. It is a beautiful and highly refined decorative finish for hotels, offices, shops, exhibition halls, living rooms, etc. Ideal for all types of interior surfaces such as cement renders, Gypsum plasters, prefabricated panels wood and its by-products, as long as sufficiently smooth. With the range of colours and the applicator’s capacity and inspiration, it is possible to attain a variety of designs and chromatic effects. The resulting coating, in addition to being highly attractive, is abrasion resistant and washable.

Spread rate: 35 to 45 sq. ft. per quart.

0.8 - 1.0 kg/m² (for a recommended dry film thickness of 1,0 mm)

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