Monday, January 12, 2015

Personalize your home for your coloring

Decor tips to Personalize your home

Here are some ideas for your home using the wonderful red-haired actress Maureen O'Hara as an example. If you're a redhead, this article is especially for you. Just like fashion, your home can complement your look. 

Maureen O'Hara 24x36 Poster
was born in Ireland. She's known for standout performances in famous swashbuckling films with actors such as Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power and Charles Laughton. 

She starred in Miracle on 34th Street, How Green Was My Valley, Jamaica Inn. Too many fine films to count. In 1991 she appeared in Only the Lonely with John Candy.

A few magazine articles dated 1941-1956 either described and/or included photographs of Miss O'Hara's home. She was married to Will Price 1941-1953. He was from Mississippi. Their daughter, Bronwyn was born in 1944 and I believe that the family moved at least once during this time period. She has a fun, dynamic personality and she updated her decor when she pleased.

Her home wasn't midcentury modern with retro furniture -- her homes were actually mid-century. These stars can give you ideas for your home.

In 1941, she talks about furnishing a home as a new bride, mentioning an assortment of possible creative Irish gifts of the era. "Every Irish bride starts out with twelve apostle spoons one each having a figure of an apostle on its handle. At a high tea you put a spoon in each saucer. But you can't get them over here."
Ancestry, Heritage: Celebrate yours, your partner's. How are they similar, different?

Miss O'Hara is very proud of her Irish heritage. She displays not only the flag in her home, but when St. Patrick's Day rolls around she celebrates with a feast and a big party. She remembered superstitions from the old country.

Heirlooms: Recognize your own family's history

Sentimental trophies filled
Maureen's cabinets.
O"Hara poses with
Ireland Harp Flag
Winged Maiden; her
Irish clay pipes displayed
The top of her wedding cake and a sprig from her wedding bouquet are side by side.

Then there's a tiny carved elephant from a Woolworth store in Ireland. It was given to Maureen when she was 11 by her best girl friend.

She has framed items, documents from her husband's Southern ancestry share such as Confederate bonds passed down from his grandfather.

Display pieces of personal collections 

Acquire items in Special and Unique ways

* When you Travel
In her dining room is "an exquisite Georgian table which came from Slane Castle Maureen got it at an auction on her recent trip to Ireland. Every time she goes back to the old country." 

* Items passed down through the family can find a meaningful new life in your home

* Shop Auctions; Antique, specialty shops and retail outlets 

"Maureen is determined to stalk through antique shops until she finds the
missing parts of the dining set."

"The plaid draperies in the pine-paneled library are from Sears, Roebuck and Co. They harmonize with the hand-me-down furniture."

Maureen O'Hara Living Room 1950
There's more to your environment than what we readily see. The fire, the music, the mood. Making people comfortable.

"There are rafters in the living room, a grand open fireplace usually merrily
Maureen O'Hara 24X36 Poster
1940's Stunning in Green
crackling with a good blaze, a piano spread with Irish music and comfortable, lived-in-looking furniture in soft greens and tans."

DIY, repurpose items, don't leave things in boxes!

Because it got cold at night in California, they had their open porch aka their lanai, enclosed with glass and then furnished. Don't let space go unused or rarely used.

"One day I was rummaging around the storage basement and I came across four solid bedposts and a needlepoint bench that Will has picked up in a Mississippi antique shop. My first impulse was to use them with their mahogany finish. But Will didn't like it, so I had them painted green!" (1949)

Friends John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara made a number of films together

Colors are very important
O'Hara is a redhead.  Why do redheads look so great in green?  

1948 hand-crocheted linens
Irish symbols
Because green and red are true complementary colors, hues that lie on opposite ends of the spectrum, notes George Brescia in the book, Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life: Because You Can't Go Naked. 

When looking at color charts, planning furniture placement, considering paints, wall coverings, etc for your home, don't forget to think about what will suit you best, too.

Maureen and her painter decided on sea-green for the walls of the master
1950 sea-green walls, spread
painted four poster bed
bedroom and a sea-green bedspread. (Sea green is her most becoming shade, the writer notes.) The color is restful and warm. It doesn't show smudges yet it's soft enough for a woman's room. (1949)

"When Maureen wears a hostess gown to one of her own dinner parties she makes sure that it blends with the green. Many actresses, in fact, know the trick of matching their clothes to their environment." 

Film art directors and set designers would probably tell you that they take their lead actors into consideration when staging the sets. 
1956 Miss O'Hara bedroom
Just as you dress to complement your complexion, eye color and figure you are the jewel and your home is your environment. The same theories can be used to accent your house whether it's the paint/wall coverings, furniture and accent pieces. 

A 1956 article about the now-single O'Hara shows a couple of photos of her bedroom. The bed is different but similar. The room appears to be a brighter shade of green but there's no way to tell considering how old photos, scans and then reproductions on different screens can be misleading.

In 1948, Jeanette MacDonald and husband, Gene Raymond had a green living room. McDonald was also known for her red hair.
Related Books, Pages of Interest:

The homes of Old Hollywood Stars Put personality in your home: Blonde actress Carole Lombard had a Blue Room, "designed so that Carole looks her best and every other woman (with different coloring) looks her worst."

Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Star 

Class Act: William Haines Legendary Hollywood Decorator by Peter Schifnado and Jean H. Mathison   

'Tis Herself: An Autobiography by Maureen O'Hara

Famous Actresses with red hair 

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