Every Pretty Room Needs a Touch of Ugly

I probably should have subtitled this post Crazy Erin’s Rules, because I won’t be surprised if most of the world thinks I took a side trip down magic mushroom alley on my way to crack town. But if we all worry about what most of the world thinks then no one will ever do anything interesting. So I say if not ugly, then every room at least needs something weird or vaguely dangerous or just plain unexpected. Something that feels a little alien, something that heightens contrast. A touch of ugly sharpens pretty and blurs the line between decorating and art.

design crisis

I am obsessssssed with this room. That top drawing is the stuff of nightmares, naked lady or not. But the juxtaposition of confrontational and demure is perfect and amazing. 100% commitment is everything here.

design crisis

Robert Couturier is a master at creating tension and contrast by combining traditional and contemporary elements in unexpected ways. I think I should hate that rug and the red on red on red, but in this space I love it. I can never figure out how his rooms began, and that is probably why I like his work so much. There is no formula, no magic combination of proscribed perfectly matched elements. It comes off as pure alchemy. For me, adding one detail that feels a little off, or disturbing, or rough around the edges, is a step in that direction and away from overdecorated doom.

Some food for thought:

design crisis

design crisis

design crisis

design crisis

design crisis

design crisis

design crisis

design crisis

design crisis

A splash of ugly is the punctum — the piercing of the veil. It’s the thing that recalls humanity and brings life to a room.

Or at least that’s what I think. How about you? Maybe I’ve been watching too much True Detective.