Meaningful Modern Design
April 21, 2011
Greetings friends, today I have a very special writer contributing his perspective on a style I am finding myself more drawn to these days: modern design! Courtney of Courtney Out Loud is here to share how to pull off modern design in your home without leaving it feeling austere, cold, or looking like a designer showroom. Courtney Lake is a fellow Bay Area resident, and lover of thrifting, great design, and good eats.
Please enjoy Courtney’s article on meaningful modern design:
“Modern style typically evokes images of sharp edges, clean lines and monochromatic color schemes. This style’s “less is more” mentality makes it appealing for those looking to par down their lives, forcing its advocates to only choose and display what they love. However, modern’s edited approach can lead to stark environments that look more ‘show room’ than ‘living room’. So the question remains, how can you get an edited and tailored modern look in your home that doesn’t leave you cold?
I posed this question to three design and merchandizing experts to get their take. All agreed that today’s modern aesthetic is less about utilitarian chic, and more about an aesthetic that is constantly in flux. It’s this constant evolution that makes it one of the most versatile design styles.
Today’s modern design has to look to the future as well as the past for inspiration in order to ground it in the present. Iconic pieces such as the Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chair, the Saarinen Tulip Table or the Starck Ghost Chair, are beautiful and speak to modern design of yester year, but alone they may leave a room feeling cold.
Shannon Berrey of Shannon Berrey Designs believes that iconic pieces must be worked into furniture groupings or vignettes to avoid a sterile feeling. She loves “shopping” clients’ homes for keepsakes, mementos and pictures that can be displayed alongside iconic pieces to breathe in life and avoid making the room look like a catalog.
Visual merchandizer and designer Lynda Quintero-Davids echoes Shannon’s statement saying “Don’t just have pretty things – have items with meaning and purpose in a space”.
The notion that a modern room is a monochromatic room is a misnomer. Joe Cangelosi of Joe Cangelosi Interiors insists that color can and should be the starting point for a modern interior. He uses color not only in accessories but also on investment pieces like sofas to bring unexpected bursts of color to a room. Joe also stresses that pattern should be part of every modern room. A bold animal print or an over scale wallpaper are all elements that elevate a modern room’s cache.
Quintero-Davids stresses that color needs to be tempered with neutrals. “Use a balance of negative (white) space to give the eye a rest. This will help make the iconic pieces as well as the other elements in a space feel more special.”
Even with all this attention to arrangement and color, a modern home and modern iconic furniture pieces must fit your lifestyle. When clients ask Berrey if they should invest in an iconic furniture piece, she poses the question “Just because you love it today, will you love it and the investment down the road?”
Quintero-Davids advises that clients pay close attention to the lines of the piece often repeating the mantra “respect the lines of the item…” to ensure that an iconic piece is not being shoehorned into a room where it does not belong.
Cangelosi reminds his clients that the piece should be interesting and play well with other items in their home. “Iconic pieces should be fun and interesting but not dominate a space.”
The key to a well designed modern home is understanding that modern design is very much like art in that it relies heavily on context. By itself, modern design can be misconstrued. By injecting your personality into modern rooms with personal items, color and purpose, your modern house will be a home you love rather than a designer showroom for your friends and family to visit.”
Five Expert Tips on How to Avoid a “Catalog Home”
· Multiples are great for cohesiveness but too many of the same item will start to look like a display table.
· Learn from what you see in a store and tweak those elements to make them your own, don’t just copy the display.
· Iconic pieces play well with other pieces. Use them in conjunction with items you already have in your home.
· Play with the light in a room. Use multiple sources of natural and artificial light to create the mood you desire.
· Scale is something that can and should be played with in a modern room – think oversized next to delicate to create a refreshing mix.
Thank you Courtney for the gorgeous inspiration, and some very helpful tips for bringing modern design into your home in a meaningful way.
How do you incorporate elements of modern design into your home?