One of my favorite quotes about interior design is from renowned designer John Saladino who said, “In choosing colors…follow nature’s lead.” He couldn’t be more right and to his thought I would add, “and remember to gain inspiration from your surroundings.”
Before embarking on a design project, either on your own, or with an interior designer, I suggest taking your camera, a pencil, and a piece of paper along with you as you move through your daily life. Even when doing the most mundane tasks take pictures of things that inspire you, write down colors you love, take notes when you see items you like and want. Snap away with the camera. Don’t worry about your picture taking abilities or be too focused on taking pictures of only items you would find in the room you are designing, your pictures can and should be of anything and everything: clothes, signs, food, architectural items, whatever piques your interest and helps create an idea for the type of room or home you want.
I do this often, but my most recent inspiration day was during a trip to New York City. While there I visited several different neighborhoods and took pictures of anything I liked. In doing this I gained insight into the latest design trends, saw beautiful and inspiring pieces of “art” and was able to more fully appearance the visual feast that makes up any urban area, but seems to be especially true of New York.
Included in this post are some of the pictures that I took while wandering the city. I thought you might like to see what inspires this interior designer.
As you can see, I took pictures of everything from the colorful tablecloths at an outside eatery in the Flatiron District to some great, colorful, modern murals that don the windows of the “soon-to-open” Marimekko shop in SoHo. I also snapped some photos at the Chelsea Food Market where I saw one of the most beautiful displays of spices (the colors were amazing) and a bountiful display of pumpkins, gourds and squash.
Have you ever flipped through an edition of a House Beautiful magazine or the latest Pottery Barn catalogue and been mesmerized by the picture of a particular space? Did it start you daydreaming about how you would design or decorate such a room in your own home? Well I can assure you that you are not alone in your daydreaming. Many people, including myself, gain inspiration from beautiful photos of well-appointed homes.
Having worked on multiple photo shoots during the past 30 years, I thought it would be interesting to give you a “behind the scenes” look at the collaboration that happens between an interior designer and photographer in order to achieve the picture perfect photos that you see.
As an interior designer I’m most interested in working with a photographer who can appreciate the vision that my client and I had for the space. By sharing our vision and inspiration with the photographer, he gains a better sense of where to focus his lens and how best to tell the story of the room.
After we reach an understanding of the functionality of the space, we begin brainstorming about what we’ll need to dress the room. This means preparing the room for “photo day.” For example, if we are shooting photos of a dining room (like we did for my most recent client shoot) then we need to decide how we will set the table, what flowers or natural elements we’ll use in the room and whether we need any other elements that will help bring the room, and the pictures to life. Once we decide how the room will be dressed we begin purchasing the elements we need and working on any other details that will ensure that the room will be picture-perfect ready for photo day.
Not surprisingly, photo day is usually the busiest, longest day for everyone involved—designer, photographer, and client. We often start early in the morning dressing the room, and we can work well into the evening depending on lightening. Waiting for the sun to be in just the right spot so we can fully capture the warmth of the room is something we’ve done many times. But photo day is also the most rewarding because it is the day I get to see my design come to life and I almost always gain a better understanding of how the room will look and feel to others as they enter the space. It also often turns out to be an entertaining and fun day for my clients who get to see their space look its very best.