Sunday, April 25, 2010

Simple Beauty - Finding the Art of the Natural World For Interior Design

Amy knew a lot about interior design and making a space beautiful. She had spent her school years studying art, art history, color theory, music, theater and film. She understood set design, creating mood with lights and color. She could shape a room using the same furniture and make it formal or sensual just by placing things in different areas. She was well studied on woods, wood grains, stains and paints. She could talk for hours about the difference between a traditional chandelier and a modern chandelier. Creating beauty was her life ambition and her life work. Amy had been the interior designer for dignitaries, Hollywood producers, celebrity musicians and even a Saudi king. Her reputation was hitting the stratosphere where she could do no wrong. She was at the point in her career where she could roll a wheel barrow of manure into the middle of a living room and half the critics would call her brilliant. Then she met Tara working at a diner and her world was flipped upside down.

Tara lived in a small one bedroom apartment in the center of town. Tara was an artist and a student at a nearby Zen monastery. She made enough to pay her bills and take care of her essential needs. She had a broad knowledge of native arts and the natural materials used to create a vast color pallet. Amy was intrigued and the two of them met later for coffee. Amy boasted a bit about how she could turn any space into a place of beauty. Tara smiled and nodded before asking if she had ever seen a place that was perfect as it was. Amy stated that she would return to her greatest interior design successes and always find something more that could be done.

Tara invited Amy back to her little apartment earnestly interested in seeing what she thought could be done to improve the tiny space on a modest budget. Amy loved a challenge and happily went along. When they got to the outside of the building Amy could see she would have her work cut out for her. The building was crammed between two others offering no light from the north or south. She started thinking about that as they climbed the stairs. They went to the top floor, four stories above the street. Tara opened the door and stood aside for Amy to enter.

Amy walked in and stood in the front hall. The space opened up in front of her like a garden. There were no paintings on the wall, no shiny stainless steel. The space was nearly empty except for simple wood furniture, fabrics in earth tones and plants. Tara had created an indoor garden with bamboo, ficus, palms, flowers and plants. Her little space had a water fountain bubbling in the corner. The walls looked like fern covered cliffs and the bed was tucked in a nook that felt like a grotto. It was a sanctuary of simplicity and for the first time in her life Amy had nothing to offer.

There was a glass with a single rose sitting on the table by the bed. The red was brilliant against the green ferns tumbling down the wall. Amy was speechless and from that day on dedicated herself to simplicity of design and the use of what nature had to offer.

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