I spent the weekend going through a trove of twenty and thirty year old Southern Accents, something which was akin to a trip down memory lane. You see, these were the homes- and the style of decorating-with which I grew up. Color, proper and sometimes fancy curtains, antiques, collections that were amassed over time, and beautifully set tables. In my mind, all of these things embodied Southern design from the 1980s. And while it might sound a tad formal (and it was), there was certainly nothing uptight about the decor. In these homes, one could just as easily spend a Saturday afternoon watching SEC football as seated at a formal Christmas Eve dinner. It was really about creating a beautiful environment for not only yourself, but more importantly for family and friends. Or at least, that's the way I remember things.
The Atlanta home featured here really captures a sophisticated side to Southern design. Photographed in 1982, the home was decorated by Jane Marsden, a designer and antiques dealer well-known to Atlantans. Of course, it helps when one starts with a Philip Shutze Regency style house noted for its restrained elegance and pleasing sense of symmetry. Still, the collaboration between the homeowner, Mrs. Bean, and Marsden imbued the house with additional style, substance, and some Southern charm too.
The elegant entryway with a George I mirror over a pine eagle table.
The living room with its lady-like draperies. Note the use of tassel trim and ball fringe throughout the room. Remember when we weren't afraid to use that trim? The Coromandel screen and the X-base, leopard covered bench strike a sophisticated note.
Most Southerners can't grasp the idea of not having a formal dining room in one's house. After all, your Royal Crown Derby "Old Imari" china needs a proper backdrop. As beautiful as the china is (it's a favorite on mine), it's the draperies that make me swoon. One more thing- see those floor to ceiling windows? They raise into the ceiling to allow guests to move between the room's interior and the outdoors during parties.
So nice to see a porcelain collection, this one with pieces decorated in the "Money Tree" pattern.
The library appears to be pink, although it was really a warm red. I'm not finding much in this room that screams 1982. In fact, if it's still installed this way, I bet it's held up pretty well. It's chic enough to host nighttime cocktails...and comfortable enough to relax and watch football.
The playroom. I'm assuming that's a playroom for adults. Again, a little tweaking here and there and you still have a room fitting for 2010. Imagine it without the wall to wall carpet and the acoustic tile ceiling, and you'll see what I mean.
(All images from Southern Accents, Fall 1982. Max Eckert, photographer.)