F. Scott Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda, and their baby daughter Frances moved to Great Neck in 1922, during the Long Island Gold Coast's golden age. In his novel, "The Great Gatsby," the inhabitants of West Egg and East Egg (fictionalized portrayals of Kings Point and Sands Point) live charmed lives amid rolling lawns and cocktail parties, and the North Shore never glittered so brightly.
Today, as Baz Luhrmann's new film adaptation of the book comes to the big screen, the style and elegance of the Roaring Twenties is once again being celebrated.
Art Deco became synonymous with the era. "In the 1920s, there was real design, and seeing that style now transports you to another time and place," says Keith Baltimore, owner of Baltimore Design Group in Port Washington. "It's clean and glamorous. ... It was the age of ingenuity, when creativity ruled, and craftsmanship was key."
Creating that fantasy look now doesn't require a time machine but rather a little creative license and an eye for luxurious textures and rich finishes. And there are plenty of places to look for inspiration. "Try to do a little research," says Ellen Baron-Goldstein, of Baron-Goldstein Design Associates in Roslyn. "Open up a book of 1920s Art Deco, try to stay true to the period, and try and keep the lines simple."
Baron-Goldstein says dressing up your place with accessories is an easy way to add a touch of Deco to your home without having to redo an entire room. "You could take a minimal contemporary space and create Deco style by adding etched-glass vases, animal patterns such as leopard and zebra, or bronze bookends of dogs, horses, women. Collections of glass balls. Candlesticks in metal, crystal or glass. Colors such as black and gold. Pillows in velvet. Framed mirrors. Even certain flowers look wonderful with Deco, such as peonies or gladiolas."
Elsa Soyers of Elsa Soyers Interiors in Southampton says playing with texture is another great way to incorporate Art Deco into your home, as is using velvet pillows and metal accessories such as angled teapots, vases or trays with barware.
Here are some ways designers have used Gatsby style in Long Island homes, and a selection of furniture, accents and accessories you can use to create your very own West Egg paradise.
Metallic and mirrored surfaces reflect light throughout a room, bringing sparkle and shine to every corner. In this Old Westbury Gardens show house room, designed in 2011 by Elsa Soyers of Elsa Soyers Interiors in Southampton, art medallions with mirrored frames flank an antique table, but the uncluttered space, muted color palate and lush accents keep this room from looking girlish. "A fur throw adds some texture," says Soyers, who also brought in a sisal rug with cotton binding to ground the space. "I like the lines of Art Deco because they're straight, and there's a masculinity there," she says. "That makes it sexy but not overly frilly."
Women's shapes had just been newly liberated from their corsets, and sculptures celebrating the female form were common during the Deco period. "It really was a women's era," says Ellen Baron-Goldstein of Baron-Goldstein Design Associates in Roslyn. In her Roslyn home, a curvy bronze figure sits atop the straight and swooping lines of the foyer table, adding an elegant, sculptural element. The table, originally an Art Deco outdoor gate, was turned into a console by the designer.
Cocktail culture informed so much of the 1920s Deco aesthetic, and gorgeous glassware is a simple way to add a touch of that decadent decade to your home. Colorful bar accessories, such as these brightly hued martini glasses, add an elegance that beer cans just can't provide. "Deco is very stylized, almost cubist," says Keith Baltimore, owner of Baltimore Design Group in Port Washington, who designed this bar area in Atlantic Beach. The space's overall design shows how often stark, dark Deco style can have a lighter side. The bar itself came from a 1920s hotel.