Eclec­tic El­e­gance

Victorian Homes - - Shopper -

Robert O’byrne touches on the ori­gins of English style and why this look has con­tin­ued to be a fa­vorite over the years. “[Eng­land] is a na­tion un­ac­cus­tomed to so­cial up­heaval, a place where change comes slowly and meets a re­luc­tant wel­come,” writes O’byrne. Thanks to their pref­er­ence, we are able to en­joy their style of liv­ing.

Though el­e­gant, the idea be­hind the style is less or­ga­nized and more in­clu­sive. “The Vic­to­rian home was fren­ziedly clut­tered, hold­ing a host of ta­bles and dis­play cab­i­nets, so­fas and arm­chairs, ev­ery sur­face cov­ered with bi­belots and gew­gaws,” he writes. This eclec­tic style is cen­tral to the Vic­to­rian home. “Dis­parate ac­cu­mu­la­tion leads to the no­tion all these pieces have been gath­ered over a long time and thanks to suc­ces­sive gen­er­a­tions,” O’byrne writes.

So use what you love. Your pieces don’t have to match one an­other to work in a space. In English homes, “clas­si­cal will be placed next to gothic, tar­tan pat­tern min­gled with flo­ral print, one clash­ing color lain be­side the other.” This puts quality and his­tory over vis­ual bal­ance. “The less the pieces match one an­other,” he writes, “the more successful the re­sult­ing en­sem­ble.”

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