There are several points of departure when I begin a design project: logistical considerations, style and color preferences, the list goes on. I like incorporating personal pieces – furnishings, art, mementos – that evoke comforting memories and an individual’s sense of place. This does not mean I am green lighting shelves loaded down with memorabilia and dust collecting tchotchkes! Designing someone’s home is also an opportunity for fresh beginnings so introducing elements from the past is a delicate balance and requires considered editing. A client of mine is an artist and over the years she has carefully put together a very personal art collection comprised of wonderful examples of her colleagues’ work. Visiting her home feels like each artist represented is there to greet you as well!
I embarked on a serious editing process when I recently moved which is still going on; I had comfortably nestled into a home filled with art, furnishings, and personal items belonging to both my parents along with all of my own possessions. It wasn’t cluttered but there was very little open space left! It was time to distill what truly has meaning and incorporate them in a new scheme that allows breathing room for something new to evolve.
When I step into my foyer I like to feel right at home; one of its corners has morphed into a collection of happy memories, reminders of time passed and how much our day to day lives have evolved as well. It started with finding the right spot for my great-grandmother’s Victorian era sewing stand, not exactly the tin biscuit box I keep a few spools of thread in! So interesting to me that there was a time when household activities such as sewing had such pride of place in a home.
Soon one of my father’s delightful elephant sculptures found its way there; he had made a series of animal sculptures in the early 1950′s and I understand that elephants bring good luck so the entryway became a good place for it. I like the scale of it on top of the sewing stand as well as the contrast of contemporary and antique. I grew up with that particular sculpture on our extra large coffee table in the living room, usually grouped with an ever shifting family of other small scale pieces.
On the wall above there’s a small landscape oil painting by the Scottish painter John Halliday; my mother and I had traveled to Scotland one summer and visited his studio. He was one of our hosts who showed us around Edinburgh, not only did we find him extremely charming but we both loved his work and she purchased this painting as well as a very impressive larger landscape painting. Beneath that there’s the gorgeous Japanese woodblock print by Kidugawa Eizan of two women seated on a staircase. Both of these works are happy daily reminders of my mother’s discerning well trained eye and make me instantly feel comfortable when I walk into my home.
If it’s something that make you smile – whether it’s your aunt’s favorite Lenox china, a Barbie doll collection, or rare American Indian rugs– they deserve a special place and can be a point of departure in making larger design decisions.
The lilac gray paint color on the walls is throughout most of my apartment, here it is richer and more saturated because the main light source is a large chandelier and there is no natural light. I find walking into this space very soothing and I also love the juxtaposition of this muted darker tone with the vibrant Chinaberry red (BM 1351) in the adjoining room, it seems to be happily glowing.
My cat Loulou, the perfect hostess, is always at the door welcoming all who arrive and gently reminding me that this is her home and she very graciously is allowing me to stay with her.