Harmonious spaces are difficult to create. Unless a person is born with an innate design or homemaking sense, which many of us are not, it can become overwhelming trying to pull an apartment, or even a room, together. Interior designers, HGTV, and modern furniture stores make it look so easy. Catalogues present spaces as if you one just buy the perfect space off of a shelf, as if each home doesn’t come with its own quirks and alcoves and awkwardly-shaped rooms that require real thinking through.
Back in June, before I knew Hayloft existed (which would have made this whole project a WHOLE lot easier), my roommate and I decided that our living room needed sprucing up. We wanted a new look to replace the stuff that had been there when we moved in. So, we went all over the city looking for pieces that would work in our space. We went to vintage furniture stores, brand new furniture stores, thrift stores; we looked online, we looked in catalogues. And we realized how difficult it was to actually picture any of the stuff we were looking at in our living space. We ended up buying things bit by bit, stressing that it would never work together, and feeling totally relieved when, months later, once everything was bought, we looked at it with fresh eyes one day and saw that it did look pretty great. (Actually, I did recently add a little settee from Hayloft to the mix, which I had intended to put in my bedroom but which made a stop in the living room on its way and has stayed; and it looks really good, too.)
One space that really inspires me, and that you may have seen me posting about on Instagram, is the Willow Avenue Atelier around the corner from us. It is a little artists' studio that three artists use as their own painting space and also welcome a few students into each day (look it up if you’re interested in learning from them!), and it is just beautiful. They have divided the space into smaller studios, a kitchen, a little office space, and a living room area; and they let in the perfect amount of light to make it feel cozy and bright at once. They have beautiful little objects everywhere, on shelves and on windowsills, many of which they use as subjects in their paintings. And their paintings – rich, sultry still-lifes and portraits - hang everywhere, tastefully spaced out so that one can appreciate each of them. Their living room space consists of a library of books, a couch, and a spacious, lean-back wooden bench that they bought at Hayloft and that they say is incredibly comfortable. They have put the space together thoughtfully; it is a refuge, a safe space of calm, reflection, and (most importantly for them, of course) creativity.
I don’t think that there is a formula for creating such spaces. The artists of Willow Avenue Atelier – Judy, Missy, and Eddie - often come into Hayloft to take a look around with no plan in mind. Or, sometimes, they have an object in mind that they have the space for or want to paint, but they don’t know quite what it looks like yet. I think that it is only once they find something beautiful that they can find the perfect space for it. And then they go home to their cozy studio and spend the afternoon rearranging; that is something you have to want to make time for, that you have to love doing (or to love hiring someone to do ;)).
Next week, I will be posting about some interior designers that I have discovered. Following interior designers on Instagram and reading interior design blogs can be so much fun, and it can be a wonderful resource when you’re feeling overwhelmed (when, for example, you first open the new Hayloft catalogue and look at 450 items you want but are not quite sure how to place). Pinterest is also a great place to look: stay attuned to our Pinterest page, which I am working on expanding and growing and loving!
As always, thank you for Haylofting!