Expect the unexpected

There is nothing like the unexpected in interior decorating.

I love entering a room only to discover that a piece, previously sentenced to eternity in a landfill, has a new raison d’eter in an unexpected form.

I have a client, Becky Langan, who has exceeded all expectations in that arena. She innocently posted a photo of a wine tasting room that she had been working on since I first met her …. and then the comments began to flow.

The fruit of her labor is an intimate setting that boasts walls covered in wine labels that were carefully cut from boxes. This wooden mosaic is a textural backdrop that is one of those surprises that makes the room. Patience, lots of wine crates, and a willing woodworker were all that was required for this stunning final reveal.

Similar to the wooden wine label “wallpaper,” project, one of my favorite projects has been to take an old globe and spray paint it with colors from a current palette. This is a fabulous way to bring unexpected shape and color to a bookshelf or table. Liquitex has introduced a line of spray paints that feature the esoteric colors not found in typical spray paints. When clustered in complimentary or analogous colors, these orbs are a fascinating twist in the space.

I have been known to raid old jewelry boxes for inspiration. Consider clusters of long pearls strands and necklaces as tie backs. These formerly functional tiebacks become works of art against a beautiful silk panel and are truly unique to you!

A desk as a night stand is not as exciting but might be my favorite surprise. It is functional and exceeds my expectation of surprise in design!  An upholstered desk chair that tucks out from the desk helps soften what would previously have been an area reserved for wood.

The first time I stepped out on the limb with decorating was years ago when I used a garden gate as a headboard for my four-year-old daughter’s twin bed. I was told by an extended family member that I needed to get a “real” headboard  … a gate was not appropriate.

To that end, I encourage each and every decorating aficionado out there to break the rules and challenge the status quo!

Vicky Earley

Vicky is the principal designer for Artichoke Designs in the Art & Design District in Carmel.

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