“I want to keep a human mouth on my coffeetable. It’ll be a great conversation starter.” ? Jarod Kintz, I Want
Always a popular resource for local newspapers andmagazines, Sherry is often approached for ideas for editorials and beautifulpictures for their articles. We love tosupport our local publications and are always happy to help them develop funand informative articles.
Recently Sherry was approached by a writer for Park CitiesPeople for a piece in their Homes & Design section. The writer, Caitlin Adams, wanted to do a funpiece on how a designer might perk up a coffee table.
So after some brainstorming we sent her lots of examplesfrom our projects along with a few ideas for her story…
There is a lovely living room that is part of a chichighrise condominium in Dallas. Designedfor a young couple, this sleek, contemporary space meets their request for anopen space for entertaining, with a serene color palette, and fabrics resilientenough to hold up to their pets. A Lucite cocktail table multiplies the gleamof the polished surfaces and the pale blue Venetian plaster on the walls. In keeping with the sleek, modern aestheticof the home, the items on the coffee table are deliberately edited. An acrylic sculpture by artist Joan Winterhas pride of place and is paired with oversized books on contemporary art aswell as a faceted bowl filled with a custom mineral potpourri createdexclusively for the homeowners by Sherry.
Then there is a library designed for a pied á terre inCaruth Homplace. It is a warm,comfortable room with paneled walls finished with a rich pickled finish. Seating is comfortable and ideal for curlingup with a book or watching a movie. Thecoffee table is also soft: a leather ottoman topped with a simple dark woodtray and sculptural objet. For a casualspace like this, accessories were kept to a minimum as the design concept wasfor a room in which people would be expected to prop their feet up.
Another Hayslip Design Associates project featured in thearticle is a modern home in Fort Worth. This coffee table has a simple monolithic quality that is highlightedwith the use of simple, leggy calla lilies in a clear glass vessel alongside asimple stack of books and a small Miro-esque sculpture. Very chic.
The coffee table is an interesting piece of furniture. It has no historical predecessors, nothingdictates its shape or size, and yet nearly every home has one or more low tableplaced near a seating group.
Accessories displayed on its surface should be significantto the home or homeowners. For example,a home we designed in Whitefish, Montana utilized a rugged iron table toppedwith a thick glass slab with a chiseled edge. The accessories reflect the rustic setting: wildflowers in a stonevessel, a collection of pillar candles in warm tones, and a tiny bronze moose,to echo the fauna of the surrounding country.
In a Beaver Creek condominium we got creative… Sherry wentto the local fire wood supplier and selected five logs of various dimensions,cutting them down to the same height, and topped these legs with a simple glassrectangle. We all thought it was veryclever and really inexpensive. Unfortunately our client called a few months later and said “Sherry, youknow that great coffee table… well, it’s now walking across our livingroom.” It appeared that some larvae inthe wood, dormant when we initially installed the table, hatched and weremaking a minor nuisance of themselves. Nothing a visit from the local exterminator couldn’t fix.
I love to design special coffee tables that convey thedesign intent of a space better than any piece from a showroom can. My husband Cole and I have collaborated onseveral designs.
Sometimes the volumes spoken in accessories are actuallywhispered secrets. Designed by Cole andmyself, a fabricated for us by Whitesmith & Company, this shaped, glasstopped table has gilded details. Thetable base was completely hand forged, reminiscent of 15th Century iron work,including forged bronze repoussé leaves using. To craft the central globe, multiple layers of wood were laminated toform a perfect sphere, both inside and out. And here’s the secret… the sphere, by artist Michael Stallings, isgilded in 23 ¾ karat gold and etched with constellations associated with thezodiacal signs of the home owners and hidden within the hollow sphere arescrolls of each family member’s astrological chart.
This eclectic Great Room is all about the art, and I’m notjust talking about the Picasso over the fireplace… I’m talking about the coffeetable. Another collaborative effortbetween Cole and me (and fabricated by the artisans at Whitesmith &Company) this table’s award winning design includes twining acanthus leaves,ribbons of subtly gilded bronze, and hand–hammered and patinated flowers. The glass top follows the same scrollinglines of the table base. The accessoriesare a riot of color… brilliantly hued glass spheres mounded in a low bowl and astriking arrangement of tropical blooms that provide both color and strikingform.
Think of your coffee table-scape like this… each table topis a still life composed of objects of significance. These objects can beas autobiographical as the titles in your bookshelf which always revealsomething about you.
What are your passions?
Do you collect? Display a small portion of your collection for all to see (corralledwithin the confines of a beautiful tray, if necessary).
Do you have a green thumb? How about a bouquet of roses from your garden or a collection of succulentspecimens in a Wardian case?
Avid reader? Booksare always welcome on a coffee table.
But whatever you do… USE A COASTER!
And if you’d like to read Sherry’s article in the Park CitiesPeople online magazine, click on the image for a reader-friendly version (it's on page 12).