Friday, September 12, 2008

Design Restraint

Happy Friday! I've been in a bit of transition in my own home, painting rooms, putting in wood floors, etc. and still have yet to hang my pictures or personalize the spaces. So, in an effort to motivate myself, I started thinking about what I want to do with my space and the phrase "eliminate clutter" was at the top of my list.

In the world of design it is often so easy to overdo, overstuff, overdesign and plain ol' over-decorate a room. I, personally, am one who believes in design restraint. In other words, pair down, edit and eliminate clutter. I think that it provides clarity in a space and also feels more zen when you enter a space that is carefully edited.

Here are some good examples of rooms that are edited nicely.

Georgio Armani's Manhattan pied-a-terre. Similar wood tones, monotone fabrics and open designed furniture give this master bedroom a clean, open and peaceful atmosphere. The 1940s mahogany-and-leather desk is by Edward Wormley. Architectural Digest - April 2002.

Designer Thad Hayes. Architectural Digest. The eye moves easily throughout this room because of the cohesiveness of the blue, white and dark wood tones. The geometric pattern of the rug give this room order.

Interior Designer Mariette Himes Gomez. This residence in Manhattan was made to feel like a loft. Like the photo above, the colors of the room all blend beautifully - in this case creamy whites and wood tones. A Sol Le-Witt charcoal cube hangs on the back wall. The low table is by Paul McCobb. Architectural Digest.

This is a current ad for Larson Juhls custom frames. This is a perfect example of design restraint. Notice how they placed all the frames on the wall and even overlapped some of them. But, they are all in the same color family (this picture isn't the greatest quality) and there is a nice composition to the wall. The other furnishings in the space are also of like color and style.

Designed by Lee F. Mindel and Peter L. Shelton, this New York turnkey developer penthouse sits atop a newly completed residential tower in Tribeca—high ceilings, glass walls, wraparound terrace with views of lower Manhattan and beyond. Using the city as the focal point of the space, they left the heavily framed windows bare and brought in light grey modern sofas so that they eye goes straight out to the view.

Here is another view of the living room above. The art above the Steinway piano is Ovalisque, by David Row. The organic shape of the coffee table with the hydrangeas and the movement in the art piece give the room life.

Yet another view from the penthouse. Jeff Zimmerman’s handblown-glass sculpture is on the table in the living area. In the dining area, leather chairs and a trestle table add to the modern urban feel. The space does not feel overdone because of the clean lines and choice of furnishings.

The dining area, which looks onto a kitchen sitting area from the same penthouse. Andreas Gursky photo on the back wall. With a couple of Barcelona chairs against the back wall, along with the blue stools and hydrangeas that tie in with the art, there is a perfect cohesiveness.

This bedroom is from the same penthouse above. Again, the designer used a white palette for the furnishings and brought the color in with the headboard wall and the linens.

Lauren Sara designed her own Colonial Revival home near Philadelphia. Folding tin birds line a guest room window. The circa 1806 portrait by John Brewster, Jr., is set above a Saarinen womb chair. At the foot of the bed, which she covered in a quilted linen, is a rare circa 1875 footed basket from New York State.

This bedroom by Tamara Magel says restraint because of the closely matched hues of grey used in the room, the dark woods and the white lamp shades. Very nice.

Design Restraint Tips:

Edit, Edit, Edit! People tend to add too many furnishings to a room. Use less furnishings and buy better quality, better suited and scaled pieces. Buy tailored furniture, not "pretty". Less is better!

Create drama with scale. A large art piece, an extraordinary piece of pottery or large-scaled mirror can really make a room fantastic.

Edit your accessories. Include bold accessories and group together collections to add focus and so they don't get lost amongst your other accessories. Eliminate clutter.

Learn the art of grouping arrangements. I like to use high, low and medium sized pieces. If necessary, use lift pieces to raise objects. Use big and small elements on the same table and bring in fresh flowers to give the space life.

Create appropriate storage areas in your home so everything has a place.

Pick a consistent color palette. If your color scheme is all over the place, the space will feel disjointed and perhaps even erratic. I prefer to choose colors that are neutral and bring in color through the furnishings and accessories.

Keep draperies simple and understated. Curtains should not be the main focus of a room. I opt for simple panels made of wonderful fabrics hung on beautiful rods - wrought iron is a favorite.

Don't overfill your spaces. Did I say edit?

* While these design restraint tips are commonly known ideas to help make a space feel uncluttered and clean, it, of course, does not suit all design aesthetics. Ultimately, you have to design for yourself and your heart. If you like a pile of design books on your coffee table, all over your nightstand and tucked in corners of your home (as I do!), then go for it!

Designer Cori Cordero created this bedroom interior for a 16th floor condominium in the River Oaks area of Houston. Architectural Digest. The light colored wood floors and white palette offer a calm space to rest.

Have a great weekend!


Cote de Texas said...

This is in Houston - that last picture. beautiful. beautiful post.

thanks so much for your sweet comment - much appreciated. we're fine ok for now - it's just starting to come in.

thanks again!

Anonymous said...

God what a comprehensive collection of well edited rooms. I couldn't agree more with you about editing. One or two pieces can be so dramatic. We are consumers so we're trained to think we need to clutter up every inch. Thanks for this elegant post!

The City Sage said...

Love, love, love the Philadelphia bedroom by Lauren Sara---it's a beautiful example of a successful blend of modern and antique. It's a combo I'd like to do in my own home but have been trouble finding images of how to do it right.

Thanks for the brilliant tips! I'm SOOO adding you to my blogroll :)

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

I love this post. Since moving to England from Texas, I've really tried to simplify my life. I haven't gotten there quite yet--but it's better.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today and leaving me such a nice comment.

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Cindy Dy said...
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