Here’s What You Should Be Doing With That Mansion You Just Bought in Gladwyne

Style is not a matter of spending huge sums of money, Michael Flores-Vianna argues in "Haute Bohemians." It's a matter of choosing objects and items that reflect your personality.

A whimiscal painting defines the guest bedroom at the Aldaos’ home in San Rafael, Argentina. | Photos: Miguel Flores-Vianna unless otherwise indicated

You’ve seen them: fabulously opulent houses with ornate moldings, gold-plated faucets, curtains so thick you can use them to put out house fires, and furniture so plush small animals have suffocated in the cushions.

These houses. many believe, exemplify their owners’ good taste.

I hate to break this to you, but all this shows is that you have a lot of money you can spend.

Book cover image courtesy Vendome Press

If you want to show off your new luxurious digs in a more honest way, you might want to peruse some of the interiors displayed in interior photographer Miguel Flores-Vianna’s book “Haute Bohemians” (Vendome, 2017).

Flores-Vianna stopped by the Lucas Alexander Collection at Design Center Philadelphia recently to discuss both his photography and the design philosophy the friends he has made in a career of photographing elegant digs follow.

What are “haute bohemians,” you ask? (Okay, I asked him that question.) “These are the people who collect items not because of their monetary value, but because of how they make them feel,” says Flores-Vianna.

Miguel Flores-Vianna

Flores-Vianna has met lots of these people on his travels around the world, and he shares lots of their interiors in this book. He also shared a few dozen of them with the audience at Lucas Alexander earlier this month. As you look at the photographs shared here, see if you can’t figure out what distinguishes high taste from high spending.

This doesn’t mean you should never buy fancy stuff to decorate your interior. But if you do, you should buy it because it fits well with your personality, not because it shows off the size of your wallet. And likewise, if you stumble across some found object that speaks to you, listen. It will probably look very good in your home.

haute bohemians mcevoy living room

Living room in the home of Marion McEvoy in New York State’s Hudson River valley.

haute bohemians mcevoy living room

McEvoy is an avid reader, as the living room bookshelves attest. Even with all the books, there’s still room for art, though.

Simplicity is the key to beauty in this sitting room in Carolina Irving’s Paris home. Japanese prints provide the visual appeal and throw pillows and slipcovers provide the colors that complement the wall.

The kitchen in Andrew Alfree’s home in Normandy. Copper pots add decorative pizzazz that matches the rustic feel of the vintage furniture and table.

Vintage bedframes, a colorful floral divider and bookshelves enliven this bedroom in artist Alessandro Twombly’s home and studio in Lazio, Italy.