Interior Design Inspired by "Auntie Mame"

Auntie Mame the movie (1958) has to be one of one of the most quintessential movies representing interior design, Talk about the ultimate high-end client - Mame changes her decor to match her mood and her outfits to match her decor.   

Its been my philosophy in interior design is that the areas of ones home where you can introduce some visual drama is the dining room, guest bathroom and foyer - Well Mame's foyer certainly has all of that. Nora the nephew's caretaker remarks that the foyer resembles "The ladies room at the Oriental theater".
When they ring the doorbell, steam shoots out the dragon's nostrils and the eyes move - now that's a dramatic entrance.  

As an Interior Designer it's fun to watch the revolving design elements in the living room.
The three main areas to watch is the ever changing fireplace wall with its flanking windows and treatments, the staircase and its banister railing and the entrance.   

This must be Auntie Mame's serious brown phase where she has decided to wright her memoirs -
Please note the bookcase and that all of her books are covered in coordinating covers, come to notice Mame is covered in a coordinating color as well. 

This is a very unique and divers interior design concept from 1958 that seems to have some contemporary elements including floor to ceiling beads that when pulled upon, to Mame's delight the sofa-bench rises to extraordinary heights therefore jilting her not so welcomed prospective new in-laws. The unexpected item that I can ignore is that not the fireplace has been converted to a glossy white Kachelofen which is an antique from of room heater from Germany and found in old castles.

The bedroom Auntie Mame offers to her nephew Patrick is called "The Marie Antoinette Room" Please click image to see my vignette titled "Marie Antoinette goes to Key West" on my Murals - Faux Finishes page.

Mame's bedroom offers up such extravagances as a round bed, fur chaise, ornate white marble fireplace with a roaring fire all sitting on pink carpeting.       

Inspired by "The Great Gatsby"

This truly is where movie set design and interior design come together - 
The New York City's Plaza Hotel is honoring Zelda Fitzgerald who would have been 114 and was the muse for some of her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald's greatest work.
The Plaza Hotel teamed up with Catherine Martin who won two or her four Academy Awards for The Great Gatsby (2013) to design the Fitzgerald Suite. 

Being an Interior Designer I love to borrow design elements from the past and as expected Ms. Martin has encapsulated all of the sexy glamour and nostalgia from the Deco era of the 1920's.

To add to the romance of room the chandelier centered on a framed antique mirror ceiling and was designed to sound like champagne glasses clinking, the bookshelves are lined with the complete works of both F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald right down to a Gramophone-shaped speaker ready for your iPod. As for the artwork adoring the walls they are portraits of the 2013 film's cast taken by the famed celebrity photographer Douglas Kirkland. 

For the true Great Gatsby movie fans there are actual props from the set of the Baz Luhrmann film including the linens with Jay Gatsby's monogram. 

When guest check into the 700 square foot Fitzgerald suite priced at a mere $2,795 a night (plus tax) they are welcomed with a Moet Imperial Gatsby : a champagne cocktail exclusively served at the Plaza as well a pair of silver flasks monogrammed with the Plaza's iconic logo.

As for the design elements I love the tone on tone color scheme -  It should be noted that everything in this Deco-inspired suite is provided by Restoration Hardware right down to the paint on the walls which Ms. Martin said the color, Subtle Velvet Graphite, evokes a "wistfulness".

I particularly like the the picture frame molding on the walls with inlaid fabric panels that match the roman shades at the windows and the painted black boarder against the white frame really accentuates the architectural detail.   

Please take note of the three fabulous Deco rugs and how they define each area in this small space.

It is easy to think how we can incorporate these timeless elements from the roaring 20's to a peaceful and harmonious space in our home today.  

Plaza Hotel Fitzgerald suite
Interior design on Plaza Hotel Fitzgerald
interior design hotel blog
Great Gatsby design insperation

Interior design inspired by "The Great Gatsby"


F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel tells of love and ambition along the Gold Coast of Long Island, New York. The novel was originally published in 1925 and was set during the Art Deco era. 
The Art Deco period started in France after an exhibition on the modern machine age and showcased geometric, angular and streamlined motifs like zigzags and chevrons.
It is no wonder why Catherine Martin, wife of director Baz Luhrmann won two Academy Awards for the movie The Great Gatsby.
Ms. Martin's set designs shows us the most grand and elegant forums of the Art Deco period as opposed to the Deco hotels on Miami Beach that I grew up with and are more kitschy in nature with a tropical flare.       


Consistent with turn-of-the-century mansions, the Grand Ballroom features a gold-filigreed ceiling hung with ornate crystal chandeliers, a marquetry floor with Gatsby's monogram inlaid, towering columns between windows, and a beautiful serpentine staircase.   


Gatsby's bedroom is just as grand being two stories with its spiral staircase leading up to built-in clothing storage. The room is filled with richly polished hardwoods, a harlequin-pattern wall covering of silk crisscrossed with ribbons of wood, and a gray Art Deco style rug designed by Martin.

It is understood how the Deco style started in the 20's with inspirations of the modern machine age and stayed with us through the building of the Miami Beach hotels during the 50's.


Pretty in Pink

Elizabeth Taylor in BUtterfield 8 (1960)

Elizabeth Taylor in BUtterfield 8 (1960)

As an Interior Designer I derive great inspiration from the movies and set design -
Here we see the great Elizabeth Taylor entering an all pink bathroom, and I mean all pink!
Everything is a textured pink, I am not sure if it is suppose to be marble (probably Formica) but all the walls, moldings, cabinetry and counter-top, right down to the towels are all exactly the same shade of bubble gum pink - everything except for the mirror frame, towel bars, bench and doorknob which are all a very 24 K gold. Even Mrs. Taylor's slip is a pale pink with a matching bubble gum pink lace trim.
I wonder if she is drinking a Pink Lady cocktail and to bad she doesn't have a Poodle, I bet we all can guess what color it would be - after all this movie was made in 1960 and is titled BUtterfield 8. As a side note Elizabeth Taylor won an Academy Award for her performance in this movie but it is my belief that the award was given to her for her performance in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) where it is said that she was over looked by the academy for being Hollywood's bad girl due to the affair and marriage to America's sweet heart, Debbie Reynolds husband Eddie Fisher. Elizabeth Taylor hated the film and referred to it as "Butterball 4" and was forced under protest to fulfill a contractual obligation to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer before being allowed to contract with 20th Century Fox to make Cleopatra - where we all know that Mrs. Taylor found her next husband Richard Burton. 
Thanks to the set designers Gene Callahan and J. C. Delaney Elizabeth Taylor truly does look "Pretty in Pink"   

Please feel free to view a clip from the movie showing the pink bathroom