Russian Style: From Past to the Future
Russian style of a decor of an interior becomes more and more popular last years, and not only in Russia, but also abroad. During the epoch of the prompt development of the industry and growth of cities people more often reflect on the returning to the nature. And only the Russian style gives them such possibility to the full: the timbered small house, the simplicity and unpretentiousness of an interior, the natural materials create a unique sensation of the unification with the nature.
Russian villages consisted of wooden houses, the church, the bathhouse, windmills, storage sheds and other outbuildings spaced to prevent the spread of fire.
The houses were constructed of logs and were not very variable in layout, but they did have special architectural features that could be embellished. These included the ridgepole of the roof, the gable ends (or pediments), the horizontal board that separated the triangular pediment from the square base of the house, the vertical boards at each corner (“towels”), and the frames of windows and doors.
Decorative parts, plant and animal forms, mythic and magical creatures, or initials and dates were among the personalizing motifs.
Wood was the most common building material. Metal was valuable and seldom used in nails for buildings. All parts of the building were cut and joined using a handaxe. Saws were rarely used.
In the north and in the Volga area, the arrangement of the outbuildings provide many areas for decoration, such as the covered stairs and passages between buildings. Carving, in the form of openwork tracery, embellished the eaves, the window frames and the balcony.
Painting was sometimes added under wide eaves and balconies where it would be protected from the weather. Another important architectural element in the north was the okhlupen’, or konek, a large figure carved from the root end of the larch tree and used as the house’s ridgepole. They took the form of a horse, duck, chicken or deer, and probably represented an ancient Slavic or Scandinavian form, perhaps once representing a nature deity or protective spirit.
The dominant feature of any izba was the large clay oven that occupied a corner to the left or right of the main door. The adjacent area, the chulan, was the women’s side of the house and contained the water barrel, table for food preparation, and storage cupboards for dishes and cooking supplies. Raised sleeping platforms, polaty, fit next to the oven, sometimes extending over the entrance area to the opposite wall. Low benches, lavki, were built along the other walls and used for seating, sleeping, or sometimes to support freestanding cupboards.
The large decorated loom usually stood in the center of the room. Wrought-iron lighting fixtures held wooden splints to provide light for evening and winter tasks. The spiritual focus of the home was the icon corner, located diagonally across from the oven.
Well, that is historical story of traditional Russian architecture. And, in the same time, the great inspiration for decorating your own home, if you like a different, unique things to surround you. Of course, cannot everyone re-create Russian style in your home – much depend on the architectural features of your house (or flat). But, certainly it is possible to introduce a spirit of Russian folklore style even with the smallest detailes.
You can find small (or even bigger) treasures on ebay, antique sales, antique shops, or even you can try to make them by yourself.
Try to play with specific colours (red, blue, yellow…), folk ornaments, big flowers… You can use textiles with similar design, wallpapers and wide range of decorations – classical Russian dolls, posters, painted wooden boxes, highly decorative Easter eggs…