Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fresh Starts!

Before I decided to pursue interior design, my former career was in retail window display and visual merchandising. Every January my former vocation seems to come to mind. After all the work of decorating a large retail store for Christmas it was almost painful to think of eradicating any signs of it from the premises. To abandon all the red, sparkle and luxe the look of Christmas defines; the New Year was usually met with a different visual approach.

This visual language usually consisted of tones of blue, aqua and indigo while incorporating natural textures like linen and burlap. The textiles used were usually of an exotic nature like paisley, ikat or batik. The merchandising theme to accompany this departure was usually called “Fresh Starts”, or some related variation. This was meant to quite literally represent the visual equivalent to the “Anti-Christmas”. Depending on what retail establishment you worked for you might or might not be promoting Valentines Day which might or might not mean using more red as a display device so a firm demarcation was required to erase the former holiday away.

I’ve been thinking about this idea since ringing in 2011 and trying to apply it to an interior design context. What would “Fresh Starts”, or the “Anti-Christmas” look like in an interior? I’m thinking light, airy spaces that feel like a vacation. Some good examples might be some of the legendary Michael Taylor’s later work, a Moroccan Riad, or perhaps the work of Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz. The possibilities are endless.

What are your “Fresh Starts”? Whatever this means for you, just breathe and let the holidays become a memory!

David Hansen

Photographs from top:

1) Bergdorf Goodman window display May 23, 2008 photographed by Rudy Panzano for

2) The Mondrian Hotel with interior by Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz.

3) Dixneuf La Ksour Riad from Hoosta magazine.

4) Michael Taylor interior photographed by Russell MacMasters from Architectural Digest.

5) Nacho Polo interior photographed by Andrea Satini from


Anonymous said...

I'm a former VM&SD junkie too, and my concept of a visual display that diverts the viewer from any Holiday reminders usually refers to warm & sunny places. Think Summer, Sunshine, but something that has evolved away from "Beige."


The background should have a hint of color any sunny place except Italy is allowed.

Kendra Boutell said...

Hi Guys, I nominated you for the Stylish Blog Award. Check out my Porcelains and Peacocks Blog for the info. xo, Kendra

Ashfield Hansen Design Inc. said...

Thank you Kendra!

Barbara & David