Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Beautifully Simple

When I arrived one day at a clients house back in June, (with a bouquet of fresh peonies from my garden!) I couldn’t help but notice her guest bedroom was void of night tables and bedside lamps.  It was easy to notice because there was a direct sightline from the hallway outside the bedroom directly to that empty space beside the bed, not that I didn't notice the bed was perfectly made and lovely looking on its own,,,, but just that something was missing.   My designer radar kicked in and as I scoped out the rest of the room I spotted a pretty vintage chair with layers of chipping paint on it tucked in the corner, and then in her home office......a floor lamp that wasn’t being utilized.   5 minutes later,,,,,,,this is what the room looked like (photo above). 

Now the view from the hallway is so pretty, it brings a smile to her face everytime she walks by the room, and to mine everytime I look at this photo.

Often its the simplest changes make the biggest difference and usually they don’t cost a dime.  I love to work with things my clients already own and in my experience, there’s nothing they love more then when they see how beautiful their own stuff looks simply used in a new or different way.   

I admit it may not be the ideal night table or lamp for this room, and one day she’ll find them and the room will evolve over time.  But for now,,,this works just perfectly and is so much better than doing nothing.  I know that often people choose to hold out for that ‘ideal’ piece (if you can figure out what that is!?) but unfortunately that approach usually means you’ll likely end up living with empty spaces and blank walls for years...... there’s nothing appealing or practical about that.

I’m always amazed at the treasures I come across sitting neglected in basements or garages or spare rooms in clients homes.  I’m a firm believer in making the most of what you’ve got before exploring new alternatives.  I guarantee you, you can transform a room or a hallway or an empty corner just by using things you already have.  In fact, you may not even like a particular chair or a lamp or a piece of art that much,,,but by placing it in a new spot or an empty corner it suddenly gives new life or purpose to that otherwise blank space.  Ultimately, its the overall effect that can be created that you’ll love, the colour its suddenly added or the texture, or simply its function.  Even if you’re not so crazy about the individual item(s), you’ll get such satisfaction from the other aspects of how the space suddenly seems useable or more pleasing to look at - you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done it sooner and hopefully it will inspire you to continue building on what you’ve got.

Photo:  Carol Reed

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