Jan252012

Victorian Interior Design – Hinds House Santa Cruz (Parasol Protectorate Special Extras)

So I was down south for the weekend, for a special event and then some down time with the AB.

We had booked into a lovely B&B but a snafu with the reservation saw us chivvied over to the historic Hinds House for one evening.


The Hinds House now and close to when it was originally built.

The Hinds House is an extended stay lodging, for a week or more only, but a fully furnished and decorated Victorian masterpiece from the 1880s. What a lovely and fortuitous occurrence, because Darcy wrote me recently with a question about Victorian interior design that I thought at the time, Gentle Reader, might make for a good blog post.

I have a room I wish to decorate in Victorian style and though I am fine when it comes to chandeliers, small statues, trinklings, etc, I haven’t got a clue when it comes to wardrobes, table, chairs, colour of the walls, curtains, etc. Do you know anything about this or is there a book/magazine you would recommend me?

And then there I was staying in a Victorian house! So I could take pictures of classic middle upper-class style. Admittedly Americanized, but we won’t quibble.

The Entrance Hall

Generally speaking the Victorians go on to the darker richer end of the spectrum, lots of organic swoops and curls, rich jewel tone fabrics (velvets and brocades, stripes and paisleys), dark mahogany wood, as opposed to Georgian which is more opulent with big windows, golds and creams, or Regency which is sparser, sharper corners, delicate flower decoration.


The sitting area of the Drawing Room showing some lighter Georgian influences.

I suggest watching some BBC costume dramas, like Cranford or North & South as they always do their interiors research very well. Anything Dickens is good, one of my favorites is the David Copperfield with Maggie Smith and very young Daniel Radcliff.


The Front Parlour

Generally speaking, rooms would be crammed with stuff and nicknacks, the Victorians were more fond of clutter than we are today. Very heavy velvet curtains, lost of lace on all surfaces, that kind of thing. This is where the costume dramas go wrong, they are often too generous with space, necessary for clean images and actors to more around easily.


The Dining Room

Chippendale furniture style was quite popular, and the newest Thing, but Victorians would also have been living with a furniture inheritance, so a mix of old Regency and Georgian and new Victorian is fine.


The music area of the Drawing Room

Walls were usually wall papered, or painted in rich colors, or both. There was always trim and usually several complementary colors.


The bed with quilt in Room 1.

This book is reputed to be a good beginners guide, I’ve not read it myself ~ Hints on Household Taste: The Classic Handbook of Victorian Interior Decoration (Dover Architecture). Here’s a good blog on Victorian themed decors.


The claw footed tub in Room 1.

If none of these images work for you, the best recourse I can offer off the top of my head is the Victorian Web an online amalgam of information. Or just googling images of “victorian parlours,” or bedrooms, drawing rooms, and so forth. “national trust house interior” also had some good results, though not all of them are Victorian.


The view from our room’s balcony.

From the Hinds House website:
We are like a bed and breakfast that specializes in temporary housing, long term lodging, and corporate housing. We are one of the most affordable Santa Cruz weekly lodging alternatives. With a full kitchen, mail box, phone and wireless DSL waiting on your arrival.

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Quote of the Day:
“There is no safety in writing well.”
~ Dorothy Allison

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