When the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum were
excavated in the eighteenth century, new
information about the ancient world sparked a
revolution in architecture and interior design. In
various forms -- Georgian architecture in Britain,
the Federal and Greek Revival house styles in
America, the Napoleonic Empire Style which dotted
Paris with triumphal arches -- Neoclassicism
dominated Western architecture for 100 years.
Emphasizing proportion and grace, embellished with
Classical detail, the Neoclassical style remains
influential in the design of public buildings and
modern traditional homes.
Neoclassical architecture ranges from the
rectilinear Georgian style to the more graceful,
curvilinear mode devised by the Scottish designer
Robert Adam and adopted in America in the form of
Federal style. Symmetry, arched Palladian windows,
a fanlight over the centered front door, dentil
molding below the cornice, and decorative columns or
pilasters are the basic elements of this
architectural style. Circular windows, oval rooms,
and decorative arches also characterize the
Neoclassical Style architectural details and
Ceiling medallions, cornices
and moldings. Authentic Period and Historic Home
All crafted in genuine plaster.
For commercial and residential environments.
Neoclassical interior design selects elements from
Greek and Roman antiquity to create balance and
refinement. Colors are pale and calming: cream,
stone, gray, pale blue. Floors are light pine,
stone, or marble, covered with Persian or floral
woven carpets. One can also use stronger color,
sparingly: black and terra cotta for a Greek feel,
or deep red and gold for an imperial, Roman look.
Wallpaper in geometric, floral or Classical designs
is also appropriate.
Classical detail can appear anywhere you like.
Columns or pilasters flank
the fireplace. Geometric marble or inlaid wood
graces the entryway floor.
Murals or wallpaper depicting mythological scenes or
create drama in the dining room. Crown molding is
important, and can
feature a dentil pattern, swags, garlands, egg and
The column is the most recognizable element of
Neoclassical design. The
Doric column, the oldest and plainest Greek style,
found on the Parthenon, has fluted sides and a
smooth, rounded capital. The Ionic column has
scroll-shaped ornaments at the top, and the
Corinthian column's capital is decorated with olive,
laurel or acanthus leaves. Early nineteenth-century
American houses, whether Federal, Greek Revival, or
Southern Colonial, frequently feature columned
entryways or front porches. In more modern
homes, columns can transform any room into a Greek
temple: the dining room, the entry hall, the master
Neoclassical furniture is typically light, graceful
and simple: Chippendale,
Adam, Sheraton and Hepplewhite are the traditional
choices. Sheraton's lyre back chair and
Hepplewhite's shield back chair are two fine
examples of Neoclassical style. Accessories from
the eighteenth or nineteenth-century -- silver tea
services, Wedgwood china, candlesticks,
fireplace tools and screens -- should be used
alongside Greek and Roman accents like urns,
statuary, and designs from ancient pottery.
Design Style features
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