Is The Collected Look Out of Style?

By Lynn Byrne. Noted New York antique dealer, Niall Smith, says in an article in the October Elle Decor, that the collected look is “definitely out.” Granted he calls it the “cluttered look.” But the implication is that decorating with multiple groupings of objects gathered leisurely is no longer fashionable. He adds “simplicity is in.”

Of course, no one likes clutter. But I believe that a home where collections are varied and accumulate over time, still holds great appeal.

Think Bunny Williams and her very popular book An Affair With A House. I find this room, from the book, with all of its objects, quite charming.

And, of course, Bunny is by no means alone. Charlotte Moss’ aesthetic also celebrates collections. I think she is the absolute master of the gallery wall.

But it is not just these iconic decorating doyennes’ who favor a “collected” look in a home.

Just last month, the editor-in chief of Martha Stewart Living,┬áPilar Guzman, wrote about the new home for her young family as finally acquiring a needed “second layer.” She describes that desired layer as “the patina that settles once the smell of new paint wears off and your aren’t afraid to hang your favorite drawings and photographs or place sentimental objects on the mantel.”

Perhaps Smith would call that clutter, but I would call that life, and moreover, I think such living can be done with great taste. Here is a glimpse of Pilar’s vast book collection reflected in a mirror over her fireplace.

And I love the mix of periods and styles in her dining room.

There are a few gallery walls in the brownstone as well–I just can’t scan at the moment (you don’t want to know) to show you. Grab yourself an issue.

Just this morning I came upon a blog house tour of a young family in one of my daily reads, Design Mom, which featured the home of Blair Stocker, author of wise craft blog. Her home was first shown on Apartment Therapy. Blair says that everything in the home was collected over time. It looks wonderfully cozy to me.

Just like home.

Do you think the collected look is passe?

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  1. pretty pink tulips says

    I think if the collecting is done from the heart and is grouped well….it’s never passe.

    I love a collection that tells a story about the person. Clutter….on the other hand, is always passe. And, sadly, I sometimes cross over that line!

    Have a great weekend, Lynn!
    ~ Elizabeth

  2. says

    I agree – room for both!! If there’s one thing I learned after this week in London, it’s that the design world is a wonderful eclectic place. And the mix of old and new is what is most definitely on the horizon!!

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