Thursday, April 19, 2012

Return of the Tartans

I like to think that I'm open to and appreciative of many different design styles. Just because it's not going in my house doesn't mean I can't appreciate it. Heck, I swoon over some designs that are "too bold" or "too modern" or "too (insert adjective)" for myself, personally, all the time. BUT when I saw this image scattered across the design interwebs yesterday, I stopped short. I design discriminated. Dare I say I was visually offended by this image and the subsequent "genius" or "in love" comments that followed!? 

Now before you go and decapitate me (much in the manner that some twisted individual has done to Hello Kitty), allow me to elaborate. A little Vivienne Westwood tartan wallpaper? Don't mind if I do! (Though I like others in the collection more.) That farmhouse table!? Gorgeous. Stunning. Ship-one-to-my-house-pronto-por-favor. But when you combine the wallpaper, "ancestral portraits" (Oh is that what they're called?),  gold/blue/white paint debacle and haphazardly accessorized mantel, it's pretty much not working for me. At all. But perhaps if you're really into that whole tongue-in-cheek, collected-in-a-seemingly-effortless-but-actually-very-calculated look, this could be a dreamy room? (Maybe?)

Francois Halard via The New York Times
Mmk. After you have taken a moment to mentally assess this image, please don't think that navy, gold, tartan and natural elements cannot live in harmony. Please observe this little mood board I whipped up. (Like really quick whipped up.)

Here we go: Vivienne Westwood tartan wallpaper? Check. Moody blue hues? See dresser, and linens. Natural elements? See Wood frames, hardwood flooring, linen headboard. Gold/gilded accents? Sconces, side tables. Traditional/formal elements? See nailhead trim, English fox hunt prints, vintage glass knobs for dresser. Please ignore nuances (like the different finishes on the sconces and side tables or the fact the dresser could have some sexier lines) and observe the bigger picture, i.e. that navy/gold/tartan/natural elements are all residing together in a good looking room. 

To further illustrate my point, Peppermint Bliss (love this saucy lady & her minty fresh designs) recently shared this gorgeous room by Alessandra Branca (hello! This is perfect!) and she also designed a smashing room with some of these elements. Thankfully, it appears that no decapitating of Hello Kitty was involved in either design. 

Hardwood? Good. Moody navy walls? Good. Traditional wall art. Good. Gold accents? Good. Tartan nailhead trim sofa? Very, very good. 
And lest you think that we all can't get along, here is another room from the same owner's home, which I rather enjoy in all it's eclectic and bohemian glory. Now go in peace.

Francois Halard for The New York Times


  1. Looove your mood board! Totally perfect for my weekend cottage/mansion by the lake. Haven't purchased the cottage/mansion yet, but you know. Minor details ;)

    1. You have a sprawling, rustic (albeit fictional) home by the lake too? Great minds...