Get the Look: Kay Graham’s Traditional Home In The Post

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: 20th Century Fox Film )

How many white rooms with pops of Millennial pink have you seen today? How many of them had simple, bulbous light fixtures with exposed cords? Was there a lacquered tray on the coffee table piled high with design books? The answer is probably a lot, and I’m here to say: Take a break and treat yourself to some fabulous traditionalism.

Katharine Graham’s story is complex and dark at moments, but ultimately triumphant. The Post focuses on the moment in her life when the reins of The Washington Post were thrust upon her and she is tasked with leading a team to publish content of The Pentagon Papers. Up until that point, she was a wife, mother and hostess extraordinaire, and her house in the film reflects that. It’s traditional, warm, with overtures of femininity.

(Image credit: Rena DeAngelo)

As soon as I saw the film, I wanted to write about how to get the look of Katharine’s house, but the obvious obstacle here is how to do it without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on antiques and fine, custom wood furniture. If you’re not up for scouring estate sales, a lot of the big home furnishings retailers are selling pieces that look and feel traditional without the crazy price tag. Full disclosure: they’re usually not solid wood, but it’s a compromise.

(Image credit: Rena DeAngelo)

One of the key components to getting this look is embracing the soft touches. The floral wallpaper and pastel paint colors are important opportunities to chose more feminine finishes because the wood of the casegoods will feel heavier if surrounded by dark elements. Floral wallpaper is wonderful for an entryway – make a statement as soon as the door opens and make that statement, “Hello, I have champagne chilling in the parlor.”

(Image credit: Rena DeAngelo)

Another important element is statement wall decor. Framed paintings and mirrors are easy-to-source options. Look for detailed frames with lots of interest. This is not the moment for minimal gallery frames—embrace gold leaf and opulent molding.

(Image credit: Rena DeAngelo)

In terms of furniture, you want to look for pieces in the style of Queen Anne, Victorian, and Chippendale. Queen Anne style typically has scalloped or shells carved into it. Victorian furniture encompasses pieces like the classic Chesterfield sofa. Chippendale furniture is a bit sleeker than both. Be careful about the type and finish of the wood—you don’t want too much mixing because it will start to look like an antique store. When given a choice, go for darker stains.

You’re now ready to host fabulous parties for the likes of movie stars and political dynasties.

Get the look

(Image credit: Anita Shriver)

Thanks to The Post’s set decorator, Rena DeAngelo, for providing photos.