DO YOU WANT TO CREATE A PERSONAL STYLE AT HOME? IF SO, ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS.

 

Detail from an arrangement on a  sideboard at The Inn at Paradise Farms, a former bed and breakfast.

Detail from an arrangement on a sideboard at The Inn at Paradise Farms, the former bed and breakfast.

Over the holidays I picked up a book called Kitchens, Creating a Beautiful Kitchen of your Own by House Beautiful. In this book, there is a section called ‘composed kitchens’ and while there are many interesting designs that are wonderful, after so many designs of white kitchen after white kitchen I became snow blind. I yearned for color and more personal or individualistic kitchens.

 

This reminded me of a class that I taught at the community college on how to create a personal style at home. It was a great class and the focus was to look at how to create residential spaces from a very personal perspective. What became obvious in looking at these ‘white’ kitchen designs was that they were the result of the style-makers promoting shiny white subway tile and everyone in this section seemed to have jumped on board with the directive resulting in all these kitchens covered in white subway tile. [FYI, I think subway tile is great, I love it; but first ask yourself is that what is right for you and your kitchen?]

 

A more expanded shot of the sideboard and the piano window. This design, the personal style part, was to design    the interiors that were historical, romantic and deeply evocative of an earlier time while at the same time being contemporary.

A  expanded shot of the sideboard and the piano window. In this design, the personal style part, was to design interiors that were historical, romantic and deeply evocative of an earlier time while being contemporary in sensibility.

This led me to think about how I work with my clients. It is very important to me that each design is original and specific to that client, their house and their budget. Perhaps that is not unusual but I know from experience that there needs to be a strong desire from the very beginning, one backed by a certain dedication to the task at hand by all parties, in order for it to succeed. The easiest way for this to happen is if you have a clear idea of what you want [few clients do], or you can hire a designer who will work with you to explore that with you in a design collaboration where the client is an equal partner. This is how those designs which are truly fresh and original were created. It takes time, exploration, and some patience but it is worth it and, in the end, it is truly the only way that designs of this personal nature are created. Just like any other creative project there is an exploration and study phase before the final, mature design emerges.

 

One of the things that I did in this class was to ask a series of questions to stimulate a more thorough exploration into what they wanted their design to be. I have included some of those questions here that you might use them to explore whatever remodel or interior design project that you are looking at. And, certainly add questions which are specifically tailored to your needs and especially questions which will take you deep into your design exploration and personal style.

 

The personal style in this design is to celebrate a deep sense of quiet, peace and the simplicity of another era before the electronic age. Natural light is a key player this design--shadow and reflections animate the rooms.

The personal style aspect in this design is to celebrate a deep sense of quiet, peace and the simplicity of an era before the electronic age. Natural light is a key player in this very personal design, shadow and reflection animate the rooms and seem to elongate time.

Ask these questions to get started …

  • What is the purpose of this space?
  • What are the qualities you would like to experience in this room?
  • Do you have a vision for this room? What is it?
  • What is it that you want to express about yourself/ or your lifestyle through your design choices?
  • Are their additional activities that occur in this space/ room?
  • How do you want to feel when you walk into your space?
  • What are the finish materials that you want—what do you really love and are certain you want to experience in your project?
  • What furnishings are required for the room to function which could reinforce the feeling that you want to create?
  • What are the colors that would help to set that mood or feeling?
  • What are the decorative objects that you would incorporate to further reinforce your design? Do you have a collection that needs to be displayed?
  • What is it that you would like to explore about yourself, or your life, or your interests that would be fun to factor into the design of your room?
  • What is the architectural style of the home that your room is in—does your room’s interior design direction have continuity with the house style and feel, or not?
  • What about art and the importance that art could play in your room?
  • What are some words that capture the essence of what you want to create?          Choose evocative words that suggest feelings, atmosphere and emotion.

 

A small Venetian wood lamp and brass colonial  candlesticks illuminate a guest bedroom. This retreat is full of a deep quiet and a timelessness.

A small Venetian wood lamp and brass colonial candlesticks illuminate a guest bedroom. This guest room retreat is full of a deep quiet and a timelessness as thick as the down comforter.

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