One of our favorite things about providing architectural photography on Martha’s Vineyard is collaborating with the talented interior designers that work on many of the homes we capture. When we shoot for architecture we are capturing the design and construction of a building, a structure that should speak of its time and place and the life of inhabitants. We’re also capturing the interior design, the thoughtful details that complement the architectural features and really define the space and its purpose, while highlighting certain elements and personalizing the space for those lucky enough to live in it.
Many of the homes we capture are new construction, some are renovated historic homes, with stories to tell from generation to generation. Interior design allows the same space to be freshened up again and again, and regardless of the space you live in some interior design tips can really go a long way. These days we are spending more time at home than ever before. It is important to cultivate a space that reflects your personal style and supports the activities you’re performing there, not to mention a place to unwind.
As spring approaches we wanted to share some practical interior design tips from some of the talented designers we work with, whose incredible eyes can transform spaces, create harmony, evoke emotion, and curate places you’d never want to leave. Try adapting some of their tips to help reimagine your home this season and maximize the potential of the walls you’re within.
Mary Rentschler of Rentschler Company Interiors, Martha’s Vineyard. Check out this fascinating story about a historic home in Chilmark Marcy recently styled that we had the pleasure of photographing.
- Be strategic about how you’re using your home. Assess where you spend the most time and ask yourself what activities you do there. Don’t be afraid to consider changing a room’s function as needed and adjust your floor plan and furniture layouts accordingly. Figure out ways to make spaces more functional and visually appealing with good lighting, comfortable seating, and be sure to create a place to work away from the fray of a busy household.
- Restyle the shelves in your house and make new use of things you already own. In the kitchen add interesting unpredictable objects such as small mirrors, paintings, or objects you can source from elsewhere in your house. Restyle your bookshelves (especially if they’re on display on your Zooms!) and add some new memorabilia, photos, vases, natural treasures such as shells, rocks and feathers. Cull some unread books from your bookshelves and make new groupings on your coffee table.
- Update your textiles. Source new throw pillows, throws, pillow cases etc. Find vintage fabric to drape over the back of your couch, or layer at the bottom of your bed. Hunt down some fun new towels or recycle others from your linen closet. Change it up, mix it up and layer with texture and pattern.
- Paint an accent wall. Select a wall in your front hall or bedroom or somewhere that will enliven a forgotten space. Don’t be afraid of COLOR, especially after a grey winter!
- Create user friendly and attractive ways to organize. Stash important things in ottomans with storage, beautiful baskets and use visually attractive containers to store things you need to access.
Megan Weeks of M Weeks Design, servicing Boston, Martha’s Vineyard and Manhattan
- Invite the outdoors in. Nature provides the very best design elements. Snip some greenery and place in pottery or tall pitchers. It needn’t be elaborate; a solitary leafed branch in a clear glass can be stunning. Plant fresh herbs such as mint, basil, cilantro, and lemon verbena in small pots or boxes, and place inside on your kitchen windowsills. They’re beautiful, decorative, and fragrant, and having them easily within reach will inspire you to use and enjoy them.
- Revitalize something you already own. For those of you looking to invest a little DIY time in a project that’s quick and satisfying, consider dedicating an hour or two to transform a wooden piece you already have—such as a mirror, stool, or side table—with chalk paint. Chalk paint comes in a range of lush colors and is very easy to apply; there’s no need to prime — just paint! It dries quickly and is extremely forgiving.
- Indulge in something useful, colorful and delightful. Freshen and brighten your home for spring by adding a cheery and welcoming rug in your entryway, bright cloth napkins to your table, or decorative pillows and throws to your bedrooms and seating areas. If your walls need a refresh, create some simple but impactful art by framing colorful handmade papers or wallpaper (options aplenty on Etsy and Amazon). Consider repainting your front door, as the gateway to your home, your door is the perfect place to go big and bold with color. Why not choose a color for each side – one color for welcoming, and another for departing.
- Place beauty where you’re busiest. On your desk and within sight of the kitchen sink, create a few vignettes that bring you joy and tranquility. A cherished photograph, a smooth beach stone, an elegant candle can re-center and transport you.
- Remember to be gentle with yourself and those around you. This has been an incredibly tough year all around. Try to give yourself little wins and glimpses of beauty when and where you can.
Susan Bielski of Susan Bielski Design
- Give your Quarantine Spaces some color. Liven it with a fresh coat of color, and punctuate it with a new pillow cover or a plant. I think that color really sets the tone for any space you enter.
- Declutter. For months your winter reading from cookbooks to magazines have been piling up. If you’ve read it, recycle it. If you haven’t read it yet, ask yourself if you really need or want to; toss it or pass it on. Pick up, put away, containerize, or toss. Purging and organizing is a great morale booster, so give yourself a simpler space to breathe in.
- Create an outdoor space you can spill into. Once the sun warms up you’ll want to be out there and a small bistro table and chairs could be your new Zoom Room, or a place for that end of day refreshing beverage. Shop the thrift stores or your own garage for someone’s hand-me-down porch seating. Add potted flowers or a container of tomatoes and feel the spirit of spring!
- Don’t let work follow you everywhere. If you’re working from home it’s great to know you can move your laptop and virtually work anywhere, but you really need to designate a non-work area; a place to unplug and not engage with the mechanical/technical world.
- Give your Kids a ‘free-zone.’ They’ve been stuck inside too. Give them a space where they know they can just play and hang out, and not have to follow the rules of being in a Zoom Room. It could be a reading nook filled with throw pillows and a colorful yoga mat, or a tent where they can hide from the same technology and noise we all want to run from!