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    Wednesday
    May312017

    Interior Design Services Decoded! 

    Truth: We all want good design.


    We see beautiful homes everywhere.  We get lost admiring homes dressed in mystifying prints and patterns, and arranged in inspiring new ways in throbbing colors and visceral textures.  We visit beautiful places, book the most entrancing guest rooms, and eat in the most stylish restaurants.  Whether we see them in person or vicariously through virtual reality, our appetites for good design have unleashed a flood of services that promise to enchant our wildest design dreams.

    While the appetite for good design is a good thing, the trouble is that the options for attaining it are overwhelming, sometimes misleading, and frankly - confusing.

    For the good-willed design seeker, how does one navigate the proliferation of design services vying for our attention?  

    Here's the breakdown and a guide to understanding the differences between interior design services.

     

    Free Design Services

    Restoration Hardware, Room & Board, and West Elm are examples of retailers that offer free design services or design services for a low membership or low flat fee.  Generally, these consultations are arranged by appointment and vary widely in terms of designer talent.  Some are organized, timely, and helpful; others are not.  What these services are generally light on, is actual design advice and guidance.

    It's really not design.  It's not really free.  It's sales.

    RH Design Atelier - Free Design Services with $99 annual membership

    Your retail designer is primarily motivated by selling a line of product.  They are not neccessarily motivated by what's in your best interest.  


    Here's what you can expect of free design services:

    1. Limited options.  

    This is obvious, and fine if you know that the retailer you are receiving design services from is the specific catalogue look you want.  You are limited to what that retailer offers within their walls.  They're not going to take you shopping.  The result will be representative of their brand; it will not be tailored nor much of a representation of you.

    2. Variable design talent.  

    You probably won't be working with a professional designer.  You might be working with someone who may have a fair amount of design sense, and perhaps some education or experience, but you don't really know. A professional designer doesn't give their services away for free.  These designers are first and foremost salespeople.  They earn their way first on product, not first on service.

    3. Varying tools and takeaways.  

    Some retailers may ask you to come prepared with a floor plan, some may be equipped with digital tools and planners and send you off with swatches and product recommendations.  Some may be helpful, but you may not end up leaving with much real guidance or design advice.

     _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    To help crystallize the difference in services, let's think about design the way we think about how we shop our wardrobes.  This metaphor will help clear up the muddy messages about the world of design services.  


    Service Level Illustrated: Retail + Free Design Services //
    Interiors - Room & Board :: Fashion - Banana Republic

     
    Free interior design services at Room & Board are similar to free styling at Banana Republic.  You go to Banana, you get head to toe, Banana.  You are limited to their design aesthetic, quality, and fit.  There's very little personal about it.  You may love Banana; there's nothing wrong with that.  But if you only own Banana, it's just not that interesting or unique.  Too much of the same is redundant.

    "Retailers need to sell a high volume of goods, so they need to have mass appeal.  Our clients come to us for the exceptional." Pierre Frey, high-end custom French fabric house

    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Affordable Design Services

    It's a common misconception that only the ultra-wealthy can afford an interior designer; it's simply not true. Design services are attainable and are always worth considering.  With the market's growing appetite for design, it makes sense that affordable design services are finding their niche, and it makes sense for some people looking for bite-sized design guidance.  It is not only affordable, but also convenient and accessible.  Affordable design and decorating services are for those who may not need the level of service, precision, or problem-solving for more complex design challenges to furnish and freshen up a room.

    Bottom line: Anyone can hire a designer at any level of service.  It could just be a plan or a mini-consultation.  If you have a limited budget, don't cut yourself short.  Seek a little guidance from an experienced designer.

    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Service Level Illustrated: High-end Retail + Affordable Design Services //
    Interiors - Gorman's Home Furnishings :: Fashion - Saks Fifth Avenue

    Similar to a home furnishings store like Gorman's that carries multiple manufactuers, you can also receive affordable or sometimes "free" personal styling at a place like Saks for your wardrobe that is both better quality and more reflective of your personal style and character.  

    However, it is still a brick and mortar department store model.  Of course, you have more collections and lines to work with at Saks than you would at J.Crew, but you are still limited to the lines that department store carries.

    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Web-Based Design Services

    A subset of affordable design services are entirely digital.  Web-based design services like Havenly, Homepolish and Laurel & Wolf, match designers to a consumer's design aesthetic and budget.  There are generally no on-site consultations or installations.  They design and you implement.  Purchasing options vary and are somewhat limited.  Some only recommend items that consumers can purchase on their own.  Others pass on discounts on items that are available only to the trade and purchased through the design service.  These can be good entry-level services if you have a limited budget and the ability to manage implementation and installations yourself.  If you're just looking for a bit of vision and a kick-start, and you have some reasonable ability to do some of the legwork, there's not a lot to loose by trying it out.

    Havenly.com, from the portfolio of Havenly designer Amy Fasnacht

    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Service Level Illustrated: Web-based + Affordable Design Services //
    Interiors - Havenly :: Fashion - Stitch Fix

     
    Havenly is bit like a self-assembly design delivery service.  You set your criteria and paired with their data and resources, you get an affordable, somewhat personalized "box" of goods to sort through and put together.  Stitch Fix does some of the work, you do the rest.  You do lose proximity, human connection, and are limited to the brands they have established business with (ie: Trunk Club is a Nordstrom company).  There are no alterations.  It's entry-level custom styling with an average, lower price point.

    It's several notches down from getting fitted for a custom tailored suit.  There's a degree of disconnect, there's greater room for error. They provide recommendations, but you still manage setting parameters, sorting, fitting, selecting, assembling and shipping.

    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    High-End Full-Service Interior Design

    This is our niche.  While there may be a time and a place for the design services we've mentioned, high-end full-service interior designers provide a whole different caliber of service.  We offer more personal connection, greater proximity, complete service from recommendations to installations, far wider access to lines and collections, professional expertise, higher quality and experience.

    "The trade is leading the world right now in terms of design, quality and craftsmanship." Eric Chang, Hellman-Chang luxury furniture maker

    The to-the-trade interior design service industry is unparalleled.  It isn't for everyone.  However, if you are looking for a high level of service, you do get what you pay for.

    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Service Level Illustrated: Personal Professional Design Services //
    Interiors - Luxury Full-Service Interior Designer :: Fashion - Independent Personal Stylist

     
    An independent personal stylist knows and understands you at a truer more personal level.  They have spoken with you, interacted with you in person, they know your kids names, they've walked your streets, they know when and where you're flying next.  There is a whole separate level of understanding that happens when people meet in the flesh, face to face.  You relate to one another contextually on a much deeper more personal level.  This gives a stylist a fuller and more nuanced picture of your lifestyle so they can offer you solutions that are best representative of your personal style.

    An independent stylist, not only understands you better, they are a free agent.  They can take you shopping at Saks and Bergdorf Goodman, Leighs, Shopbop and Anthropolgie.  They have a wider breadth of knowledge and access.  You can mix high and low, make custom alterations, and put money where it's important.

    A true personal stylist or designer manages all the details.  You don't measure yourself for a custom suit, or calculate the yardage required for a custom upholstered sofa.  We do that for you and we do it with much greater perspective, personal touch, and accuracy.  We establish a relationship with a couturier or work room, place orders, and coordinate delivery.  We help you get in the dress and we make sure the oversized lounge chair will fit through the door and up the stairs without damaging the walls or the furniture.  We deliver a highly tailored product, service and experience that represents and suits our clientele best.

    __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

    Need some help getting your interior design project going? Hiring a professional like the interior designers at Jennifer Butler Interior Design is a great place to start. We can help bring definition to your ideas for your home, office, business, new construction, renovation or remodel.  This frees you to focus on your family, your work, your travel and recreation while our experts take care of the design and implementation.  Rest assured that our designers will create interiors that realize your vision for spaces that meet your luxury lifestyle and 21st century work style needs and visually reflect your unique design style.

    Sign up for more inspiration from our Designer Journal.  
    Schedule a 1-hr Introductory Consultation in our studio on us or
    Schedule a 2-hr In-Home Design Consultation at our hourly rate  
    Contact us to get started.

    Thursday
    May042017

    BEYOND LUXURY - High Craftsmanship, High Life in London and Michigan

    Striving to make something as good as it possibly can be, is high quality craft.  It takes longer, but it is timeless.  It costs more, but it is priceless.  The finer things take time.

    The trend to create rapidly and inexpensively with a limited skillset falls short of delivering lasting value; it pales in comparison to the exquisite mastery of a maker who has honed his craft over decades, if not generations.  And while technology is able to replace something once only made by trained hands, machine-made simply can't match the human quality of that made with touch and heart.

    This narrative of master craftsmanship runs deep and surpasses even skillfulness and human touch.

    "People are asking many more questions about the substance of how is something made, who made it, where was it made." ~Guy Salter

    These maker stories, their processes, sources, and material properities often go unseen or unheard, so we decided to turn the spotlight on those that are amplifying the beauty and skill of high-craftsmanship.

     

     

    London Craft Week - Exceptional Fine Craftsmanship

    Guy Salter is the Executive Chairman for London Craft Week, which just wrapped up the 2017 event that ran from May 3-7.  Through LCW, Salter is exposing and unleashing a rising obsession for exquisite quality craftstmanship.  This is a fair where excellence is measured in hours and precision, and makers open their back work rooms.  Demonstrations taut craftsman crouching low in painstaking positions to thread and inspect a tiny fold and seam, brush a miniature stroke, or perform a kind of rhythmic dance while spinning ceramics or blowing glass.  These are not always the hands behind widely known brands, but also, the hands of the friendly guy down the street whose inconspicuous storefront shop you never noticed before.

    "[London Craft Week is] giving the consumer the alternatives.  Where one minute you could be going and seeing behind the scenes in a household name brand, but next you're going round the corner down an alley and coming across and independent maker who you've never heard of before, but whose work is the same or higher quality."

    British furniture maker George Smith and textile designer Insley & Nash demonstrate at LCW handmade sofa construction upholstered with custom fabrics with Jeremy Langmead.Insley & Nash textile design with Jeremy Langmead

     London Craft Week is leading the movement for luxury craft.  These craftsman aren't generally new, they're just coming out of the woodwork and we're seeing them and honoring them for their remarkable skill.  London of course isn't the only place where we can celebrate craftsmanship; fine craftsman are also dotted around the Great Lakes.  We're locking into these noteworthy Michigan local craftsman who follow the same philosophy as those participating in London Craft Week.

     

    Made in Michigan

    Couture Furniture Craftsmanship

    One of our favorite local residential high-craft artisans, Joseph Jeup, chose to build his 47,000sf manufacturing facility in Grand Rapids.  Being a Detroit native, a fellow Kendall graduate, and having an appreciation for West Michigan's history of furniture making, Grand Rapids was a logical place for him to expand his business making luxury modern residential furnishings.

    "Joseph Jeup embodies exceptional craftsmanship. He believes that every detail is a design opportunity and, above all, that uncompromising standards yield incomparable results."

    Joseph Jeup - Grand Rapids Designer and Manufacturer of Couture-Quality Modern Furnishings

    Joseph Jeup - Aiden Bench in Cast Bronze and Hide

    Jeup is both an engineer and designer, an artist and craftsman yielding heirloom couture-quality furniture.  His furnishings can be found in showrooms across the country.  His meticulous attention to detail and high standards for quality construction set him apart as a respected influencer in luxury furniture design.

     
    High-Craft, Grand-Craft Boats

    Naturally following the high-craft lifestyle in Holland, Michigan, is Grand-Craft Boats.  Grand-Craft has been restoring and building boats from mahogany for over forty years and attracts luxury boaters from all over the country.

    "The custom boat builder practices the slow process of cold molding planks of mahogany to create boats that are as durable as they are beautiful. Each boat's mahogany exterior receives about 20 coats of varnish on the finish."

    This new $279K boat is why Grand-Craft opened 2nd plant in Holland, MLive, 7/16/2016 by Shandra Martinez

     

     

    "All our boats are entirely hand-built and take from seven months to a year-and-a-half to build, depending on size," owner, Jeff Cavanagh, said.

     Grand-Craft boats range in price from $120k to $1.5 million.  Five new custom designed boats are produced each year, and have attracted customers including Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez, Tim Allen and Kid Rock.

    Luxury Leisure Sport

    Detroit-native Shawn Ward announced the launch of his luxury sporting goods making venture, Williamson Goods, at Detroit Homecoming one year ago.  Ward is making bicycles and footballs for enthusiasts into heirloom pieces.  You might elect to reserve this python wrapped $13k bicycle for special occassions along the lines of yachting to a private island for a leisurly bike ride off the shores of the East End of Long Island.  Only 30 bicycles will be manufactured and will be engraved with it's limited edition number.

     The Wheelman Bicycle is a lavish work of functional art completely hand brazed and hand sewn in Detroit.

    Woodward Gold Crocodile Football - $6,250, Made in Detroit


    All Williamson animal skins are CITES certified, meaning they are harvested in a sustainable and humane process. No chemical bi-products are used in the tanneries.

    High craftsmanship is not a lost art.  It is a thriving one as LCW2017, Joseph Jeup, Grand-Craft, and Williamson have demonstrated.  

    About a year ago, Jeff Cavanagh at Grand-Craft boats employed 12 people and was looking to add two more people to his team.  He stated for Rapid Growth Media that building boats "is a great job, but is not for everyone.  Boat craftsmen are hard to find".  

    That limited supply of high-craftsman talent creates a level of exclusivity, which luxury also loves.

    __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

    Need some help getting your interior design project going? Hiring a professional like the interior designers at Jennifer Butler Interior Design is a great place to start. We can help bring definition to your ideas for your home, office, business, new construction, renovation or remodel.  This frees you to focus on your family, your work, your travel and recreation while our experts take care of the design and implementation.  Rest assured that our designers will create interiors that realize your vision for spaces that meet your luxury lifestyle and 21st century work style needs and visually reflect your unique design style.

    Sign up for more inspiration from our Designer Journal.  
    Schedule a 1-hr Introductory Consultation in our studio on us or
    Schedule a 2-hr In-Home Design Consultation at our hourly rate  
    Contact us to get started.

    Wednesday
    Apr262017

    4 Keys to Choosing a Luxury Custom Home Builder

    Choosing a luxury custom home builder is a huge decision.  Just as you would do your homework in finding an advisor to manage your financial wealth, a home builder calls for some serious vetting.   A luxury home builder will be managing one or more of your biggest assets; you want to get your builder right.  It's a big deal!

    Instead of offering a methodical approach on HOW to find the right builder, we've gathered WHAT the most essential keys are to turn your search for a builder into a success.  There are plenty of fantastic luxury custom home builders around and finding the right fit can be overwhelming, but these fundamental pointers will help orient you toward connecting with your best builder match.  

    As interior designers, we work with a lot of different builders and homeowners and have seen relationships thrive and projects succeed when thought, time, and discussion are dedicated to these 4 keys when choosing a home builder.

     

    Pentwater Cottage 

    INVESTIGATE

    Be informed.  Gather and ask a lot of questions.  Discuss your priorities and expectations.  Begin by keeping a detailed record of what you love and what you question about the builders you consider.  Cross-comparison is your friend. 

    Get un-biased references.  Talk with all kinds of people, not just your friends, not just your architect, and not only the builders themselves.  Get a wide opinion pool.  Talk with builder references to get a fuller picture of what to expect.  Ask about the building process, what issues arose and how the buidlers solved those issues, and if they would build with that builder again.

    Character.  While expertise is non-negotiable, do not trade it for character.  The best building may show its feathers, but you want to make certain that a builder has a record of being ethical and a history advocating for the homeowner.  On the other hand, a builder may be a wonderful person yet lack in delivering quality construction.  Look for a builder that brings both character and craftsmanship.

     

    Harbor Springs Cottage 

    KNOW YOUR BUTTONS

    1. Time management.  Find a builder who is organized.  An organized builder will drive your project and keep it moving forward.  There are so many moving parts during a building project that working with a builder who can orchestrate planning, scheduling, and managing the building process is crucial.  The last thing you want is to be delayed and extending time in temporary living quarters because your builder is lagging.  To help your builder succeed, do your absolute best to be decisive and timely in making decisions along the way.  Plan and prepare to be displaced during construction, but make sure that your builder is realistic with you about what to expect for length of construction.

    2. Cost management.  Look for a builder that offers budget suggestions that reflect the value of your property.  A pattern of budget suggestions that consistantly cuts corners will not only build interpersonal contention, it will also result in a finished home that misses the mark and will present difficulties if/when the time comes to resell.  Communicate about expectations and details.  Find a builder who is up-front and thorough with their pricing structure.  Expose and avoid ficticious allowances.  A fine luxury custom home builder is a special breed of builder.  You don't want to get mixed up with a builder whose expectations and processes measure down, not up.

    TIP: When comparing builder estimates, start with the kitchen.  The estimate for your appliance package may be an indicator of the caliber of finish and quality that is estimated for the remainder of the house.  If you want a Sub-Zero caliber kitchen and quote, the rest of the estimate should support that level of a custom luxury home, including perhaps 8'-0" doors, stone thresholds, high-end floors, countertops, cabinets and hardware.  If the bottom-line number fits, but the itemized estimate doesn't, let it be a flag and a topic of discussion.  

    Be realistic with your builder and communicate the most important things you want.  Set yourself up to succeed.  Perhaps that involves some compromise of size, scope or timing, but at least you know and will end up with what you hoped for if not more!

    3. Quality Control - High quality shows.  Be picky.  Don't just look at pictures.  Set up times to walk through several homes to get a broader sense for a builder's quality of construction and homeowner satisfaction.

    Reeds Lake Residence 

    LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTS

    If something doesn't sit right, don't ignore it.  Put it on the table and talk about it.

     

    HIRE A GUIDE

    There's a science to building a custom luxury home and you want a builder who will guide you to make the best decisions for you and your home.  You don't want a builder who will blindly give you whatever you want (or nothing you want!).  Instead, you want a builder who brings experience AND leadership.

    Look for a builder who is kind enough and yet bold enough to say what is and what isn't in your best interest.

    Yes, it can be frustrating to hear a builder tell you that something you've got your heart set on isn't the best idea, at least in the way you had initially envisioned it.  But better to heed wisdom now than to later regret brushing it off.  A thoughtful advocate and knowledgeable advisor is better than a yes-man.

    Choosing a builder involves some time and work, but it will set you up for a building process and a home that meets or exceeds your expectations and achieves your goals.  Doing the work of investigating your options, defining your priorities for cost, time, and quality, listening to your instincts and looking for a builder that will lead and guide your project are essential for starting your project off on the right foot.

    __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

    Need some help getting your interior design project going? Hiring a professional like the interior designers at Jennifer Butler Interior Design is a great place to start. We can help bring definition to your ideas for your home, office, business, new construction, renovation or remodel.  This frees you to focus on your family, your work, your travel and recreation while our experts take care of the design and implementation.  Rest assured that our designers will create interiors that realize your vision for spaces that meet your luxury lifestyle and 21st century work style needs and visually reflect your unique design style.

    Sign up for more inspiration from our Designer Journal.  
    Schedule a 1-hr Introductory Consultation in our studio on us or
    Schedule a 2-hr In-Home Design Consultation at our hourly rate  
    Contact us to get started.

    Tuesday
    Mar282017

    New + Nuanced: AD Design Show Look Book

    The Architectural Digest Design Show venue at Pier 92 & 94 welcomed the boot-clad trade-only crowd with sunshine just two days after Blizzard Stella.  It was logistical mayhem for exhibitors, designers, and the media.  Flights were cancelled and rescheduled to beat the storm that dropped 12-18" of snow in the NYC metro area.  Miraculously, the show looked as if it went off without a hitch as we rolled into midtown Manhattan shortly after it opened for the weekend on preview day Thursday morning.

    AD Design Show NYC Venue

    The floor of Pier 94, piercing into the Hudson as an enormous runway (the venue is also home to New York Fashion Week's hottest shows), was segmented into three primary parts: Refresh (premium kitchen and bath products), Furnish (luxury indoor and outdoor products), and Made (limited-edition and one-of-a-kind fine art objects and furnishings).  Floating through rows of elaborate displays, I found myself asking the same question that Rus Mayor posed to his panel of art minds, (Don't miss our Ultimate Art Guide!)  

    What's changed?

    We found the changes to be nuanced.  Nuanced improvements that we'll one day look back on and wonder how we lived without them.  

    Home automation integrations promise homeowners more control with Jenn Air appliances that connect with Alexa and Nest.  Refrigerators are available in slimmer profiles and indestructible commercial exterior grades for indoor use by True.  New surfaces that withstand heat in Kalamazoo Grill's new ipe veneer outdoor cabinets. A cast concrete bathroom vanity, sink and base, designed to have the look of wood without the challenges of water and real wood by JM Lifestyles.  Bluestar ranges in bright pop-art colors.  

    The more people change, the more we see manufacturers listening and making adjustments to meet new demands.  Here's a teeny tiny window into the vast world of what's moving in interior residential design.

     

    Black Matte and Moves

    This sculptural candelabrum by Tom Dixon has a Calder-esque mobile quality to it.  Tapered cast iron rotating arms that hold pillar or tea candles make it a timeless piece of art and light for any table.

    Tom Dixon Spin Candelabrum - cast iron rotating arms, AD Apartment

     

     

    Spin Candelabrum with tea candles at Kips Bay 2016 - Daniel Richards

    Smart and Sexy Appliances

    An obsidian refrigerator interior is a beautiful backdrop for fresh whole foods.  Lit with LEDs and compatibility with Nest coming soon, Jenn Air is a smart choice for your next appliance package.  


    Jenn Air - Obsidian Refrigerator Interior with LED lighting

     

    Art Deco Renaissance

    Geometric precision, overlapping gold ribbons, and confetti-like black angles all come together to create an dynamic triangulated pattern that evokes the Great Gatsby's Long Island lair.


    Artistic Tile - Gatsby Thassos Polished Waterjet mosaic, thassos marble, inset brushed brass lines, and triangular Nero Marquina polished dots

     

    Ligne Roset of The Day

    Ligne Roset emobies luxury living in this comfortable armless cobalt lounge chair.  Tested and true.  The end.


    Ligne Roset - Contemporary High-End Furniture

    Shower Power

    Think this is a great looking outdoor shower?  You're right.  Even better.  The mechanism doesn't require removing the cartridge in wintery climates.  It's made with Burma Teak plywood and high grade stainless steel which is resistant in outdoor and saltwater environments. Thank you, Fantini!  Hello Lake Michigan.

    Milano Slim Outdoor Shower - teak and stainless by Italian Fantini Rubinetti

    KGBL Against All Odds

    For a furniture business that launched in the middle of the great recesseion of 2009, KGBL is proven to outperform.  Their line of modern furnishings is impeccable and meticulously edited.  The result is a stunning lineup of beautiful and durable furniture.


    KGBL - Modern Luxury Furniture

     

    Eat Your Micro-Greens 

    Grow eight varieties of fresh, organic microgreens and herbs year-round in your home kitchen.  Easy to grow non-GMO seeds require no sprays or chemicals in the growing process and are set for success with automatic watering cycles. The widely celebrated Urban Cultivator grows 100% organic whole healthy food.  No need to question what condition your next delivery of fresh greens will be in.

    Urban Cultivator

    While there was much much more to love, we hope you enjoyed this little edited look book of fun, beautiful, sophisticated developments in the world of residential interior design.

    __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

    Need some help getting your interior design project going? Hiring a professional like the interior designers at Jennifer Butler Interior Design is a great place to start. We can help you bring definition to your ideas for your home, office, business, new construction, renovation or remodel.  This frees you to focus on your family, your work, your travel and recreation while our experts take care of the design and implementation.  Rest assured that our designers will create interiors that realize your vision for spaces that meet your lifestyle and workstyle needs and visually reflect your design style.  Sign up for inspiration.  Contact us to get started.  We'd love to hear about what you are dreaming about. 

    Monday
    Mar202017

    ULTIMATE ART GUIDE: From NYC's Finest Art Minds

    We recently had the opportunity to attend this year's fabulous Architectural Digest Design Show on Pier 92 in NYC.  But, before sharing all our favorites from the show, we wanted to take a few minutes to talk about art.

    Our ultimate art guide was inspired by the opening seminar moderated by Mayer Rus, West coast Editor of Architectural Digest.  The panel-style conversation included architect William T. Georgis, private art advisor Kim Heirston, and public curator Yvonne Force Villareal from the Art Production Fund.  The seminar began as a discussion prompted by the unusual question,

    "Who's afraid of the Contemporary Art Market?"

     

    "Who's Afraid of the Contemporary Art Market?" panel at 2017 AD Design Show in the Jenn-Air Master Class Studio

    To be honest, I wasn't certain that I was afraid of the contemporary art market, yet as Mayor Rus moderated, a rush of awareness and care gradually surfaced.  Art is such a rich part of a home or office, yet it's not always easy finding and implementing art into a space.  Collector, consumer, or advisor, we've pulled together a guide to engaging in the contemporary art market that will open your eyes in a new way the next time you set out to implement art in your home or business. 

     

    1. See For Yourself

    Globalization has resulted in art that is accessible.  That's a good thing!  However, with accessibility comes a proliferation of art and unfortunately, an element of apathy.  With a growing supply and availability of art, we run into the problem of not looking at all, or first looking at cost, or first listening to what other's see and say before you see and listen first yourself.  

    "People are looking at art with their ears." - Architect, William T. Georgis

     

    Upper East Side Townhouse renovation and interior design by architect, William T. Georgis

    This happens not only in art, but also in architecture and interior design.  Kim Heirston, Yale graduate and respected art advisor, urged,

    "See art in a purer way."

    Look for yourself.  Heirston does this by bringing her clients to a museum in order to get their reaction to a work of art.  Without prices posted in a museum, she is able to give the experience of seeing art and understanding the influence that artwork has on a client before guiding them to select art for their home or business.

    With so many options for where to look and how to decide on artwork for your home, Heirston advises,

    "Be choosy and edited. You cannot do it all."

    There are countless art fairs, markets, and galleries the world over, and you will not be able to see them all.  Push back against conformity of taste and what others say and see.   Look for yourself.  

     George Condo painting - renovation and interior design by architect, William T. Georgis - 5th Ave Residence NYC

    2. Slow Down to See

    Technology increases the speed at which we do things.  It's primitive when we begin to reminisce about life before the advent of computers and mobile phones and Amazon Prime!  This is awesome, because we get stuff done so. much. faster.  That rapidity is also concerning, because it can be blinding.  

    "People aren't looking." - Heirston

    We don't slow down to smell the roses.  Instead, we live through the lens of our favorite Instagrammers.  That's also not all bad, but it does cost us the practice of slowing down to see and look and dwell on beauty and art for longer than a hot second.

    "The best things happen over time." - Heirston

     A George Condo painting in the Stockholm flat of fashion editor, Giovanna Battaglia-Engelbert (credit - Architectural Digest)

    3. Look From Another Point of View

    There are a lot of great artists, but a limited amount of control over what artists are given viewing space.  This creates a challenge with diversity in the broader art world, and results in a narrower lens through which we view and understand life.

    Looking at all kinds of art is a better way to see.  

    ArtPrize is a unique opportunity to create and view diversity in art because it displays an overwhelming range of artists of different age, ethnicity, gender, religion, and culture.  ArtPrize is paving the way for correcting the imbalance.  In 2014, ArtPrize introduced a new cash prize for the Paul Collins Diversity in Art Award, named for the Grand Rapids artist and intended for an artist of color.  Kevin Buist, exhibitions director for ArtPrize explains,

    “As ArtPrize matures, it’s become clear that it’s not enough for the event to be radically open. To truly engage all audiences, we need to be radically inclusive."

    (ArtPrize 2014: Paul Collins is namesake of a new $5,000 prize for an artist, by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk for MLive)

    As ArtPrize and other public art initiatives have shown us, there is a hunger for public art that often sparks complex dialogue and ignites economic and social impact.

    2017 installation - Bronze 'Fearless Girl' by Kristen Visbal in Manhattan's Financial District (credit - Mark Lennihan/Associated Press)

    "Look. Learn. Research. See artists who are changing the language... Artists we love are not too in your face.  We look for something an art historian and a child would both love.  You need to have a curatorial eye. - Heirston

    The more exposure to all kinds of art we have, and the more we take the time to look, the more we see and understand.  Art is a complex and beautiful lens into the hearts and minds and souls of people around us.

    'Open Water no. 24' painting by Ran Ortner - 2009 ArtPrize winner installed at Reserve GR (credit - Brett Maxwell Photography)

    4. Bring Art Home

    If you find a contemporary artist that you love, it's an exciting opportunity to celebrate their work.

     "Commission an artist.  Have them submit a rendering.  - Heirston

    Both as a designer and a client, we can take a leap by handing over a room to an artist.  We saw interior designers, Phillip Thomas and Garrow Kedigan take that risk at Kips Bay Showhouse last May with outstanding results.  

    Graffiti artist Andrew Tedesco Studios, Phillip Thomas for Kips Bay 2016

    Rajiv Surendra, chalk artist and calligrapher, Napolean Room by Manhattan interior designer Garrow Kedigan for the 2016 Kips Bay Designer Showhouse

    "Do something site specific or unique.  Imagine it!  You have to relinquish your ego." - Yvonne Force Villareal

    Art is not an afterthought.  Far too often, both in commercial and residential design we hear, 'Oh, we have to hang some art.'

    "Decorating is not a bad word.  Think about art first." - Heirston

    Decorating with art can be an integral and inspiring part of a design project.  When art is dismissed or overlooked, the space suffers.  Instead of living with art that feels flat, making it a central part of your environment can bring a room to life.

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    Need some help getting your interior design project going? Hiring a professional like the interior designers at Jennifer Butler Interior Design is a great place to start. We can help you bring definition to your ideas for your home, office, business, new construction, renovation or remodel.  This frees you to focus on your family, your work, your travel and recreation while our experts take care of the design and implementation.  Rest assured that our designers will create interiors that realize your vision for spaces that meet your lifestyle and workstyle needs and visually reflect your design style.  Sign up for inspiration.  Contact us to get started.  We'd love to hear about what you are dreaming about.