John wheatman

John Wheatman could’ve saved me years of interior design angst.

December 26, 2016

[This post was originally published on November 26, 2016 in my now-folded blog Mrs. Ramsey & Me.]

John Wheatman’s excellent book, A Good House Is Never Done, has elevated my compulsive nesting. A good house reflects its inhabitants. It’s OK and desirable to be always growing, and therefore tweaking. Here are my top 5 take-aways; what were yours?  

1. SIZE MATTERS, at least for coffee tables. It took me more than 2 years of design angst (and many returns) to grasp this lesson on my own. After agonizing over style, color, material, texture, shape… it turns out that the single most important attribute in a coffee table is its size. In John’s words: “I’ll fight for big coffee tables until the day I die.”

2. In a kitchen, if you don’t skip upper cupboards altogether, skip the hardware. John’s kitchens are all different, but all the same. Wether traditional, rustic or modern on the bottom, they’re all modern on top. John expertly dresses upper cabinets with plain slab doors to deliver all the refinement with none of the (storage) sacrifice. Here’s a great example (requires Dwell account; design not by John Wheatman).

3. Tear down those closets, and reclaim square footage to living space. Armoires can add character to your room, and built-ins can do the job more efficiently and elegantly than a framed-in closet ever could.

3. Dark walls can look stunning, especially when white floating shelves run across them. I’ve been playing it safe for a long time, but John’s work has given me courage to paint our dining room accent wall black. Stay tuned!

4. Mirror, mirror on the wall… John expertly places large mirrors perpendicular to a wall of windows, inside glass door cabinets, in a niche above the fridge, and across the entire vanity wall in the bathroom. The outcome is always a win.

5. “It’s not what you have… but what you do with what you have that counts.” John urges us not to wait for perfection, whether we’re working heirlooms or hand-me-downs, treasured acquisitions or ‘good enough for now’ pieces into your homes. Enjoy the ride. Look at what you have in a new light. Create drama. Make your everyday special.

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