Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This or That

It's something that comes up a lot in conversations here at the studio...and is subject to great debate. Which is preferable when it comes to lifestyle choices? Cottage living or mansion living? Or, to put it more plainly...the small house or the big house?

Can the person who loves decorating and grand pieces of furniture still enjoy these things if they live in a cottage? In my opinion, the answer is yes, they darn well can! And that's not to say that if you live in a mansion you're missing out, it's quite the opposite. The question is, how can cottage livers who enjoy large pieces get the 'mansion' effect?

With a little ingenuity and daring, that's what. Some might think (and we've heard it all before) that if you take a large piece into a small room it will utterly swamp it out, but have they tried it?

The answer is a simple one, and it has everything to do with colour planning and layout. Take for example my place. I prefer smaller spaces. And that's not to say I live in a matchbox. I live in the average sized cottage. And I have a love for grand pieces of furniture. Contrary to popular belief, these things go hand in hand. In the dining area sits a long hand painted refectory table that seats 10. And right next to it, a 2.6m tall dresser. Both are in neutral shades, to match the decor. Paired with fresh flowers, and a series of artworks depicting smoky bar scenes, it's the perfect correlation for a dining space. And even if your pieces aren't all from Romantiques, it just shows that grand pieces in a small space is a perfectly tangible idea.

Think about it...a small, dark room, with lots of pieces of smallish furniture. What kind of picture does that paint? Then take a small, bright room, with a few beautiful, special pieces...the right artwork, and all us furniture lovers can breathe a sigh of relief. We can have our furniture and enjoy it too, even in our cottage.

Colour Tip:
Colours that should be used to create an illusion of space to turn your house onto a home. 

To warm your cottage pick a white that is not a pure white, that has a warm undertone although it is white it stills feels warm .
If you decide to use a crisp white, compliment the white with warm colours like red,green and orange- make it cosy.

If you live in a big house and you want to make it more like a home. Look to nature for inspiration, use earthy colours .If you live in a bigger house you can afford to use deep neutral colours.To compliment the deeper tones add some greens such as olive, burnt orange, darker reds and taupes as opposed to bright primary colours. Leave the sharp,crisp and primary colours for a gallery/studious or warehouse look.
mansion  vs cottage
These 2 images are from yliving.com


  1. We like big, we have a large family & with 4 teens on the horizon, they'll want their own spaces too, so we're building a nice big spacious homestead on a farm, that will do for 20 years, then maybe downsize to a cottage. I think it's a family-size-lifestyle-right-now thing too. Love Posie

  2. Thanks for the comment Posie.
    I agree that it is a lifestyle thing right now too and what suits the family, but there are some big homes that are houses not homes. I'm guessing with all your design work yours feels like a home.