Get the Look: decorating with vintage busts

statue bust

There’s a place in every home for a classical bust. Busts are sculptures of the head, neck and sometimes the shoulders of a person, usually on a pedestal or a plinth. Made of stone, metal, plaster, resin or anything else you can chisel or mold, busts range in size from needing two people to lift them to small enough to hide in a book shelf. And they’re easy to find online and at vintage stores, flea markets and estate sales.

How you use busts depends on your decorating personality. Which bust type are you?

The Bust Traditionalist

traditional bust
As seen in Architectural Digest, a classic bust used in the master bedroom of designer Timothy Corrigan’s Paris apartment

Symmetry is the star in this classic traditional design. Perfection, thy name is a pure white bust centered on a mantel with symmetrically placed obelisks on either side, the whole thing flanked by a pair of ornate gold eagle mirrors. With the rich wood and the blue and white draped walls, the room is both exquisitely balanced and traditional.

The Bust Eclectic

bust in cloche
A small bust nestles with ephemera under a glass cloche, from Time-Worn Interiors.

Decorator and dealer Theresa Mae Smith has a way with busts. She blends them into her rooms and displays everywhere and every way in a charming, authentic way. Glass cloches and domes make everything better, and her eclectic little metal frog, clock face, journal and classical white bust are both cozy and eclectic.

The Bust Irreverent

bust in a hat
Dress for success bust on a side table from Lonny.com.

Having a vintage bust fill the role as your irreverent imaginary friend who is ready for anything is always good. Juxtaposing a classical form with chapeau and a scarf is decorating wit at it’s finest–a nod and wink to whimsy and irreverence. It’s adding a touch that let’s everyone know you take decorating that matches your personality seriously.

The Bust Functional

bust on vanity
A View Along the Way brought bust form and function to her vanity.

Have neck will accessorize. A bust on the vanity if a brilliant way to showcase beautiful necklaces. Less inclined towards bling? A bust on the table by the door is an excellent way to never forget your work lanyard. 

The Bust Collected

bust collection
Busts of mixed sizes, styles and finishes in Domicile 37‘s eclectic sitting room.

Collect what you love. Domicile 37 styles a shelf in her sitting room project with busts mixed in size, composition and style to stunning effect. A grouping of busts on a buffet, mantel or shelves showcases your finds and evolves as you score a new stone or resin friend.

The Bust Verdant

head planter
Head planters are classic, as highlighted by This Old House.

Old stone, cement and terra-cotta head planters filled with plants succulent or plants leafy and long add personality to every garden. Low water succulents make it easy to maintain a lush head of leaves if you’re not the most attentive gardener. And there’s no rule they have to live outside.

The Bust DIY style

Two pretty cool DIY tutorials, one for making a head for by slush pouring concrete from Made by Barb and one for using a styrofoam wig form from Homeward Found Decor.

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Pretty In Pink

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The Dark Side Of Vintage

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EightMileVintage on etsy.com
 

Vintage Bingo Cage
TippleAndSnack on etsy.com

Vintage Primitive Wire Towel Holder
VintageRenude on etsy.com

Themed Christmas trees: 3 ideas to spark your holiday creativity

evergreen branch

The problem with decorating Christmas trees is that it’s too much fun to only do once a season. The main tree tends to have a well-established theme, recreated every year. It’s an old friend, a welcome one, but still an old friend. Not much room for innovation. That’s where smaller themed Christmas trees hit the spot–a chance to flex your creativity in the holiday spirit.

The basic recipe starts with some sort of tree type object: real evergreens, faux evergreens, aluminum dazzlers, feather trees or unconventional materials like dowels, sticks, frames, stacks of books, carefully piled crates or boxes, cardboard tubes…anything that works within the laws of gravity and physics can be a  tree if you say it is.

Once you have your tree, unleash your imagination. To get those muscles warming up and flexing gently, here are some creative sparks to ponder…

The Kitchen Tree

kitchen christmas tree
From HGTV.com, a simple cutlery kitchen tree.

The kitchen is full of things that deserve a time to shine. HGTV featured this cutlery inspired tree on their blog; how many of us have bits and bobs of antique silver-plated flatware and odd serving utensils lurking in our drawers. To add to the fun, what about accenting it with strings of fresh cranberries

Scale matters: the larger the tree, the larger the items you can hang. Big tree–mashers and muffin tins. Small tree–molds and measuring spoons. And what does the tree stand in–a blue enamel roasting pan, an antique cookie tin or a copper bowl with a linen dish towel tree skirt?

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The Boudoir Tree

jewelry trees
Three ideas for trees in your on your dresser or vanity.

I saw my first jewelry tree in the 1980s. My vintage-loving friend David had collected sparkling rhinestone jewelry all year, both broken and complete. And the apartment-sized tree he decorated was fully covered with necklaces dripping like icicles and brooches glinting like exquisite baubles. 

Jewelry trees can express your inner magpie. If you have broken bits, you have the blissful liberation of  glue gunning without a shred of guilt like the photo above left from RetroRenovation. If you are using your own wearables, delicately dangle them from a feather tree, drape necklaces like garlands or dot a wreath with brooches. Tiny perfume bottles; yes please.  Need some whimsy in your life, release the curlers! Need a his and hers? Add bow ties. Add a pretty handkerchief, lace trimmed slip or doily as a tree skirt. Or better yet, nestle it in a vintage suitcase and surround it with your favorite pretties.

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The Ephemera Tree

ephemera trees
Two ways to share mementos and ephemera, a DIY frame tree from Organized Clutter or a lavishly decorated tree from Cincinnati’s  Taft Museum.

Whether you like your memories vintage or like them as fresh as last summer, an ephemera tree showcases photographs, small bits of memorabilia, greeting cards and more. What better way to display a decade’s worth of pictures with Santa? Or favorite fishing lures and photos from fishing trips to remember? Decorate a travel memories tree with a paper chain garland made from old maps. Postcards, mais oui! Buttons and badges and car keys and golf tees…anything that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside has a place on an ephemera tree.

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Make it yours

When it comes to theme trees, with enough pixie dust and some scrounging in drawers and boxes, the only limit is your own imagination. Look up your sleeve…what’s hiding there might surprise you and dazzle your holiday guests with your creative genius. 

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Vintage – My Happy Place

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The Gift of Vintage

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A Round Up of Vintage Porch Decor for Halloween

Now is the time to get your front porch decked out for Halloween!

Here is a round up of some ideas to get you started.

Vintage Pails

Gather all your old galvanized pails and turn them into pumpkins for your porch. Use a black charcoal pencil and white chalk to draw jack-o-lantern faces on your pails. Fill the pails with twigs, gourds, or small pumpkins and you have a great look.

 

Vintage Crates

There are so many clever ways you can decorate your porch using vintage pop crates. Stack them and fill them with fallen leaves, colorful gourds from your garden, or small pumpkins. Save  crate to hold bowls of candy, too!

 

Vintage Sign Letters

Use a collection of vintage sign letters to spell out messages to your trick-or-treaters. 

 

Vintage Mirrors

Use a vintage mirror to create a spooky ghost look. It’s sure to scare away visitors!

 

 

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Vintage decorating inspiration: 1950s contemporary meets now

1950s room illustration

Finding vintage decorating inspiration for your modern home by browsing periodicals and books from a favorite time period is a vintage lover’s happy place. House and Garden’s Complete Guide to Decorating (1953) is powerhouse mid century resource; a stylebook with pictures, illustrations, descriptions and guidelines on lots of the home decor trends from the 1950s.

The chapter on contemporary decor feels like it could have been written to describe vintage modern, a happy co-mingling of pieces from past eras with pieces from today:

Contemporary is based not on an abstract idea but on the way we actually live. Here are some things it has added to our rooms:

A sense of comfort and peace, a feeling that this is not a formal parlor but that a live family belongs here.

The uninhibited approach to decoration, which boils down to confidence in your own taste.

Furniture that blends with easy grace with old or new neighbors, that can be used appropriately in almost any room.

We narrowed our focus onto two rooms from the contemporary chapter that (with some modern updates) are as appealing today as they were then. Let the inspiration begin!

1950s contemporary decorating
From House and Garden’s Complete Guide to Decorating, 1953. 

Room 1: The Contemporary Study

Unlikely roommates from different worlds: the Asian Coromandel screen, the furniture with simple lines that makes the natural wood grain shine, the antique chair with the floral cushion and the saturated color of the rug complement each other to make a room comfortable. The key is to find the right blend of colors and textures and scale that works together. Of course, the best rooms come together from serendipity and scouting, but here’s some shopping ideas to get you started:

Room 2: The Contemporary Parlor

vintage statement art wall
Statement art wall of mixed and matched art styles and sizes from House and Garden’s Complete Guide to Interior Design (1953)

Art makes a room pop, whether set on a dark wall or a light one. Mixing and matching art that you like makes it personal, because like artist Fred Babb says, “Good art won’t match your sofa.” The art wall above is well curated with interesting subjects that have a companionable thread of similar colors. Adding houseplants and a mix of books you love personalizes the room even more. The large sideboard is quite a statement, however it provides copious storage and a generous horizontal surface for displaying treasures . Add seating that stresses comfort and a coffee table that stresses function. Final touch, an unexpected  pop of gold gilt in the form of a chair or a pedestal to add a little old world charm in an otherwise modern room.

 The Modern Take

Komenda's living room
As featured in Domino magazine, Jenny Komenda’s living room

Domino magazine’s feature on author Jenny Komendo’s house is a picture perfect modern take on the decorating ideas expressed so well in the vintage House and Garden book. Rooms to live in, furniture from different eras that gets along and most of all, confidence. Thrift store dresser, comfortable seating, ultra modern table and eclectic art. Perfect.

 

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Hello Fall- Get The Look

September, the time of year when it dawns on you that Mother Nature’s palette is changing from the bright greens of summer to the golds and browns of autumn. Happily vintage treasures come in all those shades so the time is right to welcome FALL into your home. 

“By all these lovely tokens September days are here, with summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer.” — Helen Hunt Jackson

 

 

“There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.” — Marshall McLuhan.    One more reason to BUY VINTAGE