Fainting Moments | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home. The goal, in a year time, until Jan. 13, 2014, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind and heart. I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of home and sometimes technical information.

What do the Récamier, Méridienne and Fainting Sofa have in common? Three reclining chairs of the past and present home décor that have in common one idea: Relaxation. Ancient population understood the benefits of relaxation and included it in their daily life.

(Click on each photo to view it larger)

(Above: https://www.studyblue.com)

For Egyptians, Greeks and Romans the idea of relaxing often on the ‘kline’ – a type of day beds – was part of the daily routine as early as the 8th century BC. The modern Greek word ‘symposion’ or “symposium” means ‘to drink together’ in a party atmosphere with music and conversation while even conducting business. The Romans adopted the daybed for reclining in the daytime and during meals and at night they slept on. This type of daybed was widely used in the Orient as well, where there was no distinction between sleeping furniture and daytime furniture.


(Madame Juliette Récamier above)

Récamier Sofa (above) took the name from Madame Juliette Récamier, a French society leader, whose salon drew Parisians from the leading literary and political circles of the early 19th century. After Madame Récamier’s guests were well fed, she would preside over the discussions while reclining on a sofa, usually wrapped in a yellow shawl. That’s how Jacques-Louis David depicted her. It seems that a bit of gossip is appropriate with a Récamier: Madame Juliette Récamier married at the age of 15 Jacques-Rose Récamier, a rich banker nearly 30 years her senior and a relative of the gourmand Brillat-Savarin, who wrote a few books on the philosophy of cooking and taste. Fantastic books, I read them all and strongly suggest them. A rumor arose that Jacques-Rose Récamier was Juliette’s natural father who married her to make her his heir. The Récamier marriage was never consummated and Juliette remained a virgin until at least the age of forty.


(Above: http://www.brighthome-furniture.com/chaise-lounges.html)


Méridienne – a type of asymmetrical day-bed (above) – has a high head-rest, and a lower foot-rest, joined by a sloping piece. Every grand house of France in the early 19th century had one for every room. Its typical use was for resting in the middle of the day, when the sun is near the meridian, a practice still in use in the South of Europe and Mediterranean basin.


(Edouart Manet above – Fainting Sofa)

Fainting Sofa has a back raised at one end, often wraps around and extends along the entire length of the piece. Fainting sofa deserved separate rooms in the 19th century home décor, only used by women to faint on, due to their tight corsets restricting blood flow. However, another peculiar use of this chair made it go down in history. Sex between married people was intended only for procreation. Society’s false modesty prevented  women of high social background from taking care of  their men’ frivolous sex desires, it was considered an indecent behavior left only for prostitutes. That constricted way of thinking caused female hysteria, considered a real ‘disease’ that needed to be treated by home visiting doctors and midwives through manual pelvic massage. It was a recurrent need often requiring hours for the intimate procedure to work, thus creating a room for privacy and a chair for comfort was of the utmost importance.


(Méridienne in my client’s home)

We cannot build our future if we don’t know history. Today, when possible, I like to place one Méridienne chair or Fainting Sofa in my clients’ homes and I can’t help smiling…..Ciao,

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValWorkingValentina Cirasola has been a lifetime designer in fashion and interiors. Her extensive knowledge of colors and materials led her in both directions successfully. She is well-know for designing custom furniture. She cares to make spacious and functional pieces, but she doesn’t forget to introduce the element of surprise, sinuous lines, attractive shapes and colors in the style fit for each of her special clients. She is the author of ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors, Check out her three books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. petit4chocolatier
    Mar 13, 2013 @ 23:47:16

    My favorite piece of furniture in the whole wide world! For those fainting moments.., love it!



  2. TBM
    Mar 13, 2013 @ 10:35:14

    A fun post and I learned something



  3. myhomefoodthatsamore
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 16:04:02

    What a fantastic post … so much history and sophistication and a dash of humour, as well as aesthetics … Hold on … I think I’m felling faint, where’s that chair … get me that chair!!!!



    • Valentina
      Mar 12, 2013 @ 17:02:39

      Yes, I would gladly faint on one of those chairs too!
      Our life today is so much simpler and practical, it’s hard to imagine living in those circumstances.
      Thanks for your comment, you made me laugh and I am happy to bring humor through history.



  4. bluebutterfliesandme
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 07:20:25

    Love, love, love this post and the Méridienne in your clients home. It is chic, sexy and has some flavor.




  5. MisBehaved Woman
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 03:42:56

    Interesting bit of history. Love the bright orange with purple accents…what a stunning room overall!



    • Valentina
      Mar 12, 2013 @ 05:31:45

      I am fascinated by the history of even the smallest detail that surrounds us in our home. There is so much to talk about.
      I was interested in showing only the Méridienne of my client’s room, the rest of the room décor is just as attractive. Thank you for the visit.



  6. Amy
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 01:20:48

    Beautiful design! Gorgeous colors in your client home.



  7. Trackback: F is For Fainting Moments | By Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer | My A to Z Blogging Challenge

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