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Flower power

Roses a versatile, beautiful year-round design element

Tuesday, February 5, 2013
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A rose print from Ann Arbor, Mich., based photographer Lindsey Harris. She captures roses in interesting architectural compositions, then prints them as frameable art available at her online Etsy store.
A rose print from Ann Arbor, Mich., based photographer Lindsey Harris. She captures roses in interesting architectural compositions, then prints them as frameable art available at her online Etsy store.

Floral fads may ebb and flow, but the rose’s appeal remains constant, well beyond a Valentine’s Day vaseful.

In home decor, roses have long been a favorite motif in wallpapers, lace, chintz and soft silk furnishings such as curtains, bedding and carpet. The versatile rose floral can impart old-fashioned cottage-y charm, cosmopolitan elegance or even a certain sexy chic.

English drawing rooms were rife with rose patterns throughout the Victorian era, and the shabby-chic heyday of the 1990s saw countless rooms decorated with faded country roses.

While the rose is quite at home in traditional spaces, there is an architectural quality to its petaled form that fits well with modern decor, too, and the colors can be extraordinary.

Lindsey Harris of Ann Arbor, Mich., photographs roses against white backgrounds, creating striking, sometimes quirky botanical portraits. In one composition, she turns the flower heads upside down; in another, she places a soft plump rose amid spiky dried fern leaves. Harris arranges rows of blowsy blooms in candy hues of cherry, lemon and bubble-gum pink, printed on 8-by-10-inch frameable paper, and sells them at www.etsy.com/shop/APeacefulLeaf.

Artist Kathleen Finlay’s Agnaryd rose photo print is available in poster format at Ikea (www.ikea.com).

Decorative garden goods retailer Terrain (www.shopterrain.com) offers a selection of watercolor prints reproduced by the Los Angeles art house Natural Curiosities of rose patterns created for hankies and pocket squares in the 19th century by French silk manufacturer Brunet-LeCompte.

A modern triptych of Paulownia wood panels with hand-carved gray and white roses are on offer at www.ChristineBurkeInteriors.com.

Throw pillows lend themselves to floral interpretations; you’ll find feminine rose-petaled pillows in pretty hues and soft materials at www.pier1.com, www.pbteen.com and www.blisslivinghome.com.

Thomas Paul applies his edgy sensibility to an illustrated version at www.allmodern.com.

Traditional looking, rose-patterned wallpaper isn’t difficult to find, but you might want to check out a unique collection from Target (www.target.com) that’s not offered in stores: In taupes, teals, browns and golds, the wallcoverings have a rose print reminiscent of a vintage French negligee, which would be fun in a bedroom or powder room.

At www.wayfair.com, there’s a textural, tonal, rose-print wall covering evocative of an Old World art print.

And California designer Phyllis Morris’ dramatic Vie en Rose, an overscale photo print of carmine blooms on a black background, turns a bedroom into a boudoir. It’s available at www.phyllismorris.com.

Small accessories are an easy way to introduce rose motifs. Cafe Press (www.cafepress.com) has a clever wall clock emblazoned with a purple rose image. At Pier 1, red felt roses lend drama to a picture frame. And Habidecor’s Abyss Rose bath rug, found at www.gracioushome.com, is a luxurious way to put the flower underfoot.

 
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