Hollywood Regency Style
By Karen Parr-Moody
If interior designers have learned one thing from the past decade it is that maximalism is in, minimalism is out, and to heck with the over-the-top consequences. And the best incarnation of maximalism continues to be dictated by the 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.
The style reaches back to the Hollywood Hills of the 1930s and is influenced by Asia, Morocco, Chippendale 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 second that Ms. Lollabrigida wouldn't own something just like this chair in the photo above right ($699; Booth T-190). One can't achieve Hollywood glamour without a healthy soupçon of bright white against a darker color. The white curves of this chair’s frame remind one of the elaborate plaster moldings that Dorothy Draper created for the Greenbriar Hotel, a building that is the apogee of Hollywood Regency achievement.
A bit of tufting answers the call for glamour. It can be found in this large ottoman adorned with fringe trim ($165; Booth T-23). Perfect for the bedroom or living room, a tufted ottoman is de rigueur. While the Hollywood Regency style could easily include this piece upholstered in a bright color, the beige upholstery allows for other interpretations.
Mirrors bring out the glittery facets of Hollywood Regency. 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. What lady worth her marabou slippers wouldn't love admiring herself in a gilded Italian style, such as the baroque mirror in the photo at left ($845; Booth T-705). It is richly ornamented with leaf-like carvings, which will add a sense of grandeur to any room.
Pattern is a mainstay of Hollywood Regency, and no living space would be complete without a touch of such. Designers such as David Hicks were keen on bringing zebra-skin rugs into the library, but a bit of zebra in any form makes a room look nattily attired. Take this graphic plaster zebra, for example ($275; Booth T-716). It is not much smaller than a real-life foal and would add some graphic chic to any room. Amp up the look by adding black-and-white geometric curtains. What fun!
What star of cinema’s golden years would not have some Lucite in a room? Sophisticated and airy, this Lucite stool with a foot rest fits perfectly into the Hollywood Regency style (one room created by David Hicks famously included black walls and boxy Lucite tables). A bonus: clear materials, including Lucite, impart lightness to any room. This can be a bonus when the Hollywood Regency décor gets a bit riotous. ($575; Booth T-293 in GasLamp Too.)
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. At GasLamp, visitors can easily find the vintage pieces that continue to inspire, by way of the Hollywood Hills.