balance-ish

Hello again! It's been a month and there has been a lot and (simultaneously) way too LITTLE going on at the Thomas-Parson household. A lot, in that we painted the master bedroom, dining room, and Chris' office. And way too little since we are still waiting on our contractor to finish up a kitchen to come back and put up the applied grid wall. And waiting for furniture to be delivered. And... waiting for all of this to happen so we can install more wallpaper. And... and... and... my life is full of "and"s when it comes to the design of this house.


Sometimes I stop myself and question: "Why am I doing all of this? I could just paint the rooms a refreshingly simple cream white, add in some rustic non-sensical mass produced accents, throw up some pre-framed artwork and be done with the whole fucking thing." I find myself going to showrooms and dreaming about how I could just buy the whole display. It would be so... easy.


And (there's that word again) then I remember that I'm not a "showroom" person. While I am definitely designing for an audience, I am also redefining myself and trying to show how design can be very personal and daring. So often I feel consumerism controls and manipulates me into buying things I don't want -- read: oversized non-working clocks, word art, and ship-fucking-lap -- and has little to do with what actually energizes me. I believe every object should have a story, a connection to a memory or a projection of my realistic self. And sometimes those things are messy and don't fit together neatly in a moodboard. I am very jealous of those interior designers who are able to collect a lot of one type of thing, like cheeseboards or antique coffee bags. I collect art and I love art because it can express so many different things in as many different sizes.


So, I have to design to create a cohesive story. It's the ultimate life-sized collage. And like with so many collages (and I'm finally getting to my point), there needs to be balance.


too much balance so close to home


When I first started this whole process, my thing was color. With that in mind, we painted the dining room this delicious, enveloping green:

The plan was to give this room that comfy cozy backdrop so my collection of brightly hued art could really stand out. That was the plan, at least. I was so eager to get some of my beautiful artwork up, I started almost the day after everything was done. Remember, we moved in September. It is now March. I craved some semblance of normalcy, a finished project, something!



So imagine instead of the Crocodile Dundee II poster, I had the "French Pool" photograph. I know, I know, too much pink. Why did I not see it when I was planning the layout on the ground before I started putting holes in my wall?!??!?!?! This is a common mistake. When I design gallery walls, I lay the art on the ground and try to fit the puzzle pieces together. Sometimes I get great results but you never know who it's going to look until it's up on the wall. Then and only then do the colors make sense. And because I have such a large collection of art, I try to group pieces together with similar colors and balances. However, as with the prime example, there can be too much of one color and it start looking juvenile (and not in a good way). I am also not happy with the layout. Waaaaaaaay too formulaic. I want it to feel collected, spur of the moment, unplanned.


I know how to do this! I've done it before:

This configuration looks way more "collected" because the anchor piece is not centered.


For now, I've corrected some of the mistake by replacing the "French Pool" with the "Crocodile Dundee II" poster:

I also replaced the Warhol neon pink "Sunset" with the "Blue Portrait." It is a little more balanced, but now I have to find a way to "un-balance" it all with some creative placement. This will require some real thought. It may even require... drum roll please... patience.


Which brings me to my next point for my little verbal diarrhea essay:


make plans to break them


I love making lists. Ask my husband, I am a list making fool! So often, all of my plans require expert timing. "This can't happen until this..." and so on and so forth. Moodboards are just another way of making a list. Here was my original plan for the living room;

No complaints here. Cheap but effective Ikea Stockholm rug, CB2 concrete coffee table, Timothy Oulton Madrid framed print, Article leather sofa, Rifle Paper & Co peacock wallpaper, and my dream cement tile to pull it all together. It all hinged on the giant 80"+ Madrid poster behind the couch. Then life crept in...


First, Chris suddenly got the idea that he wanted a projector. In case you couldn't guess from the dozens of vintage film posters, he is a film fanatic. The anagram of his name is quite literally "Screen Art Philosopher". He absolutely, 100% needed a projector. The TV room has too much light, his office is too small. The only place to put such a thing was the living room. Problem? The chandelier and Madrid poster would be in the way. Another problem? The sofas I intended on getting for the living room -- the lovely inexpensive but quite luxurious leather sofas from Article -- were simply not deep enough for a proper movie night.


Simultaneously, I was planning out the dining room art fiasco. The thing about art walls is that a little can go a long way. Also, you should usually stick to one per room. So I was on the hunt for some alternatives to large geometrical shapes and searched for something a bit more organic to break up the lines. I could go through all the google search permutations -- rugs, tapestries, rope art, light installations, etc... -- but somehow I ended up on neon lights. It's not often I end up on neon lights, since the preponderance of Pinterest images are akin to the dreaded "word art" I'm trying to avoid. However, I knew there would be something out there that was special. And boy did I find it.


First of all... it is HUGE. 93" wide. Second of all, it is EXPENSIVE. Most neon signs are. Third of all, it is not FUNCTIONING. More $$. Fourth of all, it does not fit in our dining room and I would have to find a place for it elsewhere and everything else has been planned, sealed, but not quite delivered (see my first paragraph). However, it spoke to me. It spoke to my own desperate need throughout my life to attain "popularity" and how it always eluded me despite all my outward attempts. And now that I've lived beyond those years and had tons of therapy, how I truly value my own individuality and wouldn't exchange that for more superficial friends.


I feel almost ridiculous how hard I fell in love with it despite all its flaws. I desperately watched the Etsy listing, mentally sending eye daggers to whomever else even deigned to "like" it. I told myself, "Whoa there, Melly. Pump the brakes. If you get this, it changes everything. Take a beat, wait until the delirium subsides, and see if you still love her in the morning." If it was still available in the morning, it is meant to be. Of course, you and I know, there are not many people who out there who are just casually shopping HUGE neon signs for their personal use. Let alone one that spells out "Popular". And surprise, no else bought it in between 11PM and 6AM when my eyes fluttered open and immediately darted over to my iPad. But still, I admire my restraint.


So here's the new plan:


Because I splurged on the Popular sign, I am cutting back on several things in the house. The guest bedroom will now be painted vs. wallpapered. I am no longer getting the expensive rug for the TV room. I am using ready-made curtains instead of custom. We are no longer installing hardwood in the guest bedroom and will just keep the carpet. Getting the Popular sign also means that we can now install the projector in the back wall vs. getting a special lens which will save us thousands. You see? Balance.


Reading back on many of posts, I realize I write a lot about mistakes. So often, interior stylists only write about their success stories and the finished product. And if they do write about mistakes, they are often small, nit-picky mistakes that no one would ever notice. But let's go back to my first paragraph:


Sometimes I stop myself and question: "Why am I doing all of this? I could just paint the rooms a refreshingly simple cream white, add in some rustic non-sensical mass produced accents, throw up some pre-framed artwork and be done with the whole fucking thing." I find myself going to showrooms and dreaming about how I could just buy the whole display. It would be so... easy.

Remember: if you aren't making mistakes, you aren't trying. It is very tempting to go on auto-pilot, but I don't want to be a slave to pre-defined expression. If I'm truly being honest with myself, I am many different things as are many of the guests who visit my house. I simply would not be comfortable with re-heated design. Beauty is in the mistakes!

Recent Posts

See All