Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Making Arrangements

If rearranging -- not buying -- is going to be the trend in 2009, I think many of us will start paying more attention to compositions in pictures rather than noticing just fabric and wallpaper. The corner arrangement above, in a house designed by A. Hays Town, jumped out at me as I flipped through the great book about his work.

The homeowners' grouping defies the rules. Often decorating guidelines suggest placing two or more paintings, or figures, together instead of dotting lone items around a room. But since these separate pieces are all positioned tightly this composition really works. The chair itself reads like a piece of sculpture, and the brick walls -- a Town signature -- offer so much visual interest. Displays of porcelain figures can sometimes feel very formal and matronly however the one here, casually placed on a low chest, is not uptight at all.

Shelves require even less commitment. Here Julia Reed's personal artifacts are clustered together adding texture to rows of books. I love how the shells are hung informally on the outside of the shelves. And as always, painting the back of a bookcase a striking color is such an affordable way to inject flair.

For those who like a clean approach and prefer to work with a formula of sorts, Accents on Accessories offers these tips: Place the largest volumes on the lower shelves, and add your smaller books to the middle and upper shelves, leaving space for art. The image directly above highlights works by Picasso and Miro, but you could use the same principle with family photos and framed children's art.

In his ever-appealing home Steven Gambrel uses the power of visual repetition. He's orchestrated a stimulating yet harmonious mix of alternating horizontal and vertical lines (with the books) punctuated by similar sculptures in varied sizes.

Equally appealing is Nathan Turner's looser approach. His shelves look as if they evolved over time.

Image one is from The Louisiana Houses of A. Hays Town, photography by Philip Gould.
Image two is from G & G.
Image three is from Accents on Accessories.
Image four is from Elle Decor, January 2009, photo by William Waldron.
Image five is from domino, December 2008, photo by Miguel Flores-Vianna.


Paul Pincus said...

the louisiana houses of a. hays town looks like a wonderful book. i'm not fond of brick walls. that said, this image is so striking it's made me realize i just didn't understand how to approach them! that gorgeous chair IS like a piece of sculpture! i love the entire composition.

love julia reed. what great style and such a terrific writer! cheers, courtney!

Style Court said...

Hi Paul -- How do you feel about white=painted brick? Town was really known for that too.

I love Julia Reed too :) Happy New Year.

Alison Duffy said...

I'm really into the bookshelf behind the dining table lately, I think I might try it for 09!

Style Court said...

H & L -- I can never get enough of that look!

simply seleta said...

Love all of these shelves and the creative way the designer approached making them beautiful. I do believe that rearranging can add some spice to life. Especially if results are this chic!

simply seleta said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Style Court said...

Well said Seleta!

katiedid said...

Hi Courtney!
Stopping in to wish you the Happiest of New Years! I will be doing alot of rearranging myself this year, (and not just my decor). I look forward to reading StyleCourt often this year.


Style Court said...

Thank you Katie! Happy 2009!

Karena said...

Courtney, Really enjoyed seeing these shelves designs. You have metioned before about painting the back of one of mine and I believe I will!

cotedetexas said...

wonderful ideas and thoughts about art. thanks!

Unknown said...

I love the last image. The dining room looks casual and inviting, yet elegant.