HED:Make rooms a work of art, in harmony with one another


HED:Make rooms a work of art, in harmony with one another

By Stephen Thompson

Special to the Daily Journal

How do you measure good interior design? Carpenters have T-squares, levels and rulers to help them achieve quality work, but what do interior designers use?

More importantly, how can you yourself learn to see beyond the surface of a room and judge it for good or bad design?

Fortunately there are standards used to evaluate good design. These standards actually evoke an emotional response when you see them. In good design, you find yourself attracted to a room on a soul-to-soul level, a connection is made. In bad design, the viewer finds certain parts of the room repulsive and a feeling of separation develops.

We’ve all seen rooms that were challenges. A good example of an interior designer’s tools of the trade can be seen in a room Cindy and Wayne Murphy recently rented for part of their businesses. She’s a grant developer and he has a recording studio. Their offices are in a part of the old Black’s Department Store building being developed by Tim Hester into downtown offices.

Like so many buildings of its era, the ceilings are so tall that they dwarf the furniture. To bring Cindy’s office into proportion, the illusion of a lower ceiling was created. A 12-foot high ceiling was “lowered” by hanging a border at 10-foot and painting the wall space, the crown molding and ceiling above it all the same color. This technique masked uneven wall heights and an old ceiling that was out of square.

To further develop this room we added a border at chair rail height to serve as a backdrop for their furniture. Doing so helped scale down the size of the room to fit the size of their furniture and decreased the feelings of being in Munchkin Land.

Because Cindy’s office also doubles as a waiting room for her husband’s recording studio, there are two separate furniture arrangements. The seating area is balanced formally, the office furniture is balanced informally. The seating area is centered against one wall-sofa with end tables and lamps-and anchored by a club chair at one end and an artificial tree at the other. Because of an architectural support that was in an unsuitable spot, the office furniture is irregularly arranged on the opposite wall. In a case of function following form, Cindy’s credenza is placed along side the office wall in front of her desk.

Unity was achieved by bringing in an area rug. Placed between the two separate furniture groupings, the rug magically draws them together into one large arrangement.

By repeating the colors of the upholstered furniture in wall coverings and borders, rhythm of hue was established. Rhythm of line was established by echoing the block lines of the room into almost all accessories and furnishings. Rhythm of form was achieved by repeating architectural cues from the room – the shape of an arched door – in tassel borders and curvilinear medallion framed prints.

A strategically hung mirror reflects the focal point of the office, as seen from the entrance. It catches your attention and acts as a magnet, drawing clients and visitors alike deeper into the room.

The nature of both Cindy and Wayne’s professions is explicit in the variation of the style, form and materials used to reinforce the overall artistic design theme.

Harmony is the end result. As in all good design, it developed naturally – the end result of all the items in the office being compatible.

Stephen Thompson is an Allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers. Questions, comments and inquiries are welcome at P.O. Box 361, Tupelo, Miss 38802.

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