Consistency. It’s one word that I’m not very good at using. One day I love the minimalist designed house in the country, and the next the house in the city with the baroque influence. Sometimes I really think I have design schizophrenia. However, my struggle with consistency is ultimately good because it reminds me how important it is to be consistent.
Well, what is consistency exactly? Consistency is a noun meaning conformity in the application of something, typically that which is necessary for the sake of logic, accuracy or fairness. From the definition, we can assume that consistency is important because it gives a sense of logic to the space and helps us understand it. When there is consistency a house, collection, wardrobe or outfit feels pulled together. It can be said to have a ‘style’.
I really noticed the importance of consistency when I was looking at Mark. D. Sikes’ work. In fact, in a blog post he wrote about his feature in House Beautiful, he mentions that it’s part of his design philosophy. He says: “The Design Philosophy was based on carrying consistent threads throughout to create a flow.” He mentions that in his house, these threads are “beautiful lighting, symmetry balanced with scale, and an eclectic, artful arrangement of furniture.”
Whether you call it consistency, common threads, or good bones, in order to have a successfully executed space, wardrobe, or collection you need sameness. You need something that pulls it all together. In today’s day and age, it can be very hard to settle on sameness as there is so much new and different to be had. Yet it is picking consistency over schizophrenia that ultimately allows one to be stylish.
Every so often I fall in love with a designer’s aesthetic. Usually when I do, there’s something that resonates with my own style, while also elevating my own design thinking. I stumbled on Mark D. Sikes’ home that was featured in an article on the new traditional in House Beautiful, which did just that. One of the things that resonated with me in the article was that Mark mentioned that “the interior is almost a literal translation of my wardrobe.” This spoke to me on a number of levels. First, my own design thinking comes out of my experience of working in a retail environment. When I worked in a retail store, and first started blogging about style, I realized I had the formula all wrong. I had always bought things I loved, but there was no consistency or common thread that ran through what I was buying. One day it might be bohemian, and the next lady-like and formal. I soon learned that while disparate elements were a part of creating a great style, they could not be the only elements — these disparate elements needed a base, something to hold on to. While most people view classic, traditional style as something your grandmother might aspire to, I see it as something else. I see it as creating a home base from where you can work. If the bones of your wardrobe or your room are simple, classic, and understated than you can easily incorporate elements of the exotic, bohemian, or lady-like without it appearing like you are wearing a costume or designing a theme house. As Mark says it’s all about the formula. The formula that I see in Mark’s work is classic bones, suffused with common threads, and adorned with unique, personal objects. It is this layered approach that creates a stylish wardrobe or interior.