Richmond gets cold, let’s do our best to stay cozy in the winter months!
History of Design: Constructing Coziness
CONSTRUCTING COZINESS THROUGH THE AGES
What does it mean to be cozy? When you’re cozy, you’re warm, safe, comfortable, relaxed—qualities we seek in our lives, and in our homes. How did people in the past achieve this coveted coziness? Read on to explore the history behind some of our favorite cozy home features.
Is there anything better than kicking back on a porch? Before the days of air conditioning, comfortable outdoor spaces were essential for people living in warm climates. In cities like Wilmington, North Carolina, homes were built with extensive side porches positioned to catch cooling river breezes and make the hot weather more bearable. Today our porches are like outdoor living rooms; it’s fun to make them cozy with swings, cushy furniture, and bug-free screening.
Medieval castles were usually built for strength, not comfort. One way that castle dwellers made their austere stone fortresses more homey was by hanging tapestries. These woven fabric wall treatments kept heat from escaping, but they weren’t exclusively functional. Artists worked elaborate images and colors into tapestries, telling visual stories and creating beautiful, unique treasures that are still prized today by museums and private collectors.
SOAK UP THE SUN
The best source of warmth and light has always been the sun! Builders around the world have been capturing the sun’s energy through smart home design for thousands of years. The ancient Romans used clear glass to create airy interiors that locked in heat. Later architects created conservatories attached to grand homes for the cultivation of citrus trees, which evolved into sunrooms designed for entertaining and relaxing—all while basking in natural light.
BOOKS ARE FRIENDS
If the first thing that comes to mind when you think “cozy” is a delightful reading nook, you’re in good company. Since the advent of mass produced books in the 15th century, people have been finding creative and aesthetically stunning ways to bring literature into their homes. Whether your idea of cozy is a pillow-stuffed window seat or an elegant room packed to the rafters with interesting tomes, embrace the joy of a quiet reading day.
When three Italian designers captured the spirit of the age and the wonders of new technology with the first bean bag chair in 1968, a cozy classic was born. Intended to fit the lifestyle of countercultural nonconformists, the bean bag chair does not dictate your relaxation—it goes with the flow! From college dorms and basements to classrooms and even offices, the bean bag chair has evolved and can’t help but inspire coziness.
Plants deserve a little coziness, too! If you live in a cooler climate and want to grow gorgeous plants all year long, a greenhouse is a must. Greenhouses as we know them exploded in popularity in the 1600s as increased trade brought exotic fruits, vegetables, and flowers from the tropics into European homes. Technological developments in the 1960s brought plastic sheeting onto the scene, which made simple home greenhouses accessible to plant enthusiasts everywhere.
Click here to peruse our full “History of Design” series.
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