Friday, October 25, 2013

Bohemian 101

If you are a self-proclaimed Bohemian, even in just the decor realm, you should recognize the people in this relaxed picture taken at Charleston Farmhouse, Sussex. It is the Bloomsbury group in the 1920's.

Bloomsbury friends and family via Google

The famed loosely formed English literary and art group flowed in and out of the farmhouse near Lewes, England where Vanessa Bell, her children and Duncan Grant moved permanently from London (Bloomsbury) in 1916. There the group created a Bohemian decorative style as well as a way of living that went against convention of the time. The house is now part of the National Trust and is open to visitors.


Charleston Farmhouse via Website

Close by is Monk's House, the Rodmell cottage where Vanessa's sister Virginia and her husband Leonard Woolf moved to in July 1919. It is also open to the public and part of the National Trust. It is perfectly intact as if Virginia and Leonard went out for a walk and have yet to return. I just read the current blogpost From The House of Edward regarding the trip last spring author Pamela Terry made to Monk's House. Check it out, it was lovely and now one of my favorite blogsites!


Monk's House and gardens via Website

But it was Charleston Farmhouse that was the bucolic retreat for the group. There everything is covered in a post-Impressionist cacophony of patterns and paintings. It is a true Bohemian "atmosphere of ragamuffin delight" as Virginia Woolf wrote in a letter to Vita Sackville-West. There they played music, painted, wrote and carried on their highbrow way of looking at relationships. Seems such a lovely existence until you look at the following:

Complicated lifestyle chart via Google


Unconventional and yet somehow more forward thinking, reminiscent of today's modern relationships. But enough about that, let's look at the decor at Charleston Farmhouse:


Quentin Bell's bedroom
Another view of Quentin's bedroom 

Main room at Charleston Farmhouse

Main room at Charleston Farmhouse

Still another view of the main room

Front door view of Charleston Farmhouse

I love it when I find pictures of Charleston Farmhouse to compare. If you look closely you will see how the furnishings have changed and accessories were staged for pictures over the years. Loads of books on the Bloomsbury Group and Charleston Farmhouse are available at Amazon for research, check them out. 

If you like the Bloomsbury Group style of decor and would like to see a modern updated version, find a Domino's November 2007 issue. A really inspiring article was written by features writer Kate Bolick. She reinterpreted their aesthetic for her New York studio apartment with stellar results. 


Also, follow another one of my favorite blogs by writer Lisa Borgnes Giramonti 


Regrettably, I was so close the these sites when I visited the UK this past summer, but we were too busy to make the side trip!

Leave a comment and let me know how you interpret the Bloomsbury decor style in your space!

All pictures not attributed are from Pinterest.



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