Monday, August 04, 2008

A Modern Regency Fantasy?




My oh my! Wouldn't you say this home is rather... exuberant? And it certainly does catch one's eye. The two rooms were decorated in the late 1950s by Raoul Guiraud, a Parisian decorator.

Let's start with the dining room. It has a lot of my favorite elements: a tented ceiling; striped walls; Greek key motif. If I were to mix all three together in one room, I'd err on the side of subtlety. But I don't think that's what M. Guiraud had in mind. Instead, he chose bold blue stripes and a large scale Greek key. It's like a Neoclassical/Regency fantasy. Had George IV been alive in the 1950s, I think this is what his dining room would have looked like!

The salon seems to be more evocative of 1950s design. Guiraud chose a gutsy blue for the walls, pale blue carpet for the floor, and a bold blue, black, and orange print rug. The large scale black and white toile used for the cushions is an interesting contrast against the black upholstered furniture.

So, what do you think? Chic? Over the top? Just plain tacky? Though the look is too flamboyant for me, I admire Guiraud's bold point of view. What about you?



The dining room (this image and that at top)


A view of the Salon

27 comments:

  1. A little bold for me. Interesting in that if the floral arrangements were updated, the wall over the mantle was arranged a little more closely, the eagle in the salon was brought down toward the secretary to ground it, and some of the random candlesticks were removed, I would not be able to date the rooms. Hmmm!

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  2. It would all look much nicer in candlelight, don't you think?

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  3. In full agreement with tee538 in that both rooms are curiously free of anything that would pinpoint them at the mid-century. Surprising too that Regency revival was revived again in the 'fifties. Does that make RR "timeless"?

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  4. Although it's too theatrical for me, I do like the combined colors, textures, patterns of the dining room rug, walls, chair seats and curtain (tent detail?) and I would love to see this installed at Dining by Design!!

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  5. I can appreciate it, but not for me. I love the large greek key.

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  6. Tee- Good point. Yes, it's a bit bold for me, but it does look like some of the interiors that are being decorated today.

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  7. Aesthete- Everything looks better in candlelight! :)

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  8. Toby- I think elements of RR are timeless. But, mixing it all together in one room... well, perhaps that's not timeless!

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  9. Courtney- You're right! The theatricality would lend itself to an event like that.

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  10. Parts of it are interesting, the cushions appeal, but its definitely too much for me. Must have been quite adventurous for its time, leading toward Hicks.

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  11. Janet- That's the way I feel too. I never met a Greek key motif that I didn't like! ;)

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  12. Balsamfir- I bet it did garner some attention when it was first published. I also think it was quite gutsy, which is why I posted it!

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  13. The rooms each look as though they're pages from a retail setting........"Show everything we have".
    I could indeed pick out a couple favorite items from each vignette, though.

    Each room lacks a point of reference, a place to take a breath and appear to have no comfortable segue/transition into the adjoining room.

    That burgundy/brownish/reddish in the fabric and flowers, and the mauve color of the tent is disturbing.

    ALL that aside, this must have knock the 50s on its, well, you know what I mean.........

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  14. CZ- I had not thought about the showroom feel of the rooms- but you do have a point. Who said "B/f you leave the house take off one piece of jewelry you're wearing"- was it Estee? Anyway, that principle applies to decoration as well, and it wasn't followed here!

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  15. l-done for what it is, but I'm with you, a little over the top. I love the greek key trim on the drapery though - really nice touch

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  16. I love that it is not the European Influence and the color. It it were mine, I would re-hang a few items, lower, raise,
    but that Greek-Key trimmed drape, I would leave that alone, it is perfect.
    The eagle is a bit odd but nonetheless a conversation starter!

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  17. I like the stripes, and also the greek key, but perhaps if the color palette had been a little more limited (say with a dark blue on the chairs) and without the tenting, it would be very current and liveable. Lots of elements to love here!

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  18. Regency has been around like forever - well at least since the time of Regency LOL. For the French that was 1715-1723; for the English 1795-1820; for the USA 1940-2008 LOL.
    In looks different, yet familiar when each generation brings it back. Why does it come back? Strong decor elements such as the Greek Key, the right scale of things, the pretty glam of it, it's livabilty, all add up to things that will make a come-back. Any design/decor that can stand up outside the time it was created, with perhaps a few tweaks to refresh it to the current way of seeing things, is what is called a classic. And you can't get more classic than Regency, be it Hollywood or otherwise :-)

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  19. Andrea V.6:24 PM

    Oh my gaudy,I love it! Errrmmm, elements of it, anyway ;) Love that lapis blue with the blacks/golds.....but I am one for a strong color as the backdrop and then small pops of other colors balanced with clean and crisp neutrals. Absolutely hate the ceiling treatment though, but I always hate those ;)

    Andrea V.

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  20. i like the way it looks in the first picture the best

    - without the tent I think it would be much more livable today.

    I love the stripes! Great conversation starter. haha!!!

    Joni

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  21. Hmm. These are spaces I would be happy to visit, then leave! I certainly couldnt handle living amongst the 'frilliness' of it!

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  22. The rooms seem a little self conscious of their own grandeur. The homey touches (the rugs, the Wedgwood, etc.) detract, and are distracting. I think he didn't go far enough.

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  23. All I can think is that the occupant must have been a huge personality. It would a lot to inhabit this room rather than be swallowed whole by it.

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  24. It's too much for me to stomach in my house all the time today, however, there can never be too much in terms of inspiration. I love to look at pictures like this, mentally edit them and imagine them modernized a bit - maybe substitute a table with clean lines here, take out one color and use another there, etc.

    I think of the current Kelly Wearstler Regency style as a very cleanly edited version of this kind of style. She clips out a lot, takes a print from here, exaggerates the size of something there, and then throws a ceramic zebra on the mix it like a cherry on top of a sundae.

    Thanks for sharing, I love inspirations like this.

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  25. Becky- I like to see these bold interiors- the ones that jump off of the page. No, I don't want to live in an interior like that, but it does make you dissect the room as you said. And usually in rooms like these, there is one piece that is really "Wow"!

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  26. These rooms make me think of the photos in Praz's House of Life (especially the top one). The difference is that Praz's obsessive scholar's personality shows through his rooms (he was really more of a collector/curator than decorator). This comes off as more impersonal, like a well-executed store window. The bottom photo could be a furniture showroom. Did anyone else notice the lack of any art besides the plaques in the first picture?

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  27. Quarter Rat- Sounds like I need to purchase the Praz book. Actually, I had not thought about the lack of art on the walls, but that's a good observation. The walls in the blue/toile room seem so bare, especially with that high ceiling.

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