Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Fantasy Movie Set

How fun would it have been to work as a set decorator on those old 1930s movies? It's amazing what art directors like Cedric Gibbons and Van Nest Polglase conjured up, usually using smoke and mirrors (literally and figuratively). Back at that time, budgets were limited and art directors were forced to create glamorous, fantastical sets for not a lot of money. Suffice it to say, I think they were quite successful. A bit over the top perhaps, but not quite tacky either.

On a whim, I decided to play set decorator and throw together a fantasy 1930s bedroom. I think Carole Lombard would look quite smart in this bedroom. I don't envision Joan Crawford in it though. I hear she was quite the rounder, and my pristine bedroom set might end up in shambles!

How about these velvet roman shades from Pottery Barn? White and grey were de rigeur back in the 1930s (and still are in my book!), and the velvet provides just the right amount of sheen. Shine, shimmer, and gleam are very important when one is designing a decadent boudoir!

And of course you've got to have some satin and silk, such as these quilted silk throws from Schweitzer Linen. I'd use either the cream or white.

I would have to find some place for Jonathan Adler's Montmartre table, because you have to have some type of Neoclassical element in the room. Or maybe you need a few... which case I would use the Athena stencil and paint this Greek motif on every door in the room.

This acrylic pedestal from Richman Design would look fabulous in a corner with some type of urn on top. Perhaps a ceramic one with lilies in it? Or, what about an alabaster urn lamp?

I might use this old Western Electric rotary phone, but I would prefer it in white. If you're going to schedule social engagements or liaisons, you really should do it in style.

The leading lady would have to wear the appropriate attire for such a room. No flannel pjs!! But we wouldn't want our leading lady to dress (or undress) like Gypsy Rose Lee either, so this robe is glamorous but tasteful too.

Keep in mind that the next time you're on television or in a movie, your eyes will really stand out if you use false eyelashes. And as long as we're going with the glamour theme, what about these feather lashes from shu uemura.

Image at top: A still from the 1935 movie "Top Hat"; set design by Van Nest Polglase


  1. Jennifer -- such a creative post. You really elevated those PB shades! I think 30s glam is absolutely your era. Even your blog title sounds like a movie from the golden days.

  2. Eddie Ross9:06 AM

    Great Post! Love that movie inspiring. And those shades would be perfect for our apartment! Thanks for sharing!


  3. This is beautiful! I've wanted a "Hollywood" bedroom ever since I saw the one in the movie Rebecca.
    Kevin McCloud, in his book "Decorative Style," creates a "Savoy Bedroom" which emulates the look of the thirties with paint techniques (including greco-roman stencils). Your post reminded me of Kevin's treatment.

  4. Delightful post.
    You are so right about Carole Lombard vs Joan Crawford. Only just last evening I watched Miss Lombard glide her way across rooms of your description in a 1937 film called Fools For Scandal.
    Though essentially Hollywood Moderne, the sets were full of surprises. Miss Lombard's drawing room, for example, had a splendid carved chinoiserie chimneypiece in the Rococo style~painted Deco white of course. The seating was vaguely Louis XVI, generous bergeres in satin covers. The combination of those chairs and Carole Lombard herself, sheer perfection.

  5. GREAT POST!! I am such a fan of old movies because I love admiring the gorgeous decor of the rooms. Always so tastefully one and of course very chic!

    Thanks for a delightful look into the past! Love those shades, too!

  6. Is it a guest room, by chance? If so, I'd like to book it. Those shades are a great find!

  7. this is great! i love all your picks. The satin comfortors are purrr-fect.

  8. What a fun post and what absolute luxury - i would happily lounge on that day bed all day in my feather lashes and silk peignoir!

  9. I wonder what those feather eyelashes feel like on the eyes!

  10. Another interesting thing i just read is that the old corded phones use just a fraction of the electricity that cordless phones do. Apparently corded phones only draw power when they're being used, while cordless always use power. It's easy being green, and chic, too!

  11. I can't bring myself to spend $50 on those eyelashes...but I can't stop looking at them either!!

  12. Love, your blog! You might want to reconsider Gypsy Rose Lee's wardrobe for your leading lady, her off-stage taste was not bad. She was a great patron of Charles James among other couturiers. She was also the lover, for a time, of the singular Marcel Vertes, illustrator, {Harpers Bazaar, Schiaparelli], artist, author, set designer, [Moulin Rouge] and muralist [Cafe Carlyle.]

  13. I want those eyelashes...but I refuse to spend $50 on them! LOL

  14. I love this post.
    Your selections would make a wonderfully glamorous space.

  15. Wonderful post!
    I'm a huge fan of old Hollywood set design too. It's nice to see the look applied to real, obtainable objects (well, when one can afford eyelashes like that).

    Stop by and see my photos of Hollywood set design sometime.