Thursday, December 10, 2009


I now have a personal scanner -exciting news here at ArchitectDesign! I wanted so much to share with you one of my favorite books, which if you love beautiful historic interiors, you must add to your library - Potsdam by Gert Streidt (author) and Klaus Frahm (who provided the lush photography). This is probably the design book I refer to the most -my comfort blanket. As an exchange student in high school, I visited this neighborhood of palaces outside of Berlin and knew that this is what my passion was -great residential design. I remember standing in this room above in Sancoucci (which I've blogged about before HERE) as if it were yesterday and being totally blown away. Known as the Voltaire room (he supposedly lived here while in residence at the palace from 1750 till 1753), the room features wood paneling painted a beautiful yellow, marble floors and a built in bed (Thomas Jefferson wasn't the only one!). The painted woodwork features fruits cultivated in the palace park and greenhouse. The goal of the rococo movement, used here and at which the Germans excelled, was to integrate the surroundings into a unified whole -this was accomplished in this room by using the same motifs on the walls, ceiling, chandelier and even embroidery.
Another favorite room featured in the book is the private writing room of the royal quaters at the New Palace (literally across the park from Sanssouci). Again we have beautiful painted wood paneling but an unusual porcelain framed mirror above the fireplace (not painted wood which is more usual). The amazing writing table is covered in tortoise shell and silver plated bronze overlays; So over the top gorgeous.
I saved the best for last. This desk, by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, is probably my favorite piece of furniture ever. It is located in the ladies-in-waiting drawing room at the Charlottenhof Palace, an AMAZING neoclassical house from 1839, also designed by Schinkel. The interiors are very simple, almost modern, and were considered very middle class in their day. This simplicity was due to a small budget but also the changing of fashion. The building stands in sharp contrast to some of the earlier rococo palaces featured in the area.
I hope this whetted your appetite - the book would be a perfect christmas gift!


Lize said...

I enjoyed this post as well as the one on Sans Souci. Both featured BEAUTIFUL pics!
It reminded me so of a very cleverly written short story I once read about a house called Sans Souci (Without a care), and as the fortunes of the family changes (and the house falls into disrepair), the 'ci' came off and the house is 'renamed': Sans Sou. (Without a penny).

lady jicky said...

Oooooo, I love the chandelier in the yellow room. How wonderful to have actually been there!

home before dark said...

Lucky us! So what scanner did you buy? I'm trying to decide which direction to go: all in one or dedicated. You are going to be like the energizer bunny with that scanner and we can't wait for the results!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

HBD, unfortunately it was more of an inheritance -it was my grandfather's who passed away this fall. It's an older model canon and is somewhat slow -but it's very small - porbably 3/4" deep and 8 1/2 x 11 - drawer sized! perfect for small apartments such as mine!

Lize -that made my day -thats so funny! Sans Sou!

LJ - I just want to go back! I haven't been to all of the palaces in Potsdam yet! I want to return with my camera and sketchbook!

Anonymous said...

I would sell my house and move into that writing desk if it were possible.

It is stunning!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Laurel, me too! OR even the bed nook - i'd hide behind the curtains from tourguides!

VictoriaArt said...

Oh,I love Sans Souci, I have been there many times, in the gorgeous rooms and the amazing park around it! I remember seeing it as a girl of 10 the first time and loving it. I grew up in Dresden, a place with many castles (you might know Pillnitz, summer residence of August the Strong)but Sans Souci has had always special meaning, alone the name!
My parents took us to all those historical places, this is were my passion comes from.


VictoriaArt said...

PS: I forgot, a few days ago I posted about German architecture, and mentioned Schinkel as well! Have a look if you like!
Check out: Introducing German design style...



I do believe I am in love with the chandelier in the Voltaire room. And of course, wouldn't it be wonderful to get to work at that desk?