Rethink the classics

Give Old World glamour a new look by updating vintage and mass-market finds

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Eclectic style

Diverse accents and vintage wallpaper draw the eye in the living room.

Lisa Romerein

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Traditional elements with tongue-in-cheek flair form the backbone of Vanessa De Vargas's style. In her tiny 500-square-foot bungalow in Venice, California, the owner of the eight-month-old Turquoise furniture showroom displays a charmingly off-kilter approach to decorating that gives formal pieces a fresh and modern look. "I love mixing new and vintage, classic and ornate," De Vargas says. "It can be a little glam, a little midcentury ― it's how you put it together that makes it work."

In her living room, a sofa with plush upholstery and conventional lines allows for more unusual accents: a faux-ostrich-hide coffee table with transparent acrylic resin legs, and a pair of Chinese-inspired vintage chairs given new life with a coat of black lacquer. "Adding lacquer is one of my favorite ways to update older pieces," De Vargas says. (A mahogany side table next to the sofa underwent a similar treatment in black gloss.) The white shag rug adds textural depth to the room.

The compact entry space, featuring two ottomans upholstered in quilted chinoiserie toile, is another example of her perfectly calibrated eye. "I brought in a little color with the lamps, a little pattern with the ottomans, an ornate touch with the mirror, and balanced it all with the minimal, streamlined console table," she says.



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