Accessorize And Personalize

 

When it comes to putting the finishing touches on a space, most people, and some designers, are unsure of where to start and when to stop.  We’ve all seen it.  The beautiful new home with its well appointed and carefully selected furnishings.  But after looking around it’s obvious that they’ve haven’t actually lived in the space.

So why are we so afraid to put our personal belongings on display?  Creating a look that incorporates good taste with some personal style takes a bit of courage.  It’s not about how much you spend to accessorize or how many things you use but rather the types of things you choose that reflect your style.

Taking a good look at your lifestyle is the best place to start.  When I’m working with a client, I tend to look at things that they often overlook.  During the design process I get to know them a little and try to pick up on some character traits.   I look for things like daily activities, special interests, attire, hobbies, and habits.  These are things that make them familiar to the people around them and obviously give them the most personal comfort in their own lives.

Once I think I have a handle on their style, I start collecting…from my own sources as well as going through their personal things that I think they might be overlooking.  It usually takes a mix of both to finish the job since most people have too much of one thing or too many different things that don’t relate.

Then it’s time to have fun.  Using the mix, I like to focus on areas that catch the eye…bookcases, table tops, small forgotten spaces and places of high impact.  I like to surprise the eye, giving them something a little unexpected in the mix in a place not likely expected.

I also like to “landscape” the accessories.  This is creating a placement or arrangement to include different heights and shapes, mixing old and new, and using the shapes to play off the space (or negative space).  I like to tighten them up so they interact instead of placing individuals items floating by themselves.  They sort of become small groupings of familiar friends.  I like tall items to the back, thin items to contrast the bulky ones, sculptural shapes next to hard lines, old next to new and maybe a little greenery to add some life.  I tend to cover enough space but leave room to breathe.  It’s more of an art than a science and balance is the key.

Having come from traditional roots, I tend to like more than less. I think it’s more interesting to the eye and shows a little more depth of personality.  Collections have always been a favorite whether its artwork, souvenirs, books, or whatever my mood is at the time in my life.  And once collected, I never get rid of them…I just find a new home for them…and start looking for my next favorite thing.

 

First Impact-Making The Right Impression For Whom?

It’s not really something you learn in school, nor is it the kind of thing most clients would be willing to admit when furnishing their home.  But believe it or not, other people make their first impression of your home within 10 seconds of entering it.  And sometimes that impression is difficult to change   So the question is…should we be concerned with what they think?  To answer the question, we have to look beyond purely our own ego.

Drawing on my previous years of doing some high-end model homes for a couple of Florida’s leading builders, one of the key elements in home sales was the point of impact.  What does the potential buyer see as soon as they open their door?   This created one of the contributing factors to what has become a standard in home design…the open floor plan.

The open floor plan can easily make a home feel larger and customers can immediately envision a family-gathering lifestyle.  The cooking/eating area exposed to the entertainment area speaks of family meals and movies, weekend BBQ’s, birthday and holiday parties, and a place where the world is safe.  These are powerful mental images that turn lookers into buyers.

Keeping that in mind, it’s important to plan your furniture layout not to obstruct the view, especially if your pool or view lies in the background.   Furniture with it’s back facing the entry should be the smaller, lighter pieces such as chairs, and not your sofa.   Brighter homes give a sense of good health and well-being.  Colors, textures and styles all play an important role.  And don’t forget to dress the windows.  They are the frames for your picture.

So, first impact has an affect on sale/resale.  It also has an affect on value.  A home that has been well designed and furnished, more often than not will sell faster and for a higher price.  When people are buying a new home, they are not looking for the added expense of renovations or trying to figure out how to use the space.  It’s more than just a kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms to them.  It’s how they imagine living in it.  Or what it will be like to wake up to it on the weekends.  And trust me, the more beautiful and interesting it is, the more desirable it becomes.   So while you may think it’s not important to you what other people think, the day will probably come when you may want to rethink your position.

With the price of homes being what they are, who wouldn’t want their investment to look like more than they paid for it?

So it’s not really caring what other people think about your home but rather how they will subconsciously respond to it.  And if they can feel it, trust me, you can feel it.  And if there’s one person you should care about how your home makes them feel, it’s you.

 

 

Mix It Up-Contemporary Gets Interesting

Most people still think of choosing an interior design theme as one style or another.  Some prefer the sleek minimal effects of contemporary while others enjoy that warm, cozy traditional look.  Of course nothing is just that simple any more.  Style-bending is quickly becoming the norm.

Contemporary furnishings still seem to dominate the furniture market and consumer sales in the South Florida market and it was still the main attraction at the Fall High Point Furniture Market.   However, the hard edge design that used to be the hallmark of contemporary seems to be getting a little fuzzy.  It is being influenced by the desire for something more comfortable and relaxed.

An example of this mix can be seen in one of Bernhardt’s new bed introductions.

While the design and structure of the bed is very linear and contemporary, it has been softened by its covering in fabric and nailhead trim.  This allows the consumer to pair it with almost any type of night stand and almost any style.

The bed is a new interpretation of a poster bed and the only one like so far on the market.   Currently, it’s only offered in one fabric.  The construction of the bed is rock solid.

The bed will be available around March, 2012.

The reverse is also true where traditional items are being modernized with the use of finishes as is the case with the this chow leg cocktail shown in chrome.   Maybe your living room is starting to look a lot like Grandma’s house and you want to spice it up.  Or maybe you’re getting tired of your sparse contemporary living room and want to add some less rigid pieces.  Either way, they’re your rules and it’s your game.  Jump into the pool of creativity and express yourself.

The finish is a high polished chrome and should be available early this year in limited supply.  The price is surprisingly affordable compared to other higher priced contemporary manufacturers and the quality is just as good.

For those wanting a little more of a statement, this Georgian-inspired chair was a show stopper.   Instead of using the expected stain finish, EJVictor lacquered the frame black and then applied the fabric to make a contemporary statement.  This would be a great combination with something very contemporary such as a chunky lucite table.  The fabric and finish choices from this company, not to mention the handcrafted workmanship of each piece,  keep EJVictor regarded as one of the finest furniture lines made in the USA.

The same held true for upholstery and textiles.  Many of the new sofa styles were larger in scale and more on the contemporary side but more often than not, the fabrics that were shown on them were mostly in solids, and usually in a woven texture of some type.   Rugs, which always seemed extremely traditional, seemed to be simpler and more geometric, also a response to the demand for contemporary and more understated interiors.

Of course, these are only the appetizers for what lies ahead on the furniture menu.  Some of the other companies that introduced exceptionally original products were Four Hands, Raymond Waites Couture, Global View and Design Institute Of America.