Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Regency Redux

"What is Hollywood Regency?" I can't tell you how many times I've been asked this question. And to be quite truthful, I'm able to give a vague description of this style, but an informed, detailed answer? No.

That is why I am very excited about the October 2008 release of
Regency Redux written by design historian and writer Emily Eerdmans. The book not only describes the aesthetic of the Regency period in England (defined by a "penchant for clean lines and restrained ornament, directly inspired by ancient Greek and Roman architecture, combined with the swagger of the French Empire style"*), but it also explores the various modern interpretations of this style. Of course, I think it would be safe to say that Hollywood Regency is one of the most well-known variations of the Regency look. But the Regency period inspired many other designers outside of Hollywood, including Dorothy Draper, Syrie Maugham, Oliver Messel, Sybil Colefax, and others.

The Regency style continues to influence today's designers, namely Miles Redd, Geoffrey Bradfield, Jacques Grange, and most famously Kelly Wearstler (who has written the book's forward). Their work is featured in "Regency Redux" as well. With lavish photographs and informative text, this book will finally answer the question that has stumped many of us!

(* quotation taken from the book's website-
Regency Redux)

This room is stunning! Painted by none other than Rex Whistler, the Painted Room was located in Port Lympne, the home of Sir Philip Sassoon.

Top right: a view of Eltham Palace, built by Stephen and Virginia Courtauld in 1936. Bottom left: A still from the 1936 film Wife vs. Secretary- a great example of Hollywood Regency. Bottom right: A photograph by the late Hoyningen-Huene.

A dressing room with a daybed by Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Classical modern lamps by Jean-Michel Frank.

Image at top: Cover of "Regency Redux" with an image of The Greenbrier, decorated by Dorothy Draper


  1. I've never heard about Hollywood regency but looking at the pictures , for me it makes me think about neoclassical and a little bit of "La castaing's style "? Don't you think ?

  2. Excellent! Looks like this book will be a great addition to everyone's design library. Striking cover too :)

  3. oh wow -i can't wait for this to be released! This will be the design book of the year for sure!

  4. Yes, I am really excited about this book. Definitely one of the top releases this year!

  5. Thanks for the tip! Will definitely be purchasing this book!

  6. Anonymous11:43 AM

    OK, this is my kinda book.

    In 1990, I quit my engineering job at the phone company and went back to school for an interior design degree. Since all of us were planning--supposedly--on careers as designers, not decorators, it was taken for granted that we'd adopt a simple, Modern 1990s approach, rather than go for any silly, retrograde historicist pastiches.

    After the obligatory projects of an insurance company HQ in a new highrise by a high-profile architect, a health spa and a trendy shoe boutique in a landmark Victorian rowhouse--all of which assignments produced project after similar project of vast expanses of ivory-painted sheetrock, pickled wood floors, cream leather upholstery & enough pin spots to light the Milky Way--we were to design a big apartment in a new building that was nothing but a concrete shell.

    All the other projects were stylishly up-to-the minute with open, flowing floor plans and, naturally, lots of ivory-painted walls & lots of pinspots. Mine had a suite of actual rooms (with actual doors) that were aligned on axis, chunky bolection moldings, a liberal use of mirror & gilt, and Regency & Empire style furniture that was painted glossy black or dull white, and upholstered in black patent leather or emerald green wool satin. My project got a few polite comments & lots of polite silence, but when, at the end of my presentation, I said that one of these days, Vogue Regency would make a big comeback, I was about laughed out of class.

    Anyway, I got an A- for execution, a C- for concept, and an A+ for my droll sense of humor. Yeah, well who's laughing now?

    I can't wait for this book.

  7. Good for you Magnaverde! Way to stick to your guns. What's wrong with adding a little pizzazz to a room? Boring is just plain boring.

  8. Gorgeous!! I just watched Wife vs. Secretary and it's pretty cute - movie and decor-wise. The dressing room is delicious (that chandelier is amazing). I can't wait to get this book! Great post!

  9. Great post, and great comments! I thoroughly enjoyed magnaverde's story.

  10. Jennifer, This book looks just Amazing!! Thank you so much for the tip! I've already added it to my cart at Amazon.

    Magnaverde - what do they know anyways! You've got my curiosity piqued, I would love to see the photos from your project! Gilt, mirrors, patent leather? Sign me up baby!


  11. Anonymous7:43 PM

    It's in my cart at Amazon as I write this post.

  12. Osbert Lancaster, who coined the term "Vogue Regency" in his satiric look at architectural/decorativestyles in the 1939 publication Homes Sweet Homes, had this to say:
    " Luckily the furniture of the Regency period possesses in an exceptional degree the quality of adaptability.A Recamier sofa is in no way embarrassed by the close proximity of a rug by Marian Dorn".
    That said, I'm not sure how Rex Whistler got lumped into the Vogue Regency category (his work had more depth than that) but Regency Redux, for the title alone, has been placed on my wish list...

  13. Another one on my wishlist!

  14. Love some Regency any thing. We named our humble home Greenbrier after the resort. Can't wait for the book.

  15. While shopping for a pair of antique french bergeres, I was completely knocked over by an amazing pair of "Hollywood Regency" arm chairs which I proceeded to purchase because they were just so much fun as well as having classical lines.
    Can't wait to get my hands on this book!

  16. I'm in love with this book!! Hurry up Amazon delivery hurry!!