I had a revelation recently. As a creative person in a creative field it is imperative that I feed my creativity and keep it alive by spending dedicated time doing things that inspire me. Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? But the truth is that between being a mom, a wife and running a business doesn’t always allow me to take time for myself to keep me inspired.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about spending time doing some of the things that fuel my creativity and how I need to make that a priority in my life. One of the things that gets me inspired is studying the work of current interior design masters. I love examining the photos of their work and scrutinizing how they have incorporated the elements and principals of design. I bought myself a copy of Mary McDonald’s book, The Allure of Style, and a couple of weekends ago I finally got around to carving out some time for myself to leisurely flip through the pages. I adore the boldness of her rooms, her sophisticated use of pattern, her broad strokes of colour and her ability to fill a room with fine antiques without making the room feel stuffy and museum-like. Lots of inspiration to be found here!
As I was leisurely flipping through the book, I noticed something that I thought I would share with you that I found very refreshing. Throughout the book’s photos, if you look really, really closely, you will see the same antique furniture pieces re-purposed, reupholstered or slip covered and used in a different room. This of course makes perfect sense! If you purchase a quality piece of furniture with classic lines you will be able to find a new home for it when you redecorate or move. Classic lines will work with any style and well built furniture will last a lifetime. When selecting your furniture you should buy the best quality you can afford and things that you love. Think of it as an investment in your home that will pay you back for years to come. And if you are at all eco-sensitive, you will appreciate the fact that better quality furniture does not make it to the land fill the same way that cheap, trendy pieces do.
Here’s a couple of examples of Mary’s interiors and how she manages to rework furniture in a new space.
The white pagoda bed frame steals the show in this bedroom.
Interior design by Mary McDonald
The white bed frame is the exact same one if you look at the details closely. But this version has been dressed with drapery panels to give it a different look.
Take special note of the yellow striped fauteuil chair on the left and the ornately carved stools in front of the cocktail table.
Here’s the same chair with an elegant slip cover. That slip cover revolutionizes the chair’s look!
Now the stool acts as a pretty perch in a chic dressing room with a simple fabric covering the seat.
The antique black desk and pineapple lamp are classic in this warm and intimate study.
The exact same pairing of desk and pineapple lamp look crisp and fashionable in this living room. Pairing the same pieces with new elements and a different colour scheme makes them feel unique.
I’d like to thank the very talented Mary McDonald for illustrating how to reuse and re-purpose furniture so elegantly in her gorgeous book. It shows what an incredible eye she has for fine pieces and how easily she can reinterpret a room while incorporating the same elements. It was so important for me to be reminded of this simple design lesson and seeing real examples of it at work was truly inspiring, especially from someone as fabulous as Mary! So hat’s off to Mary (she used to be a milliner in a former life-you know!) for reminding me that quality is best, and reinterpretation is everything.