Hollywood Regency Style

Hollywood Regency is an eclectic style that suggests luxury and drama.  Its hallmarks are colour, bold patterns, a mixture of furniture styles, shiny surfaces. a lot of black and white and elements of Chinoiserie.  It was born in 1930’s films when set designers made luxurious rooms as backdrops.  This was partly to add visual interest and partly as an antidote to the harsh reality of the Depression.  Even though the films were in black and white, the fringes, velvets and satins and beautiful furniture suggest wealth.  William Haines, an actor turned designer, adapted this film style for the houses he decorated for movie stars. His furniture was often low to the ground to make the rooms and people feel large.  His iconic chairs such as the red drum chairs  or the Seniah ( Haines spelt backward) are still popular today.
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Seniah chair

Seniah chair

Dorothy Draper is perhaps the best known and most influential proponent of this style.  She was both an interior designer and a guru to thousands who read her columns and books on decoration.  Her signature elements included: black and white tile floors, bold colours or patterns on walls, Baroque moldings, huge mirrors, overstuffed chintz-covered furniture, plants, textured carpets and roaring fires.  The photos below are examples of this:
(Photo: Van Nes-De Vos/Courtesy of the Collection of Dorothy Draper & Co. Inc and the Carleton Varney Design Group)

(Photo: Van Nes-De Vos/Courtesy of the Collection of Dorothy Draper & Co. Inc and the Carleton Varney Design Group)

Greenbrier Sitting Room

Everything about Draper’s style is grand and eye-catching and anti-minimalist.  She has greatly influenced some of the most popular stylists of today and  you can see her effect in the work of Jonathan Adler and Kelly Wearstler.

from House Beautiful

from House Beautiful

Kelly Wearstler Living Room

Kelly Wearstler Living Room

There are a lot of examples of Draper style on the internet.  This blogger made an imitation Draper chest from an Ikea dresser. She did a great job.  You will also find a retrospective on Dorothy Draper from New York Magazine and a “How to” here.

I wasn’t aware of how much I love this style until I started researching it.  The colour, eclecticism and Chinoiserie are all things that I am drawn to.  I have always loved the faux bamboo furniture from the 1970’s that was produced by Thomasville and Henry Link.  It has made a comeback in places and can be hard to find.  There is a lot of it available in Florida, for example, but not much in Canada.   Here’s a photo of a Thomasville dresser that was for sale recently:

faux bambooThis furniture looks wonderful when it has been repainted, especially in black lacquer or Chinese red.

I recently painted two side tables in my own version of Hollywood Regency.   I used Miss Mustard Seed “Typewriter”, a true black, with the bonding agent.    I added white stripes to the top and coated  the whole thing in a polyurethane to get a bit of gloss.  The tables weren’t good quality wood but they sold instantly because black and white is so “in” right now.

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I also painted a much better coffee table in a black and white combo.  This time I used AS Graphite and Old White.  I made a glaze with the clear wax and the Graphite and added it after the first coat of clear wax.  I am much happier with the way this table turned out.

Annie Sloan Old White and Graphite

Annie Sloan Old White and Graphite

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Elizabeth and Co.

Keeping It Simple

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