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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Harmony ~ Variety and Unity

Harmony. Harmony is one of the principles of design. When I meet with clients, I am forever talking about harmony. Harmony this.... harmony that.... I wonder if it gets annoying? No matter, harmony is one of the most important principles to me.

In harmony, there is both unity and variety. Unity brings cohesion to the room; variety brings in interest. Unity adds consistency; variety adds diversity. The goal is the ideal evoking an agreeable, gratifying, balanced feeling. It is what makes one want to sit and stay a while. It takes good placement and editing ~ then tweaking again to achieve rightness.

Think of a song.... usually it contain verses and refrains. Why? Just think of what is would be like to listen to a song with all verses and nothing to bring the point home and deepen your connection to it. It is also a catchy break, where we most often sing along ~ harmonize (or try to), if you will, with the singer. Or all refrains ~ the repetitiveness would make me run screaming from the building (seriously, I have had to change radio stations if a song continues the same words or riff too many times or derangement is sure to occur).

The picture above (repeated here) is a lovely example of harmony. This is a room by Mindy Miles Greenberg of Encore Decor, Ltd. She calls this room 'Pre-War Moderne Luxe.'

Note the gentle color palette, neutrals. Brown and gray are featured in the upholstery and in the drapes ~ unity. Mindy uses different seating though ~ a sofa and a tete-a-tete ~ variety. She also adds pops of color in the art and glass (blue and yellow) and different materials for her tables. Just enough variety to add the interest. The room is soothing but not sleepy. If you have anything to add, please do!

What about this kitchen by Vicente Wolf.....

Neutrals again but a grand pop with brown. The beautiful island with turned legs (variety) in juxtaposition with the contemporary cabinets, light fixtures, and counters (unity). The counter stools and material under the island top unite the island with its surroundings. The stools have wood similar in tone to the cabinets and upholstered in brown to unite with the island. The material under the island top also appears to be the same or at least similar in hue to the counters, another connection. The results ~ a very pleasing, well selected and edited space.

This Mt. Tiburon living room by Shirley Parks is another wonderful example. Beautiful soft colors similar in saturation (beige, gray, and blue) and the same use of fabric on the sofa and chaise ~ unity. Then note the patterns and textures in the benches, rug, and chair. The use of differing materials and forms of her tables; the use of gold and silver ~ exceptional variety. I love this room! I especially like the openness of the windows. There was no need to add fabric at the windows given the generous use of lush upholstery. The pillow to connect the blue and gray is a wonderful touch. Simply magnificent.

We are all trying to achieve harmony in our daily lives. Having harmony in our surroundings, our environment, our havens supports this mission ~ not mention looks darn good too!

Sources for photos ~ Decorati

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