20 November 2007

decorating outside the box...

the maison21 atelier is a multi-purpose space- it has to function as home, office, showroom and international secret headquarters of the super-decorator's league (shhhhh...). regardless of what function it is performing, i have to keep it looking as good as possible, both for my sanity and for potential clients/customers (would you buy something from a decorator who's house was sloppy? i thought not). but sometimes this can prove rather challenging since the items we sell are one and the same with the items we actually live with- in the space of a day it can go from so crowded with tchotkes as to make victorian era decor seem minimalist, to so barren you might ask "did you just move in?- when is the rest of your stuff coming?"

the other day we were faced with a famine situation- not enough accessories to go around and a client on the way over. we had to get creative fast to fill up some bare and lifeless table tops with something, anything, and yet still have the atelier look chic. the results on a chest in my entry, incorporating two blanc de chine lamp bodies were rather pretty so i thought we'd share them with you:

i often have just the ceramic body portion of lamps hanging around because while the lamp body was pretty, the bases were ugly or dated, or the wiring was shot. stripped of their functional hardware, the bodies make pretty decorative objects in their own right, and it's a trick i've used to accessorize with before, but usually on a shelf, or somewhere where the little hole on the top isn't readily visible- when viewed from below you really can't tell that they weren't intended to be a vase or an urn. but on the chest where i was going to put these particular two lamp bodies, the holes would be plainly visible so i dressed up the holes with some some stock lamp shade finials, purchased at the hardware store for $1.99. to secure the finials to the bodies, i just used the same harps that would be used traditionally with a shade- you can't see the harps as they are hidden inside the lamp body. i think results were pretty successful, and the addition of the finals gives the bodies a finished look- if you didn't know, you'd think they were intended to be urns. i like them so much, i think i'm going to keep using them straight through the holidays (since these particular bodies are pierced, they'll be especially pretty with tea lights inside them when i entertain). the client who came over that afternoon even inquired the price of the "beautiful set of urns"!

now i can hear everyone scratching their heads, and wondering: "what the heck is the use of this post to me? who has blanc de chine lamp bodies, just laying around the house? that maison21 is crazy!" and the point of this rather long-winded post is this: when decorating, get creative and think outside the box- it's what will turn your decor from bland and boring to interesting and personal. look at the things you have, and the objects you love and ignore the purpose they were intended for and try to see their potential for what they could be (like turning a lamp into an urn, or vice-versa). if you like something, and think it's pretty, display it like it's important and it will be become important. have an empty space along a wall? lean your guitar there as sculpture. as mentioned in another post, a stack of books can serve as a pedestal or even an end table. fill your prettiest kitchen bowl with apples or oranges for a centerpiece (it may be the oldest decorating cliche in the world but it still works). need dramatic holiday decor for a party, but no budget? spray paint an old branch from your yard gold (maybe even some rocks, too) and display them on your best piece of furniture like sculpture- hey, it worked for tony duquette, right? seriously- the found object can be amongst the most successful (and least expensive) accessories of them all. of course it helps if you are using the more unusual items alongside beautiful, more conventional pieces, but it also works even if you don't have many or even any "real" decor pieces at all, because, after all, something is better than nothing. now go have fun and get creative!


Things That Inspire said...

Great tablescape...the varying heights and textures look great! Great advice on found objects too....almost inspires me to go into the backyard and get some big magnolia leaves (we will see if that happens!).

I love your blog, and am adding it to me blogroll.

maison21 said...

thanks so much. i enjoyed my visit to your blog as well, and added it to the m21 blogroll as well!

Fairfax said...

YOu're a clever guy! I think that they would look amazing with candles in them. I can imagine the flickering light casting ever-changing shadows and reflecting in the wonderful little mirror you have.

Mariana Nelson said...

Such a good idea!!!