hollywood regency interior design: glamorous… and dusty


creamy vintage paris boudoir vanity chair

creamy vintage paris boudoir vanity chair

the glamor of the hollywood regency interior design style is a mimicry of the early movie heyday star’s lifestyles and tastes.  these people entertained lavishly, their homes were adorned with exotic furnishings and dramatic flair. they were adored almost as royalty.  hollywood regency furniture is a broad category difficult to define.  the look is not minimalist, but some pieces within the design can be.  it can include mid-century modern or older styles, asian pieces, blacks, whites, wood grains, just about any kind of color combination that suits your taste.  but heavily carved and heavily upholstered pieces are often included.  

designers william haines and dorothy draper lived this life and developed this look for others.  they were gutsy, wealthy, successful and admired.  these websites are worthwhile.  

haines interior

william haines interior


william haines
william haines, 1900-1973
The lobby of the Hampshire House, completed in 1937, Dorothy Draper

lobby of the hampshire house, completed in 1937, dorothy draper


dorothy draper 1889-1969

dorothy draper 1889-1969

we do not have to spend thousands to incorporate this style (just look like we did), thanks to online used furniture dealers. there is a large assortment of hollywood regency style furniture online, especially on ebay.  my favorite companies are ts and company and art collector-usa.  they offer an excellent blanket wrapped furniture moving service, tsc moving.

a regency is a substitute government or rulership.  they had them in europe when the royal heir was still a boy, for instance, or when there was no clear ruler for a time, or when the ruler was absent.  some would argue that hollywood movie stars are the royalty of america, substitutes because we don’t have anything else.  you don’t vote for or against the stars and argue endlessly about their ideas and actions.  the adored actors are just there.  wonderful, rich, envied.  this was especially true during and the decade after the second world war.  their world was a welcome escape.  it was a reminder that war and the hardships it created were not the only reality.  we welcome the same kind of refuge in these times.  when we mimic their style, we attempt to capture something of their lifestyle for ourselves, the ability to impress and offer the comfort and luxury to our friends as we entertain. 

but be warned: this style is dusty.  writing this piece i cannot help thinking about numerous vintage furniture items i have dealt with in the hollywood regency style.  you need a maid (or you are the maid).  these people had maids, believe me.  the tufted upholstery chairs are tricky to clean.  folds of fabric and those fabric covered buttons trap dirt and animal hair.  the buttons tend to go missing.  they are one of the most expensive re-upholstery jobs, the most time consuming if you attempt it yourself.  lots of carved woodwork, chandeliers, interesting ornaments sitting on coffee tables, all gathering dust.  do we honestly have time for this?  does the imagined serenity of the rich and famous really rule our desires?  maybe that ambition is also dusty.


furniture design – how to search for the perfect lounge chair – 1/2 meet the eames

i have been considering the definition of a lounge chair — there seem to be several out there, and most are not quite what i want.  it seems i do not lounge with the same purpose as others.  (more on that in another blog, in a series of how to find the best lounge chair for you).

one of the classics is the creation of the eames.  here is an intriguing clip from 1956, another time another place….  check out the new england (almost english) accents and meet the eames.  i like their style.

Eames Lounge Chair debut in 1956 on NBC [1/2]

the cluttered design style

what’s behind it?

possibility #1 – a hectic life, jumbled plans and ideas, time and thoughts unorganised, undisciplined (and confused?)

possibility #2 – a love of many things, people, places, interests, travel, collections. full rooms and closets, walls and floors.  all the colors, many details, often tired but happy (?).

possibility #3 — accumulated functional clutter, not really a style, but the result of the practical need to keep the books and papers, tools and equipment that makes things happen, that will or might be needed.  the lack of time to clean, declutter or organize (or the lack of care to?…..) 

possibility #4 – a combination of the above?

(also see the uncluttered sytle, next post……)