Designing a client's house is challenging, but designing one's own space is even more so. All of usual the constraints a client gives - the time frame, the budget, and the functional requirements, are up to oneself to set. Perhaps most challenging for me is narrowing down the possible directions in the presence of so many design schemes brewing in my head. As for the functional requirements of this space, it needs to serve as both a living room and a dining room. It will be used to entertain guests for soirées as well as relax by oneself on the increasingly infrequent quiet Sunday afternoon.
So here's a little peek into my design process:
Finding a Starting Point
I lived with the space for a bit to find its spirit and discover the kinds of feelings I want the space to evoke. I found its light enchanting and couldn't help but design a room that capitalized on this strength. Yet I wanted the room to feel engaging and grounded through both its pieces and palette.
The Backdrop and Palette
The chosen backdrop is a luminous but sophisticated pale pink, Setting Plaster by Farrow and Ball, reminiscent of the sun-drenched villas of Italy. Against it, I'll use a largely harmonious palette of blush, cream, taupe, brown, and some unique colors in between. Spaces that are too harmonious can feel dull and ungrounded, so I'll punctuate the design with black and parcel gilt pieces such as the Chinese screen and Regency chairs. This combination will create an elegant and bright room that will both glow during the day and make me and my guests look wonderful during the evening.
In addition to the paintwork, I'll be installing period-inspired mouldings and trim throughout to bring interest and presence to the space. Underfoot I'll place rush matting. Its olfactory attributes will enliven guests' senses upon entering while its strong textural properties will sharply contrast with the delicacy of the painted and polished furniture.
The living area will be composed of the Howard-style sofa, behind which I'll place the Chinese lacquer screen. Since these are the most substantial pieces, I'll place them at the end opposite where one enters, thereby diminishing their proportions.
To complete the seating group, I'll place the two Maison Bagues tables in front of the sofa and flank the sides with the pair of Louis XVI chairs, upholstered in the Rose-colored Pierre Frey velvet. To keep the room from getting too leggy, I'll use a skirted table (yes, I am bringing these back!) on one end of the sofa.
The dining space will use the Regency table and chairs, which link to the Chinese screen. The corresponding wall will take 18th C. French engravings, enlivening what could be a somewhat severe composition.
The Roman statue (I'll have to use a later piece due to budgetary considerations) will soften and bring interest to the most needy corner of the room. The Swedish consoles will line either side of the to-be installed mantle to create a pleasingly symmetric arrangement while adding dimensionality to a very long wall.
I chose a colorless George III-style chandelier to bring an ethereal quality to the space and reflect as much light as possible.
Now I'm on to sourcing pieces and refining the concept while I simultaneously start my next room.
15/16. Pierre Frey Linen Velvets
18. Kravet Velvet