Champagne Taste

Posted on February 01, 2023 by Dana Gibson | 3 Comments

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. 


Dana Gibson Bamboo Mirror in White

                                                     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.


Dana Gibson Flavia in Red Side Chair, Single

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.



3 Responses

Christine Levy
Christine Levy

June 07, 2023

I absolutely love the cameo shaped portrait! Did you paint that yourself?
Can I hire you to paint one for me?

Julie Thomas
Julie Thomas

June 07, 2023

Dana— I loved this blog. This was super inspirational! I love layering myself and mixing styles. I also love cool art . While not a painter at all, I am really inspired to try this out. What kind of paints did you use?

thanks! xxj

carolyn wilson
carolyn wilson

June 07, 2023

Love it You should sell copies of your George Washington portrait

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