A few years ago my family had the opportunity to visit Graceland, home of Elvis Presley. Given that it was last decorated during the 1970’s & the worldwide epidemic of bad taste occurring at this time, I can give him a little leeway on the just-short-of-god-awful decor. Elvis himself was very involved in decorating the mansion. Who knew the King of Rock & Roll cared about a color palette & textile swatches?
Elvis bought the home in 1957 & began extensive renovations. In the 1970’s, designer Bill Eubanks came in & Elvis worked alongside him to re-decorate & add some modern touches like the wall of TV’s in the media room. Allegedly, Elvis had heard President Nixon often watched several TV’s switched to different channels & Elvis wanted to incorporate that into Graceland. In the pool room, the walls & ceiling are swathed in 400 yards of fabric for what Eubanks refers to as a “coccoon” effect.
Most notorious is the “Jungle Room”. Elvis was a big fan of Hawaii & wanted a room to reflect that love. The room boasted floor & ceiling – yes, it covered the ceiling – green shag carpet, a Tiki bar, & one end of the room was dominated by a flagstone wall that actually functioned as a waterfall. I use the term “functioned” loosely as the room frequently flooded. Ornately carved, blocky, Witco sofas & chairs were in upholstered in faux fur.
The nicest thing that is often said about the decor at Graceland is “tacky”. Rooms like the jungle room are gaudy, overdone & overly embellished. Elvis would have made a good Victorian. Well, aside from the pelvis shaking & rock & roll. Victorian style was filigreed, overblown, opulent & excessive with strong, bright colors. Modern design tends to be streamlined with clean lines & minimal accents & much more neutral colors.
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