July 21, 2011

High Style, Small Space

This month's issue of House Beautiful is dedicated to stylish small spaces and it was a thrill to be asked to interview interior designer Maureen Footer on her very own studio. As you can see from the glimpses above, Maureen hasn't let a lack of square footage impinge on living with her favorite things, like fine French furniture and Fortuny. Click here to read the entire article and hurry to your local newstand to see all of the inspiring interiors that will convince anyone that less can be more.

Below, an outtake from our conversation...

EEE: I always thought in a small space, you had to keep to one color so it flows…

Maureen: I learned years ago from the architect Billy Tsien to demarcate everything. She changed the rise on stairs so that you were aware that you were passing through space. She dropped ceiling heights as you were progressing through a space, she created door jambs just so there was an awareness that space was moving. I think I’ve always taken that message to heart – that if you create a sense of everything in a space, it feels larger. And if you turn it into a monotone surrounding, it’s going to feel like one indistinct space. If you create distinctions, you create an awareness of the possibilities of that space.

Did you feel constrained designing a small space?

Not at all. We have these great templates of living stylishly in small spaces. Stanley Barrows, Van Day Truex, Billy Baldwin – they made it an art form. They had these jewel boxes which they redecorated every three or four years, and they became a laboratory for their ideas.

The restrictions we put on where we can use antiques, where we can put damask and Fortuny are pretty arbitrary, and in fact there aren’t that many restrictions. And of course Grace Kelly’s designer George Stacey broke the barrier when he put French furniture in his squash court!
Latest from the Journal
Latest post

Saying Goodbye to one of the Finest Rooms in America

When asked to select my all-time favorite American interior, one room has always sprung to mind first and foremost: Mr. and Mrs. John Gutfreund’s “winter garden” sitting room at 834 Fifth Avenue. In this lush oasis of fresh lettuce greens and delicate pinks, the hustle bustle of New York’s concrete streets outside those silk -festooned windows melts away.