William “Billy” Haines began his career in Hollywood as one of the top 5 silent motion picture actors from 1928 to 1933; appearing in over 20 films alongside leading ladies such as, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies and Constance Bennett. In 1930, Haines opened his own antique shop after his hollywood friends and famous costars were continually spellbound by the decor of his own home. Using the antique shop as a base, Haines launched his new career as an interior designer in 1933 when both Carole Lombard and Joan Crawford hired him to decorate their Brentwood homes. That year, Motion Picture Magazine described Lombards residence as “no place for tweed and slacks, but a perfect setting for trailing tea gowns and evening dresses.” Not long after, Haines came to embody Hollywood glitz and glamour, becoming the “it” decorator for the elite of Hollywood’s golden age.
Haines had a very unique approach to decorating for his time. He rejected the spanish colonial decor that had been so prevalent in Southern California and ushered in a lighter, fresher, more elegant and eclectic style . A style now defined as Hollywood Regency. Haines injected his rooms with the luxury and glamour of the screen. He created intangible atmospheres and homes designed for entertaining and the high style living of his clients.
William Haines residence in Brentwood, CA
Jack Warners Private Hollywood Screening Room
Jack and Ann Warners, 1937 Beverly Hills Estate
While Hollywood Regency might be a throwback to a another era there is no denying it has made a modern comeback with designers like Kelly Wearstler. Thanks to William Haines Designs, carried by the Profiles Showroom
in New York City, furniture created by William Haines can still be purchased and even customized to be made into your own. Below are just some of my favorites…
Bel Air Sofa
originally made in 1952 by Haine for Betsy Bloomingdales Hollywood home; The Bel Air sofa is a perfect example Regency-style upholstery and Haines desire to make furniture that is attractive from all sides.
Brentwood Chair / Popular Name: Hostess Chair
It’s hard not to love something nick named The Hostess Chair, although, the name isn’t the only thing to love. Hollywood Regency was all about scale. The furniture was low and small so not to detract from the glamorous people in the room. However, these pieces are not what you would expect from furniture of such small-scale. Surprisingly comfortable, the chairs seem to place you in an elegant pose you had no idea you were capable of striking. The tufted seat and tight back is also William Haines signature look.
Ice Crystal Sconces
Designed by William Haines for the May house in 1953, these sconces are the first item in what I call my “future home” file. If you didn’t guess already, this file consists of all the things I would fill my dream home with. unfortunately for me, this pair of sconces, composed of faceted pieces of acrylic, are a limited edition but I envy the lucky owner who buys them.