Alaska Beyond Magazine — March 2018
By: M. Sharon Baker
STYLE TO THE MAX
MAXIMALISM IS A BOLD, COLORFUL AND LAYERED DESIGN LOOK PACKED WITH PERSONALITY
Animal-print rugs atop larger vividly colored carpets. Chairs with diverse patterns and textures. Fringed lampshades next to tartan or striped couches. Numerous knick-knacks. Walls covering in flora-colored paint or patterned wallpaper, and adorned with oversize art. These are the types of features that create the bold personality of maximalism, a design style — counter to the sparse look of minimalism — characterized by the layering of colors, textures, shapes and patterns.
“It is time for richer, more layered, more colorful interiors to express the individuality and creativity of the homeowner,” says Hutton Wilkinson, a Beverly Hills, California, designer and president of Tony Duquette Inc. Wilkinson’s book, More Is More, has helped define the “more is more” maximalist mantra.
Designers say they see maximalism not necessarily as a trend that’s sure to fade but more as an alternative set of aesthetic guidelines that can help clients incorporate unique features to better express themselves.
As Wilkinson writes in More Is More, maximalism “is realization that the human soul needs to be enchanted with color and pageantry, a personal and individual vision that is more than the plain white surface.”
PATTERNS WITH PERSONALITY
When Audrey and Geoff moved into their 1909 Seattle Craftsman a few years ago, they didn’t want to bring their furniture, which contained matching box-store pieces they liked but that didn’t quite seem to go together. And although the home had been updated, it desperately needed color.
“It had no personality and we hated all the light fixtures,” says Audrey. “The kitchen had blue cabinets, but the rest of the house was white, being and blah.”
They hired Pulp Design Studios’ Carolina Gentry and Beth Dotolo to design an interior that was more cohesive, coordinated and colorful.
“This couple is very fashion-forward, and they’re risk takers, but their home didn’t reflect that,” says Gentry. Patterns, color and textures helped evoke their individuality.
Take their Vivienne Westwood wallpaper-clad mater bedroom. Although a light turquoise green is the predominant color, the redesigned room is a mix of stripes and swirls, scallops and scales, and texture at every turn.
Metallic-gold-patterened wallpaper, featuring loops with rough fuzzy edges, covers the ceiling and walls. The bed has a tall, gray, herringbone-textured headboard and is dressed in white linen. Two creamy white accessory pillows are textured with a 3-D pattern that closely resembles the wallpaper pattern, and they are paired with two shorter mint-green pillows with a wide white stripe and dotted with metallic gold circles. Two wooden side tables flank the bed and feature metallic gold stars. At the foot of the bed are two turquoise benches. The final touch is a cream-colored silk duvet cover and a larger teal herringbone-patterned throw blanket.
“Our clients love fashion, so we built the room around a Vivienne Westwood wall covering, then used pattern and color to balance and complement that wallpaper, which covered all four walls and the ceiling,” says Dotolo. “We also told the story of their live for fashion with a vanity area at their dresser, decked with jewelry displays.”
On a dresser sits a cross-knotted textured lamp, a medium-size metallic gold hand that holds colorful necklaces, and a silver textured bowl that holds other treasures. Above the dresser is an oversize circular gold-wire mirror framed with three outer layers of different widths, each filled with small shapes of mirrored clear glass.
“It’s our favorite room,” says Audrey. “At first I though it would be so busy, but it’s so warm. It was hard to imagine art on the patterned walls, but we found a photo of a woman in the water on Etsy, and it goes perfectly with the wallpaper pattern.”
She admits her parents were initially a bit shocked at the heavily patterned interior.
“But then they offered so many compliments as they warmed up to it.”
Read the entire feature and tour our Fearless Style project featured in Alaska Beyond.