What is Hollywood Regency?

I just recently realized a design style that I have been drawn to for some time now, but never really could define it until recently. Until a few months ago I stumbled upon the book In the Pink the story of Dorothy Draper” the designer of The Greenbrier Hotel and many other projects.

That’s when a light bulb went on in my head! (DING DING, I’m a winner!) It’s the ultra glam/neoclassic infused style called Hollywood Regency; which is no new concept for those on the West Coast of California, but this Texas native is few decades late to the party, oppsie’s .

It was after attending interior design school on the sunny gold coast that I noticed I had been drawn to its artful, avant-garde, classic design element for a long time. For those of you who are new to the style let me just recap it’s origin.

This style got it’s start in 1930’s when Hollywood was at its utmost peak of perfection. Everything was focused on entertaining, conversation, charming wit and high style.  It’s no secret that the sets of Hollywood have been setting the trends for decades. But, this one in particular has since become a new traditional classic in my book.

First, it gets the attention of editors of all the magazines, and then they find their way into commercial interiors such as retail shops, restaurants and hotels. Finally, the style trickles down to us regular folks and influences the way we dress and style our homes. In order for you to get a good understanding of what I’m talking about let go back a bit and talk about the who’s who of this time period.

In Front of the Camera:

Hollywood Starlets of the day: Jean Harlow  &  Joan Crawford


The Magic Behind the Scene:

The front-runners who pioneered this style are designer like Dorothy Draper, Elsie de Wolfe and William (Billy) Haines who actually designed the sets back in the golden age of films in the 1930’s.

The style is really is East (Orient) meets West (Gold Cost) with hits of vibrant color, neoclassic details with a whimsical mix of scale.

For example, the use of large over the top baroque architectural cast details to really make an impact that leaves you saying “wow”!

Dorothy Draper: http://www.dorothydraper.com/History.html

William (Billy) Haines: http://www.williamhaines.com/history.php

Sound overwhelming? I am going to show you what I think are the “stand out” design elements, so that you can pick and choose which ones you would like to bring into your space.

First, COLOR think Chinese Red, Canary Yellow, Apple Greens, Turquoises, Aqua, Pinks (of course) and general dose’s of Black and White

Then: The Greenbrier Hotel by Dorothy Draper


Now: Viceroy Hotels by Kelly Wearstler



Try mixing these “today” colors into your palette:

Patterns: Geometric shapes, squares, rectangles, ovals, oh my…! Chevron and Escher (the artist) patterns scaled down to its barest form.


Works of Escher


By Mary McDonald

Chinoiserie: A French term, signifying “Chinese-esque”, a recurring theme in European   artistic styles since the seventeenth century, which reflect Chinese artistic influences.

It is characterized by the use of fanciful imagery of an imaginary China, by asymmetry in format and whimsical contrasts of scale, and by the attempts to imitate Chinese porcelain and the use of lacquer-like materials and decoration. Other “Chinese-esque” elements are Chinese guardian lions aka Fu Dogs here in the states, fret work, and the use of bamboo materials


Scale: Go big or go home have fun and mix it up!

Lonny Magazine: http://lonnymag.com/

By Windsor Smith

Whimsical Details: Large pop art type pieces, high glamour photography and maybe a few feathers. Don’t take things to seriously

By Jonathan Adler 

Furniture & Finishes: Clean, modern, small-scale, streamlined tailored piece mixed with European antiques or materials like lacquer, mirror and velvets.

By Miles Redd

Uhh, did ya notice the lacquered walls?!!! WOW

Fabrics: Moroccan Trellis, foliage, floral, geometric shapes, and damask pattered fabrics. As for solids think texture; velvet, chenille, high gloss and paten leathers.

Now, let’s see it in action shall we?

Image below, designer is unknown sorry.

By : Carleton Varney’s “Mr. Color”

When doing this in your own home start with a color and pattern. When mixing patterns try to have a large, medium and small-scale pattern. Color should be a common tread  in all of them or at least be complementary (opposite each other on the color wheel) to each other in order to bring harmony into the room. Just don’t be afraid to mix things up and have fun you can do a little or a lot.