By Carleton Varney- Special to the Palm Beach Daily News
Are you a minimalist or a maximalist? Or maybe a bit of both?
In the decorating world, we’re constantly seeing new names and titles to describe design styles and those who love them.
I have always said home fashions follow the clothing styles of any era. Victorian furniture — all bustled and tufted — was a reflection of the dress of the times. Ladies wore bustles with their long dresses, and velvet was the height of fashion.
Let’s go back a bit farther to the French court of Louis XIV, where ladies wore high wigs but sat low, thanks to chairs with low-to-the-ground legs designed to accommodate those long and fuller-than-full skirts.
These days, when the world is far more casual and jeans seem to the fashion of choice across the globe, the most popular style of chairs and sofas has become minimal, too. Many a minimalist has bid farewell to damask upholstery, maintaining that less is more. My comment, as a confirmed maximalist, is that less is less — and maybe getting “lesser.”
Will the maximalist approach still be relevant in the next 10 years? I say, without hesitation: Yes, and perhaps even more relevant.
In Palm Beach, for example, more of what I see in homes today is maximalist, yet there are exceptions. The exceptions are those homes whose occupants have left their maximalist residences in New York or L.A. or Atlanta, opting for a simpler, more carefree beach-house look for vacations, where wicker and rattan reign supreme. But that look is changing, too, giving way to sweeping white leather- or vinyl-covered sectionals and contemporary decorative accents and modern art. And don’t forget those contemporary lighting fixtures with their own Sputnik charm.
I write this for the maximalists, to let you all know you that you, too, have a name of your own. I encourage you to enjoy the visual arts in abundance — the lovely porcelains, the fine fabrics, the Asian-inspired lamps, the fine chandeliers, the floral patterns and the flower vases. I say: Prize the paintings of yesteryear but also the artwork of today. I believe a beautiful home can embrace the grace of yesterday and the best of today, with plenty of space to accommodate the designs — and the art — of the future.
Think, for a minute, about Dale Chihuly’s wonderful glass art. His handsome, colored-glass pieces bring sparkle and contemporary shapes into the home: Small pieces can enliven a table top, while larger pieces find a place on a pedestal or hang, as a light fixture, from the ceiling. For the well-heeled minimalist or the maximalist, Chihuly glass will always be a classic choice.