Monday, March 3, 2014


Sometimes a pretty room is just a pretty room, based on the things we like.  Nothing wrong with that!  But more and more as I work on other people's houses, I challenge myself to start not only from a favorite color or beloved rug, but also from an idea, a concept that helps tie the room together.  I loved reading a story in Architectural Digest recently where the designer talked about fog or "fogginess" as her inspiration, which played out in color palette, materials choices, etc.

Two cases in point from my own work.

This guest room design was for a duplex penthouse in New York, a building that had been converted from something else into luxury apartments.  I loved the idea of transformation, of taking something quite old and making it new.  But even more than that, I was intrigued by the notion of fascimile, of transformation through the process of copying.

Here, the Restoration Hardware bedding takes a Baroque medallion design and deconstructs it into a hand drawn, printed motif.  The CB2 Stick Around chair recreates the Novogratzes' own dining chairs, which are authentic vintage finds. And the artwork is a fine art photograph of a very old painting, manipulated into a new work of art by my aunt, Melissa O'Shaughnessy, a very talented photographer.  Do you "see" all of this the moment you look at this room?  No.  But I love that it adds another layer to the design.

In this girls room, we wanted a space that worked now for the 9-year-old occupant, but would also work later with minor changes.  I liked the notion of hand me down antiques, the way young people sometimes have very grown up furniture because it is on hand (mom and dad redo their bedroom, a grandparent downsizes, etc.)  The bed is one such piece, repainted for this use, but then we brought in "future heirlooms", like the gustavian chests, and then contrasted them with very "teen" elements like the modern white lamps.  It almost feels like a nine year old inherited the guest room and made it her own.

Having a little story in mind can help create a framework for choices, just like a framework of formal elements repeating around a space.

Here's to a new week!  Hope yours is starting off right.

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