Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes


How Important is Interior Design?

Above, an ideal arrangement: Kenneth Brown gave a grandmother a lovely and unexpected fresh start with this airy, 750-square-foot Japanese Pole House. The client's children generously built the structure for her on their own property. There's nothing sad or dismal about this place.

Once when I attended a lecture given by Rose Tarlow, a decorator stood up and tried to get Ms. Tarlow to comment on the vital contribution interior designers make to society. Tarlow balked at this, basically saying that designers do what they do simply because they love it.

I agree that decorators should hardly be ranked up there with physicians, teachers, or volunteers for Meals on Wheels. But I do think good design can bring dignity and joy to people. Especially those who spend most of their time in one small space, and have little choice about where they live -- the elderly, kids in foster care, teens in a hospice.

For most, a private little Japanese pole house, like Kenneth Brown's project, is not an option. However, remember Domino's Woodycrest project? There a team of designers brought high style and comfort to an institutional setting. Wouldn't it be phenomenal if more talented decorators could spruce up the digs of people truly in need of cheerier surroundings?

BTW: If you believe in the power of color, visit


Fairfax said...


Attorneys here are required to do pro bono work... maybe decorators should do that, too.

kcdesign said...

I recently received a letter from a decorator here in Kansas City asking others in the field to donate time and resources (i.e. remnants, good cast-off's and "not right" pieces that are languishing) to go to just these sorts of projects. I thought it was such a fabulous idea. It's no coincidence that hospitals - especially children's hospitals - have changed their decor to provide a pleasing environment. We all know what even a coat of paint would do to lift your spirits.

katiedid said...

Hear, Hear! There are many great causes and ways to contribute. And don't forget the beautiful showcase houses to which many designers volunteer much time, effort and dollars, all for charity. And we get to see the beautiful results!

deewilkie said...

what a great point you make! I often wonder, as i'm driving down the streets of some towns, wouldn't it be great if people would volunteer thier time to make these buildings more up to date, refreshed etc? And that's just the outside!
It's an awesome idea to donate time and a few great design tricks to spruce up someones residence. a little paint makes a huge difference!
how inspiring..

Anonymous said...

Even the cave dwellers had Lascaux!

Mike said...

Oh my goodness, such a beautiful interior architecture. I'd always been wanting to have a Japanese-inspired home. If I may suggest, though, you may perhaps make use of swivel bar stools. They're highly functional, keeping faith to Japanese minimalist style.

franki durbin said...

good design has a value all its own. It cannot be quantified in most cases. But how much more rich is your life when you wake up in surroundings you truly adore?

How much better is a chic restaurant because of its uber hip interiors? How much more indulgent is your stay at the W hotel over, say, Best Western? Design plays an enormous role in our perceptions of people, places and things. It is the limited thinker who disagrees with this, in my opinion.

sarah, bar stools said...

Oh my god that is fantastic interior design, oh my god,

wooden Furniture said...

Interior design is am important part of our lives Now.

Furniture | Furniture Stores said...

Great Pictures