gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Category Archives: Interior Design

“In Search of the Eclectic”

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I came across this article through Chicago Gallery News because I like to keep up with what’s going on in the art scene in Chicago, and while this piece is more about a private collection than a gallery open to the public, Sally Schwartz‘s collecting, or ahem, hoarding habit, reminds me a little bit of myself. Schwartz runs the Randolph St Market Festival, which is a monthly flea market that features hundreds of local Chicago vendors and artisans. So constantly being around all these treasures is right up her alley.

I’ve also gone antiquing with my parents over the years and have developed an interest in collecting unique, interesting items as I see them, rather than waiting to buy things when I need them. This has resulted in several boxes of random things that I’m storing in my parents’ attic, probably much to their dismay. But I blame them for instilling this love for antiquing in me!

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I enjoyed how the article illustrates Schwartz and her husband bringing their collections together, even though they are so different – hers comprised of older vintage pieces and his of newer modern pieces. I can also identify with the fact that while their children are intrigued by their collections, they claim they’ll get rid of everything one day. I sometimes get frustrated by the sheer volume of things my parents collect and dream about the burden that would be lifted if I got rid of everything; but, on the other hand, there are so many stories tied to the pieces and sentimental value connected to them, that I may end up holding on them 🙂 Just as Schwartz is holding on to her collection in case the kids change their minds. How about these photos of their collection…dreamy!

The importance of the space around us

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This might not be true for everyone, but I have noticed that the space around me has a direct correlation to my mood, general attitude, perception, and approach to life. This has been true ever since I was little, and my earliest recollection of having an interest in the space around me is from when I was in grade school. A friend and I carpooled a couple times a week after school, spending one afternoon at my house and one afternoon at hers, and our favorite past time was rearranging each other’s rooms. I loved exploring the various possibilities of the use of our space not only for functionality by moving the bed here or the dresser there, but also for the feel and charm of different ways things could be decorated and arranged. I remember our parents getting mad that we were moving such heavy furniture at a young age, and perhaps someday in the future I’ll pay for those childhood play dates, but I reflect back on them with fondness.

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My bedroom in Massachusetts in the house that I renovated

It’s important for me to create a space for myself that I can truly feel inspired in. And what I mean by feel inspired in is just that feeling of home and of yourself – I think our space is an extension of ourselves and when it clearly and cohesively reflects who we are, it is most comfortable. This can be achieved in the smallest details that when put together result in an amalgamation of all the little moments and pieces and feelings that make up who we are. These can be things like small plants on the windowsill, your favorite blanket on your bed that you like to curl up in and read a book or watch Netflix, a light fixture that creates the perfect ambience, your most influential books stacked on your desk, pictures of your favorite memories in your bookcase, that childhood stuffed animal that you can’t bear to part with sitting on your nightstand, your most-worn necklaces draped on your dresser, etc. I mean the list could go on, and you can always rearrange and replace things as they no longer do anything for you.

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My desk area in the apartment I lived in during graduate school

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My current apartment

I have loved decorating and redecorating my childhood bedroom at home, the numerous dorm rooms I’ve lived in, and the various houses and apartments I’ve lived in since college. It’s a continual process for me that’s never complete, and it’s also something I look forward to working on in my spare time; whether it’s going to cute boutiques on the hunt for the perfect pillows to finish off a space, or going to tile and granite stores to pick out samples for larger projects, it’s my favorite past time that never ceases to inspire me.

Musings from a recent New York Times Style Magazine

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Perusing through The New York Times Style Magazine is always treat for someone like me who loves all things related to aesthetics. These are some of the pieces and design ads that I most enjoyed in the September 25, 2016 issue!

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Marianna Kennedy

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Gan Rugs – design from Spain

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Cabins in the Woods

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Artists in Postwar France

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Bover lights from Barcelona

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Ikea Forever

 

Clean lines and white walls

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Loving the crispness of this interior by Larson and Paul Architects LLP

America’s favorite couple

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How can you not love these two??

An interior-lover’s dream – Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio

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I just went to the Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio in Lenox, MA and, as I’m someone who loves anything to do with interior spaces and art, it was simply a dream. The house is situated on a big wooded lot and it’s a ten-minute walk through a little forest from the parking lot to get to the house. A fairly nondescript building from the outside (as is typical of that modern international style), it is boxy, white, and has old metal frame windows. George Morris and Suzy Frelinghuysen, the couple that built the house and studio, were both abstract artists inspired by Braque, Leger, Gris, and Picasso. The house is full of their own works, along with works by artists they looked up to.

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The entrance to the house includes a beautiful small circular staircase with an abstract black metal railing. On the curved wall behind the staircase is an abstract fresco painted by George Morris in vibrant colors. The dining room, off to the left of the entrance, was designed by Suzy Frelinghuysen and it is rather dark. There are only two small light sources, the idea being to use candles and the fireplace for light. On the way to the living, which is to the right of the entrance, is a little bar with very cool shelving along the curved wall for the liquor bottles. The living room has a leather-tiled floor, a spacious 12-foot ceiling, zebra print sofas, two frescos by Morris on the main wall, one on each side of the fireplace, and an abstract stone carving above the fireplace, also designed by Morris. Upstairs are three bedrooms and a small gallery space displaying works of art. The narrow hallway is also lined with abstract works of art. I can’t forget to mention Morris’s studio, which is a large space at the end of the hallway with lots of light. Now a gallery space that only displays works of art, it was once Morris’s studio where he, and probably his wife Suzy, spent a considerable amount of time working on their art.

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Because the couple was very affluent and of a certain social class, descendants of our nation’s founding fathers, they didn’t have to worry about holding traditional jobs and were able to focus their lives on painting and introducing modern art to the United States in the 1940s and 50s.

The house is a spectacular example of modern architecture and design and it was simply a feast for my eyes. Every turn and every room contain surprising and interesting details to gawk at. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed in the house, but you can see a nice gallery of the interior on the house & studio’s website. It’s definitely worth the visit if you ever find yourself in western Massachusetts!

NeoCon 2016

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I just got back from NeoCon, an annual Interior Design conference held at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, and I’m still unwinding from the madness/excitement/whirlwind that is NeoCon. I’ve had an interest in Interior Design since I was little, and it started with countless afternoons spent rearranging the furniture in my room. And someday I might wonder why I develop back problems…anyway, this was my first Interior Design conference and it definitely gave me some good insight into what the industry is really like at the highest level. While I love aesthetics, especially when related to interior spaces, I felt like the conference was eye-opening, and not necessarily in the best way. The conference included hundreds of booths showing off their products, designers dressed to the T, seminars about various design topics, and all the showrooms were open for people to meander in and out of.

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The Interior Design industry, and practicing Interior Design, is fun, but there is a certain level of superficiality about it that I’m struggling with. While picking out paint colors and tiles and fabrics is fun, sometimes I ask myself, “What are we really doing here besides making things look pretty?” Again, while this is very fun, I worry how much it’s actually contributing to society and what good it’s really doing. Another thing is, that it is only an affluent clientele that can afford to hire an Interior Designer, therefore resulting in providing a service that caters only to the rich. Furthermore, as a designer, you might have a certain style, but the client for whom you are working might have a very different style, and you have to cater to that style, even if you happen to hate it.

All of these components of Interior Design have started to weigh on my mind as I’ve gained more exposure to the industry, and I find myself questioning if it’s really the industry for me, despite the fact that I love looking at and putting together beautiful spaces. It’s a complex and competitive business, akin to the fashion industry, which makes it difficult to make one’s way in.

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On the flip side, what is inspiring about Interior Design is creating spaces that will inspire those for whom you are creating them. Helping clients see their space in a new way and teaching them how to coordinate certain things, or bringing in pieces they would not have thought of on their own, arranging things to make a space more functional, or completely redefining a space, and giving them the luxury to enjoy and feel comfortable in the space they call home are all aspects of Interior Design that can be rewarding (and fun)!

Kitchen backslashes

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I recently saw the movie, Mother’s Day, and while not a great movie, it was at least entertaining. What did hold my attention though were the kitchens! As a lover of all things related to Interiors, I was so distracted during the scenes that took place in kitchens because all I could focus on was the backsplash or the light fixtures. What also sparked my interest was the fact that one of the characters is an Interior Designer and lands an awesome project, pictured below (interior designer on the right and awesome client on the left). If only it was that easy! Unfortunately I can’t find any pictures of the kitchens, but I guess you’ll just have to see the movie to know what I’m talking about!

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Interiors

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Ever since I was little I can remember spending afternoons with friends after school rearranging the furniture in our bedrooms. I suppose I should have known then to pursue a career in Interior Design, but alas, I studied other things in college when I thought I wanted a life in academia. Now, after going to grad school for the humanities, I am finally realizing that I do indeed want to follow my dream of working with interior spaces in some way. Without having a degree in Interior Design, I am looking for other ways to gain experience in the field to start, namely the retail side of design, and then maybe eventually  become certified in design. Meanwhile, I am teaching myself on how to use the popular Google modeling program, SketchUp, which is a lot of fun!

Several years ago when I was in college, I set out to photographically capture the way that I had decorated my childhood bedroom at the time. Here are some snippets from that time in my life, which I think only reinforce my love of interior spaces and what one can do to crete them, fill them, decorate them, and enjoy them.

Christmas 2015

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Not unlike others, Christmas is one of my favorite holidays – not because of all the presents, but because of the opportunity to decorate the house with cherished decorations – both ones that have been in the family for generations, as well as new ones picked up every year to add to the collection. Let’s not forget the scent of fir trees that permeates the house, from the actual tree and candles prominently placed in every room. These are just some of my favorite decorations from this year, because Christmas doesn’t have to be over quite yet!