Stay Awhile

A well-designed space features many of the same elements that make a great painting.

A well-designed space features many of the same elements that make a great painting.

Each element must present balance between cool and warm tones, while proportion and composition also play key roles. Check out one of artist Vincent van Gogh’s most famous paintings, Bedroom in Arles, shown here, and you’ll notice a variety of furniture sizes and shapes, as well as cool blues playing against warm yellows.

Darks and lights come into the picture, too. How many times have you walked into a room and sensed near-perfection, on account of a pleasing mix of light tones popping against deep blacks or dark wood floors?

Another attribute of memorable paintings is their ability to encourage lingering, just like an inviting home. Art teachers have stressed time and again that upon “entering” a painting, a viewer should be inspired to stay awhile, to move around and find interesting and different things to look at.

But what is it that makes you want to stay? That’s simple: Emotion. “A work of art, which did not begin in emotion, is not art,” artist Paul Cezanne once said.

That emotional tug is precisely what designers are challenged to create. It’s why top designers first tap into a client’s lifestyle, passions, and collections before ever bringing up colors, patterns, and design tastes.

Have you noticed that the best design makeover shows on HGTV feature homeowners who cry when they first set eyes upon their made-over space? Typically, the show’s designers have masterfully incorporated something like Grandmother’s tablenor Dad’s photo collection or Mom’s antique rose garden into a vignette. The role emotion plays in design cannot be overstated.

This issue honors the “artist” in interior designers, architects, landscapers, and design specialists who create meaningful, winning “masterpieces” that exude excellent balance, composition, and emotion. From luxe living rooms to poolside retreats, these pages overflow with their superb designs.

Congratulations, Detroit Home Design Awards winners.

Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arles, Vincent van Gogh, 1889, oil on canvas.

Photograph by Herve Lewandowski, Courtesy RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY

(p.s. Bedroom in Arles can be seen at the Detroit Institute of Arts through May 28; it’s on loan from Musée d’Orsay in Paris.)