Have you ever wondered who created the very first sofa? Or what Victorians brought home from vacations as souvenirs? Design*Sponge managing editor and self-described bibliophile Amy Azzarito tackles the history behind household objects (everything from curtains to chandeliers to cast iron) and how those stories intersect with modern life in her Past and Present column.
Amy’s new book by the same name is full of dinner party-worthy facts — things you might not know now, but will be glad you learned. For example, sofas and armchairs just didn’t exist until the early 18th century, when Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour began to popularize private spaces made for comfort, not just display. Watching a movie just wouldn’t be the same curled up on a straight-backed wooden chair, right?
Part history lesson and part DIY manual, she pairs 24 essays about interesting moments in decorative arts history with thoroughly modern projects developed alongside design trendsetters like Todd Oldham, David Stark and ConfettiSystem.
I especially love this black-and-white headboard project designed by Eddie Ross: It’s inspired by the iconic jasperware pottery created by Josiah Wedgwood, which features white relief designs on a matte black surface. This modern version is made from a hollow-core door, white PVC trim and decorative moldings.
I chatted with Amy about the collaborations and her personal style. Plus, try one of the book’s DIY projects!