Thursday, September 05, 2013

Little changes lead to big changes, Part 3

Has anybody ever done this before? Blabbed on for so long he needed to re-post the image he was talking about a bajillion paragraphs ago? Okay, getting back to the point--see that desk chair? It was sitting at the foot of the bed, against the wall. I thought it was kind of ugly--like, it could have been pretty but then it took a hard turn and the design just went to one of the Oriental furniture hells. 

Anyway, I took out the previous large, leather executive office chair with a very high back that blocked the window (and emotionally felt like the first sore-thumb thing you saw when you entered the room), and put this chair there. Ba-bam! It's now pretty! Talk about the importance of context.

In this position, the chair's back is center stage and brings attention to the (modern and East Asian) lines in the room: on the windows, in the shelving unit (also on wheels) underneath the desk, and the Expedit shelving unit behind it (picture coming up). 

I couldn't remove or change the desk, which felt too big for the space, but the dimensions of the chair (low and wide compared to the executive chair), seemed to adjust the sense of proportion and helped the desk "fit" into the rest of the design.

The dark wood of the chair also softens and warms up the modern coolness of the metal and frosted glass of the desk, making the desk blend with the bedding and photograph. Even the chair pad looks complementary, as it matches the color palette and linearity that's been highlighted with the chair placement. And isn't it nice that you can see through the back of the chair, adding to the spaciousness of the room?

And now for some styling (i.e., decorating for aesthetics rather than for utility):

Knowing my mother, she probably found the lamp at Target or somewhere and got a great deal. I love lamps, and I love this one! But if I tell her she'll try to give it to me, so shhh. The little Japanese dolls might have been gifts or something she picked up on her travels.

Are you digging the reflections on the frosted glass desktop? Okay, good, because I meant to capture them in the frame. I adore these glass persimmons with the little bits of gold inside them. The burst of color in the gray palette makes them like the beloved cherry blossoms that bloom in the dead of winter--a delightful surprise.

Plants are awesome. Indoor plants help to filter the air of toxins and even if they didn't, they're darn pretty. This is a begonia in a lovely planter, which is on a small tray (in case of overflow when watering). My mom actually went outside and pruned the tree outside the window to let in more light for the begonia and also to increase the airiness of the room. 

And here's the ubiquitous Expedit shelving unit you can find in a lot of homes and design blogs. I'll show a close up in just a minute:

We added the calligraphy scroll above (yes, it's convenient to have a mother who practices calligraphy, and it's also very convenient to have a mother who has a calligraphy teacher who gives gifts of his calligraphy). The scroll was rolled up and stored in another room, but we thought it'd be perfect to complement the shelving unit and anchor the other side of the room. My mom decided to leave the wall above the bed (lengthwise) blank, so it wouldn't be cluttered. She hates clutter.

The little ornate stool to the right of the shelves was a gift from one of her friends. At first I didn't like it and didn't think it fit in the room, but after placing it there, I think it works fine. My mom styled it by putting old Chinese books on it and makes it look beautiful and fun. 

In the first shelving unit I added wheels to, I didn't want the wheels to be seen so that the unit could "float" a little. Well, that made the unit wobbly when you moved it around (especially on carpet). I compromised and put the wheels farther out on this unit, which is why you can see them underneath. The wheels specifically sold for Expedit shelves have huge brackets and were too industrial for what my mother wanted. 

Once the wheels were on (which required removing all the stuff she had in the shelves first), I styled the unit by putting books she wanted to keep and some art objects back in, and used some of the book covers to reduce visual clutter and add punches of color to the space; this is a trick I learned from working in a bookstore years ago. You can also lean framed photos or artwork against books, too.

We did such a good job of de-cluttering that we ended up with one empty cubicle! That's for my mom to fill in later. The top of the unit was originally loaded with stuff (including that big rock in the top left cubicle), but I cleared everything off and just kept the white fountain to help keep the design clean--there's nothing like losing the impact of beautiful things through crowding. One of the secrets to good design (and most artforms) is editing. 

My mother added a small, slatted bamboo scroll in front of the fountain (I think it might have part of a sutra on it), which you can see in the wide shot including the calligraphy above. I had strongly suggested that she not over-decorate or clog up the top of the shelves, but I thought this addition didn't detract from the simple beauty of the fountain or the modern/minimalist/Asian aesthetic of the room's overall design, and which I knew she enjoyed.

And there you have it. From putting on some little wheels to redesigning and redecorating an entire room to make it feel cohesive, welcoming, and calming. 

Hm. This post was actually fun. Whaddya know!


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