Category Archives: Design Detail

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Spell of Glamor

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“Playing oversize objects against normal or even undersize pieces can make spaces seem taller or wider, more or less open.” –Michael Lassell, Making it Modern


“The most glamorous thing you can do in a room is to be surprising.” – Jill Van Tosh


Glamor, is something I have been trying to wrap my head around for a while– what does it mean? How is it obtained through design? Because we all know what it is when we see it (like all the curated images in the fabulous blog This is Glamorous) – but I couldn’t for the world of me think of how exactly to describe it. So forgive me but I consulted the web dictionaries:


>Online etymology dictionary: says Glamor also Glamour, 1720, “magic, enchantment” (especially in phrase to cast the glamor), a variant of Scot. gramarye “magic, enchantment, spell,” alteration of English grammar (q.v.) with a medieval sense of “any sort of scholarship, especially occult learning.” Popularized by the writings of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). Sense of “magical beauty, alluring charm” first recorded 1840.


Merriam-Webster.com says: Etymology: Scots glamor, alteration of English grammar; from the popular association of erudition with occult practices

1 : a magic spell
2 : an exciting and often illusory and romantic attractiveness; especially : alluring or fascinating attraction —often used attributively


Wikipedia says: Glamor is an appearance of enhanced attractiveness

From Scots gramarye (magic, enchantment, spell).

The Scottish term is either from Ancient Greek γραμμάριον (grammárion), ‘gram’), the weight unit of ingredients used to make magic potions, or an alteration of the English word grammar (‘any sort of scholarship, especially occult learning’), from Latin grammatica, from Greek (grammatike tekhne), ‘art of letters’).

1. (countable) an item, motif, person, image that by association improves appearance

2. Witchcraft; magic charm; a spell affecting the eye, making objects appear different from what they really are.

3. A kind of haze in the air, causing things to appear different from what they really are.

4. Any artificial interest in, or association with, an object, or person, through which it or they appear delusively magnified or glorified.

5. (uncountable) Alluring beauty or charm (often with sex-appeal)


I found it fascinating that a word I use all the time has ties to the occult. I had always thought glamor was porcelain luster-ware teacup sets, claw foot bathtubs, large libraries, sculptural furniture, fancy leather goods and sport cars. I thought it was fancy THINGS.

Now after doing a bit of research I realize that of course (and forgive my flowery speech) it is more about the enchanting tone, the ‘uncountable’ and magical charm that imbues a normal moment or scene into an extraordinary one. Glamor is that vision that is so charged with dream-like possibility that it lingers like a tempting spell in the memory. It taps into the power of our romantic childhood imaginations and our desires and promises however fleeting the fantasy, a moment of bliss.

SVEINN-KJARVAL-CHAIRS2

Rustic Farmhouse meets Scandanavian Modern

I just love the pairing of these beautiful sculptural vintage Moller chairs With a rustic farm table- Such a  beautiful combination.

Danish furniture design is definitely a big influence on my design sense. Did I ever tell you guys that my grandfather was a  mid-century designer / architect?  Below are some of his chair designs that I have photos of.  He grew up in Denmark and trained there although he had most of his career in Iceland. He designed many houses, restaurants and even the library (seen here behind the president) in Bessastaðir (the Icelandic version of the white house).  If I were to ever get a full set of his chairs for myself I think I may go for this kind of paring!