Bigger is not always better


By Sue Faulstich

Being a part of the design industry, I feel obligated to investigate each season’s new collection of trends. I am neither a trendsetter nor a trend follower. However, every now and then, a trend will come along which does intrigue me.

Lately, I have noticed a lot of attention being paid to moderately-scaled residential dwellings, which are being constructed with better-quality materials. Because I have seen far too many enormous homes go up and then sit empty for long periods of time waiting to be furnished, I appreciate this particular trend in that it gives me a better chance of helping a client through every phase of building and furnishing a home. It must seem rather backward an interior designer is suggesting the scaling back of square footage. Sometimes, in an industry where “bigger” is synonymous with “better,” I would much rather see a smaller, well-planned and fully-furnished dwelling.

While reading an issue of ELLE DECOR magazine, I came across an article featuring actress Hilary Swank’s downtown Manhattan apartment. The author wrote, “For Swank, a home needn’t be as extravagant as a dream.” This statement struck me in an unusual way. After reading the sentence two or three more times, I began to understand the story’s theme. The author was trying to subtly give the reader the sense that, even though the space is small-scale, it is well designed, and thus has a sense of grandeur. The design industry seems to ebb and flow with the economy, so it makes sense consumers are expecting more for their money when it comes to buying luxury items.

While I’m rather certain Hilary Swank does have a large, lavish mansion somewhere, it was refreshing to read about someone who can appreciate a modest space filled with a combination of new and old luxurious furnishings, despite their slightly “more than modest” means.

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