Hi friends! So, you may know that I am an aspiring designer. I’m a full-time mom for now, but I decided to start the process of getting a degree in Interior Design, on a very part-time basis. Western Carolina University is just over an hour from our home, and they offer an accredited BS in just that. A few weeks ago I attended orientation (talk about feeling old!), and just last week I started my first class. My hope is to take a class or two per semester. I’m thinking I can finish in 4 or 5 years, since I can transfer a bunch of credits from my old degree (in Elem Ed).
This class is Intro to Interior Design, and is 100% online. Gotta love that during these summer months when we have all kinds of road trips planned. I thought you, my dear readers, might be interested in some of the lessons I’m learning along the way. I’m thinking this will be the first in a series.
In the first chapters of the text book (Foundations of Interior Design by Susan J. Slotkis), one of the most valuable tidbits I’ve learned is that of the elements and principles of design. As my professor says, elements are like the vocabulary, and principles are like the grammar of design. Understanding them has helped me put a voice to the thoughts I have about a particular space. You know how a space just looks “right” or “wrong”? Using the elements and principles, you’re able to explain why.
Elements of Design:
Principles of Design:
One of our assignments this week was to choose two full-page color images of spaces in a design magazine, one that reflects the principle of harmony, and one that does not. Harmony is basically the culmination of all of the elements and principles into one beautiful space. Using my understanding of the elements and principles of design, I was to prepare a written justification of my choices.
I had a copy of House Beautiful (May 2012) to look through, and let me tell you…most of the spaces in that magazine are absolutely gorgeous. I had a hard time finding one that did not feel harmonious. These are the rooms I chose and what I had to say about them…
Perhaps personal taste comes into play in this exercise, but I personally feel that this image is much more harmonious than the other I chose. This kitchen feels balanced in many ways. There are many textures present, from the soft green grass and the wicker basket below the table to the sleek polished metal of the shelves and chandelier. The natural light is very appealing, as is the contrast of the white cabinets and black counter tops. The curvilinear lines of the metal pieces and the center window detail balance the right angles of the framed art and doorway and transom on the left. The horizontal lines of the counters and ceiling joists create a sense of stability and rest. Though the majority of the palette is in neutrals, the bright turquoise vase, green grass, and purple cabbage bring life. Personally, I would like to see a little more color, perhaps in a painted door or in the upholstered chair. All of these components come together to create a successfully harmonious, pleasant space.
This image feels quite harsh and unwelcoming to me. Even though this space also has white cabinets and black counter tops, the lack of warm, neutral tones creates a cold feeling. Though, the texture and color of the leather chair in the foreground does bring a hint of natural warmth. Other than the chair, the majority of textures are high gloss, smooth, polished, and sleek. There should be a bit more variety. The sharp angular edges of the Lucite stools create a sense of unease. I do appreciate the proportion of the patterns in the back splash (smaller scale), flooring (larger scale), and wallpaper. I feel that these create a nice balance together. I suppose the focal point or emphasis would be the back splash. Black is a unifying color here, bringing many of the elements together. Even so, this space is not one I would personally deem harmonious.
It was so difficult finding an “unharmonious” image! Looking at that second photo now, there are so many things I can appreciate about that space, even though it’s not really my style.
I’ll let you guys know what grade I get on this assignment. And, will you let me know what you think about this series? Are you interested in hearing more about design school?
Have a great weekend y’all!