I find most closets to be a hideous disaster of dirty laundry, hidden duvets, old boxes, and moth balls. Some storage spaces are best left unseen – a crawl space, an attic, an unreachable cabinet. The problem with these oh-so-useful areas is that the old adage of “out of sight, out of mind” often applies. I put away winter clothing that sometimes does not reappear till several snowfalls later. That thing I was saving for that “special moment” never gets it’s fifteen minutes because of its hidden unattractiveness and inaccessibility.
Let us explore the ever expanding world of attractive storage spaces and out-in-the-open, dual-purpose furniture! Living in a fourth floor, NYC, walk up apartment, every inch of square footage counts. If I am not using an inch of space, I am wasting money on a monthly basis (I am PAYING for that inch)!
I am generally the type of person who mixes and matches brands. I am continually collecting objects on various journeys, and leaving my eyes peeled for bits of eccentric and unexpected treasures. However, when helping my friend Mike decide on paint color, furniture, and decor, he seems more like the “one-stop-shop” kind of patron.
I took his want to “get it over with” as a challenge. Could I curate a room using items from only one department store? Would this room still have a unique personality and sense of style? Could this room still seem rustic, homey, and caringly collected? The short answer is YES! The quick trick with Department Stores is that they carry several different brands. JCPenney’s big home decor brands are Chris Madden, Cindy Crawford, Linden Street, and JCP Home. Each of the aforementioned brands has a distinctive feel and look. Chris Madden’s styles lean toward the adjectives: opulent, modern, intricate, and elegant. Cindy Crawford is very simple, with a tendency to run toward a very American, shabby chic, neutral palette. Linden Street produces fine leatherwork, impressive woodworking, and traditional furniture with a hint of country (and a downright Pottery Barn-esque vibe for cheap!!).
If I were to choose furniture and decor all from one brand, this could leave my home looking embarrassingly catalogue-purchased. Rooms copied straight from the pages of a look book are not unattractive, they do however lack a certain intimacy. Do not allow yourself to become trapped in any one brand! This will give your room the allusion of handcrafted and handpicked!
See Below – Today’s Department Store of Choice – JCPenney
Of the nine items in my featured image, eight are from completely different brands within the store. You will be surprised how unique and impressive a home can be when all bought from the same store, on the same day, in the same season, as above!
The opulence of the drawing rooms, the decadence of the salon, the placement of the calling cards – the end of the Victorian Era reached a fever pitch in meticulously crafted displays of fiscal success. Then, a chinoiserie vase would have been hand-crafted and one of a kind bone-china. A floral, damask printed wallpaper would be sold by the roll and individually tailored to match wall treatments, furniture’s fabrics, wainscoting, and hand-spun carpets.
Although gilded millworking might be a dying, if not already dead art form, the individualized and sometimes ostentatious designs of the Victorian era can still be yours. Before we sit down for high tea, let me remind you that the year is 2012. Be sure to mix and match the vintage with the new, function with form, and if you’re going to cover your walls in fabric, invest in a duster. For every vintage piece or one of a kind item found, match the object with a modern and inexpensive item from Target, JCPenney, West Elm, or Ikea. This will keep one’s life from becoming too much of a period drama or too costumey.
Real Life Example – Grande Bretagne Hotel, Athens, Greece