The July '09 issue of Architectural Digest has photo spreads on some amazing homes, including one Miami Beach high-rise apartment furnished in a frosty minimalist style, with almost nothing but snowy white furnishings and clear crystal accent pieces (interior designer Jennifer Post doesn't have photos of it on her web site, but it's along the same lines as the Stiles residence.
I thought the look was stunning -- like something from an alien world -- but I cringed when I read that the people who live in it have a Great Dane. Baby, you bring a dog into an all-white home, you'd better have stored up plenty of bleach and pet stain remover.
I spend a fair amount of time looking at homes, rooms, and different places we inhabit, either in real life or in magazines like AD. I've often said that I dislike writing setting so much that I'd rather have the entire story take place in a featureless void. I think that's like living in an all-white house, though, so I'm working on improving my attitude. Because I like characters so much, I gravitate toward unlikely details, or the ways people express themselves and/or leave their mark through the places they inhabit. One way to figure this out is to try doing it in reverse with the Who Lives Here? game -- look at a room, and try to guess what sort of person it belongs to.
For example, I can see a room like this and imagine the owner curled up with her cat and reading a good book. I imagine she's a woman who likes to put her feet up and relax (the ottoman), treasures her books but doesn't like to dust (glass doors on her book cases) and has a quirky sense of humor (the curtain fabric.)
I don't know how the owner of this studio/workspace keeps all those little bits organized, but it's safe to say she loves selection, color and variety. The letters spelling out ART on the wall are a very direct statement; that says to me that she's likely gotten some flack about the value of her work. All the bins and drawers remind me of a controlled pack rat who has learned the value of proper sorting and storing. And that lovely view from the window must provide as much distraction as inspiration.
When I first looked at this master bedroom I immediately thought "bachelor sports nut." But in all fairness the owner could be a man or a woman or a married couple (I know some gals like the locker room look.) I'm intrigued by the shelves of shoe boxes and racks of what looks like running suits -- who needs that many sneakers and sweats, and why? But I can tell that here is someone who has seriously nested, surrounding themselves with everything they love best, and who isn't going to apologize for it.
If you'd like to play the Who Lives Here? game, look at the following photo (and click on it if you'd like to see a bigger version) and tell me in comments who you think this room might belong to: