Gilded Style
By Karen Parr-Moody

When I think of the allure of gold, I think of Sharon Stone in the movie "Casino," lounging on her bed, her gold Bulgari jewelry splayed out before her. The luminosity of the gold rings and bracelets blended in with the bed's satin sheets.

In interior décor, the tone of gold brings a sultry warmth to any room, which is why it was so popular in the sexy interiors of the Hollywood Regency and Mid-Century Modern styles. In today's décor, the warm hue imbues a room with a luxuriousness that is unparalleled.

In the photo, right, is a gilded wall hanging, its gold branches replete with flowers ($75; Booth T-193 at GasLamp Too). These were incredibly popular as art during the 1960s. Originally companies such as Syroco made such pieces out of molded wood pulp in an attempt to mimic hand carving. Such production evolved into a mixture of wood pulp and polymer and then ultimately moved entirely into plastics production. Today such a piece fits into a formal or an eclectic style of home décor. The gold tone looks dramatic against this deep pink wall. But it would also look chic if mixed with subdued colors, such as gray and cream or the new tone called “greige,” which is a blend of gray and beige.


A pop of gold brings a luxurious sparkle to a room, as seen with this fabulous brass bird lamp by Frederick Cooper (photos above; $625 for the pair; Booth B-357 at GasLamp Too). Cooper was an artist and sculptor who opened a studio in Chicago in 1923 from which he created sculptures and watercolors. He then found himself drawn to lamp design, and crafted his lamps from a mixture of brass, fabric, glass and wood. The firm still exists today and is known for using fine materials in lamp shades and bases, including cast brass, silk, wood and stone.

In the photo, right, is one of a pair of 19th-century French gilded bergère chairs ($2,950 for the pair; Booth B-357 at GasLamp Too). These chairs have their original springs and horsehair stuffing. The fabric is French brocade with down cushions. Such chairs, with their intricately carved frame, can make a real designer statement — particularly when the curvaceous frame is gilded. And while fashionable, the width and padding on this pair make for comfortable reading chairs.

The hit TV show “Mad Men” brought the 1960s back into our homes the minute it hit the screen. And this chic salad set in the photo, left, looks like it would easily fit on the show's set ($16; Booth B-262 at GasLamp Too). Like  many Mid-century Modern tabletop items that continue to inspire vintage seekers, this one has sleek lines. Particularly true to the era is the mixture of gold tones with smooth, Danish-inspired wood details. Topping it off is a great color combination of citrus green with lilac.

Gold tones are full of personality. In one incarnation, they can impart a traditional sense of luxury to a space, as seen with a pair of gilded bergère chairs. In another incarnation, they can infuse a room with modern glamour, as evidenced by the tone's use in many Mid-Century Modern items. However it is used, gold creates a mood of chic and cozy warmth that is alluringly unique.

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