Edit, Edit, Edit!!!
Designers are often hand holders. At times, clients who are very attached to personal items have a difficult time letting go. We as designers have to gently encourage the client to 'remove the forest in order to see the trees', as it were. This past week I was involved in styling the living spaces of a home with Sonya Kinkade Design where we literally removed the forest inside, in order to view the trees outside. The home is 30+ years old on a beautiful property in a rural setting, nestled along the Madawaska River. The task was to make pretty the living spaces (lower level) for guests arriving after a family wedding. There was no time for renovating or purchasing new furniture...a major facelift with paint and furniture and accessory arrangement would have to suffice. Sonya specced one colour for all the walls and another for trim, purchased pre-made drapery panels, a few lamps, pillows and minimal accessories. The remaining magic was achieved through strict editing.....and this is where the hand holding came in to play.
Living Room Before
The rooms have dark oak fireplace mantels and surrounds, trim and doors, all original to the home. The clients have an abundance of silk flowers, gifted accessories, Christmas decorations, dated prints, family and friends photographs and furniture. We were tasked to make the rooms appealing, on a budget, using what was available except for the minor purchases mentioned above. We were given carte blanch with regards to moving furniture and clearing out the clutter, however, we were very much aware that we were also editing some beloved items. When we arrived Tuesday, the painting was complete which made a HUGE difference to the overall look of the spaces. (The above photos show a jumble of furniture, where in fact, the furniture had been pushed into the middle of the room)
Living Room After
Remember, we were not designing a new spaces. No new furniture was sourced or bought. We were using existing furniture and artwork, books and accessories in order to update and redefine the space. The wall colour went from grey to cream. A few items of furniture were removed entirely and others were added to the space. The original sheers were removed from all the windows and chocolate brown side panels now frame the large picture window. The side windows were purposely left uncovered. The views from the Living Room have now been capitalized...the forest has been removed to see the trees.
Front Hall Before and After
Family Room Before
Family Room After
Again, the view from the Family Room is spectacular and Sonya and I endeavoured to make it the focal point by editing the clutter to see the view. We removed all of the photos and tchotchkes from the mantel then reorganized all the books. The outdated and dusty ruffled valances were replaced with cream side panels on the picture window. Side tables from he Living Room were repurposed here. New artwork was hung and a few pillows were added.
The Side Hall Before and After
Red wall begone. Armoire and surrounding space is completely edited. New light fixtures are still to be hung.
The clients were thrilled with the transformation. We're not 100% positive that the 'forest" will not make it's way back into these spaces. With encouragement and some hand holding on our part, we may have convinced the owners that their spectacular view is worth the continual editing.