Small is the New Big

Hello MARtians-- TGIF! 

No matter where I am, I am always looking for the next big thing. Little did I know, the next big thing is not big at all. Lately, when it comes to living spaces and designs, small is replacing oversized, overdone and out of scale. Truth be told, my focus for season two of “Life on Mar’s: The Home Makeover Show” is transforming six smaller homes by applying big style, big designs, and big visual impact. You will love it! 

In my real estate business, I am seeing a trend upward in sizing down. However, do not confuse downsizing with sacrificing. It is really all about small details and human scale spaces that deliver big in lifestyle enhancement. As opposed to large, cold spaces with zero detail, envision this: well-thought-out vignettes in more intimate scaled rooms, filled with decorative millwork, charming built-ins and lots of warmth.  

Here in my home, Rosebrook Gardens, my signature style of Casual Luxury puts a lot of stock in properly considering a space’s size and scale. No room is too big and no room is too small. The main defining factor is that form always follows function, and no space is too incidental not to be well-appointed to make the most of it.

For example, a small, second-floor landing can be both useful and beautiful. In this photo, you will see a demi Lune table, a lamp, a well-scaled ottoman and a few decorative books. The cute canine knick-knack perches whimsically on top of the books to bring a detail that speaks to the homeowner’s personality--in this case, my love for dogs.

The lack of window treatment on the window allows the hall to be flooded with light and the true divided light window and custom millwork to be the star. (Designer Tip: I purposefully consider each window and doorway in my home as a frame to guide design and placement—as if I was looking at a painting.) I dare to go bare whenever privacy is not an issue. Just look at that sky! Mother Nature surely puts any artist to shame.

So, the next time you are looking to transform a large room or make a small space look bigger, think about the small details. Scale down big rooms with compartmentalized zones—smaller areas that are linked by cohesive colors and textures. Small spaces can be enlivened with multiple decorative zones where thoughtful little touches distract the eye from size and scale and bring focus to the details. 

Therefore, the next time you’re out and looking for design inspiration, consider small items that offer a big return on investment. Want to learn more about my design sMARt tips and Casual Luxury philosophy? Click here to order a copy of my latest book: “Life on Mar’s: Creating Casual Luxury.”

As always, Keep it Casual!