Sunday, June 21, 2009

Let Her Wave

My third article for the Kansas City Star, published 6/21/09

photo by Roy Inman, shot inside the store

Design Notebook
| Betsy Ross: The Ultimate Style Maven

When George Washington asked Betsy Ross to sew him a little something back in 1776, little did anyone know history was in the making. Today, 233 years later, the American Flag, along with its many meanings, has passed the test of great design. I love seeing the red, white and blue wave 24/7/365, but what about decorating with it indoors too? Do not overlook America’s most famous graphic design to bring some patriotic pride inside your home.

There are very specific rules for displaying the flag, and I am not one for disrespecting our United States logo, but I guess I bend the rules a bit because I love it too much to limit its showing to what the experts say. The golden rule for displaying the flag is to honor it: keep it clean, show it proudly and use it smartly.

I like to display a large flag attached to its wooden pole in a large heavy vase or old-fashioned tree stand. Try it in a corner of the living room, your home office or hung against your garage wall. It can also make a striking centerpiece used as a tablecloth, but I would never do this if food were being served.

My favorite look is a bouquet of smaller flags in an old ironstone pitcher. Or try a smaller flag sewn on your favorite ticking pillow. Painting your own primitive flag on a slab of old barn wood or corrugated metal can still get the message across as well.

The American flag has strong graphic appeal and can be used with many decorating styles, depending on your taste. Here are different strategies to ponder:

• Keep it easy: An all white country setting with ticking pillows, metal lawn chairs and bent willow tables is always a perfect setting for the American flag.

• Make it majestic: A dark study with leather chairs and piles of books is begging for a flag in the room.

• Let it pop: A collection of colorful modern art, bubble chairs and shag rug can easily accept the bold graphics of an American flag. (Didn't Warhol used it a time or two?)

The American flag has been a symbol for so many important moments in our lives, to display it only a few times a year is a shame. Unfold this precious cloth and give it a permanent place inside your home. It will remind us daily of how lucky we are and what it has meant to so many.

is the owner and creative director
of Curious Sofa in Prairie Village.
When not in her shop she travels,
antiques, and blogs- all with her
beloved pet Bichon, Pearl by her side.