Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Secret History

This room is inspired by the book The Secret History by Donna Tartt. The book takes place during the early-mid '80s at the fictional Hampden College in Vermont. The lead characters are students who are part of an exclusive group that studies Ancient Greek. The plot also includes murder and intrigue but we won't concern ourselves with that today. For this room I mainly wanted to focus on three aspects: the eighties, Ancient Greek, and college decor.

The first thing I did was choose a sofa that reminded me of something I'd see in a college common room in 1985. The fireplace is a must for cold Vermont winters and I chose this one because it has columns reminiscent of Greek structures. I also chose the mirror over the fireplace because of its columns. The vase I placed beside the mirror is a modern take on a Grecian urn. It's flat rather than rounded and has a shiny silver glaze. The statue of Nike on the fireplace is another nod to the Greek theme. As is the vintage Greek plate, floral plaster plaque and framed map of Ancient Greece.

I found it difficult to achieve a 1980s look without it also looking overly cheesy. Currently retro is alive and well in design but it really only extends to the '70s. The framed Vermont print reminds me of a framed paint-by-number picture hanging in someone's family room in the suburbs in 1982. The Ikat patterned curtains totally (to the max) say 1980s to me as does the wool hooked hibiscus pillow in the chair. The ceiling light incorporates the neo-classical design that was popular in the 80s as well is a little Greek architecture into the mix. If you look closely you'll notice the light's ceramic bowl is etched with Grecian-like patterns.

The large red clock brings color up from the rug on to the wall and also looks vaguely Greek inspired. I chose the houndstooth chair because college isn't college without professors wearing houndstooth leather elbowed jackets. Finally the patterned rug has an '80s influence and also brings interest to the room.


Fleur Plaque ($99) from Ballard Designs

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