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Fashion For the Home: Adding a little Steam to your Punk [Gal About Town: Fashion and Travel at Your Fingertips]

As defined by Urban Dictionary: Steampunk is a subgenre of speculative fiction, usually set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian alternate history setting. It could be described by the slogan “What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner.” It includes fiction with science fiction, fantasy or horror themes.

Starting with niche cosplay and con-goer groups decked out in bustles, corsets, monocles, and top hats, the Steampunk lifestyle has been slowly filtering into our daily lives. Today, you can’t walk into a coffee shop or target without seeing a hipster with an overly ornate mustache. Anthropologie’s current clothing line is pretty much the perfect mixture of hipster, earth goddess, 50’s housewife and steampunk mistress. When it comes to fashions for the home, it’s in vogue to buy items that are carefully, and artistically hand crafted, worn in, and just a little bit funky. While many proclaimed Steampunkers are very into the DIY movement, I’ve found many a website to help you spend your hard earned cash on beautiful bespoke pieces…and in my next blog, you can see how I DIYed one of these projects step-by-step.

Now, I’m not suggesting your turn your house into this place:

But, adding a dash of Victorian sophistication can add a lot more interest to your lovely abode.

William Morris, the father of the Art and Crafts Movement, quoted, ““If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

To start, here are some clever instances where people have made modern day pieces look so much more beautiful. I believe that with enough creativity and thought, one can turn the most ugly of objects into something beautiful…or hide it with something extraordinary.

My favorite instance is here where the owner of the ModVic home made an entertainment center to look like a Mantle and Fireplace. Genius!

Also following this train of thought is Bronson Pinchot (remember Balki from Perfect Strangers?).  During his architectural renovations he used facades to hide unsightly kitchen appliances. Check out his new show, The Bronson Pinchot Project on the DIY Network, for some of his clever tricks.

This leather flooring is just gorgeous! But realistically, who can afford to have this done? I can certainly see Parks and Recreations’ Ron Swanson meticulously slaving away his weekends redoing his man-cave with this flooring, but also who has the time? Well, in my next blog I’ll be showing you how to DIY your own floor mat version of this. It’s the perfect entryway mat that will give your home style as soon as you step in the door.

Mixed fixin’s: From door handles, cabinet drawer pulls, towel racks, light plates, etc. these minor details can quickly give your place an air of intrigue. Check out this “Fictorian” (Faux Victorian) faucet:

Let there be light: Lighting fixtures have always been a quick, and somewhat, easy way of making a big statement. Here are some fixtures that can make a subtle or powerful statement for your nouveau home:

This small chandelier would make a great entryway light:

This dramatic chandelier will definitely be the conversation piece of your next dinner party. Invent a story as intriguing as the piece…don’t tell your guests you really just ordered it online until the very end:

This elegant fixture would make for perfect lighting in your bathroom, it is soft, graceful and truly a piece of art:

And for the person who really wants a little more “BANG” for their buck, these repurposed bombs by Jake Wright make an intriquing addition to your side table.

Artful presentation: When I visited Prague, I couldn’t help but bring back a little something from Alfonse Mucha’s home. I bought this little print of Medee (Medea) and had it framed with an Edwardian style frame. Go to your local flea market or antique mall to find interesting vintage prints from magazines and wooden frames that can make a splash on your wall. Or, take the easy route, order a print online from and take it to your local framer to have it professionally framed. I ALWAYS go to Paul, the owner of House of Secrets (thee local comic book haven), to have artwork professionally preserved.

And lastly Furniture: This is probably the most expensive route of all to steampunkify your home, but once you see these pictures, you’ll understand why it’s sooooo very tempting to spend this week’s paycheck. The cheap route would be to check out area estate sales of old homes, flea markets, or see if your town has a store like Construction Junction in Pittsburgh, which carries castaways of all sorts from the areas hundreds of Victorian homes. Here you can find everything from doors, stained glass windows, fixtures, bricks, etc, a true heaven on earth for the DIYer.

But for those who don’t want to spend their next year resurfacing wood, here’s some websites where your new wares can be in your home in a matter of days:

Authentic Models

Timeless Interiors

McClain Weisand

Vintage Industrials

Now remember, I don’t suggest turning your home into a Zepplin like this guy did:

(P.S.- It’s on the market, check out this from the Wall Street Journal)

But, consider giving your place a little bit of “je ne sais quoi”.  Your home will feel more warm, opulent, and tailored. And remember to check back March 13th for step-by-step instructions on how to make your own leather mat.

Now boldly go!

If you enjoy my blog, please follow me on twitter @JMNDesigns for daily tips and ideas.