Art: Make It “Your” Choice


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By Barbara Kaplan –

Art was probably the first word I said as a baby…or so it seems. My parents were antiques importers and I grew up with 18th and 19th century incredible artifacts.

It was after WWII and my father would travel to Germany and France to buy antiques. So I truly grew up with the finest European antiques. It wasn’t until I was in my 30s and sold my home – which was filled with these glorious masterpieces – to buy a new contemporary home that I realized I no longer wanted to live with old, fragile, expensive antiques. I realized that these pieces were my heritage, but they were not me today or my taste any longer and I now loved more contemporary art and furnishings. So I sold everything I owned, and I mean everything, and moved into my new contemporary home with nothing, just bare necessities, and lived that way for about a year.

I gave myself time to breathe without the burden of expensive and irreplaceable antiques. I had called in an antiques dealer from New York who bought everything. I asked the packing company to hold everything over night before packing it for shipment to New York. I wanted to see how I would feel the next morning, waking up without my beloved and once cherished pieces. Well, I loved the feeling…I felt free! I called the shipping company to pack everything and send the antiques away.

This began my design journey of self-discovery. It was tough and it was fun!

So I practiced what I preach. I realized over the years working with my clients that I wasn’t decorating a room. I was helping people express themselves through their design choices.

On my journey of design discovery, I had to look at my choices with new eyes and be open to all possibilities. I had to ask myself questions like “Can I live with this?” “Will I still like it in a week or a year?” “Am I making a mistake?”

While this may seem difficult, it really isn’t and I’m going to explain to you why not. Why you needn’t fear making a mistake, because if you feel your decision is the right one, it is.

First let’s talk a little about the art.

Art can be a focal point. When you choose the art with your heart, YOU come through as the focal point, too. You are seen as the art also because it is an expression of your personality, style and taste. The first consideration is how it feels to you. Second, is how it looks. Choosing art is a personal choice because art has the ability to evoke feelings. It is an emotional purchase. As much as I enjoy guiding my clients through the design of their homes, I never influence them in their choice of art. Rather I help them define what they like, in regard to the different mediums, their individual reaction to colors, the feel of the many textures, geometric shapes, abundance of styles and critical proportions.

These are all very subjective details and must come from inside of each of you. However, I have found that most people I work with do not have an awareness of these elements in relationship to their reactions to them. That is why they are working with a professional designer. They are wise to realize that they need to learn more about themselves to make the right decisions. And the right decisions are the ones that feel right to them. Yes, I repeat “what feels right, is right.” And this is the magic bullet that makes interior design easy for everyone. Interior design is about your interior. The space you are decorating is exterior design. The room has no feelings, but you do. And that is what you must focus on. YOU!

 

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