Case Study: Accessorizing Your Home in Layers of History


Art Selection

Ditch the bowl of wooden balls and potpourri. Today’s focus for accessorizing and finding artwork is more about the genuine artwork and antiques and less about the mass produced. Artwork and accessories can be found almost everywhere but it takes a keen eye and an patience to get a good collection going. As a designer, I am always on the hunt for unique pieces of art and accessories, where I find them is all in where I am traveling to next, but also a collection of where I’ve been. 

In this design for my own Wauwatosa Craftsman home, I paired a set of alabaster vases I bought 19 years ago with a new set of Sarah Paloma vases, and a Made Goods travertine stone chain link sculpture. The pendant light from West Elm also brings the design into focus. The end result is a dynamic balance of color and pattern. Black and white provide a solid base to the blue, white and orange color scheme. The alabaster vases and touches of gold in the wallpaper help your eye blend the saturated color of the leather club chairs. Creating balance and boldness at the same time.

I am not an advocate for spending outrageous amounts of money on accessories but, when you find the right thing for your home, you may have to spend a little more than you were initially thinking. Conversely, there may be times you find the deal of the century and the piece fits right into the design scheme. In the picture above, I found a beautiful Buddha head while searching an online auction called EBTH. The pillar was something handed down to me from my Aunt and the gold accent pieces were again from Made Goods. The window treatments were custom made with fabric from Kravet.

Photography by Amy Lamb

“There may be times you find the deal of the century and the piece fits right into the design scheme.”

For more advice on your bathroom renovation please call me to set up a design consultation, 414-510-3449, or see my blog for more posts on bathroom trends.

This design is a mixture of new products, auction finds, and hand me downs. The skill comes in editing these collections so that they visually make sense in a room. You don’t want a room to feel too stale because you have an abundance of antiques or too cold because you don’t have any history or attachment to the pieces. This is where the skill of a well-trained eye comes into play. I look at a client’s artwork, furniture, and accessories. With a keen editing eye, I will honestly tell my clients what I think can be re-used, recovered or time to put it in storage. Most of the time there are several pieces we can use, and its always a bonus to see a client’s face light up when I find a place for that special photograph or piece of art that has history to them. At the end of the day, I want my clients to be happy to come home to an environment that relaxes them as well as inspires them. My home pictured here is an inspiration to me as well as a collection of memories I have associated with pieces. It works on many levels and will inspire readers of M Magazine when it is published in May of 2018. Look for it locally in Milwaukee or online at Also look to my blog for more design advice or call me with your own accessory dilemmas and we can talk design. 

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