Trend Alert: Your Ancestor’s Portrait Above Your Tub

art above a tub
That’s right – you read that correctly.  I think this is another Scandinavian inspired trend and I am seeing it everywhere.   I first started seeing these traditional portraits above a tub or a sink in a minimally decorated bathroom.  There’s something about the juxtaposition of the white background with the dark figure staring back at you that is strangely compelling.  What can you take home from this?  Every home needs something unexpected. (Source)
Art above a sink
The painting placed above the sink instead of a mirror is a sophisticated smile at the user. (Source)
Painting instead of mirror in powder room
bathtub with planking
It’s clever – a well dressed gentleman propped up next to the bathtub. To take the seriousness out of this – many of these traditional portraits are left unframed. (Source)
Unframed portrait white interior
These darkly handsome portraits have been cropping up in beautifully pale living and dining rooms and in bedrooms. (Source)
White dining room
Pale walls, furnishings and floors, European style antiques, and a dark, Puritan-esque, unframed portrait centered on the wall – interesting, no? (Source)
unframed painting above a fireplace
To really make this work: the unexpected element needs to have some breathing room and be purposefully placed. (Source)
industrial dining room with art
Minimal, rustic, yet trendy and industrial – the last thing you would expect hung on the wall in this room would be a gilt framed portrait of a well-dressed gentleman from another era. The unexpected element makes this room memorable. (Source)
Gallery wall unframed art
While one of these portraits brings with it a bit of humor and that touch of the unexpected that is so important in creating a memorable interior, a collection of these portraits has a very dramatic presence. In a modern setting they become a powerful piece of art when grouped together.
framed and unframed art wall
A beautiful combination and composition of framed and unframed portraits. (Source)
Dining room portraits on wall
This image is startlingly similar to the one above – but I think you get the idea, right? (Source)

This trend is not simply about taking an old fashioned portrait and hanging it in your home, it’s about adding a touch of the unexpected to your home.  You need something that is beautiful on its own but is also unexpected either in its placement or in its environment.  A touch of the rustic in an elegant home.  A modern light fixture in a traditional room.  A dark, traditional oil painting in a pale, simple environment.  

Tasteful and classic are nice, but a small dose of the unexpected is fantastic.


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