How Not to Electrocute Your Clients While Keeping It Interesting, Decoratively Speaking.

Juxtaposition in interior design is so important when designing a client’s home. It allows side by side comparison while keeping it interesting. Webster defines it as:

“Juxtaposition is the state or position of being placed close
together or side by side, so as to permit comparison or contrast.”

Back in his time, Greer was a bit of an avant-garde, and executed juxtaposition in his design über successfully. One would guess that he thrived on the element of surprise.

Bureau plat with a crashingly contemporary institutional-type chair, and flat tailored restraint of Roman shade in an opulent room. – Inside Design by Michael Greer

In his book, Greer states, “Presumably you don’t wish to electrocute your guests, decoratively speaking, but you certainly should wish to be interesting even outrageous enough to shock them a little here and there…..Mild or violent, legitimate shocks (those neither ugly nor grotesque) are as essential as spice to stew, and to permit none of them to occur is to sign an affidavit to one’s lack or imagination, with adjustment or humor”.

Don’t you love his pomp? Every day cooks and chefs mar such elements via flavors and sweeteners don’t they? Think: sweet/salty, sweet/savory, spicy/sweet. Why do they employ this method? Well….. as a way to shock- mild or violent, (depending on your taste buds) and with varying degrees of success.

As an interior designer, I see this commingling of different styles and elements pervasive more than ever. Take for example: contemporary and rustic, bohem and modern, industrial and chic, mid century and modern, farmhouse and modern, the list goes on. What makes this “marriage” so unique and intriguing is the fact that the possibilities are limitless (as they should be a reflection of our personalities, style and taste).  Last week, I came across an article about a designer who combined a unique style for her clients and coined it “Vintage Industrial Romantic.” The design used a combination of some masculine, feminine, and classic pieces made up of rustic wood and industrial lighting.

Trying to capture the essence of that design style, I came across this. What do you think?

Seem easy? To the DIY, beginner interior designer, or one not accustomed to combining differing looks, the idea can be a bit overwhelming with a lot of finesse, experience and knowledge required. Here’s a bit of 101 advice:

  1. Start with just one piece.
  2. The 80-20 rule holds true and is an ideal starting point.
  3. Go big or go home!
Upholstered Bergere chair with an ultra modern and gorgeous Timorous Beasties Kaledio Splatt Allover velvet fabric.















Jonathan Adler
Designed by Jonathan Adler
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Bohem Modern Kitchen.
Contemporary Rustic Living Room.

When executed successfully, the rewards are worth the risk with a space that looks interesting, eclectic, lived in and even a bit nostalgic. There’s a term we use in the world of design, and it’s called, tension.  It is a balance maintained in an artistic work between opposing forces or elements. It’s that “je ne sais quoi” that brings energy to a space making your eyes linger while catching you slightly off-guard.  Personally, it gives me the goose bumps.

Good design causes tension. But hey! it’s not for everyone. For some who desire that matchy matchy look, this probably will not be your cup of tea. But isn’t it part of our job as designers to push our clients out of their comfort zone, if even a tiny bit?

Want to embark on larger scale project within your home but don’t know where to start?  Seem too daunting? Well then my beauties…..what are you waiting for, pick up the phone and leave it to the professionals. Til next time.

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