Interior Design for our Exteriors

Antique mirror from Zinc Details, a “statement” piece I have my eye on (and top of head “in” if  you look closely.) Photo by Paula.

Last week I attended an event at Zinc Details on Fillmore Street here in San Francisco, one of my favorite local boutiques and my go-to spot for home design. The topic was  “Design Resolutions: Six Principles of Good Design,” a panel discussion moderated by Dwell Media that explored “six easy ways to spruce up our lives and living spaces for 2013.”

Panasonic Toot-A-Loop Radio. Photo by Paula.

All of my life I’ve loved home design, especially of the mid-century-mod variety. I was lucky to be a kid in the 70s and have access to all of the grooviness of the decade: my waterbed lay next to my orange and yellow parsons tables, on which sat my Panasonic Toot-a-loop radio next to my lime-green bean bag chair. I must add that this in no way reflected the décor of the rest of the house, cozily covered in traditional country. My mom made ceramic ducks; enough said.

My bedroom during my “cyclone” phase, circa early 80s. Mom kept my door shut at all times to keep her “decor ducks” in a row.

As it turns out, many of the he six principles that the panel discussed just happen to be things Jslow and I have been talking about lately as they relate to fashion. Here are the design principles discussed, and how they can apply to all of our collective styles:

1: I will Mix and Match: I get so frightened about pairing completely foreign fabrics and looks, as it can be a recipe for disaster. However, experimenting can yield fantastic results. It doesn’t mean you have to go the floral- plus-plaid route. Mix dressy and casual, fur and plastic, things that create a bit of tension. Remember, it’s just clothes.

2. It’s all about the craft: Things that are well made, by hand, with real materials just have a soul to them, a story. Remember when Jslow went to the Far Rockaways, pre-Sandy, and discovered wonderful bags from textile designer Bethany Scotty and beachy statement jewelry made by Melissa of Draugsvold Jewelry.?  Seek out the not-mass-produced. Scour Etsy. Respect and understand how what you wear is made.

3. I will reduce clutter: I got rid of almost half of my clothes and can actually see light between my hanging clothes in the closet. I see light and I’ve seen the light. It makes getting dressed in the morning so much easier. Less options = less stress. A smaller wardrobe of things I really love = bigger sense of outfit happiness.

4. I will invest in a statement piece: I often find myself “buying around” what I really want: buying more, cheaper things that never quite satisfy. But investing in that very special piece that makes you feel happy and confident now, and that lasts forever, is priceless. I have my eye on these shoes below: I think if I wait long enough they will go on sale.

Yang Li Ankle Cuff Shoes,

5. I will light up my life: This interior design principle is more of a stretch as it’s about using different light sources to add texture and mood to your home. My “fashion” interpretation is this: wear more white (at least for me.) White tops cast a flattering glow to my otherwise haggard face and I just need to get over my aversion to the “waitress” effect I feel white projects (especially when paired with black bottoms.) White = light = right.

6. I will trust my intuition:  When I’ve tried something on and immediately not loved it, I should move on. Almost every time I’ve let a friend or sales-person weigh in and tell me to buy something, and I do, I regret it. You may know me, but not as well as I know me.

So there you have it. We’d love to hear about how you’ve applied different design principles to your fashion life. For now, I have to figure out how to mix and match that statement-piece antique mirror into my decor without adding clutter.

2 Responses

  1. Paula

    Thanks Sarah! I keep dreaming about that mirror, but it would break the “do not clutter” rule as my small flat is bursting with too much stuff. xoxo

Leave a Reply