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The Fluted Portal: How a Costly Mistake Led to My Favorite Design

The Fluted Portal: How a Costly Mistake Led to My Favorite Design

Tracing Inspiration… how falling victim to a trend became a costly mistake but led to my favorite design. The hand-troweled plaster fluted wall panel portal that leads to my master bathroom is, without doubt, my favorite and most proud design feature in my Brooklyn home. But it did not begin that way. It was rooted in a series of mistakes. The actual space has no distinct use, it is rather a passageway to get from the closet to the bathroom. Without purpose, I wanted to engage a design statement. Here’s the story behind the design…

Without purpose, I wanted to engage a design statement.

I always knew I wanted the application to go up the walls and wrap onto the ceiling—I wanted you to be encapsulated. Well, I got bitten by the bug of a trend I was seeing in ALL of the shelter magazines—terracotta. I was hellbent on forcing a circle into a square because this tone and patina were not connected to anything other than my will. It didn’t make sense in my Greek revival home but I didn’t care, I had plaster samples made. I settled on a texture that felt a bit like the Tuscan walls of a 17th-century villa. Victor and Jivan were not convinced but I set out to prove them wrong.

The Fluted Portal: How a Costly Mistake Led to My Favorite Design
The Fluted Portal: How a Costly Mistake Led to My Favorite Design

I was crazily excited to see the finished walls but knew the moment I took them in it was all wrong. I seriously beat myself up as we were severely over budget and simply could not afford such a costly mistake. UGH, I failed! An early idea however was lingering in the back of my mind—fluted detailing, the classic kind you see in ancient Grecian columns. I was seeing so much of this ribbed detailing in various materials in design, furniture, and throughout history. 

The Fluted Portal: How a Costly Mistake Led to My Favorite Design
The Fluted Portal: How a Costly Mistake Led to My Favorite Design

But it wasn’t until I saw an image of a wood-paneled room in a university by Gio Ponti that the idea of a fluted wall panel solidified. Repetitive fluting with obvious rhythmic breaks made complete sense—especially with the continuous channels running up and overhead—those breaks acted like a visual relief from the repetition.

The Fluted Portal: How a Costly Mistake Led to My Favorite Design

It wasn’t until I saw an image of a wood-paneled room in a university by Gio Ponti that the idea solidified.

This fluted wall panel was definitely another risk but one I knew I could trust because it made sense within the context of the home. Anyway, thought I’d share my process, my mistake, and my resolution. Thank goodness for your patience with me Kamp Studios!

The Fluted Portal: How a Costly Mistake Led to My Favorite Design
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