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Thursday, May 13, 2010

“ Effortlessly Stylish”

I was reading a blog post over at Nest Egg the other day. If you have a chance be sure and visit her blog. It is written by the very talented interior designer from Nashville Tennessee, Rachel Halvorson. Her design aesthetics are exactly what I am writing about today. In one of her post she used a phrase that stuck in my brain, Effortlessly Stylish!! I liked that phrase. I pondered on it for awhile and I thought, "That is exactly what a room should look like!" Not contrived, but a room that was a process over time with the outcome   Effortlessly Stylish. You know, the kind of room you look into and then  have to take a second look to take it all in because there is something different , something special, something effortless?  I know design is subjective, but I thought I would show you what is Effortlessly Stylish to me and what is contrived or obvious. IMHO!

First, I am going to show you a room that looks contrived to me. You know -the room where it is obvious why they put a certain pillow to match a certain lamp to go with the color in the painting etc……

Contrived:
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I have actually used this picture as an interesting color combination but everything in this room is an obvious choice. Don’t you think? Just because it feels contrived to me does not mean that it is still not done tastefully. This is still a gorgeous room, just a little predictable.

Next, lets look at a room that is Effortlessly Stylish……….

Interesting:
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This lovely room was designed by Julia Buckingham Edelmann of Buckingham Interiors. You can go here to see her portfolio, she does amazing designs. She is also one of the author's of Material girls blog be sure and visit her blog.
Now in this room we also have matching sofas, matching ottomans. Why is this room more interesting? When I look at this room I notice the easel. Is the homeowner an artist? Is the painting on the wall an original piece by the homeowner. Is the armoire an inherited piece or is it an antique? Do they like to collect unusual baskets or did they get that on antiquing trip? Is that a sculpture on the little side table? What is that side table made out of? Notice how many questions of interest this room evokes. I think that is part of having an Effortlessly Stylish room. A room that makes the viewer think.

Contrived:9971c17e595a[1]
Another beautifully colored room, but there is no element of surprise or interest. It is all very obvious why each piece was picked out and placed where it was placed. Although it is a beautiful room, it does not have the qualities to be Effortlessly Stylish.

Interesting:4daeeeaef3ad[1]Everything in this room is interesting!  I wonder who lives here? Notice the purse in the chair with a coat tossed on its arm. The lighting fixtures alone give this room so much style. I really want to know who lives here and did they get their lighting in Europe?  This room makes me take pause and I want to look at every little nuance.

Contrived:a89be331396c[1] 
As much as I love a blue and white room and a blue and white striped rug this room is so obvious in its decor. Notice the pillows match the valance on the window. They have a sailboat picture with a lantern and of course a seashell. If this room had some interesting artwork or a coffee table that did not match the sofa it would look so much more interesting. This looks as if they purchased the furniture off the show room floor. Are you starting to get the picture between contrived and Effortlessly styled?

Interesting:26856101a9a5[1]
Every piece in this room looks as if it could tell me a story. Even the matching urns look as if they have a story to tell. This, too me, has that Effortlessly styled quality.

Contrived:1195e2e90de5[1]
In this room we have the red lamp that goes with the red lacquer tray that goes with the reddish leather chairs that go with the magazine holder in the corner. I find this room to be very contrived.

Interesting:82505cb2705a[1]
In this room we have two matching chairs and an ottoman, but look at all the interest in this room. The texture alone is amazing. The beamed ceiling the old stone fireplace with the amazing oversized damask wall paper!  On the floor a cowhide rug. A beautiful piece of artwork over the sofa. Effortlessly stylish.

Contrived:d7db874b944e[1]
As much as I love the colors in this room, oh my! It matches to the hilt!! Even the flowers are matching the blue hues in the furniture and the rug. I love symmetry and I have admitted that in previous post, but this is a bit too much for even me.
Interesting:suzanne kasler
This last room is done by Suzanne Kasler!! What can I say the room speaks for itself. Effortlessly Stylish.

I hope in showing you all of these rooms and comparing them, you will start viewing rooms from a different perspective. I know I will. I must admit I think some of the rooms in my home are contrived. I need to shake it up a little bit and add more interest. One thing I learned in thinking about this is that a room has to have texture and interesting form and some wonderful art or art objects to make it have that Effortlessly Stylish look that we all hope our rooms have achieved.
“Enjoy the Process” Of: Finding an Effortlessly Stylish look for your own home.
Kathysue

32 comments:

sharon said...

Hi Kathysue,
Thank you for stopping by and leaving your kind comment. This is a great post, - no risk of my home looking too contrived with the bunch that run riot here!
Sharon

A Perfect Gray said...

EXCELLENT post, Kathysue. so much to think about when looking at our own rooms. great examples you have chosen. thanks!

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Hi Kathysue...I can see the difference. The contrived room looks like everything was bought as a package...all matching. I also noticed that those rooms were all symmetrical. Is that part of the reason they look contrived? No worries about contrived here with my accumulation of family and thrifting pieces! lol Great post!...hugs...Debbie

vignette design said...

Hi Kathysue,
A very thought provoking post. I am with you on contrived rooms. So many rooms I see these days are so contrived, especially when they are perfectly staged in what is trendy at the moment. To me they show a lack of creativity. Right now, my rooms are just a mess! Time to spring clean and organize!

kim said...

Good post, Kathysue, lordy I am not sure which way my home looks. Hmmm makes you think.

Hamptontoes said...

I have to say I'm somewhere between the two with my own home. I love symmetry...it's calming to me. I love something just out of place as it peaks my interest. As long as the room is creative, symbolic of those that live within and is pull together nicely I like it!

Cathy said...

Very thought provoking! I like alot of the contrived photos...what does that say about me;)?

I try not to be too critical of other's choices...design should be a reflection of personal style...not a formula used by all...don't you agree?

Enjoy!
Cathy

Kathysue said...

Cathy, I liked the contrived images also, they are all beautiful rooms. I just think they are not as interesting to the eye. There needs to be more interest in each of the rooms with texture, form or an unusual piece. That is what I observed when doing this post. I soooo agree that everyone's home should reflect their personality other wise it is just a well decorated HOUSE!

Kathysue said...

Deb Symmetry is my favorite look and it can be interesting when it is not so set. Phoebe Howard uses symmetry and I love her rooms. I think it has to do more with what is placed in the rooms that need to be interesting.

Vanessa said...

Lots to ponder and agree that what makes a room are those time-worn pieces, antiques, original art and texture. I do love some of the contrived rooms you showed but agree that the blue room, is just too blue! Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day. Hope to see you again.

Allie and Pattie said...

LOVE this post!! One of your best!
xoxo Pattie

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Hum, this was interesting. I guess what I saw most was the contrived rooms didn't look like you could sit down and be comfortable. I sure need to make sure that mine aren't starting to look like that. Some things are just a little too matchy. I need to change a few things. Hugs, Marty

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

I think the difference between the spaces, and they are all beautiful, is that the ones you find interesting look like they were created over time. I have a neighbor whose home is gorgeous, but looks like she went into a single store and said, "one of everything, please."

Julienne said...

Faced with an empty room and purchases to be made I would probably end up with contrived! Faced with an overcrowded mismatched house with some judicious removal and some change arounds I appear to make a house that people call welcoming and friendly. Never looks like a magazine job but appears to look like a home. Does that make sense? xo

Julienne said...

BTW I think I can answer the question you asked about image 4 (who lives here?) obviously it is a family of very small people because that magnificent light fitting appears to be fairly low to the ground!!!!!!!
And I love the second last image. If you removed the two chairs by the fireplace and put in some hot pink spot colour! You are the decorator though so I will leave it to you. Love the post.

Cashon&Co said...

what another fun post Kathysue! You really put a lot of thought in your posts and it's always interesting to read.And thank you for always leaving me a comment that makes me smile. makes my day sunshine!

Morning T said...

I'm right with you on all of those images Kathysue. At first glance all of those you labeled contrived had me yawning. Love your choices in the interesting category!
T

shari @ little blue deer said...

I agree, contrived is not good at all. I love homes the most where the owner's personality shines through, where you find the unexpected. I think a good designer gets to know their client so they can help them achieve individuality. Great post!

Maya said...

This was interesting! And I could totally see the difference..., and what makes a room "contrived".

Bringing Pretty Back said...

GREAT post! That is exactly what I want my new home to look like - efforlessly stylish. I am not very good at decorating so I need to pay attention to what you are saying. Close attention! ( :

Bringing Pretty Back said...

Kathysue, I just put a comment onm this post, so you may get two. I don't see the first one . That is how I want my new home to feel efforlessly stylish. I don't have the "gift" of decorating so I really need to pay attention to this post!

La Dolfina said...

Another uniquely Kathysue post that really enlightens!!! Excellent!! Thank you!!
I adore the room with the zebra rug and black wallpaper around the fireplace... you have a knack for finding the perfect images to illustrate your point!
XO

La Dolfina said...

Ooops... I meant cowhide!! I think I get ADD when I'm reading blogs :)

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

I adore rooms with a little mismatch and mess. Makes for a more personal enviroment. Great post. XO

Privet and Holly said...

Hi Kathysue! I just had time to visit a handful of blogs today and knew one of them had to be YOURS. As always, I am learning so much from you. Things that I knew instinctively but hadn't been able to frame in words or direction. I think that when you see an effortless room, you can picture yourself in it, either sprawled on the couch, reading the paper, or perhaps with your feet up, perusing the BLOGS on your laptop! The contrived ones feel colder to me....they don't tell a true STORY. {Must be the writer in me, hee-hee!} I think by the time I have gotten through your recommended archives, I will be on my way to honing my decorating skills. THANK YOU! xx P&H

Pinky said...

Since reading this I am hoping my home is Effortlessly stylish:):) It has EVOLVED into what it is from accumulating and inheriting beautiful things from all over the world. It definitly reflects my hubby and I so it makes us happy. Every time I sit in my living room, I think, "I love this room". So that is a good thing!!!!! XO, Pinky

Sally J said...

I am in total agreement with you, Kathysue...but then, we're probably twins separated at birth! My radar is always up in an effort to avoid the dreaded "matchy-matchy". I think a room can have areas of symmetry, but there needs to be some place in the room that is asymmetrical to avoid that contrived feeling. It can be done with color or objects or pattern or shape, but something "off" needs to be interjected to break things up. You and I like whimsy...which is always some element of surprise. A contrived room is 'scripted' and it's no different when we know the words to a song or a play...we can predict. Let's find the artistic qualities that push us a little out of that predictability.
www.divinedistractions.blogspot.com

bluehydrangea said...

Great post!! You are so right! A lot of the rooms look like model homes with no real life. I love to see something interesting and unique that shows the homeowner's personality!

mbkatc230 said...

The contrived rooms look as if they are staged on a showroom floor. The colors and furnishing are beautiful, but very cold to me. The last room is my favorite. I've never been one for yellow walls, but this room could change my mind! You always have the most interesting things to share with us. Hugs, Kat

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

So much inspiration here!

DECORICA said...

Great post idea! I think if I had a house big enough, I'd choose to have a contrived and effortless room. They both appeal to me.

Jan @ bobbypins boardwalk said...

Hi, Kathysue. Great post. I noticed one thing that all the "contrived" pictures have in common -- they are all symmetrical. Now some people (such as me) tend to prefer symmetrical, although I do like extras thrown in (eclectic). Other people find symmetrical rather staged. I just didn't know if you had noticed that.