Romantic Chic 

By Karen Parr-Moody


Anyone who has examined the interior of an Anthropologie store may experience layers of emotions. Instantly, there's awe. Then maybe a little envy. And then, there’s inspiration to use the ideas in one’s décor.  


The Anthropologie look is, as seen in the photo at right, the height of romantic chic. It makes you feel you've just sipped incredibly strong coffee at a Parisian bistro, then wandered down a cobblestone street to a charming flea market filled with whimsical items. It's all about layering beautifully-made and personal objects with color and pattern. Fortunately there's GasLamp, with similar props for recreating that shabby chic mecca, but with a key difference: at GasLamp, you can find wares that are authentic antiques and one-of-a-kind rather than mass-produced.


To begin, I will quote Henry David Thoreau:If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” The perfect “castle in the air” is an antique French “santos” crown, such as the one in the photo, left, located at GasLamp Too. Made of gilt brass and faceted clear glass paste stones, this crown belongs to a genre of religious accessories that typically date to the 1800s. They were once made to adorn religious statues of saints or the Holy Virgin Mary in a church. 


There are many ways to use a santos crown in one’s décor. One idea, which comes from Edith + Evelyn Interiors, is to put some Holy Family figurines under a glass cloche and top it with the santos crown. (For Christmas, add a boxwood wreath and some vintage ornaments). Another idea, from Shabby Haus, is to simply put a santos crown in some type of decorative box that is filled with other charming items (photo, right).


If you have spent five minutes in an Anthropologie store — or in a Parisian flea market, for that matter — you will find some romantic art. But this French painting in the photo, left, goes above and beyond what one could find in any retail chain in terms of authenticity, age and uniqueness.


Located at GasLamp Too, this painting is done in gouache on heavy paper that has been attached to a fine canvas or linen with upholstery nails. This is a “cartoon,” a chair pattern once used for an Aubusson woven chair. Such tapestry cartoons were produced in France, going back to the 1700s, by local painters for hand weavers, who used them as guides in creating their various tapestries as they sat before their looms. They were stored in rolls (hence this painting’s wrinkles and loss of paint). Most of those found today date to the 1800s. What a fantastic piece of history to hang on one’s wall!


Whimsy is a key element in creating décor based on Antropologie’s romantic chic. How far can the aesthetic can go when the envelope is resolutely pushed? This far: imagine this amazing group of 12 dessert plates hanging on a kitchen wall (photo, right; $1,425 at GasLamp Too booth T-134). Dating to the early 19th century, this set was produced by the English purveyor Coalport, the first porcelain factory to be located in Coalbrookdale, Shropshire, England, in 1795.


Each of these gorgeous dessert plates features a hand-painted landscape panel surrounded by turquoise ground and gilding, along with a pierced border. (A dessert plate from 1820, glazed in the same turquoise color, is located in the Royal Collection Trust of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.)


Part of Anthropologie's charm is in creating an atmosphere that expresses the homeowner’s personality, rather than that of the latest shelter magazine. The painting, in the photo at left, oozes with personality ($345 at GasLamp Booth B-101). And its large size – 25 by 32 inches – ensures that the requisite dose of drama will also be delivered.


Celebrate your own uniqueness. Find accessories that will fill your home with special details and set your style apart. With GasLamp's help, it’s easy put together a design is romantic, chic, and most of all, interesting. 



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