stargirl_gw

Are Animal Prints Considered Classic?

stargirl
12 years ago

A co-worker, who has excellent taste when it comes to decorating, uses a lot of animal prints in her decor. Many people feel that animal prints are trendy and will go out of style. Do you think this is true? I'm not talking about the themey, almost tacky, jungle stuff that is so popular today. I'm talking about leopard-print pillows, zebra rugs, elegant throws, sculptures, things like that. What do you think?

Comments (45)

  • Ocotillo
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I think in very small doses, animal prints are timeless. I think you pretty much defined the difference yourself -- the trendy stuff is the jungley overkill version of the look. It's taking classic pieces and overblowing them, so that they cover way too many surfaces, whereas in very small doses, animal prints can lend an elegant touch of the exotic to a room. I'm not personally a fan of things made from real (dead) animals, but I understand the punch that a well-placed leopard print pillow or throw can lend to a room.

  • graywings123
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    In moderation, yes, I think they are classic.

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  • greenthumbfish
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Agree with AJ, in small doses.

  • lorriekay
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Yes.. timeless

  • teacats
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Classic, exotic and a touch sexy when used in moderation .....

    For example -- a leopard-print on a gorgeous stool in front of a fireplace between two plain-fabric-covered chairs.

    Leopard-print on a vanity chair or stool in a bathroom. Or leopard-print hand towels to mix-and-match in with solid-color ones.

    A gorgeous pillow. Maybe a single long one on a plain sofa? Or on a bed?

    A zebra-print rug on a sisal-covered floor OR wood floor along with touches of black and white in a room.

    Antique art prints of animals.

    Animal-print mats around black-and-white or sepia photos for a kick of fun.

    Leopard-print or zebra on dining room chairs.

  • stargirl
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks everyone for your quick responses. One of the reason I posed this question is because I have a zebra area rug in front of my camel-colored sofa. The floors are wood. I noticed that teacats indicated a zebra-print rug in her list of classic items. All my walls are beige, except the focal wall, which is red. This is the wall with an ebony fireplace. I don't mean to go in a different direction with my original question, but I'm wanting appropriate artwork for the walls on either side of the couch -- and can't find anything to my liking. There is a large window above the couch, and the couch must go there. So, I have blank walls with nothing on them on either side of the couch. Since my room has a slightly exotic feel, what type artwork should I look for. There is an ebony framed mirror above the mantle, and I prefer that to artwork. So, will my room become "animal print overkill" if I choose exotic artwork?

  • teacats
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Perhaps the two artworks on this page from art.com --- "Horizon" and "Zodiac"?? A touch exotic and certainly the right shape!

    OR perhaps two long-shaped carved wood elements -- from EBay or Pier One?

    Here is a link that might be useful: Marie Krane artworks --

  • mitchdesj
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I would avoid artwork that would start an exotic theme in your room; it's hard to describe without specific pictures or examples, but personally, I would go for a sophisticated look, be it abstract or figurative, in your artwork.

    I'll try to find examples later of what I mean.

  • Ocotillo
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    What about vintage botanical prints (matted and framed)?

  • Ocotillo
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Here's kind of what I had in mind ... Nothing too floral, but just bringing in more natural elements.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Vintage botanicals

  • stargirl
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks everyone for your quick responses. One of the reason I posed this question is because I have a zebra area rug in front of my camel-colored sofa. The floors are wood. I noticed that teacats indicated a zebra-print rug in her list of classic items. All my walls are beige, except the focal wall, which is red. This is the wall with an ebony fireplace. I don't mean to go in a different direction with my original question, but I'm wanting appropriate artwork for the walls on either side of the couch -- and can't find anything to my liking. There is a large window above the couch, and the couch must go there. So, I have blank walls with nothing on them on either side of the couch. Since my room has a slightly exotic feel, what type artwork should I look for. There is an ebony framed mirror above the mantle, and I prefer that to artwork. So, will my room become "animal print overkill" if I choose exotic artwork?

  • cliff_and_joann
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I think they're classic and have a lot thought my home, especially in my Living Room and Family room... I love animal prints, always have. However, I think animal art,(on the walls) such as prints would be overkill, unless they have a specific meaning to you, e.g. a painting a family member did, or a family heirloom.
    Having said that...hmmm I ordered this print of 'First Kiss' several months ago and haven't made a frame for it yet, cause I can't figure out where to put it. I guess we'll make a frame for it, and then decide where to hang it...It makes me happy to look at it, maybe I'll hang it in my guest bathroom!
    Joann

    my latest footstool, with an aminal print accent.

    Here is a link that might be useful: First Kiss

  • kats
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I like the rustic look and have two cowhide backed rockers in my greatroom. I went to an art show this past weekend and found this copper disk. Something like that might work for your room.

  • stargirl
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    What a darling print! Thank you for sharing. Yes, too, have always liked animal prints, but sometimes don't know when to stop. Sometimes I will remove the zebra area rug and just use solid red and zebra-print throw pillows on the couch. Can never decide whether to use the zebra pillows and rug together because, as most of you have stated, is can become overkill. How do you know when to stop!!! LOL

  • cliff_and_joann
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I think you'll know when it's enough...I would love a zebra rug! Can you show us yours?
    Kat, I love your chairs and copper print.

    This is Great Grandpa's chair with his handmade horn footstool. Another way to bring animal prints into the room, (besides pillows) is afghans. My hubby remembers this chair forever in his Grandpa's den, the chair and foot stool were covered in a zebra print, as well as the sofa in the den. It really made an impression on when he was a little boy..

    Joann

  • todancewithwolves
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I love all your pictures!

    I love animal prints if it's done in moderation. I couldn't resist this darling little couch. DH hates it but me and the boys love it.

    {{gwi:478634}}

    Edna

  • stargirl
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I, too, love all the pictures and wish I could share mine. My room is just an eclectic mix of things I love -- glass-topped coffee table with black wrought iron base, the zebra rug, a reproduction Tiffany lamp in shades of red, black and cream, an antique grandfather clock, an old sewing machine used as an end table, an ebony armchair sitting beside the fireplace (covered in leopard-print) and bright red throw pillows on the tan couch. Really, I have two animal prints going on in the room -- the occasional chair and the zebra rug. Didn't think about it until now.

  • graywings123
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Now THERE is one comfortable dog!

  • ideamom
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I too love animal prints! They are classic and will not totally go out of style. They maybe more popular one year than the next but they never fully go out of style. The trick is to use animal print sparingly and not go over board. Keep it classy or it will look trashy.

  • stargirl
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    LOL I think that's where my problem lies -- not knowing classy from trashy!

  • dilly_dally
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Animal prints are classic. Use them as an accent. Don't engulf a whole room with them or load up on them in the space or pile them all in the same area. When mixing prints, only use animals that are from the same genre. Don't mix cow with zebra just because they are both black and white. Don't theme out the whole room with closely related decor items like jungle drums or horse saddles.

  • cliff_and_joann
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Stargirl, It won't look trashy. The key is to do it if you like it, and not worry too much about it. If it looks like it's too much, spread it out into another room...

    Danceswithwolves, the print on your sofa is the same fabric I had on my little chair before we reupholstered it in the leather. I loved that fabric as well.

    Stargrl, are you able to post pictures?

    more 'over the top' animal prints...I know I'm hopeless, and always on the hunt for animal print fabric to make pillows, afghans and footstools, I just can't get enough!

    I am dreaming about another wing chair in this same room, that I want to do in an exotic zebra print!
    This chair we just did this summer and it makes a good 'canvas backdrop' to show animal prints... :)

  • todancewithwolves
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    oooooooo...drooling over that picture!!!!

  • susanlynn2012
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I just love animal prints when it is done in moderation with decorating and with clothes. I used to wear way too many animal prints when younger. Now I wear touches of animals prints like a pretty animal print belt when everything else is brown or black. I have an leopard print small doggie bed and a leopard print doggie throw. I originally planned on putting down an animal print rug under my coffee table but never did when I decided I wanted more color in my family room. Then I got frozen and did nothing. Maybe after I change my floors, I can make a decision on accents. Then man who lived here before me had a designer do his home and she had touches of leopard in the bathroom (toothbrush holder, cup, soap dispenser and tissue holder, along with one small animal print rug in front of the Jacuzzi and another small black round rug in front of the tiny shower stool. The towels were black. This looked great since the walls were a very pale light town, the tiles were ivory beige and the toilets and sinks were bone colored. I wanted to buy everything in my Master Bathroom from him and his family room but he wanted way too much money for the Nu-buck leather furniture and would not sell me anything in his bathroom.

  • stargirl
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I'm drooling too! That picture is straight from the pages of a magazine. By the way, my couch is the exact same color. With I could put a room together that looks that nice. Do you have other inspirational pictures? I know I speak for everyone when I say we'd love to see them. I'm sorry I can't post pictures (no digital camera) but, hopefully, one day I'll be able to.

  • magnaverde
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Yes, moderation is the key when using animal patterns, whether prints or the real thing: a zebra rug or a tiger-velvet stool; a pair of leopard cushions or a ponyskin chair. But then, that's true of any motif. As the great Dorothy Draper said, "Too much of anything is the beginning of a mess."

  • stargirl
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I'm glad to see you here, Mag. So, if moderation is the key, how does one know where to draw the line? In addition to a zebra area rug, can one also use animal print throw pillows or would that be too much of a good thing? And, this art thing has me puzzled. What type artwork ties all this together? I certainly don't want a themey print -- just something in good taste that would tie together a red, white and black color scheme (red wall, ebony mantle, zebra print rug, camel-colored couch, and jewel-tone reproduction Tiffany lamp (black, red and cream). I want a traditional room with a touch of the exotic. And, I think I've created a problem for myself for using a fairly modern color palette in the room -- but I love those colors! What ever am I going to do! LOL

  • magnaverde
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Stargirl, yes, animal patterns are classic, but don't get too cerebral here. Too much thought, too much planning, a mathematically-worked-out color scheme decor can lead to results just as unfortunate as a room full of stuff picked at random--in the dark.

    OK, so you've already got a zebra rug. Fine. OK, you're done with the dead-animal motif. And when you look at art, don't go looking in catalogs for something that is designed for a red-black-&-white color scheme. It's too predictable. The problem, then, is finding something that works in your room--not necessarily something that matches your room--which is also affordable but not hokey & predictable. And affordable & predictable are not synonymous, although a quick glance at an Art.com catalog might make you think so.

    There are plenty of good artists working today but, generally speaking, the more talented they are, the more expensive their work is. Most artists are not mainly out to make a huge profit--if they're real artists, their impulse to create comes from their heart, not their Visa bill, although they may not be averse to an occasional evening out--but then, they're not doing it out of charity either, and people who expect artist to basically give their stuff away make me crazy. Anyway, the original art I like the most is usually stuff that's way out of my budget.

    Which is where reproductions come in. Some people consider reproductions tacky & say they ONLY buy Original Art. Whatever. If you're a real collector with a real art collector's budget (rather than a regular person who just wants something nice for the living room) that's fine, but I only know a few of those folks. For the rest of us, there's not a thing wrong with reproductions. Edith Wharton has a few pages of good advice on the subject, which I don't have time to track down at the moment, but the upshot is this: better a reproduction of good painting than a badly painted original. Of which there are a zillion, many of which cost megabaucks, and most of which are owned by proud-but-clueless owners. It's the Emperor's New Clothes all over again.

    * * * * *

    Kid: "But Mommy, why is there a dead cow in formaldehyde in their foyer? It looks stupid!"

    Mom: "Shhhh, sweeetie... It's Art They paid the artist $15 Million dollars for it!"

    Kid "I'm gonna be an artist!"

    * * * * *

    Anyway once you're made peace with the idea of using a reproduction, it becomes even easier. If all you'll end up in the end is a glortified version of a Xerox copy, with no inherent value anyway, it only makes sense to go for a reproduction of something by a real artist, something that was originally created as a one of-a-kind piece, something which just happens to have been reproduced (a hundred years later) rather than something commissioned by a chain retailer whose main goal is selling a zillion copies of it and, therefore, in getting a piece that's as generic as possible, since it will appeal to a larger demographic category.

    OK, on to your room. There's a rendering of a room by Eleanor Brown McMillen that was painted by the watercolorist Elizabeth Hoopes--and which I can't locate right now--that shows just such a room as you describe. White walls with a red accent wall, polished floor with a zebra rug, low & broadly scaled French provincial chairs, brass tables, big lamps with paper shades and above it all, a big painting in what I remember as a big barooque frame in black-&-gold. It's still a knockout of room, half a century after it was completed (and probably years after it was dismantled) and there's no discernable 'theme'. Everything is there, and everything gets along, but you can't categorize it, either. It's just a good looking room. Anyway, it looked good and your room doesn't need a theme either, not, at least, not be attractive.

    So where to look for art? How about reproductions of traditional art: portraits, for instance? Henry Raeburn's portrait of the Reverend Walker skating is a strikingly modern painting, even though it's more than 2OO years old. So is John Singer Sargent's Madame X. So is his Dr. Pozzi. Some of Ingres' portraits are amazing in their directness. His sitters look back at you as strongly as you look at them: it's like they're reading your mind. If the color red is important (and if you can overlook the after-the-fact implications of its hue) check out the gorgeous red velvet cloth in Jacques Louis David's double portait of Antoine Lavoisier & his wife. Anyway, "exotic" doesn't have to mean 'junglesque'--it can also mean foreign or unfamiliar, which in today's cell-phone snapshot world, the utter drop-dead glamour of any of these portaits certainly is.

    More modern treatments--that also happen to include red, and aren't formal portraits--might be Hopper's Chop Suey, or Dale Nichols' series of red barns against brilliant white snow. Who cares that they've been used on thousands of greeting cards over the years? They're still beautiful images.

    You don't want pictures of people you don't know? How about Charles Demuth's I Saw the Figure Five in Gold? Want something less colorful but still powerful? How about Franz Kline? Maybe something in between? Try Gerald Murphy's paintings of the 192Os, where you get the muted colors & cubist style of Picasso without the multiple noses or multiple mistresses.

    Maybe no paintings at all? How about lightweight tree branches laid vertically in an irregular horizontal line--think busted picket fence--and lashed to the outside of a large antique-style frame with dark hemp twine, the whole thing daubed with blotches of tar & mounted against the wall with nothing where, normally, a painting would go, so that the actual wall color peeks through? Different, and best of all, cheap to make, although since I came up with the idea just now, I'm thinking of making them myself and charging $10 million dollars. Compared to the cow thing, it will be a bargain!

    Anyway, whatever you use, either traditional art used for contrats or goofball art-school-edginess to show how trendy you are, just remmeber: bigger is better.

    Mainly, what you want to avoid is assembly-line mass-market predictability when it comes to what you hang on your walls. You're an individual, so why should your living room look like a lot of other peoples' living rooms, or like something out of a home decorating catalog? The key to avoiding the popular cliches is to look for inspiration in other than the old familair places. Remember: Garbage in, Garbage out.

    At any rate, we've known each other long enough for me to know that if anybody can put together a room that looks A) great and B) like nobody else's (even while using off-the-shelf or out-of-the-auto-supply-(or garden-supply)-catalog materials or components--you can. Have fun.

    Regards,
    MAGNAVERDE.

  • cliff_and_joann
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Stargirl, I have always loved animal prints...you ask, something along the lines when is something too much...well, I don't know, I just keep changing things and
    eventually I get the look I like.
    This is a piece of our living room...The gold chair , I picked up at good will and reupholstered it and made the pillows. The rocker is a family heirloom as well as the table next to the rocker. The curios we made a few years ago... We are DIY's, thus we change a lot of stuff all the time. Malverdene, says don't mix too much, well I guess I broke all the rules, cause I mix everything.
    I have tiger, leopard, zebra and even giraffe ( the giraffe is on the sofa --not visible in this photo)
    For me it works, ...'more is more' I always say...
    The Living room is a little more dressy than the den, but I was going for the British Colonial look. The den is a mix of masculine and feminine things. A lot of the furniture in the den we made.
    This is the living room

    also in the living room, we just made this footstool recently to match the chair. The chair and pillows we did last spring I think.

    If you have a sewing machine and can sew straight lines you can make lots of wonderful throw pillows in animal prints.
    jere is a close-up of the good will chair...I made the pillows as well... that wild triangle pillow, I made about 4 of them I think, in various prints. The other tapestry on the chair I got off ebay and made a pillow out of it.
    The lamp I bought cheap in home goods, it was black, I antiqued it with some gold and bronze and added the fringe to the shade. The end table was a gift from my Dad.

  • stargirl
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Magnaverde, thank you for directing me to works of art that will work in my room. That was really my problem all the time -- not knowing which direction to go with this. I'm such a precise person and I try to analyze things too much. For example, the mirror on the fireplace wall (red wall) has a wide ebony frame. Do I choose artwork with ebony frames or am I allowed to use baroque or ornate frames? See where I'm going -- trying to match things too much. I also appreciate the confidence you have in my ability to decorate a room. For the strangest reason, I have no problem in telling someone else how to decorate their room, but I have a problem doing this for myself. Go figure! I recently visited the home of an interior decorator (from Las Vegas). She attends the auction where we cater, and we've become very good friends. Her home is very unique, as is yours. She throws together Asian things, French things, you name it, and it all works. I'm amazed that some people have the talent to do this. And, you definitely have this talent too. Thank you for always making me feel better about my choices. If you should have more wisdom to impart, I'm all ears.

    Joann, you have wonderful taste. No doubt you've been taking lessons from Magnaverde. Thank you for sharing the wonderful inspirational pictures. I wish you lived next door! (smiles)

  • magnaverde
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Actually, it looks like Joann's studied the same thing I have: history. Sure, her color palette's lighter & fresher than the typical Victorian room's but there's a definite connection with those comfy, overstuffed rooms. Leave everything else as it is, but switch Joann's walls to a dusky plum with an embossed paper frieze in copper-olive-&-peacock blue, toss a half dozen more oriental rugs on the floor at crazy-quilt angles & drape a velvet scarf over the top of the piano and you would hardly know know that this isn't a room from the 188Os.

    That's the best part about those trooms back then. They were friendly & inclusive and there was room for everything & everyone. OK, maybe there wasn't room to move around in them, but still, everything was welcome: the Japanese fans; the stuffed peccary head from Uncle Fenster's hunting trip; the Moroccan hookah on top of the French inlaid table; the Chinese blue-&-white jars; the Navajo rugs; the beaded, plush-covered photo album--the entertainment center of its day; the brass vases of peacock feathers; Papas's silver tobacco jar; the stained glass lamps glowing through the dusky gloom. That style, those rooms--they were the precursor of the look that today we associate with Cost-Plus World Market or Pier One.

    But here's a secret about the stuff in those places: against stark white walls, with plenty of space around them, near glaring, uncurtained windows, the stuff from those places looks cheap, like it came from a student dorm room in the 197Os, which is, of course, exactly how those stores began. But darken the walls and suddenly, that stuff starts to look a lot better. Or at least a lot more serious. Add a few nice pieces within reach, and people will automatically assume the other stuff is decent quality, too, even if it isn't. That's how you stretch a budget.

    Which relates directly to the other important lesson Victorian rooms teach: the more things that you cram together, the less importance any single item has & the more you can afford to take a risk & throw in something totally off the wall, something fun, without it destroying the room. What if you threw in, say, a stuffed puppy, a guitar & a leopard throw pillow into an Art Deco room? Or a Fifties Modern room? Or a Minimalist room? They'd look like the cleaning woman forgot to put away the kids' stuff. That's because an eye at rest sees all the messy imperfections of real life: the kids' softball mitts left on the floor; the dog's slimy chew toys; the stack of mail, and it only takes a few items like that to turn a simple, clutter-free Mid-Century Modern Room into a mess, while a dense decor like Joann's can absorb all those things--and lots more besides--without a peep because it keeps the eye moving. That's a lesson that should be included in all parenting books, along with all that other stuff about teething & sharing: that pattern & color are wonderful labor-saving devices, because in a busily patterned room, you spend less time fussing over a stray soggy cheerio on the black leather sofa cushion.

    Sure, those clutter-free "Zen" rooms that they're always showing in the magazines--plain walls, pale upholstery, a single perfect orchid in a Raku dish on the low ebony platform; the frosted glass vessel sink on the cantilvered rift-cut Wenge shelf in the doorless bathroom--are beautiful & serene, but I don't really know anybody who lives in a monastery, so why should we try to live like as though we do & make our families--our messy, materialistic families--play along with us, not to mention making them crazy in the process? I mean, there's nothing less serene than mommy screaming because her ten-year forgot to wipe down the vessel sink to prevent waterspots, or because he didn't remove his muddy Chuck Taylors when he crossed your perfetly raked gravel foyer. Face it: life's too messy to make decorative choices that create extra work for yourself--not unless you're penance or you're hoping to win sainthood--because no one will notice all your hard work anyway. And nothing is less Zen than mommy constantly reminding everybody of how hard she works to keep the house looking nice "for them." Like they care. I'm just sayin.

    Regards,
    MAGNAVERDE.

  • stargirl
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Mag, as I recall, your approach to decorating is that it isn't rocket science. So I suppose I shouldn't take it so seriously. I'm a "rule follower" but I'm trying to break some of those so-called rules. For example, the one about dark colors making a room look smaller. You live in a small space, as I do (mine is 1,100 sq. feet). There was a time when I'd never have painted my living room red because I thought it would make it look smaller. On the contrary, it makes it look warm and inviting. I think the best compliment I've ever received was when one of my husband's buddies came to vist, and said, "I just love this room, and those red walls." And he doesn't know beans about decorating! So guess I'm doing something right. How did I get on this subject. We're talking about animal prints! LOL I'm going now to check out some of the wonderful artwork you told me about. I'll let you know what strikes my fancy. Thanks again for making us (me) think.

  • bestyears
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I love how these two rooms use zebra rugs as part of truly classic decorating. Both are from ratemyspace.

    {{gwi:1835129}}

    {{gwi:1835131}}

  • stargirl
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Oh, I just love that room, bestyears! Thanks for the inspiration. And, I notice that traditional artwork is used, and it works beautifully. I'm definitely saving this for my inspiration file. Mag and Joann, what do you think about this room? By the way, Joann, I CAN sew and I have made several of the pillows in my home. And, to think I hated all those sewing lessons that my grandmother made me take when I was young!

  • magnaverde
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    It's hard to tell from a single view of each, but both those rooms look good--and more important, comfortable--to me. Of course, I don't like wrestling with a slew o' cushions before I sit down, so I'd probably get rid of most of them, but other than that, these rooms show that even in the absence of any new ideas, much individual personality, or any more than than a single bold graphic element, a good-looking room can be created simply by following time-tested--i.e., "boring"--precedent: symmetry in both plan (the furniture) & elevation (the art); a mix of old & new pieces; a broad range of materials: smooth & rough, pale & dark, light & heav; and by surrounding it all with a a background color that's neither too light nor too dark. Like I said, all that's missing is any indication whatsoever of the person who lives here. Well-mannered & timeless as these rooms are, these rooms could be deluxe suites in a fancy hotel.

    That's the bad news: they're bland as all get out. But that might be true for several reasons. Maybe they are hotel suites. Maybe they're rooms in showhouses done for merely hypothetical "clients". Maybe they're product shots for a retailer of zebra rugs. Whatever they are, the good news is there's an easy solution to the problem: replace some of thosee generically tasetful accessories--starting with the numerous stacks of unread leatherbound 'classics'--with items that have a little more character or personal meaning.

    But here's the thing: the bones of those rooms are spot-on, and--with the addition of those badly needed personal items--these rooms will look as good in twenty yrears as they do today. Not a thing in them will embarrass somebody down the line. You could do a lot worse than take a room like this as a foundation for a more personal interpretation of traditional style. M.

  • johnmari
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    While animal prints aren't really to my personal taste except in near-homeopathic doses (I think I got overloaded on them in the 1980s), I just had to swoon at the mental picture:

    "Leave everything else as it is, but switch Joann's walls to a dusky plum with an embossed paper frieze in copper-olive-&-peacock blue, toss a half dozen more oriental rugs on the floor at crazy-quilt angles & drape a velvet scarf over the top of the piano and you would hardly know know that this isn't a room from the 188Os."

    Somehow our ca.1900 house's living room is skewing toward the lighter Edwardian palette (it did so all by itself, it ran away from me when a rug in rose, coral, sage, taupe and gold kicked me in the kiester) but I think I'd do any number of terrible things for plum-olive-copper-peacock... plum and olive are my favorite colors and I'm notoriously mad for copper anything. I wonder if I could get away with it in the kitchen/sitting room, since that's the only other room I have available. Sigh. It's rather dim (and not overly large) so to my mind it calls for a deeper palette than the sunny living room.

    Stargirl, it's getting toward the holiday season, and a lot of universities, art schools, etc. are going to start running their winter student art shows soon. That's a good way to get some often-surprisingly-good original artwork VERY inexpensively, and there's the karmic bonus of encouraging talented young artists to keep on drawing/painting/sculpting/welding/whatever instead of chucking it all to sell insurance. I have half a dozen nice pieces - original paintings, hand-pulled blockprints, textiles - I've purchased through these student fairs, and I think the most I've paid was something in the area of $150.

  • stargirl
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks for joining us, johnmari, and for the excellent suggestion concerning sources for artwork. I'll certainly keep that in mind.

    I just knew you'd like that room, Mag, with a few changes, of course. To me, the zebra rug made the room. I don't think it would have been as nice without it. And, the person who designed this room knew where to draw the line when it came to animal prints. I wish I had that ability. I always say that I don't like excess in anything, but you wouldn't know it! And back to the artwork subject, I think one of the reasons I'm having such a difficult time choosing something is because I have the red focal wall. I've only been looking at art with the color red in it. Of course, the inspiration picture didn't have red walls, but the art was totally unrelated to the zebra rug -- but it still worked. Is this a case of just using what you like, regardless of whether it "goes" with anything else in the room? Also, would you have chosen different art for the room? Just curious.

  • cliff_and_joann
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Mag, my rooms painted plum? I could never be that daring...
    Our house is surrounded by huge oaks, so in the summertime the house is much darker than the winter. Although I love the summer, as we love to be in our backyard, I like the house better in the winter with the lower sun and the leaves off the trees and the sun streaming in.

    I think dark walls would be too depressing for me. A few years back we painted our foyer a darker color -- a
    blue-ish color. We sat in the living room and said, "Isn't it beautiful, so lively and crisp!" The next night we sat in the living room again and I turned to Cliff and said, "do you hate it as much as I do!?!" ... "Yup," was his answer. That weekend we painted it back to the Laura Ashley gold!
    Stargirl, art is such a personal choice. My dear father-in-law and my Father were both painters, (just a hobby)
    so I have dozens of my FIL oils and two of my fathers.
    My bedroom is full of the paintings, as well as our guest rooms, dining room, and den...The two over the TV mantle, he painted for me in the 1980's and the one over the dvd cabinet, he painted in 1940. I call it 'the cottage' and it's my favorite of all, that is why it is hung where it is across from the sofa in the den, where I can look at it every day. The little carpenter I bought for my Cliff cause he likes to make cabinets and furniture. I placed it where it is cause he looks like he's walking home to the cottage. :) Take your time looking for your artwork, also some nice original photos, matted and framed make for some nice original artwork. I love folk art and also love all the colorful artwork on Aunt Jen's walls as well...
    I have also seen some lovely children's drawings matted and framed that look wonderful as well..I guess what I mean is, try and find things you love or have some special meaning to you.
    Joann

  • cliff_and_joann
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Well, I did a search and found this close-up of photo my favorite painting...the bronze baby shoes are my hubby's :)
    I have since moved the baby shoes to the mantle.

  • stargirl
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Joann, those are beautiful pictures, and I especially like the one you consider your favorite. It's my favorite, too. My beloved brother, who died recently, was also an artist, but since he was also a martial artist (operated a karate school), all his artwork related to what I call "warrior art," which I never considered suitable for my decor. However, before his death, he published a book about Hawaii (ancient history) and the cover is in red and black, and has a very primitive scene of two ancient warriors, in combat. Well, it happens that the cover of his book was taken from one of his paintings. I'm thinking now that I should have this print framed and use it, not only because it has a personal meaning for me, but it's in the colors I love -- red and black. But, ancient warriors fighting??? Would I dare use something like this in my living room. It's very well-done but looks like something you'd see in a museum in Hawaii. By the way, my DH's name is Cliff.

  • magnaverde
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Don't worry, Joann, I wsn't at all suggesting that you paint your room dark, merely showing that except for the matter of color, your room, with its inclusive, room-for-everything vibe, had more in common with rooms from a hundred years ago than it does with many of the co-ordinated-within-an-inch of their-lives rooms I see today, where everything in them is restricted to a narrow range of trendy colors & designs. Those rooms may look good, but they aren't designed for the normal give-&-take of real life today, because one spur-of-the moment purchase in a room like that can spoil the whole ensemble. Who needs that kind of snooty, Touch-Me-Not attitude from a room? My decor isn't the boss of me.

    Your room, on the other hand, is wonderful & friendly, and I really like the rough texture of the whitewashed wood. When I hear about people who want to fill the grain, caulk the gaps between the boards & paint their paneled walls to get a smooth surface, I always wwonder why they don't just slap up a layer of Sheetrock. It would be easier, cheaper (when you factor in the time needed to fill all those cracks) and it would completely eliminate all interest from their walls, which seems to be the goal. Sheetrock would also not be the permanent change than all that other stuff would be. But what do I know?

    Anyway, I love those last few shots of your house. They remind me of the welcoming, informal room in a wonderful painting--a beer ad of all things, back in the days when beer ads weren't aimed at overgrown fratboys--by the great Haddon Sundblom. This is the weekend I want, but not, I'm afraid, the one I'm gonna get.

    Regards,
    MAGNAVERDE.

  • cliff_and_joann
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Stargirl. your brothers artwork (and book)
    sound wonderful. That's the kind of thing I strive for in my decorating -- a one of a kind item, unique only to you.
    If you know how to email photos, email me your photos and I put them on the forum. I would not hesitate to hang your brothers painting. I would even make a glass shadowbox to display his book on your coffee table. Memorabilia is what I love, antique and family things displayed around the home that have meaning. Your brothers book and painting has special meaning and tells a memorable story. :)

    Mag, Thank you, we did these walls in the 1970's it was one inch thick tongue and groove cedar planking. Cliff installed it on an angle and we enjoyed it for many years...when I said a few years ago, "how about we take it down"...he said, "over my dead body!"...hence the compromise was to wash it with paint. BTW...my sister who has contemporary taste and a neat uncluttered look in her house, always tells me I have too much stuff (I know I do) but I just can't get away from it, I try and put stuff away, but somehow it manages to find it's way out again!
    That print looks Norman Rockwell-ish, somehow I remember that print! ...please tell me you posted it here once before and I'm not really that old! :)
    Stargirl, stay tuned, I have another memory lane photo for you!
    Joann

  • cliff_and_joann
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    A Normal Rockwell Moment...
    The photo of the two boys fishing, is my hubby and his cousin when they were little kids. Hubby is in the foreground. His parents had a summer home in Upstate NY and Cliff and his Mother spent the entire summer there and his Dad came up on weekends. They always had lots of fun and company, friends and relatives visited all summer long. Cliff and his cousin often went fishing with his beagle Rip.
    One day they were hitchhiking to the lake and were picked up by a photographer. The photographer took their photo... the only thing Cliff remembers about that day was that his hound bit the guy in his butt, and ripped his pants!
    The next year, Cliff's parents get a letter from the farmer neighbor, informing them that they saw Cliff's photo on a calendar in the country store. hubby's parents best friend was an attorney, so he wrote a letter and the short version of the story -- they settled out of court. So this photo on my TV mantle is the original calendar folded behind the photo. The little photographer Hummel sets the stage for the story. :)

  • stargirl
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Joann, I wasn't on the computer this weekend. Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the forum and found the wonderful pictures you had to share with me (us). Thank you! I'm at work now and it's like fighting fire but I'll try to get back today or tomorrow and finish this conversation. Again, thanks!

  • bbstx
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I love this room and its zebra rug (can't remember where it came from, unfortunately). If it belongs to someone here, please accept my apologies for not giving you credit...and my admiration for designing such a fabulous room!