Nixonian Nostalgia

We live in a recycled culture, and it is never long before something that was once popular becomes reviled–and if you wait long enough,  becomes popular again. For a long time the fashion and design of the 1970s was shunned, and more recently has become popular once again. 1970s aspects of interior design that one once might have grimaced at are now coveted. When my grandparents passed away last year, I never believed that I would find anything inspiring in their 1970s decorating scheme. Low and behold, there were a few treasures that I was ready to fight family members tooth and nail for – go figure. 
Last weekend in NYC, I was at a cocktail party at a friend’s apartment, an apartment that was previously his grandparents’.  This photo above is of the metallic floral wallpaper in the foyer of the apartment. Gold, yellow, and white flowers on a silver leaf background! Totally cool. This picture does not do the walls justice. A few years ago when taupe and minimalism were at its height, I probably would never have fallen in love with this floral, but now bold walls are in!
If you know me, then you know that I am a true sucker for anything metallic. Gold, silver, bronze – you name it, I covet it.  My friend’s apartment turned out to be a treasure trove of 1970s era metallic wallpaper. I think this was my favorite, in the dining room. Silver metallic paper with flowers and birds–green, blue, white, yellow – this paper has it all. Its an almost “american” chinoiserie.  I just cannot get enough. 
Another metallic from the hallway in the apartment featuring blue, green, and white flowers and fruit. I just think these papers could be so chic and unexpected in a modern design setting.Or perhaps wallpapering some folding screens to divide a room. I wish I new the source!
Kelly Wearstler is a designer who takes chances with retro-esque prints and patterns–especially metallics. Here is an apartment she did with walls in silver leaf.
Although I can’t say that my design aesthetic quite matches Kelly’s, her use of metallics is very appealing. Think about how chic a room like this could be with one of the 1970s metallic wallpapers?
Here is another room by Kelly Wearstler, where she uses a retro wallpaper that a few years ago would not have been considered chic. But in this setting, mixed with graphic patterns it takes on a new modernity.  
p.s. is anyone as obsessed with the wallpaper in the Nixon photo as I am? 

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  • this may be the first time in history that Nixon got a design shout out. i like his shirt too!

  • Interesting post about the 70’s coming back. As long as it’s not avacado green apliances or anything that looks like Carol Brady picked it out.

  • This is so funny that you did a post on wallpapers…I am working on one for Monday! I am a huge fan of wallpaper and have personally wallpapered three rooms in my home…one of which is a metallic floral wallpaper in the dining room! Also, I am waiting delivery of a Kelly Wearstler wallpaper so that I can wallpaper a wall in my office! Have a great weekend!