I frequently do Skype consultations with people who need clever, inexpensive fixes for their spaces and are having difficulty envisioning possibilities. Often, they are only able to describe the change in feeling that they’d like to achieve.
In the many spaces I’ve looked at, I’ve seen a common problem: there is a lot of visual clutter. Often it is as simple as open shelving displaying a mash-up of books, boxes, collectables,and essential items. Their numerous small disparate shapes present as clutter, even though everything may be useful and necessary to the client’s life. This is especially common with people who are renting their space, and don’t want —or have the where-with-all— to invest in proper storage.
There is an amazingly simple solution:use fabric to disguise whatever it is you don’t want to see. Recently, I found an excellent example in my photo archive.
When I was renovating the Laboratory, I had to cannibalize the kitchen cabinets in the apartment I was still living in, removing the doors and a drawer cabinet so they could be painted and installed in the new space. At the end of a day’s deconstruction, I was faced with all the stuff inside the cabinets (which I hadn’t yet edited for moving), as well as a jerry-rigged kitchen counter on sawhorses. The room became so busy, ugly and disordered-feeling that I thought I’d go nuts. I pulled out my fabric stash and found some striped French cotton duck.
I simply folded and tacked them to the front of the cabinets, and onto my plywood kitchen counter. It instantly shifted the feeling in the room and got me through the final few weeks of pulling up stakes. (Cotton painter’s dropclothes are a good source of inexpensive, neutral fabric…)
This same principle applies to just about anything you want to disguise. One of these days, I’ll document the many ways you can transform a hotel room using the existing textiles and a pashmina shawl…