Sunday, February 26, 2012

Gothic Home Decor and the Dread of Downsizing

Even though the insomniac  has an abundance of ideas ricocheting around in her brain for blog posts, getting them down in written format seems as if it's going to be a weekly challenge. This week, a brief treatise on Gothic Home Decor seems to be in order since the topic is one of the most consuming of the insomniac's  obsessions (hence the compulsion to shop on eBay at 2:00 a.m. to find yet another addition to the ever-increasing hoard in the Gothic Mansion). One occasionally worries about one's offspring having to deal with the almost forty years' worth of accumulation, especially when that fateful moment arrives that they decide it is time for their Sainted Mother and Father to downsize from The Gloomy Gothic Mansion into A Sunny Retirement Condo in Palm Springs. Perhaps the continual growth of the collection is a not-so-subtle form of revenge ...

Realizing there is already a plethora of pictures on the World Wide Web showcasing Gothic Home Decor, one hopes the pictures exhibited here today are obscure enough to have not been previously viewed elsewhere. The insomniac  cannot recommend the publication “The Opulent Interiors of the Gilded Age” highly enough - the photographs from the late 1800's are a constant source of inspiration on decorating styles, textiles, furniture, etc. and each time the book is perused, countless ideas emerge that can be replicated (although on a much smaller scale) in one's own Gothic mansion.

Please bear in mind that when the insomniac  refers to Gothic Home Decor, it also encompasses a fair bit of Victoriana as well (yet another obsession, to be dealt with in future posts).

A multitude of plants eliminates the need for expensive furniture.
An excellent decorating idea, provided one has a green thumb ...

The fretwork is magnificent but seriously, who decided to paint it white?

The insomniac took this photo to an upholsterer and had a copy
of the settee made. Less expensive than purchasing a new piece
of furniture with the added benefit of being able to choose one's fabric ...

A striking pair of girandoles on the mantle - always an excellent decorating choice.
Nasty pictures of grim-looking old women should, however, be avoided at all costs ...

Note the ingenious use of old dish towels to cover cheap plant pots,
although ornately carved plant stands with claws certainly help.
Truthfully, anything with claws is a must for a true Gothic aesthete ...

Again with the dish towels.
Or perhaps they're exquisite tapestries and the photo doesn't do them justice ...

A totally achievable decorating effect; tattered velvet with an abundance of fringe,
old ropes to assist with the artistic draping, and if there happens
to be a few old rapiers laying about to complete the look, all the better ...

One magnificent table + one spectacular piece of taxidermy
+ one adequate wicker chair = one exceptional room ...

A minimal amount of furniture with maximum impact.
And how easy to recreate that ottoman in black velvet ...

The decor in the insomniac's  own Gothic/Victorian retreat relies heavily on a generous layer of dust to add to the ambiance, and assuredly has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that dusting is the most loathed of all household chores, ranking only slightly higher than cleaning the commode. And when rooms contain such vast quantities of fascinating objects, dust becomes unavoidable unless one is lucky enough to have someone who takes care of these household duties for them which, regrettably, is not  the case in the Gothic Mansion.

The cluttered style the insomniac  adores
and is attempting to recreate in the Gothic Mansion ...

Not quite there yet.

Perhaps one could hope for a more restful sleep
if this cozy bed were available ...

To summarize, the insomniac's  version of Gothic Home Decor includes layer upon layer of frayed and rotting textiles casually tossed over every available surface (and remember, if exquisite tapestries are unavailable, dish towels will suffice). Add as many large pieces of Victorian furniture as one can afford, but if working with a limited budget then one can disguise other people's cast-offs with layer upon layer of frayed and rotting textiles (see above). Supplement with plenty of large plants and taxidermy then allow all of it to accumulate a fine layer of dust, which will hopefully remain pristine and undefiled by offspring who delight in drawing happy faces in it with their fingers, thereby utterly ruining the effect. And there you have it - Gothic Decor that increases in beauty with each passing year and with every piece lovingly collected. And at the end of it all, you too can have some small measure of revenge on your offspring, who will be left to deal with your hoard after having exiled you to Palm Springs.

Until next time,the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams ... of your next decorating project. Goodnight, my pretties.


Picture Sources:
   The Opulent Interiors of the Gilded Age, Dover Publication
   Victorian and Edwardian Furniture and Interiors, Jeremy Cooper
   Victorian Splendour, Australian Interior Decoration 1837-1901, Suzanne Forge


  1. ...♥...
    reminds me so wonderfully of THE MUNSTER"S house.I wanted to live in that house, in fact, I still do!

    1. The insomniac adores The Munster's and The Addam's Family, and has probably subconsciously stolen a few of their decorating ideas over the years! :o)

  2. Thank you so much for the book suggestions. I've been looking for a new source of inspiration and the pictures you've showcased have really struck a nerve. I'll have to go check them out!

    1. It really is an excellent book, Lynette! The insomniac  would love to take another look at it right now, but unfortunately it was packed away last week. Oh well, maybe in another six months or so when it gets unpacked again! LOL

      Thanks for commenting! :o)