Friday, April 6, 2012

Cargo Re-Imagining

For many years I have offered to help clients "Clutter-Bust".
If, like me, the client has hoards (not to say they hoard) of wonderful, memorable items they simply cannot part with, I have realized that those words sound like fingernails on a chalkboard.

I have changed my spin on the duty ahead of us..."Can't you just imagine if these were all consolidated and put in a more prominent place as a collection, the impact they would have as a unit?"

I will go on to describe the process of categorizing their treasures into "like items".
When we finally get to the task of "cargo re-imagining", it often appears as though a tornado has touched down. It only lasts for a short period of time and the results are liberating. What at one point was occupying their minds as "too much cargo", now may appear as a table scape or offer up more utility and purpose.

Taking pictures is a useful tool as well, as everything looks different two dimensionally as opposed to standing in the middle and having the advantage of perspective and 360 degrees of rotation. When the room is seen in whole, it may seem better appointed. Seeing it in pictures, helps to identify spots needing more attention.

And very often, things evolve as items find their rightful resting places...

In the picture above, the art seems like it is hung too far above the sofa; but in the environment, it makes sense and feels right.
The whole project is an ongoing "work of art". And like a master painter, at some point you have to know when to quit. There is no such thing as perfection.

The job of the Peripatetic Designer is to "walk around" with the client, help them categorize, minimize and maximize all of the items they adore.
"Yes, no,, try this."
You will find out a great deal about the person by the treasures that they keep.

I now have realized that I can't ever say anything approaching "busting", as though some things will have to go. And I truly believe what I tell them, "You won't need to get rid of anything. It is all a matter of how they are arranged, organized and displayed."

There was a PBS special lately where they took viewers on a tour of several unusual dwellings. One was the home of a man who never throws anything away. And I mean anything. It was absolutely amazing what he had done. His entire home was like a museum of artifacts. He had jars of nails and other mundane everyday items. The way he had organized and displayed them was the difference between hoarding and art. Eventually items found their rightful places. He was especially fond of jars as they held all of the items for display. Each jar ended up with a "hood ornament", something wonderful topping it off.

The most important thing about making a home is to remember that it is yours. There is a point that accumulations become hoarding, but it is a very fine line and more a matter of what it is doing in your life rather than in your home.

I think the test is if you can move an item without getting overly anxious.
Moving it doesn't mean it is leaving. At least not yet.

There is always tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Risky Business

The wall color is Behr, Wisteria White. It has just a super subtle hint of purple; but in just the right light, friends have said to me, "Purple Haze!".
I love nuance; things that don't slap you in the face but come at you slowly and in disguise.

I used this color extensively as my white of choice until I found Ralph Lauren's, Picket Fence White, which I just adore.

Putting it on a wall, I have thought it had a yellow cast as it was going on; but in the larger scheme of things, it looks just like it is described. It has a friendly, quaint appeal.

The white on this wall is probably a conventional contractor's white. The folding door panels are painted in the "Picket Fence White" . You can see how clean the white on them looks in comparison; but while putting it on an interior wall, it truly can look like it has yellow in it. Colors are very tricky. Very, very tricky.

The white in these squares is the same "Picket Fence White". adjacent to the yellow, they really look white. It is a matter of context.

It's always a good idea to test colors. Large swatches of this, believe it or not, very white looking color on the swatch card, looked sand on the test patch. After it got on all of the walls....another story...
It's amazing. When I specified this color for our church, I studied and studied it worrying that it would be too dark. After the painter finished and I came in to see, I thought for a minute that he hadn't painted at all. It looked white.

Sometimes designers will tell a client that the color will intensify the larger an area it covers.

Not always.
As was said, color is very, very tricky. Hold on and trust your instincts. And...give it time to sink in. You have to live with color for awhile. It grows on you. A sudden change can shock you and you may think you won't like it. Give it time. 

I am such a fan of Tricia Guild. I just love color. I love her colors. She has an amazing, amazing sense of how to use it. I spent last night revisiting her book, "Tricia Guild in town" It's so saturated with color, it is hard to get through very many pages without taking the time to absorb what you see. The book is of her own homes as well as others.

After spending time in her book remembering my passion for color, I realized just how inhibited I have been. Far too often, we let what we think others will think inform what we will or won't do. Life is too short not to live your own passion.

Again, I say, "Trust your instincts... And, be true to yourself!"
Do what You love.