Accessorize With Art Deco

For a song, this couple transformed their thrice-renovated 1940s ranch-style house with universal styling accents.
Majella Chubae Hamilton

There's a resurgence afoot--a wave of decorating interest in fluid forms, steely legs, curvy shapes, exotic prints, silhouette images, and rich colors paired with black and white. All combined, it reflects a warm simplicity packed with universal appeal and interest.

You've probably noticed it. You may have even incorporated its elements into the decor of your own home. The retro-modern movement, a form of the Art Deco period of the 1920s and 1930s, is bound to catch your eye while shopping for furniture and accessories.

The quiet styling storm can be found in items such as light woods or wood veneer tabletops, animal skin prints, generous upholstery, lacquered finishes, and artwork inspired by worldly film and entertainment memorabilia.

Although speculation runs the gamut on just how to define the latest Art Deco style, there's nothing passé about this near craze that is sweeping stores and homes.

Reinventing Interiors
One prime example of this design influence is in an inviting home situated in the heart of the South in Bellevue, Tennessee. Sticking to a self-imposed limited budget, Steve and Brenda Mitchell used Art Deco influences to decorate their 60-year-old ranch-style home, tucked away down a country road just south of Nashville (a hop, skip, and a jump from the famed Loveless Cafe).

Three years ago, when the Mitchell family moved in, they decided to infuse lively, updated nuances into their home, while minimizing some of the opulence associated with the early-20th-century period.

Getting It for a Steal
At the helm of a successful music-and-event production business, Steve and Brenda looked for aesthetic improvements in tune with their recent investment and their love for Art Deco.

"We are the king and queen of deals," says Steve. "We love a good bargain. You can still have a nice home on a shoestring budget. We stumbled upon the house from an unflattering picture in a magazine. Because most of the structural improvements had already been made during previous renovations, all we had to do was come up with the accents. Already our home has doubled in value."

Realizing that accessories can change any home, Steve and Brenda found great buys on items at stores such as T. J. Maxx, Marshall's, Dillard's, and Target. "Brenda is very creative with our resources," Steve comments. "She spotted a table that she loved, brought it home, and painted it."

"We re-covered our dining room chairs ourselves," adds Brenda. "I look for discontinued and discounted furniture items. There is no best time to purchase. We buy pieces we love all the time."

Art Deco Redefined
"The furniture we had was dark," she continues. "We wanted a real change. By putting in the updated Art Deco touches everywhere, we opened our home up with interesting colors, shapes, and contrasts."

Now the home transcends the seasons with a relaxing atmosphere, generous proportions, metallics coupled with lighter woods, and lacquer finishes and trims--an intriguing mix of old and new.