Homeware update: Hollywood Regency

By Tracey Strange

For those starting to tire of natural linens and muted colours, Hollywood Regency is like a glass of bubbles — fresh, glamorous and slightly intoxicating.
A Jonathan Adler room.
A Jonathan Adler room.

If you ever come across the term Hollywood Regency when flicking through a magazine, don't be surprised if the same paragraph includes the name Kelly Wearstler. Wearstler, an American interior designer known for her fearlessly glamorous style, is the very opposite of blond-wood minimalism. Think oversized chandeliers (all the better if they look like exotic deep-sea creatures), zebra-print sofas teamed with eye-poppingly bright fuchsia cushions and lots and lots of black and gold. But while Wearstler's style is definitely old-school Bel Air glam, it also includes touches of modern - eclectic - edginess. Gwen Stefani is a fan, so is Cameron Diaz.

The reference to Tinseltown royalty isn't accidental. The Hollywood Regency look stems from the sets designers created to showcase golden-era movie stars. Set against a backdrop of sumptuous sofas, sparkling chandeliers and chrome drinks trolleys, silver screen actors and actresses were allowed to glitter. Fabrics were luxe, patterns were geometric and lacquer and gold compulsory. Naturally the same stars wanted the extravagantly playful sets recreated for them back home in their Beverley Hills mansions.

Wearstler isn't the only well-known designer credited with repopularising Hollywood Regency. Jonathan Adler is another. Adler, whose quirky ceramics are sold at Askew, is an American designer whose love of colour, glamour and overstated decoration has him very firmly in the maximalist camp. While the pair has different approaches, they share a high regard for opulence, classical references and eclecticism. Here is how they make it work.

• HR combines modern pieces with old, balancing expensive fabrics and glitzy finishes with more traditional elements like leather club chairs and marble table tops.

This means you won't have to throw out all your existing minimalist furniture but you will definitely have to layer it up - with luxe accessories like faux fur (zebra being your best bet), ornate urn-shaped vases and braided cushions, for example.

The queen of Hollywood Regency, Kelly Wearstler, has her own distinctive range of high-end furniture, available at Cavit & Co.
The queen of Hollywood Regency, Kelly Wearstler, has her own distinctive range of high-end furniture, available at Cavit & Co.

• Random pops of colour will never do when it comes to HR - more is more. Devotees combine parrot-like shades of raspberry, turquoise, tangerine, green and yellow with accents of gilt.

Folium Pinto Cushion $250 
from Mr Bigglesworthy.
Folium Pinto Cushion $250 from Mr Bigglesworthy.

• HR spans multiple decades and focuses on eclecticism. This means it's perfectly acceptable to put a 1930s-style chair next to a Regency-style one or to mix and match a sunburst mirror with a floral couch. Don't be afraid of making a statement. The elements that will hold it all together are gilt, sharp, sunny colours and quirky accessories.

Murano glass chandelier $POA from Design55.
Murano glass chandelier $POA from Design55.

• If in doubt, make it shine. Lacquered finishes, mirrored surfaces and lots of chrome are hallmarks of the HR look.

Oval sun mirror $1438 through CC Interiors.
Oval sun mirror $1438 through CC Interiors.

• Sumptuously dressed walls and windows and neoclassical fretwork are beautiful design features but they are neither inexpensive nor temporary. If you want to play with the look in your own home, pay reference to it with bold geometric wallpapers and timeless luxe fabrics such as velvet and satin. These can either be replaced or repurposed once you move on.

Artcopi Charme Des Temps cupboard, $6299 from Corso de' Fiori.
Artcopi Charme Des Temps cupboard, $6299 from Corso de' Fiori.

• Love mid-century furniture? You are in luck. Low-lying sofas, sleek wooden cabinetry and stainless steel coffee tables are the perfect foil for HR's exuberance.

Velvet Venezia couch, $1829 from Leopold Hall.
Velvet Venezia couch, $1829 from Leopold Hall.

Shop for the look at:

Cavit & Co
Mid-Century Design
Mr Bigglesworthy
The Paper Room
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