Each week Mansion Global tackles a topic with an elite group of designers from around the world who work on luxury properties. This week we look at how to use your travels to inspire your home design.
Taking inspiration from far and wide not only creates a visual representation of the places you’ve been, but incorporating objects or photos from those destinations can enrich your space.
“Traveling brings us important memories, and integrating these memories into your décor will make you happy and add interesting layers to your interior,” said Ross Hamilton Englisbe, director general and president of Paris-based Hamilton Conte. “Interiors are all about expressing yourself and bringing your personal joy into a space.”
To infuse the flavor and feel of your travels into your décor, follow these tips from the design pros.
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“Designing a home inspired by places you’ve traveled works the best when you create an overall mood to the room by using colors, textures, artwork and rugs. However, try to find inspiration from places that also work within your architecture. For example, if you have a coastal home, you might take inspiration from a beach destination.
“Nowadays, with websites like Framebridge, and really good digital cameras so accessible, you can print your own artful travel photos and hang them in your house. I always tell clients to take more candid photos that will look more relaxed in the space.
“I love a 3-D gallery wall. You can use hats made by local artisans, beads you found at a flea market, shells, or even frame woven fabric. It is important to note that the idea behind a gallery wall is to display all your favorite things in one spot, so make sure these pieces are true to you. If there is no genuine connection, the gallery wall can look sterile.
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“Don't go crazy with too many colors; keep a neutral background, such as white walls to help display your collected pieces. Only use a few pops of color. It also helps to balance out textures—woven, leather, wood and color all need to work in harmony with equal parts.
“I love mixing modern pieces with bohemian pieces to add warmth to a space. For example, a chair with materials like leather and chrome looks amazing with a vintage rug and a sheepskin throw.”
––Shannon Wilkins of PRAIRIE Home Styling in Beverly Hills, California
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Strike a Balance
“Drawing inspiration from different places brings diversity and makes the space more interesting. As a designer, it’s my job to give people an experience when in the space. Traveling exposes us to different cultures and introduces us to things we’ve never before seen. Each time I return from a trip, I try to bring home something new to incorporate into my designs.
“Your house shouldn't feel like a museum, and personally, I don't like to concentrate everything into one area. For me, it’s important that the space flows and people enjoy an experience while walking through.
“As a designer, I work with what the space gives me and incorporate new objects. For a recent project at The Levee, a residential building in Tel Aviv, we left the concrete ceilings and exposed the original sandstone walls and combined these industrial elements with modern, sophisticated furnishings. This allowed me to unify the space while using different styles.
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“I love creating libraries or placing furniture and then combining different objects like crafts, photos, books or functional gadgets. I also love including elements from local artists and photographers in all my projects.
“Don’t be afraid to mix and match colors and tones. The most important thing is to stay with the same vibe/ambiance that you want to create. I don’t believe in specific palettes but rather in overall concepts, and then playing around within that concept.”
— Tel Aviv-based interior designer Yael Siso
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Mix But Match
“Our signature is to mix styles and origins of objects to recreate a personalized atmosphere. Big and small souvenirs taken from our travels allow us the feeling of escape at any time, which is how we enrich our home.
“We have our photos hanging on the walls, mixed with other works of art, which sit above the bookshelf and on the cabinets in the living room, in the dressing-room, in the bedroom, et cetera.
“The main idea is not to have repetition when hanging artwork. The ideal mixed style is done in a playful way, using the origins and stories of each object as well as the choice of background and placement. We prefer artworks and items to overrun the entire apartment, not simply contained to one wall.
“Create a neutral backdrop to highlight all the artworks and decorative objects. However, in the other rooms, we chose very bold colors to give yet another reading to the objects and art works.”
––Nicolas Adnet, co-founder Studio MHNA in Paris
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Make the Space Three Dimensional
“We tend to like very diverse art arrangements and a mix of different styles of art, such as paintings, prints and photography to add interest to a space. We prefer art clusters and also like mixing in objects, sculpture and art arrangements to add depth. Having favorite photographs matted and framed to mix into your existing collections can be really impactful.
“In our own house, we have art arrangements that integrate objects as well. I have a Japanese Netsuke sculpture in a black shadow box behind glass on one wall, along with several paintings from different countries. I also have an antique necklace hanging freely in the arrangement. On another wall, I have a Moroccan Koran box nestled between paintings. It personalizes the space and tells a unique story.
“Things do not need to coordinate but should go together. This is, of course, very subjective, but I think there is always a balance between art and accessories. A space should not be overloaded. Uneven numbers of objects and asymmetry tend to be our rule—groupings of three or more staggered, for example.
“Sometimes you can work a color theme or the lack thereof. I have neutral walls and furniture, for example, and decided to work a splash of color through art in my living room. Sometimes people use color on the walls and neutral art. It is all what you consider to be a good balance.”
— Ross Hamilton Englisbe, director general and president of Paris-based Hamilton Conte
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