- Shelby Whitfield
The Life-Changing Magic of a Solid Edit
Now that we have our trends post out of the way for the year, I'll spend the rest of it hopefully guiding us away from them. I've fallen for the tricks of the trend in the past, but have found much more contentment in design, particularly in my own home, when I follow more classic principles. Classic does not have to mean traditional!
With resolutions gearing up, I'm hearing quite a bit about the famed Marie Kondo (or KonMari) method- the idea that our possessions must spark joy. The thought reminded me of this principle from the famed William Morris, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
Keep posted for more about Morris, but his idea is always a driving principle behind how I live and design. If you have to live with something functional, why not make it beautiful as well? When planning a new design, choosing foundation pieces that serve the dual purposes allows you to create an uncluttered, perfectly curated home (even if your taste is a little less tailored- we're not necessarily advocating spartan minimalism!).
Architectural Digest's Top 100 Designer, Darryl Carter's master bathroom, "designed with a certain traffic mentality for getting ready quickly," is a fantastic example of livable elegance; Darryl "was very aware of how it needed to function" when designing, and his awareness seems to have followed him all the way through to a humble accessorization.
Obviously a mirror (or few) and great lighting are crucial in a bathroom, and he's taken care of both while adding simple beauties- sculptural florals and unexpected ottoman.
Another of AD's Top 100, Mariette Himes Gomez also recommends choosing your decorative pieces carefully; a single bowl can serve the purpose of a more detailed collection, but it must be scaled well and artfully detailed. She's proven this below with a large arrangement serving the purpose beautifully.
Accessorization is also more art than it is an exact science. I've found that there are always unexpected surprises, even when you've planned everything perfectly. Mariette recommends, if something in your scheme looks a little off, removing an object. If that doesn't work, she says, remove another! The negative space in her work allows the eye to notice what is important, like a sculptural chair. Below, Mariette's is by artist Alan Siegel- a fascinating internet rabbit hole!
I find this part of the design process to be some of the most "fun," and the most challenging if you over-plan, limiting yourself. Designing for yourself allows your accessory process to be a little more transient. If you take your time in selections, only purchasing pieces that are useful, beautiful, or both, you're able to try them in multiple places in your house, adding as you come across other pieces that meet the criteria, or that just add a touch of the perfect unexpected- Darryl's buffalo mount below comes to mind!
You may have noticed- both designers use gorgeous white backdrops to create the gallery effect, showcasing their unique finds, such as a three-legged chair or water buffalo mount, as art. (Always sample colors, but I'm a huge fan of Benjamin Moore's White Dove).
Both also love shopping as they go- Darryl claims he has "an incredible capacity to shop from a moving car," and Mariette is "a shopper and a traveler, never say[ing], ‘Oh well, I had an empty table, and I needed to put something on it. If I see something I love, I find a place for it.”
As for what to do when you've already got all the stuff, I'll have to refer you back to Marie Kondo!(And if you're dying for more photos, both Gomez' and Carter's books are available through links in the shop tab!)