Nancy Braithwaite’s guiding principal in design is no surprise. Of course, it is striving for simplicity, the title of her book, but as she so aptly states, “there is nothing simple about it.”
Nancy goes on to explain her very analytical approach to design where she boils down every last element of a design solution to its purest, most powerful and balanced form, with “no compromise in the details”. She extolls the virtue of the highly educated eye, and the ability to truly “see” with discipline, rigor, integrity and skill.” Nothing is serendipitous or left to chance. She adds that learning to truly see has taken her a lifetime of “dedicated work, intense and constant practice.”
Nancy has found that governed by the principal of simplicity has led her to certain design techniques, perhaps one being the most essential. Nancy designs guided by the law of subtraction. Better to have 3 perfect pieces rather than 10 very good ones. She strives for a powerful composition where she is always left with the “best”, when she applies the old rule of objects first proclaimed by antiques dealer Albert Sack of “good, better, best.”
Nancy’s exceedingly careful, studied approach sounds like it would be right up my alley. I am all about educating your eye-basically that is what this entire blog is all about.
And of course, Nancy Braithwaite’s rooms take your breath away. When I received my press copy of Simplicity (thank you Sarah Burningham of Little Bird Publicity) and was told I was limited to 5 images in my post, it took me hours to decide which ones.
But dear reader, today I feel a bit like a fraud. When I design a space, it’s visceral. Yup, it comes from my gut. I am ashamed to admit that yes, indeed yes–my composition sometimes “just happens.”
Often later, after the flurry of installation, I see parallels that were subconscious before. Naturally, I like to believe that my years of study are constantly with me bubbling under the surface and that my educational efforts inform my choices even if my process is not as calculated as Nancy’s. (Curious about some of my rooms, are you?)
If only I had the glorious discipline of Nancy Braithwaite.
In my opinion, every interior designer and design buff will learn something from her beautiful book, even if you only pour over the stunning photography by Simon Upton, and don’t read her prose. So much more will be gained if you take the time to actually read it.
I know, I for one, will make a greater effort to draw on the lawyer side of my brain–its analytical part– the next time I am faced with a design decision. Can’t wait to see what result *that* achieves.
Now without further ado, just drink in these remaining 4 images and know that much, much more awaits within the pages of Simplicity.
Lynn Byrne received a free review copy of this book. As always, all opinions remain her own. All photographs are by Simon Upton.