Don’t you love walking into someone’s home who has their own eclectic ideas of turning a house into a comfortable living space? I don’t mind the changing trends in contemporary colors, furniture and other “stuff”, but for me, it’s always going to be about the tradition. I am always on the look out for those vintage pieces that are anything but contemporary. In fact, I’ve been known to see something in the background of a classic movie and then try to recreate it. There is such a thing as “timeless”, after all, and so with that, here are a few timeless looks that should never be pushed to the wayside for the more modern looks that have no soul.
This first image is from the 1957 classic Desk Set. It starred none other than Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Ironically, it was about the computerization of a help desk in New York City. In this shot, the two are standing in Bunny Watson’s bedroom (played by Hepburn). They were soaked from the rain and Bunny’s looking for a men’s robe she’d bought as a Christmas present. Notice the windows in the background. Those stacked wood slatted screens really defined the room and highlighted the height of both the walls and windows.
I love a bedroom that’s big enough for a sitting area, such as what you see in this clip from the 1960 movie, From the Terrace. This is by far my all time favorite movie. I love Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward and this movie is truly the epitome of timeless; there will always be (as long as there are humans) troubled marriages, cheating spouses and jealousy. Great movie – if it’s one you’ve not seen, you’re missing out on brilliant acting and writing. Take a look at both the chairs and the fireplace in this clip. The greens and blues play off perfectly (have you ever noticed there’s a lot of blue in these classic movies?) against the eggshell and off whites. The painting above the fireplace, with gold and reds, is the perfect contrast to keep it from looking too seamless.
The exterior of the Eaton house is just as lovely. See how a bit of yellow really pulls the gray and white together? In this scene Mary, along with her friend Sage (played by Elizabeth Allen) are watching Alfred (Newman) fly over with his business partner. The picture below this one shows how the set was created from the inside. Note how there are bottom curtains along the doors and windows, but to close the windows up entirely, it’s simply a matter of closing one master set of heavy fabric shades. This wasn’t uncommon in those days; however, you never see that anymore. That’s a shame too because it’s really a beautiful way to show a home and its view. Note the rooster collection atop the mantelpiece where Mary’s building a fire and the matching upholstered chairs with yet another timeless look. The round accent table houses a lamp.
Speaking of accents, take a look at the painting in the background of the 1950 All About Eve. The setting is Margo’s home (played by Bette Davis) as she’s hosting a cocktail party/birthday party. I love the painting, mostly because it’s so unexpected in a feminine home, as evidenced by the oversized floral display on the cabinet.
So as much as the contemporary looks of today’s sleek furniture plays a role in so many homes, there’s definitely something to be said about those classics. After all, everything old is new again, right?