5 Tips for Creating an Artful Home
Toni Sikes, founder of Guild.com, talks about how art makes the home -- and what consumers are crazy about right now. Plus, get her top five tips for creating an artful home.
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It sounds like your customers and your artists have their finger on the pulse of what’s cool right now.
I think the artists do have the finger on the pulse of where people are. Artists are the most sensitive people I know. They are feeling those trends way before the consumer press is picking up on it, and the things they make reflect what they’re feeling. As an example, I belong to the National Association of Furniture Makers and they were doing seminars on renewable resources more than a decade ago. These artists are very tuned in and forward thinking.
What’s your next big category?
We’d love to find more functional things that artists are making — that’s everything from the serving dishes you use, to the pillows you put on your sofa, to the lamps you have in your bedroom, to the cake stand in your kitchen. That’s a growth area for us. People are looking for interesting, artistic accessories.
A welcoming home, it seems, is important now more than ever.
The whole entire category of home furnishings has grown over the last five to six years and that has been fueled by 9/11 to a large extent, and fueled by our need to feel that our homes are our sanctuaries, our nests. Obviously, we live in a chaotic crazy world and it’s pretty wonderful to retreat from the world. And we’re accessorizing all parts of that retreat, from music to comfort food to soothing things like drinking tea.
What does your own retreat look like?
It’s very eclectic. It’s very much a reflection of my own personality. Absolutely filled with color. My idea of hell is an environment that’s all black and white. Color has a huge impact on me and I’m very attuned to it and its impact on how I feel. I feel the artwork in my home is my own personal journal — everything from things purchased on my travels to things given to me by my sisters and mother and artist friends.
And I love to change my home around. I love to arrange and rearrange. That’s my hobby! I take things off the shelves and put them back in different ways and move the furniture around and my poor husband sighs, but he knows that’s what I do to make me happy. He tells the story of the day I brought a new lamp home and said, "We’ve got to paint the living room!" True story. It was a beautiful lamp by the Kinzig sisters and I wanted to rearrange around it.
You should write a book.
I am! An Artful Home book will be coming out in Fall 2007. The book encourages people to live with original artwork and beautiful things, and to think of their homes as their own personal canvas on which to exercise their creativity. We’ll also have our first The Artful Home retail show in New York this fall.
Do you have a favorite piece of art? Something you’d grab first if there ever was a fire?
Earlier in my life I fell in love with a painting I saw in a gallery in Montgomery, Alabama. I was recently divorced and pretty broke. But I kept going back and looking at it. Finally the gallery owner offered to let me buy the painting over time so I paid her $25 month for a year and a half. It is a beautiful painting of birds and sky and it’s the first thing I see when I wake up every morning. I have other things that are much more expensive, but that piece of art was my first attempt to make a commitment to art and to myself.
Your Artful Home 101
Toni Sikes shares her top five tips for creating an artful home.
1. Find beauty in everyday things. I think of the coffee mug as a metaphor. Those beautiful everyday things can make such a difference in how you feel about your home and your life. That’s how I start my day every day—with a mug that makes me happy.
2. Trust your instincts and make your own choices about the beautiful things you want to live with it. I look at some of my friends who are intimidated about buying art, and I wish I could take their hand and tell them to trust their gut. The gut is almost never wrong. If you love something it’s probably right for you.
3. No rules. Really. It’s OK to make mistakes (especially if you’re buying art from a place with a return policy!).
4. Learn about the artist whose work speaks to you. Find out about their inspirations, techniques and processes. That’s why we share that information with the customers at guild.com. People are inspired by learning about their favorite artists, like Brian Kershisnik.
5. Forget the perception that you have to have a lot of money to buy art. I believe that luxury isn’t measured by price but by the amount of attention lavished on the details. Everyone, no matter his or her income, can create a home that’s filled with luxury — the luxury of something carefully made or much loved.
Anne Krueger is a frequent contributor to HGTV.com. She has written for In Style, This Old House, Martha Stewart Living and The New York Times.
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