a little joie de vivre for the home

amelie In all of my favorite films, there is a common thread: a distinct, unique mood. From Blade Runner to Rushmore to Annie Hall (obvious, but undeniably awesome not to mention classic New York neuroses going on), each film not only tells a story, but gives a pure sense of what it's really like to be in that world. High on this list for me is Amelie, a distinctly French story of the prettiest of lonely ingenues (Audrey Tautou.) Besides soft filtered lighting and a backdrop of Paris to create her world, the details in each scene are candy for the soul. Her bedroom in particular stands out in my memory.

I believe the most important aspect of a room is the way it makes you feel. Amelie's room makes me feel dreamy and floaty and happy, with the light-heartedness of a child's room in grown-up design. A few key things have created this mood, and I have listed them below:

1. Animal portraits. Now these can be quite tacky and silly and ugly, but with good framing and a funny or tasteful piece, I love them. See this one I found on fineartamerica.com that was actually used in the movie:


This sad pup has been purchased (possibly by the set designers themselves), but the artist is Dan Bergren and email is dan@danbergren.com, which I found on his website. He hasn't seemed to have really launched it yet, but I am excited to see what else he has!

2. Iron headboard. I found this cool wrought-iron vintage piece at Demolition Depot in Harlem (www.demolitiondepot.com) that could be used as a headboard. You might have to picky with the size or have a custom shop trim it for you, but they have a nice selection.

iron headboard

3. Romantic wallpaper. Some from www.osborneandlittle.com :



Note: An easy and inexpensive way to achieve a more home-grown look is to paint the wall a rich coral or persimmon, then simply stencil a cream or gold star, chevron, or doodle of your own design on top after it dries. I recommend buying heavy wax paper at your local art store or ordering online at www.dickblick.com/products/scratch-art-wax-o-stencil-paper, then cutting out shapes you like. You might want to test these on a piece of paper before committing to the wall. Paint them on where you please and get creative! If you choose stars, maybe go heavier towards the ceiling or paint one or two actually on it.

These three items are just a start to a fantastical, chimerical room. As much as I love Amelie's room, I would like to emphasize that the idea here is to find your own inner whimsy and explore it. So you have a matchbox car collection? Frame it! You want to feel like an explorer? Cram your wall with maps and buy a telescope! You wish you could live underwater? Buy lots of plants and paint a mural of the sea! Be bold! Be silly! Enjoy what makes you you, and be proud to show it to people when they see your home. After all, Amelie finally did.