Monday, March 21, 2011

Color Recall: The 1990's

Number five in a series of design thoughts through the decades of my mothers life...


This era invoked a decorating epiphany for me.   Once the 80’s “mauve” era was over, in my mind design took on a more classic look.  

Neutral colors created restful palettes and eclectic looks were popular.  Feng Shui was also in there somewhere.  This allowed home owners to mix and match their home furnishings.    Identical lamps on identical end tables became passe and furniture no longer hugged walls, but moved to face focal points in a room (e.g. a fireplace) or placed in areas for reading or conversation. 

Hardwood floors replaced carpets and the latter was relegated to bedrooms or eliminated altogether.    Modern, professionally-styled kitchens were coming to the fore even though people were cooking less and less. 

Image via House Beautiful

In line with my new way of thinking, we moved to London, England at the end of the 1980’s and were there into the early 90’s.   

See adjacent text.
Westminster Palace via Wikipedia

During our stay we joined a historical society that entitled us to visit the historic homes and landmarks in the United Kingdom.  We must have gone over the edge because the owner of this blog made her father and I draw up an agreement that she would accompany us on these excursions, but would not be required to go inside.  We all signed the document and as a result, on many trips to these glorious homes she sat in the car and we would run out and check on her every so often. 

Chiswick House Interior via the culture concept

Now, of course, she regrets her lack of interest because inside these homes, many of which hearkened back to the 1500’s, were design elements that she is now using in her own home and writing about in this blog.   The craftsmanship and opulence of these dwellings opened up a whole new world of home decorating for me.   

Hampton Court Dining Room via you and your wedding

Of course I knew that I couldn’t replicate the décor at Hampton Court, Henry VIII’s magnificent mansion south of London, but I could use the rich colors and French inspired themes in my own modest home.


Thanks again mother dear...looks like I ruled the roost back then ; )! Not only was I travelling to historic homes with my parents, I was also visiting many of these same homes as part of  school field trips. At some point I had had enough of these manors and castles, but my mother is right, I regret not writing copious notes and taking countless photos to catalog my visits. I do have fond memories of the historic home I lived in as well as those of my friends. No one lived in a home younger than 200 years old. I vividly remember high ceilings, divided rooms, white walls, chintz, majestic curtains with valances, floor base molding as large as the crown molding, large leaded windows, hidden rooms, spiral staircases, crystal knobs, gilt mirrors and gorgeous fireplaces in every room. Living in London was truly a visual and design paradise. 

Below is a favorite image of mine that reminds me of London with a modern twist...

Jonathan Berger via House Beautiful

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! xx Danielle


  1. How fun it must have been to live in London!! Take care, Caroline

  2. oh london! i would love to go there!
    i am in love with that mostly white room with the teal walls- that is awesome!

  3. I enjoy this feature SO much, I can't even explain. Isn't it funny how kitchens became a priority for form over function?

  4. That hot pink foyer is a favorite image of mine. Knocks my socks off every time!

  5. You sat in the car???? :) I remember the mauve...

  6. How fun to live in London...adore the Jonathan Berger room!!

  7. Yes, amazing what we take for granted in our youth :) I would have been the same way back then. What a fantastic opportunity to live in England.

  8. Thanks everyone! was less than a handful of times that I sat in the car, but I still regret not cataloging every manor, castle, abbey that I ever went to. Has the time machine been invented yet?

  9. Danielle, what a great adventure you and your family had in the kids we are so funny, I can not tell you all the "wish I would have" moments I have daily....But we live and learn. In your defense, I do understand having to visit them twice must have been enough! Your Mom does such a great job, give her a high five from me!!!

  10. Danielle, do you think the ceiling in the last Architectural Digest images features faux rafters? I love that technique. I hate, hate, hate the overuse of drywall (gypsum is neither eco-friendly nor healthy), and faux rafters are a perfect way to mask the seams of standard-sized ceiling panels. I've wondered how common faux rafters are over the years because I see them only in custom homes.