Welcome to Why This Works, a new Curbed column in which decorator and former shelter-magazine editor Alexa Stevenson looks point-blank at professionally decorated rooms and breaks down the elements that make it work. Have a suggestion for someone whose work should be showcased? Do let us know.
Most people might raid a Ben & Jerry's post break-up, but Los Angeles-based designer Trip Haenisch does what he does best: decorate. After a long-term relationship ended, Haenisch, who counts Courteney Cox among his clients, was tasked with filling his Beverly Hills apartment with a mix of pieces that he loved. "I wanted it to look collected," he says, "but also make it fun and uplifting." Below, a closer look at Haenisch's space.
1. Color schemes can either make or break a space. "I like using neutrals because they really help to tie everything together and provide a good canvas to set art and furniture against," says Haenisch. Here, the ceilings are painted the same colors of the walls, lending a light and lofty feel while also making the space feel larger. "There’s one really bold piece of art in the room, a Donald Judd-inspired piece that I designed," but, explains Haenisch, "it all ties in together because of the of white backdrop."
2. Here, the seating is eclectic and varied. Even furniture that you might think is disparate can work together wonderfully. "I combined a Hans Wegner Ox chair with a vintage '50s Danish sofa," Haenisch says. "Objects from different eras create great vignettes within a home and the pieces themselves are interesting conversation starters. The final look is stunning yet effective."
3. "I like organized clutter," says Haenisch. "And I love my books and using them in decor: stack them up and use them, don't hide your books away." A custom-made console, taller than you'd expect, sits below the TV. "It works when things look more organic rather than planned."
4. Always take advantage of natural lighting. "One big mistake that designers often make is covering up windows with unnecessary drapery. Yes it’s dramatic and decorative, but the end result is a dark room."
5. Focus on great art. "For me it’s all about the art," explains Haenisch, "which isn’t necessarily hung on a wall." Take, for example, the blown-glass Venini orb in the corner or even the Herb Ritts ‘Backfall’ photo leaning against the wall. "The possibilities are endless; there’s a multitude of ways to display your collection."
· Trip Haenisch and Associates [official site]
· Elle Decor Kicks Off Summer With Courteney Cox Cover [Curbed National]
· All Why This Works columns [Curbed National]