By Karen Parr-Moody
If armchair interior designers have learned one thing from the past decade it is that maximalism is in, minimalism is out, and to hell with the over-the-top consequences. And the best incarnation of maximalism continues to be dictated by that arbiter of arbiters, Hollywood Regency. So every time GasLamp dealers bring in glamorous Asian pieces, sexy ceramic lamps, Foo dogs, and bamboo everything, we catch a wonderful whiff of The Beverly Hills Hotel.
Yes, the style reaches back to the Hollywood Hills of the 1930s and is influenced by Asia, Morocco and European Art Deco. Past purveyors were Dorothy Draper, David Hicks, Billy Baldwin and Billy Haines. Today's leaders are Miles Redd, Jonathan Adler and Kelly Wearstler.
Author and critic Susan Kandel says it with pure genius here: "In a town renowned for plastic surgery, Hollywood Regency may be the consummate architectural style. You’ve got an aging stucco bungalow. But what you really want is something sexier, younger, classier. So you tack on a mansard roof, an oversized front door framed by black-and-white striped drapes, maybe a niche with a Greek urn in it on top, and yes, the mailman might mistake you for Gina Lollabrigida."
And don't think for a hot Hollywood nanosecond that Ms. Lollabrigida wouldn't own something just like this silvered dresser in the photo above right ($550; Booth B-2012). One can't achieve Hollywood glamour without a healthy soupçon of glitz. A smattering of silver or gold (this dresser has both) answers the call for glamour in such a perfect way.
Mirrors also add to the glittery facets of Hollywood glamour. Mirrored furniture pieces play a key role, as do mirrors, period ... and the more baroque, the better! When not placing a gilded bamboo mirror in a room, one can choose styles with even more flourish. There are the gilded Italian toleware styles. But what lady worth her marabou slippers wouldn't love admiring herself in a gilded French style, such as the one in the photo at left ($85; Booth B-200)? Adorned with a stunning bow and a dash of flora and fauna, it's the perfect accent for a Hollywood pad.
What leading lady from cinema’s golden years would not have a well-appointed dressing table? The one in the photo, right, is a vintage 1960s Drexel vanity with matching stool ($329.95; Booth B-219). It's small enough for a small bedroom, yet big enough to be functional. All that is necessary is that the top of the vanity get swathed in crystal bottles, perfumes, and a vase overflowing with fresh flowers ... naturally.
Lighting can make or break a Hollywood Regency room, and is key to the overall style. Lucite bases, Murano glass, blanc de chine, swan shapes, pretty pastels — these are just a few descriptions of the Hollywood Regency lamps of yesterday which are so popular today. Perfect for the boudoir, or for a fabulously ladylike living room, these lamps are the last world on femininity. The one in the photo, left, is from the 1950s, has brass trim, and comes with the original fabric and glass diffuser shades ($115; S-104). Placing such a gorgeous lamp in a room will help create the right lighting mood.
The bar cart or cabinet is a mainstay of Hollywood Regency, and no living space would be complete without a heady mix of liquor decanters, such as the ones in the photo, right ($15 to $48; Booth B-101). Yes, this is Hollywood in its heyday, with a jigger full of Rat Pack glamour.
Yes, Hollywood Regency is an exciting alternative to a more minimalist approach to design. And the only way to truly get it is by purchasing the right antiques for the look. There's no more need to merely fantasize about a glamorously dreamy space. At GasLamp, visitors can slink up to vintage finds that continue to inspire, by way of the Hollywood Hills.