Oops! My Decor Mistake, Fixed

Photos by by Sarah Elliott

Oops! My Decor Mistake, Fixed | EyeSwoon | Photo by Sarah Elliott

Even as a designer, mistakes are made. Call it poor judgement, or simply being swooned by a current trend. This has never been more apparent than when I look back to how I styled the shelving in my Amagansett beach house six years ago. Yes, the reclaimed movement was in full force, and I did find a multitude of salvaged oddities everywhere from the Brooklyn Flea to Brimfield. But while many of these items were indeed treasures, it is true that too much of one thing is never a good idea. Reclaimed shelving on top of salvaged industrial items on top of rustic findings from the natural world on top of patina — it is just too much. I did not follow two cardinal rules of design — less is more and contrast and juxtaposition are far more interesting than anything one-note.


Oops! My Decor Mistake, Fixed {The Before}| EyeSwoon
Oops! My Decor Mistake, Fixed | EyeSwoon | Photo by Sarah Elliott

Fortunately, it wasn’t necessary for me to simply do away with what I had in order to fix the problem. In fact, you will see that the items displayed six years ago are not that much different from the ones featured now. Instead, although many of the same pieces are used in the shelving today, they’re incorporated in an updated way. The composition is streamlined and natural items are paired with something a touch more elegant to draw the eye in. The glam of brass is mixed with handmade ceramics and the look is slightly offset by the character and time-worn patina of the rusted anchor.

There are a couple lessons here. One is to continue to collect objects over time but to play around and rotate them in your home. Your story changes over time, so let your home be a reflection of that. I can spend hours upon hours restyling my home — just like fashion, it is a place of self-expression. It will continue to change and grow. I will always be adding and editing. And that brings us to the second lesson — the look is all in the edit.  Coco Chanel said it best, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” The same can be said for your home — and clearly, my shelving!

I shared these thoughts with MyDomaine as part of their piece These are the Worst Decorating Mistakes You Can Make. If you’re curious about other designers’ “uh-oh” moments, plus how they managed to make them right, hop over and check out MyDomaine’s full feature!

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Necessary Objects

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