Best Chefs and Great Designers

My A-Ha Moment this week has led me to this blog post. Let me explain. For a long time now I have been concerned about the "absence of decorating polish"for lack of better words that seems to be creeping into today's home interiors. Namely, bare windows; cookie cutter furniture; copycat room settings and quite frankly architectural details that look like someone decided to cook every favourite dish they knew all in one meal! I realize the significance of budget efficiencies when it comes to home products, but, I know that at the heart of the problem there is a more disturbing "blight" inflicting the interior design & decorating matrix and that's "a lack of essential nutrient training!"

Two of my biggest areas of complaint center on draperies – or should I say the lack of them and furniture that has lost its relationship with the human body. When it comes to draperies, I'm with the little boy who boldly declared in the "Emperor's New Clothes" that indeed "the king is naked." And, furniture that has me fiddling with cushions at my back so my feet will touch the floor when I'm sitting in it, seems a stretch on "great design" not to mention on those under 6'2" who try to get comfortable in it. Whew! That all seems a bit negative doesn't it! But that's not really where I want to go with this blog...

What my A-Ha Moment brought to mind was that in our rush to market in an overly competitive and super-saturated product environment, we have traded the ''real deal" for an "emperor's suit", because for the most part we have lost the know-how to discern the difference. This week I read a blog from marketing guru Seth Godin, (of Purple Cow fame) in which he connected with the devotion of apprentice sushi chefs spending years making rice for the head chef before they were even allowed to touch the sushi – the relevance being" that if the rice isn't right neither will the sushi be." And that is exactly what has happened to the "rice" of interior decorating, especially when it comes to window coverings and furniture.

We have stopped focusing on the relationship between the architecture of the structure whether it be our windows or our bodies and we have settled for a pre-packaged "one size fits all version" of "good taste", but I for one am not buying it!! You see, I learned to "cook the rice" because I was trained to design window fashions and furniture to suit the architecture, not string up side panels on poles whether they complimented the window or not. Not to be misunderstood, I do like side panels on poles in the right scale in the right place, but for the most part, I think the "king is naked" and I just don't understand why a beautiful palladium window would be cut in half by an unattractive pole or conspicuously placed blinds that do nothing to enhance the millwork or for lack of an alternative, be left bare. Surely there is a happy creative balance between over-use of fabric and simply hanging it on a pole or sticking a blind on the face of a French door because you don't know how to conceal it with millwork.

Well-designed draperies are as much a part of a successful decorating recipe as "rice is to sushi" and it takes skilled know-how and experience with fabrics and design to achieve good results. Whether you're serving hamburger or steak, the goal is to find the balance between underdone and overdone for individual taste.... Great windows and furniture are the same but in both cases; the best chefs and designers come with proper training, experience and knowledge of the ingredients required to create the "dish" so that they can render the end user more than just a pre-packaged manufacturers' suggested solution. No offense intended to those flogging window blinds... they have their place also, just not as the only option to every window in the race to earn a commission and/or a holiday spiff from the manufacturer.

I think it's time to get some fabric and drapery training back into our decorating skill's set before all we have left to enjoy is one choice served in different colours and textures as a "box store" or "shop-at-home" commodity. For me life is about variety and surprise – and knowing how to deliver this with "polish" & "comfort" is what great decorating is all about.