Wednesday, September 15, 2010

David Jimenez And The Art of Display.

I adore David Jimenez's Kansas CityLiving Room!!!

I love David Jimenez's living room, pictured above. I could easily live in this room!! Every element is carefully balanced and it is accessorized in a way that is stylish and not over decorated. The room looks comfortable, relaxed, sophisticated and well coordinated. David is a visual merchandiser who has worked for The Gap, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware and is now at Hallmark. I first heard of him through an interview on the blog, La Dolce Vita, but recognized his home from a previous spread in House Beautiful Magazine.

The first thing that drew me to this living room is that my personal aesthetic is very similar to his; He has said he is drawn to "rooms that are warm, inviting, layered and look collected". I did a post, in May, about my personal style entitled "Warm Mine Up, Please....", I am always drawn to warm, inviting colors, fabrics and accessories. The next thing that I appreciate about his work is his artful way of accessorizing. I began my career doing visual merchandising for a large department store. My formal education and training are in architecture. After I received my first degree, jobs in my field were scarce, so I found a job in visuals. Through my education I learned the fundamentals of design and spatial relationships, but doing visual merchandising I learned the art and the importance of accessorizing. Basically, in visual merchandising you are accessorising a department; bringing products (merchandise), color and lighting together in a way that is appealing to gain the customer's attention. Through doing this work, I learned the art of balance, proportion and placement in accessorizing. Of course, in a store, the displays are bigger and more dramatic than you would use at home, but the approach is the same.

Well demonstrated in David's living room above, is the importance of accessorizing to bring a look together. The architecture of his room is beautiful, as are his furnishings, but well chosen and well placed accessories finish the story, they are the jewelry to the beautiful outfit. Accessories fill the gaps and complete the story you are telling in your room. But notice I said well chosen and well placed items!! Accessories can give a room character but too many can look like clutter!! Careful placement and editing are key.

A few tips to consider when accessorizing:
  • Think of a triangle when grouping objects; tallest item in the middle, shorter items to the sides. Once you have the initial "triangle" set, you can add smaller items in front. Play with the composition until it looks balanced and attractive.
  • Vary heights of objects to create interest. If you have similar height objects you want to display, use a stack of well bound books to use as a riser.
  • Create balance with the objects, don't let one area of the room become heavy with accessories and another look empty. I always look for "gaps" in the room when placing objects; stand back, look at the space, is there a part that looks empty compared to the rest of the space? If so, that is where you need to place some objects. David's living room above is a good example of a balanced space. He placed a chest, with a mirror hung above, accessorized with a lamp, a print and other objects, that filled the room's "gap". Notice how he balanced the amount of objects; since he has the coffee table well filled with items, he placed only 1 object on the side table and a few behind the sofa.
  • Look to design magazine's for inspiration. Choose rooms that appeal to you and look at how they are accessorized. Copy the layout and proportion into your rooms (yes, we professionals look to magazines for inspiration too!!)
  • Group collections of items together. Like items have more impact as a group than scattered around. (I have a future post in mind for displaying collections, check back!!) This works for framed prints too.
  • Most of all, have fun!! Display items that reflect your design sensibility and mean something to you. Afterall, being surrounded by the things you love and sharing that with the ones you love is the most luxurious thing of all!!

A great example of the classic triangle!! Notice how the print in the
middle becomes the tip of the triangle and the other objects taper
down from that point. The orange boxes and obelisk are layered
in front for added interest. Image from David

A "gap" beside the window filled with well displayed
objects. David Jimenez's home in House Beautiful.

A collection of prints arranged on a wall. David Jimenez's
home in House Beautiful

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