Sunday, 18 October 2009

Amelie in Regency England, or decorating in red, green and gold

I'm a huge fan of Amy Merrick's Living In series for design*sponge, in which she takes the decor of films as diverse as The Remains of the Day and Dirty Dancing, and suggests ways to get the look at home. One film she has yet to tackle is the visually-sumptuous Amelie. When I was in Paris last year, I visited the cafe in Montmartre where Amelie was filmed:

It was surprisingly low-key, full of locals, rather than tourists. We had bieres et frites and watched the world go by for a while. I couldn't resist using les toilettes where Georgette and Raymond have their moment of passion...

Oui, c'est moi, ca. Anyway, the point is, ever since watching the film, I have wanted to paint the flat in shades of red green and yellow. I love the quirky, bohemian feel these colours give Amelie's apartement (pictures from Dwellings and Decor):
A toned-down version of this look can be found in My Summer of Love. I adore this coming-of-age film, which is never cliched, but sweet and sinister by turns.

The rambling pile in which much of the action takes place is decorated in muted reds and greens...


...with antique furniture upholstered in velvets and brocades, while swags and swathes contribute to a feeling of slightly decadent faded grandeur.


This is the perfect setting for bored, bohemian Tamsin. And who can be surprised that it casts a beguiling spell over troubled local girl Mona?

These looks are not too difficult to achieve on a shoestring, as they employ the shabby chic aesthetic to good effect. Look out for rich, textured fabrics in deep colours and don't worry about mixing furniture from different periods: regency antiques will happily sit alongside mid-century classics, with a touch of 50s kitsch thrown in for good measure. In both these films, I love the way coloured lampshades cast a warm glow, instantly adding a touch of magic to the atmosphere.

Last night I was wallowing in the Sunday evening comfort-fest that is BBC period drama, and noticed a yet more subdued version of this scheme in Emma:

I know, it's rather hard to see by candlelight, but I do love the combination of sage-grey and buttermilk walls with the faded-red sofa and gold cushions. Emma Woodhouse, the Amelie of Regency England? I feel a literary theory coming on...

1 comment:

  1. Or colour theory? Maýbe I should out you on the guest list for the talk I will be giving at the Royal Pavilion this month, entitled "Regency Colour Theory", with particular reference to interior decoration. But I might get nervous with you in the audience...

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