Monday, September 30, 2013


Hey Everyone....hope all is well?  I came across a design dilemma the other day that got me thinking.......How do you meld two different era's?  The issue came up over at How About Orange.  The issue at hand is picking a Modern Rug to go with a more Victorian Style of Room.  I of course had to way in on the issue and give my two cents-for what it is worth!  I thought that the 4 rugs that were chosen were a little too busy and frenetic.  I offered up two rugs from West Elm that had a more quieter feel, yet were still Modern.  After seeing this great posting it got me thinking......... How do you meld two completely different era's and styles?

The first rule of thumb when trying to meld two different era's is that they need to be at least 2-3 era's apart.  What do I mean by that? Well it is just as it sounds.  You wouldn't really want to meld Art Deco with Art Nouveau.  They are too close in timeline.  The same would be for Victorian and say.......Art Nouveau.  Remember, it is just a guideline.  You can pretty much do what you like, the world isn't going to end if you put that great E.J. Ruhlmann chair with an Arne Jacobson chair:

I feel that they don't really compliment each other.  Even though they are amazing chairs in their own right, they don't really go together.
However....if you put that great Swan chair by Jacobson in a Victorian style of Architecture...It would look pretty sweet.

Now......Victorian is that kind of style that is very polarizing.  Either you like it or you don't.  There are those out there that are comforted by the ornateness of this style.  There are others that could NEVER live with such a style and could live only in a more clean lined environment.  To me, the "Modern Victorian" is a great hybrid, especially when it is done right.  It can be a tricky thing to meld ornate, overly feminine with the clean lines,masculine style of Modern.
Here are some "Modern Victorian's" that I just love:

I LOVE this room.  To me it is done SOOOO right.  Why does it work?  Everything in the room is era's apart.  The Modern Sofa's, Lounge Chair and Tables are more Modern, while the other Chairs, Mirror, Chandelier and Console are very Traditional.  The colour and style of the drapes is very Victorian, yet, this is the only colour in the room.  The feminine colour and style of the drapes compliment the more modern elements of the room.  The Ornate Console Table, Chandelier and Mirror compliment the more clean lines of the sofa and tables.  It is all about balance.  The rug too is a perfect choice.  They chose to use a more Modern Rug that is quite subtle.  This grounds the room and allows all other elements to be the star in the room.  This room would not be nearly as effective if the rug were overly graphic in nature.

This amazing room puts such a smile on my face!  First of all...just look at all the Victorian Architectural details!  I just love Molding!!  Why does this room work?  Do you see how the main colour of the room is white and the designer used colour in the furniture?  The use of colour is very Victorian-they loved it.  Yet here it isn't overwhelming since the room itself if pure white.  The Rug would have been way too frentic if the Sofa's had been overly patterned.  I love the juxtaposition of Mid Century Modern with Victorian.  It is one of those styles that goes so well together.  This is the perfect way to "warm" up Modern.  To me....many times Modern can leave me feeling cold.  Apart from the bold colours used in the furniture, the reason why the above room works is the juxtaposition of masculine lines of the furnishings including lighting with the more feminine lines of the actual room itself- phew.......that's a mouthful!

This next Reno is beyond fact I think it's Redonkulous.....and that is a good thing:

This room  to me is complete perfection.  The fixed Victorian elements of room look incredible with the more modern, clean lines of the furniture.  Just look at that ceiling.  By decorating in a more muted palette and quiet lined style, this allows the more ornate lines of the moldings and the incredible chandelier to shine in this room.  I can't even articulate how much I love this room!!

Isn't that an amazing Reno.  It has just the right amount of feminine and masculine. Everything in the rooms really compliment each other.  It is beyond gorgeous!!

If you look at the above room it is indeed lovely.  But for me the better way to meld Modern and Victorian is to use Modern furniture in a Victorian setting.  To me the femininity of the room should be in the fixed elements and the more masculine lines should be in the furnishings.......only my opinion.  I feel that it is easier to live with masculine lines in the furniture than the overly ornateness that is found in Victorian furniture.

This Room is a great example of the melding of Victorian and Modern.  Here the feminine Victorian feel comes from the fixed elements of the room- the moldings, that amazing Cole & Sons wallpaper and the Chandelier.  Although slightly more ornate than other rooms we have looked at, it still is a lovely room.

 I could really see myself in this space.  I just love all of the fixed elements and the kitchen here.  Again the fixed elements are the feminine Victorian and the masculine lines come from the "furniture" in the space.  Amazing Reno!!

For those that wish to have a more traditional Victorian style yet with a more updated modernity, then this one is for you:

For me, this style of Victorian is so much more livable than a more traditional Victorian style.  A traditional Victorian style can be very overwhelming.  Here Sarah has captured the essence of Victorian without it dripping in pattern, femininity and ornate colour.  This Reno has all the hints of Victorian but in a more restrained way.  If I were to do a more "traditional" Victorian this is how I would do it too.  It works because the fixed elements are feminine and quiet in tone.  The furnishings, although they have curves, are quiet and neutral.  All the pattern and colour comes from the rug, pillows and drapes.  Except for that amazing velvet chaise lounge.  Although it is a very deep Red's lines are quiet and restrained. Don't you just want to lounge on that one??  So lovely!  And as always I love Sarah's pillows!!

So meld Victorian and Modern you have a to have a balanced mix of Masculine and Feminine.  Clean Lines and Ornateness.  It is a balancing act for sure.

So there you have it folks.  Modern Victorian.  I could have done a posting that was way longer (although this one was long enough).  I am sure that I will revisit this style in the future.

Have a great day everyone.

1 comment:

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