What do you want to experience when you spend time in the space you are designing? A strong sense of atmosphere draws the parts together that create its setting. The ‘experience of a space’ and the ‘expression of the self’ might seem insubstantial, but they have an elemental strength for integrating your design. Know the mood and the details become clear.
We have come to a time when inventing your own persona with no apologies is the ultimate goal. Our era begins with individuals from undistinguished backgrounds, like the self-created arbiter of style Coco Chanel. From the upper middle-class and an embarrassing family history emerges the multi-talented culture-influencer Jean Cocteau. Sports and music are peopled with hand-forged personalities. But we don’t need to be famous to be confident. Simply put, in your own life, if you can do it, you can be it. Interior design, fashion and personal cultivation are the tools to develop the setting, the look and the capability.
Design has audacity. Confidence in design is based on good research that’s been developed into style. To begin with mood, you begin with personality, so look into Personalities. Cecil Beaton, Kate Moss, Edith Wharton, whom do you admire? A person might choose to immerse in the work of Frank Gehry or filmmaker Peter Greenaway to flood their psyche with a particular discernment.
Are you one who dreams forward? How do you picture a room setting after reading Bulwer Lytton’s ‘The Coming Race’, Philip K Dick’s ‘Do Android’s Dream About Electric Sheep’, 1950’s comic books? Or Gigi Young’s videos, because you seek authenticity using nature in its many forms to feel comfort in your home. The main thing is to follow your interest wherever a glimmer might lead.
To pull together an integrated arrangement you have to give the eye many similar things to connect. Make it obvious. Because the current style involves seemingly carefree mixing, take care to make sure the details relate. Select items of the same level of polish. Frame finishes and fabrics should be closely related in colour or cultural references throughout. If your pieces are matched, play with the textures to create a mix. There are wild woolly fabrics and super soft-touch ones in the news. Beautiful costly textiles are your aces in the deck!
Colour confidence is important. A neutral scene needs at least one repeating colour accent. Risking deeply coloured walls with same colour upholstery and bright art is a winning formula for new contemporary rooms. Walls and large pieces in stone white, pink accent furnishings and gold accessories create glamour. Red is remarkable! It mixes beautifully with rustic companions. Red is clean and strong in ultramodern settings. Blue is back.
Luxury design suggests well-padded sofas, statement lounge chairs, artistic area rugs on wide plank floors. Gallery pedestals with classical sculptures, large rough modern or primitive sculptures, depending on theme. There is no rule for preference of formal over rustic, but anything that maximizes ceiling height is right, such as big-statement pendant lights and ceiling to floor drapery panels. Plushness is an odd chair in fluffy fur or a big personality-patterned sofa, an oversized ottoman or small velvety stools, a costly throw and an extravagance of pillows on a sofa or daybed.
This is no time for convention. Conventional wisdom always proves to have been wrong anyway. In this time of change, structure is extremely fluid. There’s no better time to reinvent yourself, dear Diva! Acknowledging trends, then absorbing them into a highly individualized space reinforces a new sense of self.
All mood boards from Lois Macaulay.
A long standing member of the American Society of Interior Designers, Lois Macaulay holds a 1st place award for residential design 2018, 2nd place for 2017 and 2 presidential citations for contributions to the profession from ASID. “I love creating beautiful settings for extraordinary women--and men,” she says. The strong fashion/design connection in these posts owes its source to her first career as a fashion designer, coordinator and national fashion magazine editor.