Friday, May 7, 2010

Being a Keen Observer.....

Trattoria Stella, Traverse City, Michigan

Today, there are so many choices out there. Lots of colors, lots of tiles, lots of carpets, lots of sofas, lots of fabrics and lots of places to find them!! This can make starting a home improvement project completely overwhelming!! My best advice to help you through this is to learn to recognize what you love!! Knowing what draws you to a certain space or style can help make sorting through the sources easier!!

I believe that part of knowing yourself, is knowing your "style". Once you know this, it is easy to stay focused on making the choices that follow that style. There are several ways to accomplish this, collecting pictures of interiors you like and design journaling are a few, but today I am going to talk about "being a keen observer". This is really easy and fun. Whenever you are in a space that you like, whether it be a friend's house, a coffee shop, a favorite restaurant, think about what it is in the space that makes you feel good.
Look around the space that makes you feel comfortable. What is the lighting like? What colors are they using? How many colors are in the space? How are the textures combined? What type of furniture do they have and how much? Really disecting the space and asking yourself why it appeals to you can help you put together a plan for your own interiors. A good designer will take the time to help you figure this out at the beginning of a project, looking through photos, personal items and asking lots of questions. I can't tell you how happy it makes me feel to hear "you really captured me" from a client at the end of a project. Observing your environment in this way can help you to start to figure out your own style, what you like and don't like about an environment. It is also important to ask yourself these questions about a space that you really don't like too; disect what it is that is bothering you about a space so you don't bring any of that feel to your own surroundings.
I think restaurants are great places to do this. Most of the time we frequent spots that, not only have good food, but make us feel comfortable while we are enjoying it. Ask yourself why you like to be in that space. Restaurants are also good places to get ideas about food display and table settings. This weekend my family and I ate at Trattoria Stella's in Traverse City, Michigan. I really liked the atmosphere there. It is part of an old medical building that is being restored, so first off the setting intrigued me. I liked: the way they combined the old brick with the highly polished wood of the new bar, the simplicity of the table settings letting the architecture take center stage, the subtle lighting which gave it a real cozy feel, the presentation of the food and the weight of the wine glass (silly, but always important to me!!). The food and the service was good too!! I always am drawn to very warm, cozy feeling spaces with lots of textures and this I try to bring into my own spaces.
When you are planning on working on your home, take the luxury of visiting some of the spaces that you really enjoy and taking the time to sit, observe and ask yourself why. You can then list the things you like and how you can incorporate that feel into your own home. Take that list when you are looking for items for your home and it will help you focus only on those things that fit within the list. This will save you countless hours of sorting through the stores because you have a direction. Saving time and surrounding yourself with what you like, isn't that luxury?

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