January 13, 2013

ACCESSORIZING YOUR HOME


It's not about having what we want
its about wanting what we have..
Dalai Lama
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Accessories Are The Icing on The Cake!
At first glance no one has any idea of how much time and effort you've invested in preparing that cake; all they see is the icing!
Accessories in a home - like icing on a cake can make or break the results - if it doesn't look appealing chances are it won't taste as good...

We humans have a nasty habit of hoarding “C.R.A.P.”
 (Collections. Reproductions. Accessories. Paraphernalia.) 
that we don’t need. Even homeless people push grocery carts brimming with bags of “their stuff”…. It’s nothing they need, they just “collect.”

Very often I'll see sublime pieces of pottery, art or furniture completely smothered by a mish-mosh of lesser things (C.R.A.P.) creating an overall look of clutter and lowering the tone of the room, even calling into question the validity of the finer pieces.

OK, LETS DO THIS!
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LET’S SEE WHATCHA HAVE TO START WITH….

Take every Tsotchke, knick-knack, vase, bowl, candlestick, collectible, Hummel figurine, objet d’art, ashtray, picture frame, candy dish, candle holder, plate, odd book, etc. and put it ALL on your dining room table.  
Let it all sit there for at least 48 hours to a week. Notice your home without all the CRAP around, observe how your eye moves to the other things in the space; shapes, textiles, paintings, curtains, textures, etc.
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CULLING
  1. Look over all the stuff on the table; consider what has any real personal meaning to you and put those things in one pile.  
  2. See what you have that’s just plain CRAP - it’s been on that table just because you had it, place that in another pile.  
  3. Place useful things in one pile, vases, photos, small lamps, etc.
  4. Place your ‘perceived’ valuable things in another pile.
  5. Place all books in another pile
DISPOSAL vs DISPERSAL

1. If there’s anything left on the table - you’ve just proven you don’t need, want or like it.
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2. Place all the vases in a closet, never have an empty vase out, especially crystal or ceramic (an urn is something different) I don’t care if its Waterford, Daum or Steuben…hide it.
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3. Give the ashtrays away (even the Hermes ones!). Smoking is tacky and an ashtrays presence says "it’s OK to smoke in my house," giving priority to the few smokers over the non-smokers... which is totally un-PC!
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4. Go through all the small tabletop picture frames.
  • Are the photos discolored? 
  • Are the frames tacky? 
  • Do you even like the people in the frames anymore (or vice-versa)?
  • Put the remaining frames which aren’t important in a pile.
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5. Are the books any good? Worthy of being displayed on a coffee table or shelf? Take the dust-jackets off novels and discard them (keep the large picture book jackets). If they’re shitty books give them away or keep for filling in extra space on a bookshelf. NO paperbacks, ever, at all, nuh-uh, period.

NOW, LET'S RE-ACCESSORIZE
WHEN ACCESSORIZING
Try to keep collections of similar objects together; colors, ethnicity's, materials, purposes, etc. all together.

Now, we consider what each surface or previously accessorized space needs for practical reasons as opposed to aesthetic reasons.

SIDE TABLES
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Side tables near a seat (regardless of what room) need a space to put a drink and a small snack plate down. And I don’t mean on top of a stack of books, no one wants to negotiate your C.R.A.P. to sit their drink down.
A small side table or end table can do this just fine.


COFFEE/COCKTAIL TABLES
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Coffee tables need places to put down a drink, a tray of hors d’oeuvres or a bowl of nuts, etc.
They’re not display surfaces for your 35 crystal Swarovski birds.   A few books is good, but not the entire library of Post-Impressionism

BOOKSHELVES
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Bookshelves should have more books on them than CRAP.  They're wonderful places to display your CRAP but one collection only please. 
When using bookshelves for books keep the book ratio minimum to 2/3 books to 1/3 CRAP
For accessories like the Wedegwood collection shown above - clump the items together and mix shapes and sizes. I think the blue spongeware displayed below looks cold and unimaginative.
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DINING TABLES
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Dining tables need to allow a direct, unobstructed view of the diners across from them. No forest of candlesticks, no overzealous flower arrangements or a clusterf&%k of art pieces like below -  you'd have to text your dinner guests to communicate...
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BUFFETS & SIDEBOARDS
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Buffets & sideboards should look like they have enough room to serve food from it... lose the OTT clutter!
A few impactful pieces will do the trick. Use a girthsome pair of pots or urns; two lovely buffet lamps; a “collection” of Canton blue & white or similar pottery all would be nice, just not a LOT of it.

MANTEL'S
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The place most people feel they need to show off the best of their  CRAP. 
Not!
Have something that compliments what's hanging over the fireplace, or something that feels compatible with the whole rooms ensemble.
If your home is formal - symmetrical is always safe and clean looking. If your look is more eclectic or contemporary, an asymmetric group of small items could be great.
And, remember....using nothing on the mantel is OK too!

FOYERS
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Foyer consoles or tables should be very carefully arranged (a future “Master Class” will be on Foyers). I like a generous table that has the following few items: Lamp, regardless of recessed light, fresh flowers and a tray to hold your keys, outgoing mail and sunglasses.

WINDOW SILLS
OMG I can’t even believe that I have to mention this, but I do as I see it wayyy too often.  GET THE FREEKIN’ C.R.A.P. OFF OF THE WINDOW SILLS!  Nothing should be on a window sill, ever at all, other than maybe a small plant!
Jumbles like this below interrupt the line-of-site outside and look like catch-all's.
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PLANTS
Who the hell wants to look at a straggly old, half-dead plant...WTF's up with that?  The whole point in an interior plant is to bring the outdoors inside, not the Mortitia Addams version. If it looks weak, throw it out, get a new one - DUH!
If you’re just plain bad with plants get an amazing artificial one, there’s superb 'undetectable' ones out there. No more than two plants per room, it’s not a greenhouse! But get good sized, well made ones, this is not the place to get cheap
One tree and a luscious tabletop plant or a pair of trees are good like below.
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This hot granny mess is not what you want....
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POWDER ROOMS
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Powder rooms should have only what’s needed by short-term visitors: Disposable, good quality hand towels (see Master Class “monogramming” newsletter) within easy reach, room spray, scented candle for evening parties and ONE extra roll of toilet tissue under the sink or in plain site of the toilet. Some accessories are good only if the sink deck is large enough to accommodate a ladies pocketbook and the accessories.

GUEST BATHROOMS
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Guest baths need a wide open surface where guests can place their toiletries kit and set up their things without having to move all the cutesy CRAP around. You know... those sweet little shaped soaps with eight years of dust on them in those darling little dishes, or that set of antique toiletry bottles and silver brushes which have no freaking use at all. 

BEDSIDE TABLES
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Bedside tables are not the place to show the family’s photos dating back to when they were a different religion. 

ACCESSORIZING COLLECTED ITEMS
GROUPING BY COLLECTION
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GROUPING BY COLOR
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GROUP BY ETHNICITY OR PROVENANCE
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GROUP BY THEME
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GROUP USING ONE TYPE OF ITEM
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IF YOU'RE NOT CAREFUL YOU COULD WIND UP LIKE THIS...
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OR THIS...
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OR THIS..........
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When designing a home the old saying holds true: 
"It's not the first Million that matters
it's the last $5,000"
Accessories are what makes or breaks everything!


You can do it, I'm here to help!
JPDSODPB@AOL.COM
202-669-8669