In one of life's cruel ironies, I am looking for inspiration to write a column about inspiration. I think of all the famous designers whose work I admire and wonder what inspires them—their collections, their travels, their favorite colors, their clients' budgets? I keep searching. What makes a room memorable? I phone a friend, as if I were a contestant on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. A sculptor by trade, she is busy at work for the Art Basel Miami Beach show. So, what inspires her? She explains that sometimes the inspiration starts in one place and ends in another. The idea is only the first step in the creative process. How often have we heard about fashion designers who say their collections are based on an art exhibit or a movie and yet to many of us we see great clothes but not the actual source of the design?
Sister Parish, the legendary American interior designer, wrote extensively about her sources of inspiration. "Lifestyle, personality, taste, hidden desires—you have to analyze all these things before you can start designing in the correct way. We begin at the beginning.... At the outset, you try to discover something of a client's true personality. You'll have lots of hints right away...." In one of her anecdotes, she recalls visiting "a house where everything was unattractive, including the house itself—ugly. It all looked like it came out of a catalog. There wasn't a thread about which you would possibly say, 'Isn't that lovely.'" But she found a "small bathmat-like thing" (her words!) woven in many colors and thought, "maybe there's hope."
Decorators have that rare talent to find a person, place or thing in a home—or in your mind—that can be the source of inspiration for a design that reflects who you really are. Inspiration starts with an idea that takes twists and turns and is always pushing the creative process. Embrace this journey. It is a process. And now it is Sunday night and this letter is due in the morning. I look out at the night sky, gaze across the lawn and—I kid you not—a blonde wood chair (midcentury modern?) has somehow appeared at the end of the driveway! (I couldn't make this stuff up!) A gift? A sign? An inspiration for my new living room? And the process begins...
Editor in Chief
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