Food for Thought: Scale and Lighting

I was struck recently by the comment from the designer Samantha Pittel in the June 2012 issue of House Beautiful.  To set the background - She designed a kitchen in Kentfield California mixing a few antiques with new cabinetry.  The lights she used are one of those antiques and are actually from the galley of a Dutch ship found in Gaul Searson, a store in San Francisco.  The comment that struck me was this: “Christine Pittel [interviewer]: The [cabinet] knobs may be small, but those lights are huge.  Samantha Lyman:  Aren’t they great?  They’re from an old Dutch ship and they’re made of copper, coated with enamel to resist moisture, which comes in handy with all the steam in a kitchen.  I like putting large and small objects together.  If everything is the same scale, it can be a little boring.”

Thinking about scale in a room, especially playing with different scales, is a really interesting element to focus on.  I know that as I have designed my house in the past, I have chosen everything in generally the same scale, from the patterns on my chair fabric to the tables and lights, and I love what she says about differing the scale making it exciting.  Looking at the picture of the kitchen, you see what she’s talking about.

Photograph from House Beautiful

Photograph from House Beautiful

Ms. Lyman goes on to say:  “I love the classics, but I’m always asking, ‘What’s the twist?  What’s the cheeky element that gets your attention?’  Those lights are it.  They’re very masculine and they balance out the jewelry.”  (she had earlier made the point that choosing quite small knobs on the cabinetry made them feel like jewelry)

I love this idea, and am going to play with it as I make further design choices.  I could see doing this with picking bigger prints on rugs, or fabrics on chairs, prints on lampshades (interestingly I've already done that, to be written about in a future post), or even the scale of artwork on your walls.   Food for thought as you think about your home.