Monday, May 9, 2011

Bohemian Chic!

Designer Celerie Kemble's NY apartment, courtesy of Lonny magazine

I suppose I'm like many of you: modern yet a little old-fashioned, whimsical yet dead serious, hard working but fun-loving, forward-looking while honoring my past. With that said, I want my interiors to reflect all aspects of me and my family. Rather than decorate to fit a theme, such as English regency or French country, why not make YOU the theme. Go ahead -- mix your antique French walnut armoire with your fabulous vintage Guy de Rougement cloud table (lucky devil if you have one), your stately tobacco leather chesterfield sofa, the new lucite parsons table you just acquired with your antique printers blocks placed on it just so...  You get the idea. The end look is fresh, modern, comfortable, interesting, and, best of all, personalized, reflecting who you are.

Bryan Ferry's London home, below, received some attention in the design world for its highly personalized, stylish interior, decorated with art, textiles, and quirky objects collected from his travels around the world. He has said that he doesn't buy to fit, instead purchasing with his heart and gut, then finding a place for it in his home.

Below is a living room from the Kips Bay Decorator Show House in New York decorated by none other than Bunny Williams, well-known for her traditional decor. She still has her traditional touches, such the the formal, matched chairs and brown velvet sofas. But what a difference it makes to drape one sofa in a suzani, paint the traditional wooden chairs white, hang super-sized botanical gouaches, and stencil a sisal rug with stars.

Like Bunny William's white chairs, I am seeing more and more traditional furniture painted white, a fresh take on the traditional style. Below, a traditional chandelier that was dipped in plaster.

Introducing a lucite piece into a traditional setting adds punch to an outdated interior. Then add a vintage piece to that mix and you are on your way to Bohemian Chic. Below, a modern lucite table, 60s stools, and a traditional floor mirror with a painted white frame in a lush old-world setting.

Below, a more upmarket and clean Boho Chic look, with modern acrylic chairs mixing perfectly with conventional wing chairs, a pink tufted settee, and a mirrored deco chest topped with modern art leaned against the wall.

Below, the home of Bob Williams, of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. The lucite "Lily" chair and the white leather armchair are vintage (City Issue); the sofa, chair, and wing chair are from Mitchell's company. Other accessories are vintage, antique and collected.

Courtesy of Traditional Home. Image by Colleen Duffley

Remember this armoire, below, from one of my posts several weeks ago? This would fit perfectly in Boho Chic design. Start with an antique Louis XV armoire, then paint it white, and replace the doors with glass. I know, I would have a hard time, too, so drastically altering an antique. But, to convert a beautiful non-antique armoire that once housed a television in the pre-flat screen days is a great way to recycle and update an outmoded piece of furniture.

Courtesy of Citified blog

Look at these beautiful interior sliding screen doors in a Barcelona home. Just stunning! Though they are probably modern, they have a distinct Art Deco flair to them. And peering through the screen we can see a linen-draped table with traditional chairs underneath a fun, modern beaded chandelier in French Empire style, a black and white photograph leaned against the wall. This is a more modern, clean look that Barcelona has become known for, while still possessing the style mixture of Boho Chic.

Courtesy of Delight by Design  blog

Below, the Barcelona office of oh-so-talented designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán's design company, Contemporain Studio. A perfect Boho Chic mixture of ancient and modern, Occidental and Asian, textures, colors, and styles. The eclectic mix of furniture is arranged in the classic conversation seating arrangements, lending a certain gravity to a space that, in spite of the widely diverse styles represented, does not veer into whimsy. Each piece seems (and I'm certain, was) carefully chosen and thoughtfully placed. Just masterful.

Courtesy of Contemporain

A different view of the same room.

Courtesy of Contemporain

Below, the Contemporain office kitchen. I wrote about this kitchen a couple of months ago, and I'm still quite taken with it! His mixing of a Louis XV table with an antique Chinese screen, along with antelope horns, a mid-century mod chair over a stunning herringbone wood floor somehow seems fresh, interesting, vibrant, and appropriate.

Courtesy of Contemporain

In the London townhouse of cosmetics executive Christine D'Ornano (her family founded Coty and Lancome cosmetics) from Elle Decor, a George Smith chesterfield sofa, a pair of sparse cane chairs, mid-century style chairs, pop art, neon art, and a rabbit sculpture. D'Ornano's furnishings are a mish-mash of top of the line furniture, family pieces, and flea market finds, all fully representational of who she is.

Courtesy of Elle Decor


  1. HELP ME PLEASE!! I have a microsuede and leather sectional counch, that I'm desperately trying to make "fit" into a shabby-chicish, bohemian living room. I'm losing what is left of my marbles trying to sort this out and I absoultely love the aqua room up above. My walls are sage colored; however, I'm not married to them and my furniture is rustic pine-ish with wrought iron accents. I'm still looking for the perfect dining room, however, that damn sofa is driving me to distraction because nothing I do to it makes it look right. Please help...

  2. Is it a fixed sectional or can you take it apart? Maybe you can try putting some bun feet on it and changing the throw pillows. Animal prints, ethnic prints( I personally like sari) and a chunky throw should transform it. I once had ugly pleather couches and couldn't afford to buy new ones. I switched out the feet for bun feet and created a velvet slip cover. Hope that helps.

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