Posts Tagged ‘Mixing contemporary art and antiques’
When I am hired to decorate the interiors of older homes, one thing I am almost always faced with is smaller size rooms. Here are some simple guidelines:
1.) Select a light monochromatic palette. Less saturated colors reflect more light and give a greater sense of spaciousness. By limiting the amount of different colors in a room, the space will feel less busy, more open and airy. Using a monochromatic palette doesn’t mean a room has to be dull or boring. Select fabrics with different patterns and textures in the same tone. In this Living Room I selected a dozen different fabrics.
2.) Try to place furnishings close to the perimeter walls. By using the perimeter space, the room will gain visual openness in the center of the room and actually create a physical sense of space. Most larger rooms have a pathway, or traveling space around the outside of seating areas, but in smaller rooms this space can be moved to the inside of the groupings and make the space look much larger.
3.) Limit yourself to one large piece of furniture. For example, use one sofa or one large armoire and complement that piece with smaller furnishings this will give the room variations in scale without making it feel heavy or overcrowded.
4.) Don’t be afraid to use an eclectic mix of furnishings. Monochromatic palettes tend to unify them and harmonize the look just by color!
5.) Go vertical. Another optical trick is to make ceilings look higher by using vertical stripes on your wall-coverings. These subtle lines will draw the eye upward creating height. By painting the ceilings in a glossy finish you can reflect more light and take the weight of the ceiling out of the room.
Remember: “Small is Beautiful.” Ernesto Garcia, ASID
A stairway in a foyer can make or break the space. It is usually the first impression a house gives to its visitors. A good stairway is like that indispensable broche on a dress or a statement tie to a suite. A stairway’s railing is one of its most important components.
Depending on the style of a home, railings can be richly ornate or simple and understated. If your railing is the focal point, the treatment used on treads and risers should complement and not compete with the railing. These railings are an airy variation of leaves and foliage and draw much more attention than the simple white floating steps. Other spaces may call for stone, wood, tile, concrete or any combination of these materials to accompany different railings styles.
This photograph shows an eclectic residence where the steps are the center of attention. I kept the railings very simple and unfussy because I wanted to create a dynamic effect on the runner by using different geometric patterns on treads and risers. That way you perceive one pattern at eye level when all you see is risers and another pattern when you are stepping on its treads. I wanted to create an element of surprise in the way the stairway is experienced.
It is important to be cautious of how much detail you use on railings and how much detail you use on the steps, because it is rarely necessary to make a strong statement with both. In this grand entryway, you’ll see there are patterns on both the railings and the steps. However since they are monochromatic, using different shades of brown, against a blank background, these patterns coexist harmoniously creating an elegant pathway that ascends through the home.
No matter the size of the steps in your home, treat them like their own space in the house. Add a focal point, add some interest, and make taking the stairs more enjoyable!
Remember: Always elegant, never boring!
What is Eclectic?
To my mind, an eclectic interior is one that derives its generating ideas, style and taste from a diverse range of sources. Half of the clients who hire me want me to design this type of interior for their homes. As for the other half, we tend to start with a definite stylistic direction but somewhere along the way we transition to very eclectic spaces anyway.
Personally, I have studied too many styles, visited too many cities, walked too many museums, and seen too many movies not to be eclectic. How could we possibly be any different in such a globalized world? I have this bank of images and experiences in my mind, a well from which I am constantly tapping for inspiration because there is so much that is so beautiful about every style.
So… What is the key to a well-designed eclectic room? My short answer is a harmonious dialogue between all the parts. It seems simple at first but in fact, it requires extensive editing and evaluation. Comparatively speaking, staying within the boundaries of a specific style is much easier.
Consider this dining room I designed.
The columns came from a late 18th-century English estate, their rich texture surface frames the room and gives it importance.
The rosewood dining table is a French Deco reproduction, its clean lines, and rich graining give it the anchoring weight required in the center of the room.
The stylized Regency chairs in a dark mahogany display their graceful frame against the bone colored walls giving the room movement and interest.
This dining set sits on a wool and silk rug that I designed using the undulating lines that characterized Art Nouveau.
The contemporary chrome chandelier with Murano glass pendants was my boldest move in this room (just think how overwhelming a wrought iron chandelier would look in its place) it is its lightness that allows all the other pieces to reveal themselves.
As I mentioned before, a lot of thought goes behind every detail in order to achieve the perfect mix of styles. Each piece should have similar lines and sense of character to them to be able to work cohesively together. After working with every style, many times over, I can definitively say eclectic interiors are by far the most complex and challenging ones.
In addition to providing Interior Design services, I also work as an Art Consultant, helping my clients put together entire art collections. A good percentage of my projects are either traditional or eclectic in style, and my clients are often concerned with how a contemporary piece of art will fit in their traditional interiors.
Regarding art, this is my philosophy: “If you love it buy it! I will find a way to integrate into your home.” The most important thing in these cases is to create a harmonious dialogue between the old and the new.
One of my clients wanted her art collection to be featured in every room of her home. This particular project was a delightful challenge to fit each piece into my overall designs.
For the above image, I used the following guidelines to put together this bedroom:
First address scale. You want to make sure that the existing furniture serves as an “anchor” for the new piece, you don’t want your new painting or sculpture to overwhelm its surroundings. Notice how I paired the smaller geometric pieces and used the larger image to the right of the bed. This balances the art’s weight evenly across the room while letting each image shine for itself.
The next thing to keep in mind is the color palette of the new piece. Try to find some color association, unless you want the new piece to completely stand out (which is a fair objective, I must say) from the rest of your belongings. In this room, the overall color scheme is a light lilac color, so each of the pieces of art in this bedroom have a similar hue or purple tone to tie every inch together.
Finally, if the new piece of art isn’t abstract, make sure the subject is suitable to the room. You might not want to wake up to the view of a still life of vegetables every morning. The abstracts and still-lives are perfect for quieter places in a home, whereas brighter landscapes and detailed images work well in public seating areas and social spaces.