Amazingly, Peyton's closet is almost "done". Even better, the process has been pretty painless.
The Mother-Daughter Relationship
Peyton and Sherry, many moons ago.
For most of Peyton's adult years I have watched as she lived her life quite independently, seeming resistant to much interaction about designing her home, or even more adamantly, her life. I have been proud of her strength, worried about her challenges and heartaches, unsure of the best way to show her how precious she is to me. Sometimes, I have watched other mothers and daughters interact and been a little jealous of their closeness. We didn’t spend a lot of time doing girly things together, shopping and giggling. Peyton isn’t much of a shopper and I’m not much of a giggler. So there you have it.
But at least in decorating, and I think on a much deeper level too, our relationship seems more relaxed and happy than ever. At last, she has invited me to help her do what I seem to do best: working with a client to help them realize their vision…whether they know what it is or not when they start.
Peyton and Sherry, 2006
Maybe we needed that structure to be able to get over the usual mother/daughter push and pull. For her, she might have wondered whether we could work together without me overwhelming her; she also seemed to have a significant dose of the classic client anxiety of not being confident in their eye or how to begin. For me, I wondered if I could maintain the "client relationship" without lapsing into the power mother stance that would include going over her budget by just buying it for her, as well as thinking of her as my daughter instead of the decision maker who is really my boss in this project.
But even as I write that, I know it isn’t the entire truth. My greatest hope was that this project would be emblematic of a how great we are together, that we can conquer goals large and small, happily and successfully. It could have led to tension, but it didn't! We are still talking, and I am loving how her closet is turning out…..a true expression of her taste, within her budget, maybe not perfect but delightfully improved. A great project with a wonderful client!!
Admiration of Daughter and Room
I like my daughter even more now, even after many long weeks of this crazy little project transforming a cluttered space into a romantic and organized retreat. She has been patient and very creative. Her boldness in insisting on an intense wall color was the key to making the room more than a neutral, functional space. It added an unexpected spark and counterpointed her major purchase… a Duchess Brisee in a grayish-greeny-blue that I liked ok… but initially feared using would result in a "down" palette and crowd the room. She was so enthralled with this chaise-like chair and ottoman that my mothering instinct almost overwhelmed the decorator in me. I couldn’t disappoint her, I couldn’t say no to such a passionately longed for item. Scale be damned, I thought….we'll make it work!!!
I was shopping at ABC in New York recently, among piles of brilliantly colored pillows and objects of every kind, and this made me realize that the finishing touches to bring the room together will probably involve a pillow and throw on the Duchesse, and probably a rug under it to add a little glamour and softness.
ABC Carpet & Home in New York City
Other areas in the dressing room still require attention. The doggy bed needs to be shielded by a curtain on her dressing table (which was created by painting an old brown "wood" corner desk and adding a mirrored top.) Peyton needs more drawer space. The curtains shielding her industrial clothes racks could be a little thicker. Her vintage crystal chandeliers need contemporary white parchment shades (or not) and maybe some fun and unexpected objects among the crystals. The corner window is crying out for a casual valance of that iridescent silk that inspired the raspberry wall color. And so it will continue.
Now we are definitely to the fun point… all the major decisions made and only the tweaking to go.
Some Key “Take-Aways”- Things I’ve learned or been reminded of during this project
*** Good design often amounts to little more than editing, simplifying, and unifying. (For Peyton’s closet we did all of those things.)
*** Imagination is much more important than budget, although a tight wallet can extend the time and effort required. It simply takes longer to find the right items at the right price.
*** A tight budget doesn’t mean NO budget. It still takes money but most of all it takes time and effort to significantly transform any space.
Why I especially enjoy working on special closets
If it’s large enough for a comfortable chair and dressing table, a woman’s dressing room can be her favorite room – A room where she creates the art of her style, she can be alone without being considered anti-social, and where she can luxuriate in a sense of having one place that is all hers.
How we came up with the design
When Peyton showed me her preferences (magazine pictures, images from Pinterest, and some of her ideas) I quickly realized that she is still ultra-feminine and tends toward romanticism mixed with a touch of nostalgia. She loved similar colors in her bedroom even as a little girl. My goal was to help her create an adult space with a softened touch… a sophisticated and slightly sexy blend of her love of rich color, flowers, and an essential need for comfort and practicality.
I wish we had been doing this kind of thing together for a long time and I hope we will be doing it for years into the future. My daughter is a great client!
Sherry and Peyton, Summer 2012