09 August, 2011

"Q & A with SMW . . . "

SMW Design, Atherton CA Project

Greetings -

After last Friday's posting - a question from a reader . . .  

"As the designer, do you use the clients furnishings... some, all, none? 

I was particularly wondering about the chair to the right of the red lacquer console in the entryway. Can you tell me about it? Maker, new, old, etc. I like the painted black furniture... just a few pieces here and there, like my Nichols and Stone rocker my son "found" for me (a real bargain) and my vintage Hitchcock dropleaf table and chairs.

Thanks always for the inspiration... Karen"

Karen - Thanks - a great question.  I don't have a great deal of information about the chairs because - yes, they were part of the client's existing collection of antiques that were part of the home before we began the project.  And yes - I love when we're able to use some of the existing furniture.    For me there are several reasons.  

Firstly, they're already there.  Though, on occasion, we've had to have a few pieces recovered to work with a new colour scheme . . . it's often easier for clients to visualize pieces that they already own.   A quick trip to the upholstery shop or the re-finisher and we're all ready to go. 

Secondly, it can certainly help stretch the budget if there are a few pieces that can be re-imagined for the new space.  We can invest more on a new textile if we can re-use an existing frame.  And often times 'case goods' (such as side table and cocktail tables) can have a completely different look in the newly designed space. 

And thirdly, and in many ways most importantly - being able to use existing pieces can give the newly decorated room some much needed emotional depth.  There's nothing quite like seeing the wonderful side table from your first apartment still in use years later.  We spend so much of our lives in our homes - and having that 'ping' of recognition (especially when SO many other aspects of the house have changed) can help to ground a room.

It's the combination of old and new that can make your new home feel like a long-lost friend.



CourtneyOutLoud said...

So true regarding emotional depth which I think is the "unseen" element in a room. A sense of history and personal attachment is the final layer that completes a room and moves it from a pretty space to a pretty and livable space. Kudos for acknowledging that....

Karen T. said...

I agree, Scot. Great post! (I love that chair, too.)

penelopebianchi said...

Very well said! I also try to use anything a client has. Barring the complete "beast"!

It provides resonance and meaning.....even if recovered and painted; whatever! If it has meaning and good lines...Yes!

The whole "throw away the furniture when you move" scares and worries me!

bainbridge blues said...

great post . . . love the use of red and the nailhead detail. great image!

Merlin said...

You are SO good! franki

Elizabeth said...

I love seeing your work on your blog. To ask another question with regard to your design, what is your process? Do you often have people who come to you with empty rooms? Or are you often faced with a bunch of stuff that they would like to encorporate? Do you do much designing in tartan, aside from your own fabulous home?

Have a great week, I love your honesty with regard to owned pieces your design.

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