Sunday, October 7, 2012

Designing Details Through the Camera Lens

I’ll let you in on one of my “golden” design secrets.  It’s not quite one of those, “If I told you I’d have to kill you” items, but I think it would be definitely worth a read!

Not only is a picture worth a thousand words, it’s also worth at least a few extra design ideas!  I’m not talking about the kind of images we see gracing the pages of shelter magazines.  Rather, I’m speaking more of the images I take in order to decide how I want to help a client design their space or enhance what they already have. 


A few weeks ago, a dear client wanted to freshen up some things in her interiors.  Rather than go to a whole different style, she hoped  we could work with some of the beautiful pieces she’s collected, over time.  (Her aesthetic definitely leans towards more of an English influence, with a little southern touch.)  Her husband is also an avid collector of vintage signage and marketing artifacts.  They’ve been partners if life and in business for many years and I certainly wanted to keep things happily balanced!

(I’ll get to the point on the pictures, in a moment.  Really, I will!)


Here is a close-up, (pardon the glare), of one of one of her husband’s rare, collected pieces preserved with a special mounting and museum glass.  I loved the cut-out detail in the mat.  We had done these completed, a while back, and wanted to enhance their surroundings.


She had a collection of some transferware pieces, along with salt glaze Santas and some Bing & Grøndahl plates, given to her over the years by dear friends. 

As with all of us, it’s hard not to put pieces out when they’re meant to be treasures.  Sometimes, though, it’s all about the arrangement to provide a sense of order and calm.  We actually added some more transferware pieces, like the platters above and below, from English Transferware, one of my go-to Etsy dealers.  (Nancy has a most impressive offering!) 

I find, that when dealing with multi-colored pieces, if we can complement them with monochromatic accents - and in mass - it actually provides for a calmer canvas and allows for the focal pieces to sing on key.  No sour notes!


This pine cupboard and hutch received the addition of some calming color in the back beadboard and the lower cubby.  When you see the before shot, I think you’ll agree it enhanced the collection quite a bit.


The above photo is the after shot with the new additions, the painting, and a regrouping with carrying the plates up and around the cupboard top and artwork to help fill in an empty space.


(Here’s our before shot.  A lot of difference, in the ‘after’ with an extra bit of effort, wouldn’t you say?)

Now, as promised, back to the process of designing this and the use of my camera and a little bit of technology . . .

Even though I have my own set of “virtual reality” lens – my design eyes – I still like being able to upload an image to “play” with the possibilities.  There’s something about being able to remove myself from the space which gives a better sense of objectivity.  I can “see” where things need to be balanced, both in mass, color, and scale.  I can also put together some ideas and give my clients a peek at what is yet to come by manipulating the image.

Transferware Arrangement

With the exception of the background paint, wasn’t it neat for my client to get a preview of things to come?


The finishing touch will be to swap out the black shades.  They are commanding too much attention and have seen their better days.  See how nice it is to be able to do a virtual swap?  It makes the process more efficient in knowing what pieces will be included in our design prowl.

Mmmm.  Maybe I did give you a big, golden nugget from my design bag?  It did take a few years to cultivate all of this wisdom.  And that, my friends, is worth a whole pot of gold!


Design - where perfection is an ideal, tempered with reality, and my team strives to find the balance. If this post resonated with you, drop me a line to find out more about my design services. Now booking into 2013!

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