After spending six years of hoisting myself to the uppermost shelf of bookcases on top of my desk, cutting on an island formed from a dresser with a cutting board on top, and using a stepping stool every time I needed a scarf, making the most of a small domestic space became a personal norm. Now living back in South Carolina, I adore the ability to spread out a bit more but I still like to get my hands on little corners, ledges, and nooks where I see the need for some creative love and attention.
At the end of the day, there is a small space in my home that I can’t resist climbing into with a glass of wine and my book. Just below our winding staircase lives a petite settee and the necessary accompaniments of lamp, coffee table, and a soft rug that make this tiny vignette a joy to experience. It’s what makes this tiny room below my stairs so fun—it is a finished space where least expected. There is something which we all feel correlating small spaces to necessity and familiarity. On the wrapping ceiling below the stairs we had every tradesman and artist who was a part of the home’s construction sign and date their trade. Every man involved in building the home made their part of the work a piece of art; therefore we wanted them to have the opportunity to sign the house just as an artist would sign his canvas. This touch of humanity brings extra intimacy to the space.
While welcoming guests to the Symphony Tour of Homes inside my foyer last October, I was greeted by a gentleman who was excited to tell me that he was an architect from Brooklyn. We exchanged a few remarks on our commonalities of city living and favorite digs. He then stated when glancing around my living room, “It’s obvious you are completely obsessed with scale.” I don’t think I was supposed to take it as a compliment, yet I did, and as far as design accolades go, it may be my favorite! He’d clearly lived in New York for a long time and I’d felt similarly upon returning to the south—everything seemed oversized, from the size of the slices of pie to the ever-so-common SUVs on the road.
When adoring the grandeur of a home or stunning building, remember that the faceted details are all parts of the whole. The world grows smaller every day, from the city to the suburbs; we have hundreds of options at our reach. Wrap and treat your ceilings, bring your wainscoting up to the crown molding, and enjoy the fact that we can purpose and beautify the entire house. The smallest details will turn out to be your favorite demitasse of design!