Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Noah's Ark Syndrome
We all know how symmetry reinforces formality in a room, and how, if you want to shake things up, the first thing you'd do is to break up "pairs"--candlesticks, lamps, art, tables, etc. In theory, I know this. In real life, I'm blind. I gravitate to pairs and mirror-images. Some people may refer to this malady as The Matchy-Matchy Disease, Pair-itis, or Noah's Ark Syndrome.
While I would love to blame my decorating fetish on my birthdate--I'm a Libra, the sign of the scales--I cannot. I have an inborn need to pair everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. I can't remember where I read this, but this syndrome, when taken to an extreme (as in my case) can make a room feel static and predictable. For the most part, it's a subliminal thing. (That's one reason I loved yesterday's inspiration photos--the exquisite, asymmetrical accessories helped reinforce informality.)
For fun, let's count the paired objects in my hearth room:
1. Urns on the mantle
2. bird figurines on the mantle
3. Figural lamps
4. scrolly lamps
5. 2 painted chairs
6. 2 upholstered chairs
7. I know there's a 7th
So, with ants in my pants, I rushed around and broke up pairs.
I removed one lamp, switched around the painted chairs, and took down the terra cotta urns. After shopping my house, I couldn't find anything that looked right on the mantle (oh, those flat-screen TVs!!!). Then I realized that I'd really liked the urns on the mantle (although I'd like to find old books for "platforms"), and I'd just have to live with some degree of this syndrome.
But there's another problem--the Mirror Image. When I look at the overall symmetry and balance of this room, the left side is visually heavier than the right. The draperies, covering all those windows, accentuate the imbalance. One solution would be to add drapery panels to the door, however we use that door, and besides, drapery panels (I don't sew!) would mess with my budget, and I'd never get around to other rooms.
But!! A screen or a live plant might work. I called the greenhouse, and they have a beautiful 9' ficus. They are holding it for me. :-) Tra-la-la. I think a tree will actually be better than draperies, because it will add softness--and also, this room really needs something organic. If I can keep it alive, it will be a much better bargain. (Note to self: talk to Tootsie about Ficus benjaminas!)
A Few Other Things:
Just as an experiment, I moved the fireplace screen (a housewarming present from my mother) into the library, but I may move it back. I have a plain iron screen somewhere in the garage. And I want to compare them.
Also, I'm moving the sofa table and replacing it with an old, oval burled table--it used to be in the tv room & is now in my granddaughter's room.
It's deeper than the current table, so I will have to push the sofa forward a bit.
I moved one of the lamps into the kitchen for now. It was painful to break up this pair, but at least they aren't terribly far away--they can blow kisses.