Monday, June 20, 2016

Finding Your Style: A Room to Love

This is part two of Step 1 in the five step series. 
5 Steps to Decorating Any Room: An Introduction. 
Step 1: Create a Vision. Part One: How to Translate Inspiration into Rooms You'll Love to Live In.

One of the very best ways to find your style is to collect and analyze rooms you love. Your gut knows what you like. Start there. A bit of thought, though,will help you take those gut feelings and translate them into a room you'll love because

knowing what you love means you'll love what you have.

I had a huge gut reaction when I saw this kitchen in the June issue of House Beautiful. Designed by Robert Stilin, this New York kitchen is a fabulous departure from all the white kitchens we usually see.

Isn't it stunning?

Lately, I've been feeling my style shift a little. Ever since I finished my dining room, I've noticed I've been drawn to more of an industrial, urban look--and here it is in kitchen form! So let's break it down, shall we?

Finding your style is as easy as looking at your favourite spaces and making a quick list of what you love. And then we'll dig just a little deeper.

What I love:

1. Those pillars! Cast iron.
Digging Deeper:
The material is so solid. Yet the shape, the columns are such a classic. They are showstoppers, for sure. Such drama.

2. Those lights!
Digging Deeper:
I love, love, love the cone shape. I love the scale...they are ridiculously huge. They add humour and playfulness to what could be a very serious space. (Imagine any of these in their place, for example. The whole vibe would be different.)

3. The lower wood cabinets and island.
Digging Deeper:
Wood is warm and inviting material. The cutouts for openings are simple and straightforward. Functional.

4. The stainless steel backsplash behind the range.
Digging Deeper:
Repeating the same material from the oven to the hood keeps the room simple and streamlined. Flanking it with fridges on either side creates a balanced colour blocked effect which is very soothing.

5. The backsplash tile.
Digging Deeper:
The glazed terra cotta tile has such a lovely sheen to it. It reminds me of Mother of Pearl. Again, another material to love.

6. Texture.
Digging Deeper:
This room is all about the controlled use of subdued shine. There's the dull shine of the frosted glass in the steel clad uppers, the counter top, the backsplash. Even the shiniest materials: the stainless steel and aluminum are not mirror bright. The matte floors, cabinets and cast iron just glow.

7. The light.
Digging Deeper:
This room is beautifully bright. I love the way the light reacts with all the different materials in this room: so much so that I begin to wonder if I'm on love with a kitchen --or a photograph! (The photographer is Joshua McHugh).

8. Colour--or, rather, did you notice? the lack of it.
Digging Deeper:
This kitchen relies entirely upon the natural colours inherent to the materials themselves for colour. Almost all of the colour in this photograph was introduced by the stylist with the food and flowers.

9. The French blue limestone counter top.
Digging Deeper:
Finally--here's some colour! Here's some pattern. But like everything else, the colour is found in the material itself. Still, I am happy it is blue and not white, or black or anything else.

10. I love the layout.
Digging Deeper:
Symmetry is very calming to me.

11. The stools.
Digging Deeper:
Simplicity itself. They remind me of school, somehow.

12. Contrast.
Digging Deeper:
Blue and orange are opposites--so the countertops are a deliberate but subtle contrast to the wood tones. The shiny silver of the stainless contrasts gently with the flat, matte of the cabinets and pillars.

To sum up: my love for this room exemplifies my love for texture, good, solid, unadorned materials, symmetry and contrast.

This is only one photograph, one room. Sometimes, that's enough. But it is generally best to have a large pile of photographs to do this exercise with. I hope to show you how that's done, soon. My daughter and I are collecting pictures for a makeover of her room. I'm hoping I can show you how we'll nail down her style, soon.

Do you like this room? Any aspect in particular? Let me know in the comments.

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