THE ELEMENTS OF DESIGN – PART 2

This week’s article is a continuation from last week. 

(If you missed that article, you can find it here.)

And as I said before, it’s a bit of a teaser.

I say this, because I’m using various elements found in Nature to illustrate the Elements of Design – the so-called building blocks used to create just about any work of art – and  therefore the principal tools that designers, architects and all creative types invariably use in their craft.

So far, we’ve explored Color, Balance, Pattern and Rhythm.

Still to come?

Space, Line, Proportion and perhaps my favorite – Harmony.

So here they are….

 

Space

See that wide expanse of sky?

If that endless space was filled with stuff, this scene wouldn’t look nearly as tranquil.

Which means Mother Nature got it right again, knowing exactly when to stop.

In home design, this translates to “Less is More” an oft quoted remark from one of the 20th century’s foremost architects, Mies van der Rohe.

When it doubt, a good rule of thumb is to edit the finished design by removing one item.

That’s when you’re done.

 

Line & Proportion

In Nature, line and proportion are pretty much perfect.

After all, who’s to say a maple leaf should have a different shape, or that a bunch of grapes should be less round?

We accept them for what they are.

A mix of lines and shapes is always a good idea for interiors, as well.

And knowing when to place a large sofa in a smaller room, or vice versa, is just as helpful.

Is the coffee table the right size for the nearby chairs?

What about the bed?

Understanding the relationship between all these different elements is key to a successful project!

 

Focal Point

This is your immediate field of vision.    

With a view like this, it’s easy to see what that might be.

The Focal Point is the one thing that captivates you, that is so spectacular, interesting or inviting that people can’t help but notice it.

It’s what we situate our homes to take full advantage – especially when there’s a gorgeous view.

Inside your home, this translates to either the fireplace, a bed or seating area, or even the television.

Hmmm.

Which would you rather look at?

 

Harmony

This is an easy one.

It’s what we achieve when ALL the Elements & Principles have been used together – well, harmoniously.

Just like in Nature.

If your home is feeling a bit flat and un-inspired, you can be fairly certain that one of these key elements is off, or missing altogether.

THE ELEMENTS OF DESIGN – WITH A NATURAL TWIST

Today’s post is a bit of a teaser.   

While vacationing a few weeks ago in Eastern Washington, I spent a lot of time outdoors.

And on my bike.

While riding the scenic back roads, it occurred to me that much of what we see in Nature mirrors the Elements of Design – the principal tools that designers, architects and all creative types invariably use in their craft.

These Elements of Design include everything from color, space, balance, shape, line, proportion and much more – while lending interest and excitement to a space.

Just as they do in Nature.

Let me explain.

 

Color

Imagine the natural world without color!  

It’s almost painful to think of.

Everywhere we look, on any given day, we are welcomed by a riot of color in our surroundings – both indoors and out.

Sometimes it makes sense to balance the colors of Nature outside your windows, with a soothing palette inside. A neutral palette can make strong colors pop – just as you see in the vivid sunsets shown above.

Other times, a desert landscape might call for bolder colors within.

Different colors dictate a different mood, and can lift our spirits.

In Nature, the most soothing colors are green and blue.

 

Balance 

Balance in a room is achieved through Symmetry or Asymmetry in the basic layout of your furnishings.

The essence of Symmetry is this:

If you were to draw an imaginary line down the center of a room, dividing it in half – each half would be a mirror image of the other.

In Nature, we can find a perfect mirror image reflected in a lake, just like in this picture!

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3 EASY WAYS TO WELCOME SPRING

Earlier this week, many of us observed the arrival of the Spring Equinox.

Yes, Spring is here!

And while the temperatures in my area are still hovering in the low to mid 40’s, other parts of the country have experienced a heat wave.

If that’s the case where you live, you’ve probably tossed aside your winter clothing for something lightweight and cool.

We do this routinely, the re-organizing of our closets according to the seasons.

And yet, how often do we think about our homes?

Do you celebrate the beginning of Spring, trading out wintry-themed throw pillows with something fresh and summery?

Or do you rarely give it a moment’s thought?

Aside from holiday decorations at varying times of the year, our homes don’t necessarily reflect the seasons the way our wardrobes do.

And yet, our local stores our flaunting luscious Spring colors and bursting with new ideas, many of them easy to implement.

So why not take a cue from your favorite retailer and spruce things up a bit in your home?

 

Keep Things Fresh

Our homes can always benefit from a fresh look here and there.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t need to be expensive!

If you’ve been thinking for months about a new couch, then maybe it’s time to finally go shopping.

However, there are many fun, less costly things you can do to give your home a whole new look, just in time for Spring.

You can:

  • Re-arrange the furniture
  • Paint a wall or two, in a bright cheery color
  • Add colorful throw pillows
  • Slipcover the sofa
  • Decorate with flowers

None of these suggestions is overly elaborate or difficult to pull off.

As always, you want to keep in mind your personal color preferences – as opposed to trends, springtime or not.

 

Lighten Up

As you ‘lighten up’ during these warmer months, why not literally shed some weight with a little spring cleaning?

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AWAKENING YOUR SENSES

Lucky for me, I had the pleasure of once again visiting my favorite island in Hawaii over the recent holidays – leaving me rejuvenated to the core!

Experiencing warmth and sunshine on a daily basis, in the middle of winter, is a rare treat in and of itself.

However, I think it’s the daily assault on my senses that left me fully awakened, eager to welcome each day with whatever new sensory images might come my way – including an exciting array of foods that thoroughly awakened my taste buds.

From the taste of tropical fruits such as papaya, mango and pineapple, to the daily fresh fish from the sea and the crunch of macademia nuts, it was a delight.

Not to mention the exquisite tastes of thirst quenching drinks made from passionfruit juice and sparkling wine, or cucumber juice mixed with lime & mint, I was in heaven.

As an interior designer, I appreciate beautiful design no matter where it shows up – a luscious presentation of food, for example, with a unique or clever combination of tastes –  this can be a work of art in its own right.

We woke each morning to the song of the myhna bird – loud and cheerful already at 6:30 a.m. Greeted by a sumptuous buffet, we breakfasted on an open terrace, with a view of the pool and the ocean beyond.

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Fallingwater

On a recent summer’s day, I had the ideal opportunity to visit Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece located in Bear Run, Pennsylvania.

This proved to be an absolutely amazing experience, and I highly recommend visiting Fallingwater if you are ever in the area.

I guarantee the experience is one you’ll never forget.

So what makes this place so incredible?

It’s just a house, afterall.

Except that it’s not just any house.

Picture a home that is so well integrated to it’s site that words escape you.

Picture a home that is so beautifully designed, in each and every detail, that it takes your breath away.

Add to this the spectacular natural site, located in the woods, directly over a stream and waterfall.

You’ve probably seen the pictures, famously showing the cantilevered decks that create patterns in space as they hover over the water below.

Design and architecture today often emphasizes the connection between indoors and out, or what we refer to as ‘bringing the outdoors in’.

Fallingwater is the epitomy of this concept, of connecting ourselves to Nature.

While I don’t believe there will ever be another Fallingwater, we can certainly borrow from the lessons here, and aspire to bring more of Nature into our homes.

Perhaps it will be the stone flooring throughout your home that continues onto the outdoor patio, perhaps it will appear in the form of greenery inside and out, or perhaps it will be a water feature that spreads the peaceful sound of flowing water throughout your living space.

Whatever you decide to do, embrace it as a way to bring more of Nature into your home and your Life.