Oct 18, 2013 | Post by: mnanda001 1 Comments

Thinking Within The Box Can Be A Good Thing.

How many times in your life have you heard the phrase (or something similar) ‘think outside the box’?   Absolutely in life thinking big, creatively with no restrictions has no doubt given our world some of the best ideas,  inventions and solutions. Certainly,  it’s a great feeling to be the one to have the big idea and/or solution to a challenge or problem. Perhaps it is an original idea or perhaps an idea re-worked. Whatever it is you do in life be it professionally or personally doesn’t it feel good to have good ideas, a point of view and share them?  Feels even better when after sharing the idea there’s positive response and the idea comes to life!

In my work as a decorator am I presenting new inventions, great and important solutions to the world’s problems? Hardly.  However, it does feel good to be a part of making someone feel good within their world…..their home.   There is great satisfaction thinking of something that my client may have never considered and certainly blending ideas and inspirations that I see in everyday life to what fits for them is one of the things I enjoy very much.

Having said that, a great ordinary moment (yes, sometimes ordinary can be great) of taking a walk with my daughter in our neighborhood turned into something pretty cool for one of my projects.  I can’t tell you how many times I passed this spa’s window display without thinking twice about it.  On this day,  it was different…. I was inspired and snapped a photo.

I’ve been working with an extremely dynamic and smart couple who recently purchased a home in Chicago.    They have great taste, embrace bold and fun design ideas, but wanted some help pulling together some of their existing ideas as well as bring forth some new ideas that would make their living room cohesive.     Here’s some pictures of the space taken during our initial consult.


The client’s main design tastes is minimalist/Scandinavian, yet their world travels have lead them to collecting some very beautiful ethnic/eclectic artifacts that they want to incorporate.  One of the big challenges for this project for me is to combine the modern with ethnic and eclectic accents.

To give you some further context here’s some of the other elements of the room we’re incorporating into the space.  The client wanted to ensure we infused orange into the room.  Given the neutral gray walls and existing sofa that was staying in the space  we opted for this bold orange and graphic rug from the Jonathan Alder’s collection at JCP.

As an accent color we decided to incorporate a blue lagoon color for two side chairs (Crosby Chair from West Elm) in velvet that will be adjacent from the sofa.  The sofa will have matching blue lagoon custom made velvet pillows.  (The chairs and pillows are now in the space, but I don’t have any photos yet to share here.  They look amazing and I promise to share some photos soon.)

In addition, the client had a large blank wall in their living room that required some artwork.

Here’s where the shadow box inspiration comes in!!  Shadow boxes have modern, clean and simple lines and would be the perfect home to house the eclectic mix of artifacts from client’s travels.

The concept I presented  to my clients was to create a 3-dimensional, story-telling display on this wall using the artifacts that were most meaningful to them.  I wanted people who visited their home to be drawn to this display,  be intrigued even more so to learn about my clients and their adventures around the world.  More importantly, I wanted to honor my client’s memories and experiences from their travels.   This 3- dimensional concept would give each artifact a home in a custom made shadow box painted in a hue similar to the new side arm chairs.  We landed on color Newburg Green, Benjamin Moore HC-158.

Interspersed among the shadow boxes would be three black and white photos also collected on my client’s travels that they wanted to incorporate in their new home.

My client loved the idea and decided to make the custom shadow boxes themselves!  Yes, ambitious, clever, smart folks….not to mention handy too!  LOVE THEM!

Here’s a picture of us staging the shadow boxes on the floor before mounting them on the wall.

And….here’s a few photos of the 3-dimensional, story telling display all completed.  (I so wish my photos could better convey how incredible this looks as it does in person.)



As I write this blog “thinking within the box” ain’t such a bad thing sometimes.   Today “thinking within the box” means to me……to just be….be happy with what’s around  you…be inspired by being thankful for what life is giving to you and what you can give back in this moment.

So yes, thinking big and outside the box is important.  However, taking the time and letting yourself be inspired by the simple things around you or simply taking note of something or someone that makes you smile can be all the inspiration you need to incorporate greatness in your life, the lives of others and often times greatness in your home…on so many levels.

Until next time…


One Comment to Thinking Within The Box Can Be A Good Thing.

  1. Jennifer Martinez
    October 18, 2013 3:41 pm

    Looks great! Loved the orange rug! :)

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