The minute the new school year starts, I get in the mood for a good clean out. I don’t think I can call it a spring clean in September when it’s been feeling so autumnal, but maybe it has something to do with having the children around all summer – mess just seems to follow in their wake. All those shoes can go back into wardrobes again, all the books/dvd’s/games can be put back onto shelves, all those stray socks – can be binned!
But, seriously, there’s something very therapeutic about knowing your possessions have places to ‘live’ and then putting them there! Especially if it is somewhere you can see everyday as you walk around your home.
And this is where the decorating magazines miss the point – no disrespect – I absolutely love poring over them, the photographs are always fabulous and beautifully styled, but they are geared toward aspirations, not the every day. They forget that display space and storage doesn’t have to be custom build or site specific to be effective. It simply has to be in an appropriate place.
For example the piano above is rarely used and sits in this home’s front room. The patina of the wood has such a pleasing glow to it, that creating a display space from the lid enhances both the piano, the objects and finishes the room more sympathetically than a built in alcove unit would do.
What I’m getting at is all homes have furniture that doesn’t get used very often which could be given a secondary use to display or store your possessions decoratively. Look around, so long as it isn’t in danger of being knocked over by ‘passing traffic’, it can become storage – or to be more precise Display AS Storage, because when you think about the job being done, display is simply visible storage.
To illustrate what I mean, in this family home, the piano is used almost daily. They didn’t want anything placed on the lid that would hinder them opening it as needed. The bookshelves had been built simply to contain books, until they realised they had nowhere else for photographs and objects. So with a careful re-arrangement, the books have been placed to the ends of the shelves to allow the photographs and objects to be the central focus. The shelves now ‘display’ the items they house and enhance the red running through the scheme.
In contrast, this home-owner (who, by the way also owns a piano!) has a collection of china that she specifically wanted to house in the rear reception room, so the shelving was built around the sizes of the objects to be placed there. The arrangement was chosen to show each piece to advantage and to enhance the deco feel of the interior.
In collaboration with her designer, the client edited her possessions according to the scheme she wanted – if she felt it no longer worked – out it went. This kind of approach makes every object a focal point and for the collector, not known for minimalist tendencies, allows their home to have a certain tranquility. Nothing outside this collection is housed in this space.
Finally this studio space houses both business files and decorative objects. As the studio is a creative space, the functional nature of the storage hasn’t been allowed to dictate the arrangement of the objects housed. This may not be as practical as filling the shelves to their limits, but in terms of making any space inviting, if thought is given to how the storage is going to be used, it can still be decorative or even become a feature.
And that, you will find very pleasing!