Recently a friend asked me if I would be interested in joining her for a presentation featuring a well-known interior designer from New York. I know the designer's work and am drawn to his particular sense of style.
The presentation was titled "American Design in the New Century" and I was curious to see how he might be applying his unique style in today's economic climate, so I agreed to go.
As his talk proceeded, accompanied by beautiful photos depicting gorgeous lofts and apartments in New York City and elsewhere, the 'country houses' (most second or third residences for their owners) and the sources where the designer was shopping - all I could think about was where is this guy coming from? Was it me? or was the rest of the audience feeling the same?
When the presentation was over, I turned to my friend and reluctantly said "the best thing about the whole presentation was a wall of simple office supply clipboards and the artwork clipped to them". Me too! she exclaimed. I felt vindicated.
Later that evening, she called me. She recapped the rest of the day's events and told me about a conversation she had with a designer who also attended the morning talk. "Loved that wall of clip boards!", she said. We shared a good laugh.
My point? Even in the most expensive, elaborate and over-the-top homes, the creative use of something as simple, inexpensive and accessible as those clipboards were, made the biggest, most memorable impression.
As for American Design in the New Century? Based on the last few years of it's first decade, most Americans have come to realize, appreciate and celebrate what is simple and familiar. A creative twist to an everyday object will trump over-the-top and expensive any day.
This article originally appeared in Lifestyle Insights on May 13, 2010