For My Valentine: ‘Mad Men’ Boho Chic – 1

For My Valentine: 'Mad Men' Boho Chic - Don Draper 1

You’ll get no argument from me that Mad Men‘s Don Draper (actor Jon Hamm) is one hunk of a guy, and the suit sure doesn’t hurt. But what does it have to do with home decor? Particularly BOHO home decor?

Aside from the retro task light and rotary-dial phone you probably missed in the photo  background while drooling over Don, one has more to do with the other than you might think. The menswear look is what I’ve chosen as the inspiration for a refresh of my husband Chris’ office, which doubles as our guest room.

I hinted in an earlier post on menswear boho style I was planning a refresh of this room. I’m only getting started, but with Valentine’s Day creeping up on us it’s the perfect occasion to share what’s in store for my very own sweetheart.

So back to the mix at hand & Dashing Don

For My Valentine: 'Mad Men' Boho Chic - Don Draper 2

Sorry, Chris. Hold that pucker, OK? Just while I point out how the midcentury modern prints on the women’s dresses in these two photos jazz up the more subdued suiting in Don’s wardrobe.

For My Valentine: 'Mad Men' Boho Chic - Don Draper 3

It’s true, isn’t it ladies? The guys need us around as counterpoint, to say the least. And this is also the direction my makeover is headed: menswear with a midcentury-modern-boho-chic edge.

Room(s) for inspiration

For My Valentine: 'Mad Men' Boho Chic - living room 1
Ivan Terestchenko photo

This photo was neither included in my menswear boho post, nor is it a bedroom. It is, however, from my post on the book Novel Interiors , and what I love about it is how the warm, natural wood tones blend with the cooler menswear prints. That, along with the terracotta floor tiles and the coral flowers, adds color and pattern.

And if you know me, you know I am ALL about color and pattern, even in menswear! Just ask Chris.

For My Valentine: 'Mad Men' Boho Chic - living room 2
Vogue Living

In this photo (another non-bedroom), it’s the red/orange tones in the painting that speak to me, as well as the olive green velvet cushions.

For My Valentine: 'Mad Men' Boho Chic - living room 3
Via DigsDigs

Same thing here–not a bedroom either, but brought to life by color and pattern, more red/orange, the warm tan of the leather chair, and the similar-toned mustard throw pillow.

For My Valentine: 'Mad Men' Boho Chic - living room 4
Traditional Home

Ditto this photo. (BTW, I adore the top hat on the antique hat stand. I have a different sort of hat I plan to use in my room, but I’m still searching for a perch.)

 Braiding the proverbial rug into design story

For My Valentine: 'Mad Men' Boho Chic - necktie ottomanUnfortunately (or perhaps, thankfully?) there’s no place for an ottoman like this one in my guy’s office. It does, however, remind me of a comical dispute between my brother, who LOVES neckties, is a great dresser and works in men’s retail, and our father, who needed help simply pairing up his socks.

Brother Kevin and mom always worked in tandem to make dad presentable for work, weddings, anniversary dinners, and any other occasion that required more than shorts, a polo shirt and bedroom slippers. About halfway through any grooming session, dad’s tolerance of all things aesthetic would wear thin, and he’d snap at anyone within range. None of us will ever forget the time he told Kev he wasn’t wearing what was picked out, because, “I don’t want to look like a braided rug.”

Alas, the ottoman is a little much, though it does provide a sort of prototype for mixing the colorful and bold patterns often found in neckties with the more subdued tweeds, twills and pinstripes usually associated with suits and shirts, like I want to do in my sweetie’s office. It also is a GREAT story, and rooms need that, too, particularly in the planning stages.

Luckily I found this pattern-mixing guide to help me pull it all together…

For My Valentine: 'Mad Men' Boho Chic - Pattern mixing guide

The prints in combination have masculine vibes and are more coherent design-wise than the necktie ottoman (LOL). But it’s really the two together (ottoman + pattern guide) that put me on the inspiration trail of none other than…

My guy’s own closet!

For My Valentine: 'Mad Men' Boho Chic - men's accesories 1

Chris is a technology consultant who works from home, so most days he’s in a plaid sport shirt and carpenter pants. But he loves dressing to the nines for business meetings and conference speaking engagements.

For My Valentine: 'Mad Men' Boho Chic - men's accessories 2

Just witness his enviable collection of silk pocket scarves, monogrammed handkerchiefs, braces (NEVER say suspenders!), jazzy socks, and vintage cufflinks.

Of course, ALL this literally combined would be way too busy and incoherent for his office, not to mention a guest bedroom. But it has acted as a sort of mood board, guiding my search for fabric, bedding, and cost-effective ways to refresh a room where budget won’t allow the big stuff–walls, carpet, and most of the furniture–to change.

So here’s what I settled on…

For My Valentine: 'Mad Men' Boho Chic - moodboard

The midcentury modern circular grid print I found first and built the room out from there. I liked it because it contained oranges, deep purple and had a greenish cast. The existing wall paint is PPG French Gray Linen, which has a slight greenish cast in the afternoon light. A little green in the room brings it out, and I love purple with green.

But there’s a deeper color story:

  • Chris loves Frank Sinatra, and orange was ol’ blue eyes’ favorite color.
  • Purple relates to a funny incident when we were dating. Chris was wearing a purple shirt once when we were out to lunch, and a waitress started flirting with him. (Yes, even with me sitting next to him!) At one point she oohed and aahed over his shirt and said, “I just admire so much a man brave enough to wear purple.” ICK!! We’ve laughed over that one quite a bit–enough that I planted purple elements in that room from day one. ;->
  • The bedskirt fabric color is “Texture Military Green,” and room accessories will include memorabilia from World War II that belonged to both Chris’ dad and mine.

The striped chair I’m stuck with for now, but the colors work (another reason the inspiration fabric caught my eye).  The dark wood furniture finish won’t change either. Some existing brushed nickel finishes–on a retro-styled ceiling fan, a couple lamps, and miscellaneous accents–will add a bit of military aircraft snap-to-attention when juxtaposed with new dashes of brushed brass (all of which is a nod to Chris’ dad, who was an aircraft test mechanic).

I also have a couple mini-makeovers in mind–one for the bedside chest and another for a beat-up file cabinet. And I really MUST do something about creating a gallery wall in this room!

Meanwhile, Chris is squirming

He really doesn’t like to change things up, particularly in HIS room, even when it’s motivated by love. (Okay, I admit, the hole I found in the existing coverlet when I washed it after the holidays also spurred me on.)

And then there’s the cost factor, which men always seem to worry about more than us women. But I don’t mind some budget constraints. It forces me to be creative!

Even a checklist is taking shape:

For My Valentine: 'Mad Men' Boho Chic - checklist

More to do, more to be determined, and, most certainly, more to come…

So if you want more, stay tuned!

For My Valentine: 'Mad Men' Boho Chic - Don Draper 4
  • Next post–this Wednesday, Valentine’s Day–you’ll learn more about plans for my Mad Men office/guest room and see it begin to take shape.
  • For a bit of pre-Valentine’s Day fun, particularly if you’re between sweethearts or the one you have needs a style intervention, check out Everything Don Draper has ever worn on Mad Men, season-by-season. courtesy of GQ.
  • For a bit MORE pre-VDay fun, go Mad Men shopping using the (affiliate) links here…


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