How to Bring Old Hollywood into Your Home
How to Bring Old Hollywood Into Your Home
Take a cue from the desert haven where Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley went to unwind.
The 1960s. In the golden age of Hollywood where glamour reigned supreme, decorating ones' home to feel as luxurious as a high-end hotel was de rigueur. And that aesthetic continues to inspire the interiors of homes today. After all, who doesn't love a velvet couch in the palest pink?
We turned to interior decorator Alessandra Branca to learn just how easy it is to bring the glittering allure of the Hollywood elite into your own space. And what better place to recreate it than Villa Aujourd'hui, a sprawling 1958 Palm Springs desert estate originally designed by “Decorator to the Stars” William Haines that once welcomed guests such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Salvador Dali.
From hosting a screening party to sipping cocktails poolside, Branca shows us her insider tips and tricks for setting the mood like a movie star.
Oh—and owning that home is an option. The glamorous Villa Aujourd'hui estate in Palm Springs, California, is currently on the market with Sotheby's International Realty.
A great getaway starts with a warm welcome. Old Las Palmas is full of A-list celebrity homes, where decadent entertaining—inside and outside—is an essential part of the culture.
On the patio, opt for arrangements of succulents and other desert-friendly flora to keep maintenance as easy as can be. Mix and match white planters of different shapes and sizes to keep the look uniformly chic.
To evoke the villa's vintage past, Branca pairs tulip-style tables with playful wrought iron peacock chairs, their white metal frames enlivened with an energetic jolt of yellow cushions.
Embrace the modernist look with period details like a cheerful starburst-style light fixture that illuminates the oversize double doors.
Outdoor entertaining was at the heart of Old Hollywood, so fling open the doors and set the stage for a party that would make even the Rat Pack proud.
Little touches of glitz and glamour elevate a backyard barbecue to a chic cocktail party—especially if you pepper in a few key references from the era.
Indoors, choose lighting true to the time, like an arc floor lamp with brass shades to cast a warm glow.
Bring in a vintage bar cart—fully stocked, of course—in warm metallics or mirrored finishes for an added touch of luxe.
Coordinating metallic-trimmed barware or vintage cut-crystal glasses completes the look and makes every sip feel special.
Before your guests arrive, practice mixing a martini just the way Sinatra liked it: three ounces of Beefeater gin with just a kiss of dry vermouth, served on the rocks with a twist of lemon.
Once you have the mixology mastered, don’t forget the finishing touches, like striped Turkish towels to dry off by the pool.
After your guests have worked up an appetite, invite them to take a seat at a carefully considered table. Tulip chairs and a marble-topped dining table create a modernist vibe that's simple enough not to clash with the backdrop of the villa's stunning mountain range.
A detailed approach to your table setting is a must. After all, every movie star ensured their dinner parties featured a properly set tableau—and the more extravagant, the better.
When it comes to tableware, don’t be afraid to mix and match by combining different types of metals. Select a range of simple yet elegant glasses and plates with unexpected details in warm metallics that offer an updated alternative to the classic (but sometimes chilly) midcentury chrome.
Lastly, choose a collection of place-settings that capture a similar sense of glamour—it’s all about finding the stylistic thread that pulls everything together.
What better way to evoke Old Hollywood than with a classic movie night? Pick a spirited flick like 1963’s Palm Springs Weekend to play on the projector, and wheel in the bar cart to keep the cocktails coming until the end credits roll.
Cool white leather loungers and cozy floor pillows offer plenty of places to gather 'round and kick back by the original travertine fireplace. Mod furniture pieces with transparent lucite and glass details capture the swinging spirit and won’t obstruct the view. Don’t forget to bring a big bowl of popcorn, perhaps in a vintage crystal bowl.
When it's time to retreat to your own personal sanctuary, make sure your bedroom is worthy of a Hollywood legend. "A great way to bring Old Hollywood into an interior is to mix in pastels," says Branca. "Wonderful mirrored furniture also invokes a vintage feel!"
Look for pieces like an upholstered folding dressing screen or a cushioned bench to rest your most precious accoutrements. Mirrored trays, bouquets in soft shades, and decadent candles all enhance the vibe.
For bed linens and curtains, a subtle palette in creamy shades with lots of texture keeps things tranquil while allowing the accessories to make the biggest impact.
Up the glamour factor by investing in a standalone vanity with a fluffy stool. Add decorative trays to display perfume bottles, compacts, flower arrangements, tortoiseshell combs, and candles.
These movable vignettes are also perfect for placing on a bedside table, or bringing an added touch of luxury to a long post-sun soak in the tub.