The Details Matter

The older I get, the more I care about the little things. About how things are made, the materials that are chosen, the factories they come from and if they will stand the test of time. It’s not just the fancy face lotion itself that matters, but the way it smells and the shape of the bottle its packaged in. The typeface on the label. I search for dishtowels not only with a beautiful design, but that just right balance between soft and absorbent. I care more about the feel of my socks, my bathrobe and my ski gloves. I love their stitching, the scent of the leather and perfectly worn thumbs.

Food 52 Minna Dish Towel

Photo Credit: Food 52 + Minna Towels

When I started off as a designer, I was focused on the big picture. I wanted to make a big statement! We all know you have to have a strong concept for any space to be successful, and I truly believe a mastery of scale, color and space planning are essential in interior design. But as I grew in my career and experience, it’s the little things I started to care more about. The layering. The vignette that is created with the dreamy leather chair against that just right blue paint and the perfect tiny painting on the wall. The frame has to be perfect too. The shape and patina of that small brass object on the bookshelf matters almost as much as the design of the bookshelves themselves. 

MCGI Music Room Mantle

Photo Credit: Westward Foundry, Joni Schrantz Photography

I’ve never been drawn to matchy-matchy pieces or neutral palettes. I don’t usually like brand new things. Too many together can feel cold, formulaic and impersonal; the end result lacks emotion and depth. I believe it’s the conflict between old and new, modern and traditional that if done correctly, creates a tension is both energizing and calming. This artistry of the details is what the untrained homeowner often misses when they try to design their own home. It’s just not quite right. The veining of the marble countertop with the backsplash doesn’t work, even though they are both gray and white. The blue velvet in the chair is too shiny. And those bookshelves are full of objects of the wrong finish, wrong size and wrong texture.

Hawthorne Chair Smiley Stairs

Photo Credit: Saltwolf, Joni Schrantz Photography

 I can always tell when a trained designer styled a home, placed the art and selected the textiles for custom pillows. I emotionally exhale when I enter the home. Those small details not only finish a space but they communicate quality and artistry, personality and emotion. They make a house a home and in the end, what better gift can we give our clients?  


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