In a world of instant gratification, fast fashion, and one-stop-shop décor stores, it's easy to want to decorate our homes all at once and call it a day. But when Karen McCartney, author and launch editor of Inside Out magazine, set out to concept her latest décor book, The Alchemy of Things, she knew she wanted a departure from the instant gratification of modern décor.
Instead, she searched far and wide to find creatives, collectors, designers, and dealers who had a unique knack for interiors to photograph their own personal spaces. The goal: understanding how interiors come together organically, over time, and without urgency. Though she insists her book is not a collection of how-tos, it's easy to extract key lessons while reading the stories of creatives and their process of decorating their personal homes. Here are five valuable lessons we learned (along with mistakes not to make).
Restrict Your Color Palette
In a bedroom in Elisa Ossino's Milan home, an ultra-edited palette of French blue, terra-cotta, and white tones make up the entire space. This fearless use of color is created through the repetition of objects of similar hue, creating a soothing moody space that's both relaxing and unabashedly stylish. "She has the spatial awareness of an architect, the sensibility of a theater designer, a painterly way with color, and the precision of a scientist," writes McCartney about Ossino's talents in the interior decor department. This calls this apartment 'an antidote to a chaotic life.'
Buy From Upcoming Designers and Artists
In Paris, the home of Clémence and Didier Krzentowski is filled with collector pieces, all surrounded by a classic Parisian interior of marqueterie, French doors, and high ceilings. The Haussmannian apartment in which the couple lives was doubled in size with the purchase of an adjacent apartment, funded solely by a Maurizio Cattelan artwork that had significantly increased in value since the couple first purchased it—proving that while it may be nerve-racking to purchase pieces for investment purposes, it can certainly pay off.
Know Your Objects' Pasts
In the curated rural Australia home of Rodney de Soos and Patrick Carrick, a modest exterior conceals a vast collection of 20th-century furniture and artifacts. De Soos, a prolific furniture restorer and retailer in Sydney, has a knack for spotting the right pieces and arranging them in a memorable way. This visual merchandising ability is intrinsic: "Rodney is very aware of the story of each and every piece, and how the bond to people, past and present, lives on through the object," writes McCartney. By knowing the history of each unique piece, de Soos is able to create moments in the home that tell a story.
Reflect Your Own Personal History
In the Sydney home of interior designer Tasmin Johnson and her husband, Patrick, an effortless blend of laid-back Australian attitude mixed with European antiques is palpable. Johnson, who frequently traveled to Europe as a child with her father who owned an antique shop in Melbourne, also spent years in London before returning to Australia, so it's only natural that her home would reflect her multiple influences. By restricting the color palette to light neutral tones, she was able to curate the perfect blend of worldly styles for her and her family.
Create Collections of Objects
For gallerist Veerle Wenes, each room is like an installation—an opportunity to express personal style through art and space. Her home in Antwerp blends a newer gallery-style showroom, and a moodier and more personal private space complete with high ceilings and herringbone floors. "Her living space, which can flit between the private and the public, is an example of how she manages to position objects in their architectural context, to find relationships between the furniture choices, art pieces, artifacts, and items for everyday use," explains McCartney." Moody teal walls create the perfect backdrop for her personal installations.