Tuesday, May 29, 2012


At first glance the top photos might look like something from a kids magazine where the goal is to find what's different in each photo, but take a closer look.  Often good design doesn't have to knock you over the head, but simply whispers to you (that actually sounds more like a Danielle Steel novel and less like interior design chatter).  While I've been hired by clients to fill a home soup to nuts with new pieces, it's projects like this weeks I find most challenging and fulfilling.  The charming Hudson River Valley home above is owned by two artists who have raised a family and grown successful businesses within the confines of these 200 year-old walls.  Not only do these walls talk, they scream volumes about the creative individuals who have lived within them.  Just like kids growing up and moving out, houses need to evolve too, and my mission on this project is to respect the past while embracing the future.  To do that (and to keep from overwhelming the clients) I've taken my own advice and broken this big project into tiny, more manageable parts.  To help the clients see the potential of this great place I started by organizing a small bookshelf in their study.  I love for a space to tell a story, and this bookshelf was a great place to start.  By including pieces from around the house (often one of my favorite places to shop for great tchotchkes is right in a clients home!) I've created a destination for books and a starting point for great conversation...a sign on one shelf, for example, is from a business that once occupied a room in the home in the early 1900's, a painting by a dear friend is proudly displayed front and center, family albums are now easily accessible from the sofa rather than hiding under it.  While it often takes a fresh set of eyes to see diamonds in the rough, it only takes you to create and interesting view.
QUICK TIP:  To make busy bookshelves look more organized and visually appealing, I like to push the books right to the edge.  Some people think arranging them by size is best, but I disagree..as long as they're all even with the edge, you'll have the edge on good design!