22 June 2010

Eighties Flashback

In the spirit of nostalgia, I wanted to take a look back at the interior design that I remember from my childhood. I always wonder how much of what I like today will still be fabulous twenty years from now and looking through '80s design photos, I can't help but wonder, "What the hell were they thinking?!" I've convinced myself that the design I love today is classic and pulls from all different eras and styles, but the pictures I found serve as a blinking red caution, telling me to think twice before signing on to current trends. Here are a couple favorites (and by favorites I mean some of the most icky pictures I could find):

Perhaps more objective opinions might suggest that they aren't as bad as I think...  And maybe it will just take another 30 years for this stuff to come back full swing, but, in my opinion, the faux pas committed in these rooms far surpass teased hair and shoulder pads.   
The following photos are somewhat less bad, but scream 80s opulence. 

This one seems to have some art deco influence, but with ultra modern fixtures, as was so trendy in the 1980s.  There is a chance it could survive today without seeming too dated, but I certainly wouldn't call it classic.

This kitchen doesn't look too different from the ones featured in contemporary decor magazines, except for one distinguishing characteristic: it's overdone.  I would take a less is more approach when restyling this kitchen, but its got good bones and topiaries are always classic, just not 12 of them.

One of the least offensive of all the '80s photos I found, the designer has successfully mingled old and new.  The only real sign of the times are the refrigerator and some accessories.

And then there was chintz...  After doing some research on how it was used in the 80s, I'll never think of chintz the same.  Poor chintz.  I have to admit that I love me some chintz in small doses, but good gracious I think chintz threw up on the 80s (and continued the heaving into the '90s).  It is still a mystery to me how chintz came into play considering all the ultra (wannabe) sleek and ultra modern interiors I have seen from this era, but it was definitely there and it was proud. 

Despite the chintz overkill, there is something kind of elegant and fabulous about these rooms.  They call to mind garden life and English conservatories... maybe?  Enough about my secret chintz fetish.

Fortunately, not all of the design I found from the 80s was bad, some was very good indeed and even classic.  I discovered designer Angelo Donghia who seems to have been a man before his time and I would be glad to live with most any of his designs.

And then there are contemporary designers like Kelly Wearstler, who is pulling inspiration directly from this era and making it fabulous.  Like Donghia, she seems to truly understand what worked in the '80s and she graciously emphasizes the glamour and the luxury that characterized that era.

Many of her pieces are positively 80s, but there is something fresh and new about her designs.  And although I wouldn't want to live with most of them 365 days of the year,  I appreciate them nonetheless. 

1 comment:

  1. We still have a few 80's fixtures in our bathroom ((round Hollywood mirror lights and a gold faucet that looks like Aladdin's lamp.)) They actually still sell this faucet in Lowe's. I think there are thousands of shiny baubles left over from that decade that stores are still trying to liquidate. Some things can't be overlooked- like Elvis bathroom wallpaper and a center-of-the-home wet bar, complete with shiny brass hardware. We removed both before we moved in. Decor from this era is so funny, but I have to admit, I tend to overlook the things that cannot be easily replaced. I suppose we all walk around our houses in a necessary fog.