Who’s Crazy?

How can the same person who sees an image like the one above and has to be careful not to drool upon it have the identical reaction to the image below?

Joni recently posted about cluttered or clean, and while I have that issue as well, I have a bigger problem with what I will call tonal rooms and rooms that are wonderlands of color.

My tear sheets are almost equally divided. Half are serene and elegant rooms with variations of the same tone and contrast only in texture.  Sophisticated and soothing, they are a nice antidote to my big and bossy nature.  “Come in, ” they suggest, “Relax.  We’ve been waiting just for you.”

The other half are rooms likes these featured in the current Western Interiors, by Lynn von Kersting, that make me literally bounce up and down in my chair.  “Pick me!” my heart sings when I see this symphony of color and pattern.  Happy and joyful these rooms guarantee a good time.  You’re still invited, and welcome, but the party is clearly in full swing.

It’s rare that I see a von Kersting room and don’t want to cover any available surface with red and white stripes.

It’s hard to meld the two, though the designer did choose a neutral wall below.  I think you have to make a choice.  Or live forever in a mixed-up world of design schizophrenia.  Like me.  And me.

Image, top, House Beautiful, June ’08.  Design by Christopher Maya.  Photograph by Eric Piasecki.  Rooms by von Kersting from June/July ’08  Western Interiors.  Photographs by John Ellis . 
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15 thoughts on “Who’s Crazy?

  1. Maybe this is a common phenomena. I suffere the same problem as you and Joni – although probably slightly different tastes, but I have 2 distinct personalities when it comes to design (also doesn’t help I’m a gemini!)…wonder if its only prevalent in designers…? Or all women?

  2. Introvert vs. Extrovert! That is what is answers.
    Now that you have divulged that we can call you “crazy”- you must feel so much better. A good crazy!
    Just confirms I am crazy too cause I have many tear sheets like that.

  3. First, I’m so glad you posted the WI story because I don’t have it yet.

    Maybe this is why Gambrel is your man because he is so clean-lined and restrained compared to von Kersting, but he uses punches of color. (Although I’m not sure if I’ve seen him use many red-and-white stripes.)

    Well, regardless, I love these stripes too!

  4. Me too- I have the same problem. But when you love design as much as we all do, how can you narrow it down?

  5. You know, Maryam originally wrote about this problem last year and I remember thinking – darn! I was going to write about just that!!!! oh well, I won’t now. That was when I thought if someone covered a subject you couldn’t do it yourself. So funny. Anyway – I think all of us on the design blogosphere suffer from having one decor and wanting the exact opposite of what we now have. Currently, I am suffering from Charlotte Mossitis. I’m reading her new book now, very very very slowly to increase the pleasure, make it last and I want to be her, live like her, etc. But then, I want to be in a French chalet = all creams and gray. Help me, please.

  6. I posted Lynn’s WI rooms a couple of days ago too without saying whose they were, because I didn’t want her name to color the viewer’s experience. Everyone thinks of Lynn as the clutter queen – I just admire her as the queen. Joni got it right away. I thought the WI Lynn was restrained 🙂 for her. There is so much good stuff out there to have, to see, to experience, and it does make you crazy if you have to choose. It’s all good to a great extent. And it does make us all a little crazy, but a good kind of crazy like Auntie Mame redecorating her townhouse…or crazy like a fox. BTW Lynn’s WI rooms are the best thing in the magazine – the other editorials are so bland…Have you girls checked Wal Mart for WI? That’s where I got mine way ahead of y’all.

  7. This is such a comforting post. There are professional designers going through the same agony we are. My husband and I think that we could have a house style, interior style, and color palette for every day of the month. We’re planning colors for our next house, which I think needs a similar palette in all of the rooms, and trying to decide whether to keep the light walls, dark wood, and wild and crazy colors for accessories and art that we have now, or go with the soothing tones of neutrals with pastel accents. If we go with the latter, it’s going to be a big garage sale.

    Please let us know if you find a solution to this issue, other than having multiple houses.

  8. The nice thing about having a house with at least two storeys, is how you can establish a change of mood on those different levels.
    We’re living in an 1860s Victorian townhouse where the lower rooms are furnished in more saturated colors and patterns. But at the top of the stairs the palette changes to cool greys, lilacs, blues,( the so called serene colours for bedrooms) where there is also considerably less clutter and less “punch”.
    And good days it is all very pleasant, and on bad days I want to change every inch of it. Looks like we’ve all got the same disease.

  9. Sounds like an epidemic, Mrs. B. I always chalked it up to my “gemini-ness”, and desire to have a pied-a-terre in Paris or London in addition to the VA. house.

    I’ll go out on a limb here and say that it is simply your appreciation for being surrounded by beauty in whatever form.

  10. E&E – I much prefer your take to the split-personality diagnosis. And, yes, multiple homes would certainly help the situation.

  11. I enjoyed reading the comments as much as the post!

    Like some of your readers, I also have the dual sides of me (when it comes to interiors) – the side that likes the layered European, and the side that likes the more contemporary flair. Either way, I like the neutral, serene, elegant.

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