Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Houses Inside and Out

Have you read Mariette Himes Gomez' latest book yet? "Houses Inside and Out" It's not "hot of the press"...it was released late last fall. But it came out amongst a group of books that got lots of press and I felt this one might have slipped in there too easily. It's such a great book; well written, full of beautiful photos and of course chock full of the warm, elegant, traditional yet clean style of Mariette Himes Gomez. Of course, she has designed a line of furniture for Hickory Chair (I'm sure you're surprised to hear me mention this).

My favorite line from the book (so far) is in the prologue. "When a house is seen as a whole, not a collection of fragments thrown together, it transforms the house into a home, with spirit and harmony." I think this is true of all design, whether residential or commercial. Design must be looked at and thought through on the whole. Individual spirit and harmony are what a home is all about, but it's difficult to achieve. That is my job as a designer and there is nothing more I love than being able to think about the whole home instead of a small area. Even if I know we won't get to the next project for a year, if I know we're going to address it eventually, I'm happy. I have time and can envision making a warm, inviting home for my clients.

Gomez discusses the natural order of a home that individual rooms don't have. There is a due amount of respect that must be paid to this naturally existing order to achieve success in designing the space. The house has a certain geometry, an energy, and of course a functionality that must be honored in order to achieve the feeling of warmth, elegance, and home in an overall design.

It's easy to find pictures of things you like and I encourage my clients to clip pictures of rooms that appeal to them. But too many people try to copy what they see and their home ends up a collection of ideas copied from other designers and taken totally out of context. Just because the homeowner likes each of the individual vignettes doesn't meant that they will all work together or even work in their home at all. There is a difference between inspiration and imitation and one must be careful to make sure that the inspiration is there but that the design applies to the space, the home, as a whole. Inspiration means the idea must be extracted and adapted from the original. Imitation mimics what is already done elsewhere.

Be true to yourself and find your style. Honor the natural order and make your house yours. I encourage you to read "Houses Inside & Out" by Mariette Himes Gomez. You can get it online at Amazon by clicking here.