December 8, 2014


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Some people are leg, butt, boob or chest people...

I've had a lifelong obsession with portraiture. 
Growing up, my grandmother had a ginormous portrait of her g,g,great aunt who always looked rather mean and quite butch, imagine Queen Victoria sucking a lemon... 
Grandmothers favorite chair was next to this portrait, so when we visited it was like entering the throne room; the reigning queen was sitting next to the old queens portrait...

I've used portraits in many of my own homes...

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Sarasota, Florida

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Palm Beach, Florida

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Washington, DC

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Eastern Shore of Maryland

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(Source: Kerry Joyce)
This minimalist stairhall is grounded by, and the old-world elegance is amplified by that 17th century Spanish portrait.
The room needs nothing's perfect! 

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(Source: Joseph Paul Davis)
A foyer I did eighteen years ago in an 18th century Chevy Chase, Maryland home. The house had no historical context, I felt the portraits added that.
(Still looks good too, riiight?)

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(Source: Ian Schrager)
Schrager, the king of adding 'surprise' elements added the small grandmotherly portrait which takes the edge off of the slick urban chic space.

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(Source: Habitually Chic)
I freekin' LOVE this room!
Edited to absolute perfection; the old portrait adds patina, soul and depth to this room.

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(Source: Jean Louis Deniot)
Deniot, in my opinion, is the best interior designer alive today!
Many of his rooms have antique portraits in them. 

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(Source: Frederic Malle)
This Victorian portrait adds a whimsical touch to this contemporary bedroom whilst bringing up the 'tone' at the same time.

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(Source: Bruce Bierman Design) 
The last thing you'd expect in this stunning contemporary room is an antique Dutch Masters portrait!  It adds gravitas to the room.

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(Source: Eva Quateman Interiors)
An Arabic portrait gives a zhuzhy pop of gilt
making the room feel less 'flat-white'

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(Source: Jackye Lanham)
Granny's keeping an eye on you when you go off recipe and f%#k up her biscuits! 

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(Source: Federico de Veras)
This soooo rocks!! 
The asymmetrical collage of the old portraits is so fresh!

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(Source: Amelia Handegan)
An old work table is handsomely made into a sink base; the young boys portrait resting casually adds oodles of charm.

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(Source: Sue Burgess Interiors)
Burgess is well-known for her perfectly edited spaces. 
Her own all-white dining room is grounded by a dark, brooding antique Dutch portrait.

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(Source: Robert Couturier)
An 18th century English gentleman reigns supreme over an eclectic mixture of 19th and 20th century furniture.

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(Source: Country Home Ideas)
A portrait of a Civil War Union officer creates a sense of history in this country home.   

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(Source: Geoffrey Ross and John Dransfield)
Old unframed oils representing the four seasons on the apple green walls usurp the modest nature of this house and its shortcomings.
It feels fresh with old world elegance.

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(Source: Marta Espregueira Mendes)
Art for country homes is hard to find that's not too 'twee' - birds, cows or Grandma Moses can't hold a candle to a lovely antique gilt-framed portrait of a polygamist...

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(Source: Jacques Grange)
That's all, just Modigliani

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(Source: Habitually Chic)
Delicately scaled furniture smartly recedes allowing the asymmetrical grid of frameless portraits to be the focal point in this old Beaux Arts home.
(kinda flawless isn't it?)

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(Source: Jacqueline Coumans)
A collection always needs to be kept together, or else it looks like clutter. This works because the black-and-white printed portraits are in black frames. 

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(Source: Herve Pierre)
This inexpensive Shakespeare poster is fabulous with that purple sofa! 
Cheap and Chic!

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(Source: John Phifer Marrs)
You cant look at this poor dear without smiling - whether it's a caricature or a a real person, it's happy!

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(Source: Lepore)
This kooky-ass assemblage is craycray kewl!
Who knew this art class members first attempt at portraiture would be so revered??

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(Source: Coastal Living)
Sun swept days end soaking in the tub wondering what happened to Harry since he was fired for peeking through the cracks into the men's showers... 

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(Source: Finn Juhl)
It's all about Danish design right now, and you know all of us would've thrown that portrait out except Juhl, and he's spot on, it's sooo wonky-chic!

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(Source: Federico de Vera)
A kick-ass collage of $50 portraits of every period and medium come together creating impact - and fun!

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(Source: Elle Decor)
Samoan ho!
Don't be afraid to play with old portraits and have fun with them!
 Paint, collage over or glitter them up!

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(Source: Amelia Handegan)
Someone took the piss out of this portrait by adding goofy glasses! 

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(Source: Lonny)
The easy-breezy feeling of an artists cottage was accomplished by a collection of poorly done portraits, adding drama and humor!

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(Source: Photobucket)
Where else can you place such a hideous portrait and have it work?

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(Source: John Dowd)
By adding the portrait of the man in his blue jumpsuit you immediately 'get' the occupants have a sens of humor.

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At this years 'Scope' at ArtBasel, Miami Beach I noticed several artists had recycled serious portraits and "had their way with them," creating excellent results!

You Can Do It, I'm Here To Help!

November 3, 2014



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The 19th century's "middle-class" left behind an unprecedented inventory of housing, and with it copious amounts of ornatious furnishings and decorations which have been treated heretofore as, well, ghastly....

For example, Queen Victoria's private rail-car... photo vickystraincarr_zpsb1a65e4d.jpg

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(Source: Sheila Bridges)
This rooms strong architecture was left in tact and balances the cooler, simpler mid-century modern decor. 

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(Source: Pinterest)
By using a minimalist, modern approach the furnishings don't overplay the glorious plaster-work in the room. 

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(Source: Miles Redd)
Victorian architecture is often brooding or masculine, but here, the bold blue usurps the ornate fireplace and crown moulding, making it feel brighter and more feminine.  

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(Source: Jeffrey Bilhuber)
A mish-mosh of furniture; Victorian, English, Asian and French all fit seamlessly in this whitewashed Victorian townhouse.

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(Source: Australia)
Many historic districts restrict the owner from altering the facade and requiring what's visible from the street to be "period appropriate." But who says you can't get your freak on behind the hedges?

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(Source: Unknown)
A typical narrow Victorian entrance hall is made brighter by keeping it simple and using a high-gloss floor finish, which reflects the light through the windowless hall.

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(Source: Marcheldens)
The room is Beaux arts - the chairs are tweaked-up Victorian reproductions mashed up with some modern pieces - and it works!

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(Source: Diamond-Baratta)
An old, shingle-style Victorian beach house kicks it up with re-cycled Victorian furnishings.

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(Source: House Beautiful)
A "high-Vic" house combines Frenchie-fied Victorian with real period French furniture. The crisp black and white looks modern and "feels right" in the space.

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(Source: Pinterest)
Oh! No she di'nt....
Yup, blew that dark, nasty old dining room out and popped in a kick-ass kitchen...

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(Source: Miles Redd)
For the traditionalist: Regency decor fits quite nicely into 
this Georgian-ized Victorian home.  

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(Source: Greg Natale)
Rooms in Victorian townhouses are usually an enfilade of dark and small spaces parallel to a narrow hallway. Here, all superfluous walls were blow out to create an open, more modern floor plan.

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(Source: Hubert Zandberg)
Victorian homes either had no  bathroom or a very small, primitive one. Don't renovate the small, existing one, conjoin it with one of the other rooms - spread out, relax. 

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(Source: Sheila Bridges)
By adding bookcases and paneling to this room whilst retaining the original fireplace, the space retains its 'old house' warmth and charm.

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(Source: Stoel Emerald)
'Decorating trends' seem more decennial, therefore, houses will endure dozens of makeovers in its life. It's nice to find the original architectural details have remained and not removed for some heinous provisional decor.

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(Source: Casper-Vissers)
Yes, you can have a contemporary interior in a Victorian house!

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(Source: Pinterest)
Yes, you can have an trendy decor in a Victorian house!

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(Source: Pinterest)
Yes, you can have an eclectic decor in a Victorian house!

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(Source: Pinterest)
This farshtunken old caterpillar morphed into a sexy butterfly!

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(Source: Maggi & Griffey) 
Love this wacky mix with the modern table, Empire console and Victorian chairs covered with Louis Vuitton vinyl...  

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(Source: House Beautiful)
A Victorian "Eastlake" style armchair painted and recovered is charming and whimsical at the same time. 

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(Source: McCall Designs)
Gilt-plaster Victorian mirrors have come full circle as we now appreciate them for their schmaltz and scale.

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(Source: Lonny)
An Eastlake settee and coat-tree work amazingly well in this funky-ass room.

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(Source: Marie Claire)
These two Victorian Rococo armchairs shoot a little breeze up the skirt of this French country house! 

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(Source: House Beautiful)
Contemporary decor gets a dose of whimsy with this Victorian 'Eastlake' side chair juxtaposed with the primitive plank table

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(Source: Elle Decor)
Need a single chair to bring a lot of style and patina to a room?
 Victorian Rococo...Done! 

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(Source: Toma Clarke Haines)
The Victorian chairs offer humor and make the space less precious...(sorta)

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(Source: Country Home Design)
I LOVE this juxtaposition!
French faux-bois garden table, primitive art and an Anglo-Indian Victorian Rococo chair upholstered in cowhide......snap!

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These Victorian Rococo settee's would look a-m-a-z-i-n-g  in a bedroom, nursery, beach house or cabana  

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New/reproduction Victorian furniture makes me gag....

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Palette hand picked by the Easter Bunny...

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Ever wonder where Macy's gets their Santa Claus chairs?

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Really, you want to live like this, huh?

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Disney Rococo?

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Gold radiator pain on the tin ceiling? Barf-o-rama...

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There's good Victorian, and there's bad Victorian.

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Too museum'y

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This is perfect for the nursing home lobby...

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Too cute  -  wayyyyy  too cute....

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To begin to understand the Victorian style, which began at the end of the Georgian era you have to understand some of the social and industrial movements of the time.
Click this link for a very interesting synopsis. 
The Victorian Era

You Can Do It, I'm Here To Help!