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Southern Comfort

Artist Frank Faulkner turns his Hudson, NY, home into a functional, comfortable, treasure-filled haven.

Being the consummate Southern gentleman and storyteller, painter Frank Faulkner could talk for hours about the thousands of self-described “junk” finds he’s carefully curated into artful, theatrical arrangements all around his Hudson, NY, home. From an oversized bust from the set of Antony and Cleopatra, a threadbare oriental rug acquired on his many travels, or a kitschy lamp bought for practically nothing at a tag sale, every piece has something to say about Frank, who epitomizes the Cultured Eclectic aesthetic.

Frank has been scouring yard sales, secondhand shops, and antique stores for years. “It’s all about style,” he says, noting that he’s more concerned with scale and how pieces fit into a space than whether they’re pedigreed Regency or Biedermeier. In this corner of the dining room, for example, against the backdrop of 1870s plaster walls (the original wallpaper was stripped and the walls left untreated for a patinated, Italian country-house look), Frank set a cherry-hued 1920s cabinet with a faux-bois finish and rope trim. Atop the cabinet he arranged several vintage finds, including a cast-cement copy of the bust of the emperor Tiberius, an urn lamp on a marble base, and an old mahogany candlestick, the finish of which accidentally peeled after he attempted to clean off melted candle wax.

On the wall behind the cabinet, Frank hung a large mirror bought at an antique store in Hudson; he removed the circa-1940s gold-leaf finish and gessoed it for a timeworn look. The portrait to the left is a verre églomisé rendering of Vlad the Impaler, which he inherited from a like-minded, junk-collecting friend. The chair with the hot-air-balloon back is from a set of four that he purchased at the Doyle Auction tag sale in New York City, and, depending on which story you believe, belonged to either the Montgolfiers, the French brothers who invented hot-air ballooning, or were salvaged from one of the VIP boxes at the Metropolitan Opera. “I don’t know for sure,” Frank says, “but it doesn’t really matter. Either way, they’re great conversation pieces.”

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