Design Dilemma: Lending the Artist’s Touch to Your Home | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Lending the Artist’s Touch to Your Home

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Artist’s homes have a special quality. Creativity reigns through riotous color, unexpected juxtapositions and an “anything goes” feel that speaks of creative freedom and the willingness to take chances. The look of an artist’s home is often very different from the look of the home of a professional decorator or an architect. Decorators follow trends. They adhere to strict design rules. Architects also have their rules and usually seek purity of form. Artists, on the other hand, don’t like rules. They can take what might feel like clutter or chaos in other contexts and turn it into art.

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The above picture is a great example of what we’re talking about. The Massachusetts home belongs to Kristin Nicholas who is a knit, crochet and stitchery designer. That sensibility is infused throughout the house in the use of color and pattern. The colorful wallpapers, the striped chair, the paisley couch and the layers of photos and artwork over the brightly colored wallpaper all speak of the pattern, color and texture that you might find in a colorfully knitted afghan throw.

Kristin’s aesthetic is crafty, homey, vintage and a bit rumpled, but this is not necessarily the aesthetic of all artists. Take a look:

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Painter Richard Roblin uses a colorful geometry in his paintings (one of which is pictured above). The same use of color and clean lines is evident throughout his airy, artful, art-filled and very modern home.

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Above, modern classic furniture pieces work perfectly with one of Richard’s paintings.

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A lot of emphasis is put on light and space with a resulting Asian feel. Though the home is very modern and almost minimal, it feels very warm. Below, we have another apartment, this time of artist Zora Mann in Berlin,  which, though very simple, exudes a sense of warmth.

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Notice how Mann has made some unexpected choices. The industrial pendant lights, the shapely couch which suggests something Victorian paired with a pullout futon are unexpected, utilitarian and very unfussy. Below, the home of Parisian designer Celine Saby has that characteristic relaxed artist vibe and the unusual paint choice of lilac walls and forest green walls.

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So what makes an artist’s home artsy?

  • Artists aren’t afraid of color. They use it in both large and small doses where many of us would normally fear to tread. They also aren’t afraid to use vibrant walls, floor colorings, and vibrant paintings that are rotated quite often.
  • Artists aren’t afraid to be offbeat. A home need not look like a magazine spread to please an artist. In fact, artists are often looking for something distinctive and different that will set their home apart from the homes of the masses. In other words “tasteful” is not usually the goal.
  • Always short on money, artists reinvent, repurpose and reuse. You’ll find ballot boxes turned into furniture, wine bottles turned into light fixtures, and many other inventive new uses for objects in artists’ homes.
  • Art takes center stage, informing design choices. Artists often use their homes as a gallery space for their own art. Their art informs which furniture they choose.
  • Artists’ homes are relaxed. Artist usually don’t have the money or patience for “uptight” spaces. So artists homes, as a result, are often relaxed in feeling, the kind of space where friends can gather for an impromptu salon session. Warm, welcoming and always changing, the home is a blank canvas where no real mistakes are possible.

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