Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Living Room: The Bombe Chest

I have had a nearly 20 year fascination with bombe chests.  I love the curvy feminine lines and the incredible details.

Well, when I moved into this spot, my entertainment center pretty much fell apart on me. Partly because I am probably the only person in this nation that doesn't own a flat screen TV! And because of that, the weight of the TV pretty much crushed the soul out of my TV stand, causing it to buckle in the middle, the legs to become all wobbly. It was like an old lady. Poor thing. I had to send it to the retirement home.

So my family and I settled into our new digs and our Jurassic TV went directly onto the floor. Everyday it looked at me begging me to find a lovely place for it to sit. I looked at it and thought to myself, "If you weren't such a great TV, I would trade you in for a sexier model, but I kinda like you."

Since placing my TV on a diet wasn't a possibility, I set out to find a new home for her. What I found was that the TV stands and entertainment centers sold today are mainly created for the new and sexy flat screens! AND unless I was willing to shell out over $1,000, I was bound to settle for a cheap particle board stand that would eventually buckle under the weight of my beloved.

I needed something made out of solid wood. I needed it to have a place to discreetly hide my DVDs and CDs and I wanted it to be a good looking piece of furniture that would go well with my City Girl Chic vibe but still be classic enough to stand the test of time. Enter the bombe chest. It has all the right elements and goes well with the subtle feminine vibe I am trying to convey. It is sensuous with it's curving lines without being overly girly or frilly.

Bombe chests were first introduced during the French Regency Period. Bombe is a French term for any rounded or convex piece of furniture. Sometimes spelled "bombay", but it is not refer to Bombay, India. During the reign of Louis XV, French cabinetmakers began to abandon the classic styling of furniture loved by King Louis XIV, who placed strict limitations on how furniture may be designed. Master craftsman were finally able to express themselves and furniture masterpieces began to emerge. Many of these pieces had curved or bowed shapes. It was often lacquered with chinnoiserie, or Chinese inspired designs, such as flowers, exotic birds, dragons and tigers never before seen on furniture.

How much do you love that this piece of furniture was born out of a need to express oneself creatively following a repressive state of being? This is right up my alley and perfect for My Renovated Life.

Today's bombe chests are a bit more diverse, and traditionally have Queen Anne style Legs (which is exactly what my table desk has), and ornamental hardware. Many people use them as an accent piece to their entryway, and perhaps I will too as my living quarters change. I do long for a place large enough to actually have an entryway or foyer. But for my small apartment, I was on the hunt for a dark walnut finish, no chinnoiserie and minimal ornamentation and hardware. The most fun part of this search is that it is nearly impossible to find two chests that are the same. Like the snowflakes of chests.

I am REALLY hoping to find the perfect piece. I want a classic piece that my family can treasure for years to come. And I need a new home for my television that will fit right in with this new design I am installing in my living room/workspace. Wish me luck.

What do you think of the bombe chest? If you have one, I'd love to know how you use it and how it's styled!

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