Decorating: Auntie Mame Style

February 6, 2012

Did y’all ever see the movie Auntie Mame?  It’s one of my top ten favorite movies of all time, the book is hilarious too.  Rosalind Russell is so brilliant in this role as the eccentric yet glamorous Mame Dennis who is assigned the caretaker for her orphaned ten year old nephew Patrick in 1920’s New York City.  Auntie Mame is colorful and unconventional, a lover of art and theater, with a quick wit and a disdain for stuffy or snobbish society. 

auntie mame opening scene

The character is divine and the movie sets are magnificent.  The apartment Mame lives in takes on a completely new and different look every few years based on her iridescent theatrical personality.  During the movie, viewers get to see six separate and completely different designs, and to quote Jonathan Adler, “Watching Auntie Mame is a right of passage for every aspiring decorator”.  For a full tour of the six different makeovers during the movie in Mame’s apartment, visit Julia’s post on 3 Beekman Place.

So I have a neighbor named Tatiana and we met eight years ago at my annual garage sale. Tatiana is the closest person to Auntie Mame I know. Up my driveway eight years ago she walked with her husband Miguel and Tatiana and I became instant friends.  When I first met her, her name was Jennie, but then she decided she wanted her name to be Tatiana because she preferred Tatiana so she legally changed her name to Tatiana.  At the age of 45.  I love that.

Tatiana is my Auntie Mame, she eats and drinks and decorates as she pleases all with a zest for life that’s rare these days.  She lives around the corner from me and we meet for coffee from time to time to catch up. She always wants to come to my house because she finds it so soothing, and I always want to go to her house because I find it so inspiring, so we take turns.  But on our last coffee visit I won and got the pleasure of visiting with her in her home.  


eclectic collection

You can take in any room in my house in one glance, but hers? Oh my. It’s filled with her collection of precious things from the last twenty years scattered and displayed as she pleases. Walls painted in shades of saffron, muted turquoise, amethyst, and mustard yellow. Chinoiserie collections include everything from exotic screens to Chinese consoles, and she also displays eastern European objects from Turkish brass urns to Persian rugs, the list goes on.  She’s inherited some furniture from her grandmother, but acquired most of her collection through clever second hand shopping at thrift stores or flea markets.

tray and succulents

pooch on chair

Tatiana is a self taught artist too, and she showed me some of her recent pastel sketches, just beautiful.

tatiana art

Tatiana always makes me think about how important it is to decorate your home with what you love.  Even if it’s irreverent or unconventional, eccentric and colorful, if you love it, then do it, display it.  Life’s too short not to.

blue and yellow kitchen 2


I’ve collected even more images of what I consider “Auntie Mame Style”.  These are interiors that are filled with art, pattern, and color to reflect the tastes and personalities of the residents.  

miles redd interior

Miles Redd


jonathan adler sitting room office lonny nov dec 2011

Jonathan Adler in Lonny


auntie mame via interiors addictvia


pink velvet sofa via the lennoxx

via The Lennoxx


trendey living room

via Trendey


global red room via pinterest

via Pinterest


hutton wilkenson via harpers baazar

hutton wilkenson 2 via harpers baazar

via Harper’s Baazar

One of my favorite things to witness is when people decorate without care or concern for what others think and they mix pattern and color as they see fit. They decorate with wild abandon and to the beat of their own drum.  I applaud anyone who displays what he or she loves fearlessly, with no regard for what other’s think, by definition channeling their inner Auntie Mame. 

fishbowl in entry auntie mame


And shouldn’t we all?  Maybe not in the form of bright colors in every single space or layer upon layer of competing pattern or fishbowls hanging as fixtures in our entry. 

Instead, be inspired to fill your home with collections that are meaningful and important to you, irreverent or eccentric as they are.  Life’s too short not to. 


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