There is a scene from the movie “YES MAN” (2008) starring Jim Carrey which always pops up in my mind every so often. It’s the one where Jim Carrey’s character Carl Allen stumbles into the self-help “YES” seminar and makes the mistake of saying the word “NO”. The self-help guru then stops everything, draws everybody’s attention to Carl and then runs down the aisle barefoot toward Carl, emotionally blackmailing him (with the help of the audience) to say yes to EVERYTHING for an entire year. The movie then chronicles all the weird and wonderful experiences Carl opens himself up to through the power of “YES”. What does any of this have to do with Interior Design, you ask?
Well, I feel a lot like Carl these days. A few months ago, I started developing a “perfect love casts out all fear” mentality that gave me the courage to first say YES to the thing I felt God was calling me to: namely entrepreneurship, and then to have the courage to reach out to any creative minds that inspired me: whether I had a relationship with them or not. That’s how I met Chan, who agreed to let me into her studio for a tour. You can read more about that here. I wrote a blog about it and she shared that post with her friend Moy, and then they both invited me to my first Linger: Supper Club experience, which you can read about here. Through Chan’s blog, and the Linger events, I discovered that Moy and I share a passion for Interior Design. Moy has been working as an Interior Designer for a number of years, and I was eager to find out more about her process, since I’m an Architect who is also transitioning into more of an Interior Design focus.
One day, I got up the guts to ask Moy if she’d be interested in doing an Interior Design collaboration in which we would both bring our design expertise to a space. She was as excited about the idea as I was, but it would be a few months before the idea would actually become reality.
ENTER: CON BRIO
Con Brio had supplied some decor items for Linger #01: real rustic show-stoppers, that immediately put them on my radar. Moy and I both agreed that they would be the perfect suppliers for our collaboration, and Moy’s long-standing relationship with the boutique provided the perfect jump-off point for the project.
Con Brio is a boutique operation founded in 2007. It’s owner takes a carefully curated approach to sourcing unique interior decor items, including antique furniture and mirrors, rugs, candles, curiosities, and gifts. The pieces are acquired through hands-on interaction with antique dealers from the US, Europe and Asia. Con Brio also custom designs pieces in partnership with select manufacturers in Asia to suit the demands of the Con Brio client.
Selecting pieces for styling the apartment was a real delight for Moy and myself, because there were so many compelling options from which to choose. I loved that there were very few duplicates in the store, so many of the items were conversation pieces in their own right due to their exclusivity. Thank God we limited ourselves to what could safely fit in both of our cars for this collaboration, or I would have definitely made away with the day-bed shown above.
STAGING AND STYLING SERVICES
Staging involves furnishing a place temporarily in order to give potential buyers or renters an idea of what living in the space would be like. In this case, the client was renting the house furnished (with pieces from Moy’s original design), so our staging service mainly involved styling soft furnishings and accessories, although we did bring in some furniture pieces to complete the space. Moy and I together curated a selection of pieces from Con Brio which we felt would compliment the existing space and also fit into the framework of the existing design to give a relaxed and live-in feel.
THE LIVING ROOM:BEFORE
THE LIVING ROOM: AFTER
In the Living Room, we added several pieces. We switched out the existing rug with two 5’ x 8’ Moroccan-inspired rugs in neutral tones, layered on each other. We then restyled the entertainment centre with additional Con Brio pieces, and brought some tidbits from the kitchen into the Living Room to give them fresh life. We replaced the throw-pillows on the sofas to incorporate more dynamic prints. The show-stoppers in the Living Room are a beautiful floor standing triad of patinaed glass lanterns, which we arranged next the leather side chair.
STYLING DETAILS: Centre and SIDE TABLES
For the centre tables, we stacked two round distressed wood trays, and pilled in some jute Christmas garlands (suitable for any time of year) and a small ceramic canister. Next to that was a lovely white ceramic vase with handmade charm. One could imagine that this would be a great place to put fresh garden cuttings if you felt inclined to bring more nature in.
The juxtaposition of natural fibers, handmade pottery and pattinaed glass against the clean lines of the furniture bring a sense of balance, and make the room look as though the pieces were always there.
Everything doesn’t have to be new for the space to feel fresh. Even though we brought in all of the accessories from Con Brio, We also shopped the client’s home for uncelebrated pieces that she already owned. The placemats and woven coasters on the right were found in the client’s kitchen. We relocated them to a side stool within the Living room for easy entertaining, and drinks with friends.
STYLING DETAILS: ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE
Book cases and entertainment centres offer a fantastic opportunity to bring in personality within a space. For this client, we wanted the space to embody the vibe of a well-traveled individual who is also a bit of a collector. Again we utilized handmade objects with rustic details, and contrasted them with aged metals to give an old world feel. We mixed the items from Con Brio with one or two of the client’s existing objects and books to complete the look.
We love the final look. It is cohesive, and achievable for a wide range of clients. Many thanks to Con Brio for supplying the accessories in this post. To find out more about them, check out their facebook page here, and see what they’re up to on Instagram here, but nothing beats going into the store because there are always new treasures to be found there.
FOR MORE OF THIS HOME…
Make sure to look out for the next two posts, where we continue to tour this home, and show you the styling that was done in the Dining Room, Foyer and Bedrooms.
Until then, happy styling!