Maison 21, Onion Domes and Dr. Zhivago

For those of you that have not yet seen this gorgeous hunk of crystal, let me fill you in: the incomparably witty, creative and hilarious design blogger Maison 21 has thrown down the glove. He has challenged all who dare to design a room around what has been described as the "Moscow Mafioso" chandelier. Now, at first glance, one might consider this to be a mite "over the top", a bit crass, a tiny bit Atlantic City Trump.

But there was something about it. It conjured up something I couldn't quite place. Something romantic and exotic. So when I commented on M21's blog saying I thought it would be sort of fantastic in the right setting, he called me out. And I am just not one to back down from a challenge...although perhaps in this case I might not recover.

OK, now do you see it? That's right...Dr. Zhivago. The ultimate Russian romance with icy onion domes. So there you have it. This is my inspiration.

So where to begin? I thought I would place this brilliant extravaganza of a chandelier in a Dining Room. I love the restrained eye of Axel Vervoordt. His use of natural elements like plastered walls and lime washed wood floors lend an air of relaxed formality. On the other hand I also can see the more tailored and modern sensibility of Vicente Wolf. I am somewhere in between here. Both are masters when it comes to using the soft greys and blues so often found in Northern European climates:

These rooms from "Axel Vervoordt, Timeless Interior" by Armelle Baron, Photos by Christian Barramon

"Learning to See" by Vicente Wolf

"Crossing Boundaries" by Vicente Wolf

I would start with wide plank, lime washed floors and use a plaster with integral grey/blue color for the walls. The ceiling would also be plaster in an ivory color. Perhaps there would be a simple fireplace mantle as in the Vervoordt photo above in aged marble.

I would use this table base and paint or white wash it and put a round limestone top on it. Kind of reminds me of being in the snow covered woods. This zinc pagoda would be on top of the table. With the spire pointing up, and the chandelier pointing down, it creates a sort of stalagmite/stalactite situation and the pagoda sort of echoes the Zhivago house a bit.

(Oh! I just have to add that I would take the chandelier and re-plate the brass metal in zinc or something that would have that same flat grey color. Can I do that and still stay within the rules of the game?)

Add these chairs (love those feet. A little reminiscent of a wolves at the door.):

In a fabric like this cool blue linen velvet by Lee Jofa:

A painted trestle table used as a sideboard, in a Scandinavian style:

With an over scaled (read: huge) winter landscape by Kate Bright on the wall above it:

The table could be flanked by these urns on pedestals (sort of adds that touch of the Czar I think!):

Perhaps these zinc urns on, or under the sideboard:

With perhaps some icy looking accessories like these frosted glass vases from Oly Studio:

Maybe silver punch bowls filled with chunks of rock crystal, or vodka bottles in ice:

Over the marble mantle, a little wild life:

And for those who are skittish about the real thing, a carved wood deer head from RianRae:

Two cut glass mosaic mirrors on the walls flanking the fireplace:

Above a couple of demi-lune tables painted in a dark grey blue:

Perhaps a pair of rock crystal lamps on the tables:

In front of a wall of windows draped in an ivory wool, two of these hooded chairs would keep out the chill:

A glass side table from Oly Studio in between seems to be a sculpture of ice.

A few more icy accessories like these rock crystal candlesticks, candlelight and a fire in the fireplace to warm things up a bit, and I will be ready for a glass of that vodka and a bit of caviar.

( All items above were found on 1st Dibs unless otherwise noted)

So, perhaps you have been inspired to take up the challenge yourself! I hope I can twist the arms of a few of you. C'mon...take a chance, and you too could be the proud winner of your very own Dr. Zhivago commemorative collector's plate:

(OK....I really don't know where to get a plate like would be surprised what came up with a Google search of Dr. Zhivago)