February 19, 2015

What Do You Say to a Naked Room?

Years ago there was a book with the title, “What Do You Say to a Naked Room?” It contained a diagram and templates for furniture-the concept being that each of us makes a unique response when confronted with space for decoration. Floors, walls, mantels, and tabletops are the surfaces on which we issue statements. When we design interior spaces, we make a statement. Ideally, it should express the tastes and likes of the client. It can be as diverse as the spectrum of colors, textures, fixtures, and finishes available.

I have often been asked why my sensibilities lean toward the less is best.

First, because I mostly design for, and need to meet the design demands of clients whose dictum as a rule is, less is best. 

Second, all my adult life I have lived in small spaces. The only way for me as a visual person to do this, was to edit. This has incorporated the ruthless removal, and the gentle weeding of a room’s content. Re-imagining a room that suffers from overmuch is not a difficult thing to do. What should go or stay? A handy rule and my straight from the heart advise is, if you have not sat in it, turned it on, or dumped the mail on it for three days, consider getting it out of the room. Recycle.

I am brutally practical when it comes to the little stuff that bogs us down; picture frames, silver doodads, carved onyx, porcelain figurines. If it is dingy, recycle it. If you cannot manage the maintenance put it away. The silver you never get around to polishing does not belong in your life. What we need are open spaces and clear surfaces for living. Storage for books and media. Places for reading. Room for cell phones, car keys, mail, and all the momentary necessities of everyday life.

As I got on, I arrived at what I call the Zen approach to possessions: less is all you ever need.

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