Do you agree many of the houses published in your favorite magazines are just a touch over the top? Who can afford that $12,000 dollar sofa no matter how good looking? Would you paint your living room a deep shade of aubergine? Probably not. If you are like me and have fallen for some of the mouth watering decor in magazines like House Beautiful, Elle Decor and AD, it is safe to say, you suffer from champagne tastes And that's not a bad thing. It's good to aspire. Sometimes however replicating the look is just a matter of some paint and jeux d'esprit.
I often crush on some of the designers in these magazines and can do a deep dive in to their work. Case in point: Johnson Hartig. Out now with a Schumacher collection of fabric and wallpaper, he's all the rage. It's his houses that I find so inspirational. Famous for the layered look, I would categorize his style as "excessive". And that's not a bad thing. While most of us would not use wallpaper on ceilings or line every inch of a bookshelf with baskets and mismatched crockery, the fact that he does, gives me courage to be a little more extravagant and inventive when decorating my own home.
Another favorite designer of mine these days is Sig Bergamin. A rock star in his native Brazil, he bravely mixes whatever he loves however he wants. Here a classic monogram pillow fronts a delicious ikat throw. Mixing different styles and genres is what he does best. I've even seen a space of his where he upholstered the floor!
My third and final crush for this season is Martin Brudnizki. He came to my attention because he ordered a pair of my White Bamboo Mirrors for a project. I was immediately smitten and went down the rabbit hole researching his complete portfolio. Known for exuberant commercial spaces, he , like my other favorite designers, dares to introduce the unexpected in to a room scheme. It always looks right.
What these three designer have in common is what I call a fearless approach to design. On the other hand they also work with some of the most celebrated people and brands which brings me to the dilemma of having champagne tastes. Truth be told what we see in magazines and online is often beyond our reach. Take the oval portrait in Johnson Hartig's living room above. I've actually been actively searching for a pair of Gustavian type portraits. I haven't found any that were even remotely within my budget. On a mission to add this rich and luxurious touch to my house, I found a pretty oval gilded frame at a local antique store.
Unfortunately I only found one and it was not as large as I needed for my original spot. But this would do for practice. For those interested, the cost was just a touch over $100. My kitchen serves as a makeshift studio for projects like this at home. Above you can see the before and after of my weekend project. (Don't mind the paper towel dispenser and toaster propping up the portraits ). The woman had been painted on paint board which is the easiest to paint over. While my painting of the French looking soldier is not as nuanced and fine as the one I copied, it easily slipped right in to my decor and added the depth and theatre I was looking for.
Copying portraits and art may not come easy to everyone. And I can hear someone say, "I can't do that." It never hurts to try. I've seen numerous successes in my day. So if you have champagne tastes and aren't willing to shell out for the real thing for whatever reason, take a little initiative and add a sense of wonder and beauty to your home with just a bit of effort.
Copyright disclaimer. Keep in mind you can copy anything, especially works by artists who are deceased a number of years. It is illegal to sell a copy of an artwork that is similar to another work of art art.