Hindsight is rough sometimes, especially when you are a designer or artist. Every now and again I see these photos of past work pop up on various google searches, photos or rooms from years ago, and let’s just say that things have changed. So I thought it would be fun to talk about what I like about my past styling/design work, and what I would do again or change.
I like to call this the “Commonwealth Era.” It was a particular 2 year period (while we lived on Commonwealth street) where where I did a lot of very colorful, and at times, questionable things.
I like to use my house as a laboratory and experiment a bit, way more than I can with client work. This room was an unused guest room. I remember being really was inspired at the time by Miles Redd and all his lacquered colored walls and general boldness.
That was the general color/boldness inspiration. It’s intense, interesting, and risky in many ways. So let’s dissect what I did, and lay out what I would do again.
1. The wall color. I like that green, sure, and if I had stopped there and not done the pink and the mouldings, and instead did a super simple bed, then it would’ve all been fine. I think that generally I have found I need simple walls because I have too much color in my things, so this room immediately became way too arresting. If I had to do a green wall now I would do something more muted, and darker. I don’t hate that green, but I would be much more careful using it now.
2. Semi-gloss paint. Lacquering walls is a thing, but it’s a really expensive, professional thing. I think its best to pay someone to do it so that there isn’t any brush strokes, etc. I won’t semi-gloss a wall for a while, I think.
3. Painted moulding. You can do this for sure, but I think this looks best in an all white loft with the window moulding being an accent. Here with the green and pink, it’s just too much.
3. The headboard. I still like this headboard a lot, but against the shiny green it was too gaudy. The shape of it is fun, although the stripes pulled here and there and got a bit warped.
4. The curtains. Four years ago that palm leaf pattern was huge, and I still really like it, but again, the room was too dark and there was too much happening already. Put these in an all white sunny room and they would be so happy.
4. The lighting. I still like that accordion lamp a lot, and the lucite/brass one is great. Win.
5. Brass Staghorn. Yah, I still love that although we had to take it down because it seems SUPER dangerous to have above a bed.
6. The chairs. I love those chairs, still. They just needed their own room to shine.
7. That painting – still own it and probably will forever. I love her.
Lesson learned: ALWAYS experiment and have fun, but for long-term happiness use restraint with bold colors and layer in more neutrals. Individually, everything here is still pretty great, but the level of saturation is too intense for such a small room, and the combination of colors is too bold to actually live with day in and day out. Now if this were a powder room in a nightclub, I’d be psyched. But my guests were like “wow . . .” and not in a good way.
Styles and trends go in and out so a HUGE challenge in our field is to have fun, do something interesting, and satisfy our need to play with trends, BUT make sure that in 4 years you don’t shudder when you see it come up on a Google search. There are so many rooms I have designed, even 7 years ago, that I still love, but this one . . . this one not so much. Thank God it was mine, and not a client’s, right???? (The truth is that I repainted over that green a couple months later – which also goes to show you that paint isn’t really a big deal . . . )
So what do you think? What do you still like about this room if anything and what do you think you would change?