Rule Maker and Breaker
Despite knowing precious little about Billy Baldwin, the decorated 20th century decorator, the little I do know, I love. And I feel a deep vein connects me to him. It was his quotes that hooked me-his rooms were secondary. I did look at a few of his projects just to be sure he wasn’t blowing smoke. He wasn’t.
Until a friend gave me a little book, “Sweet Nothings” Notes, Quotes & Ruminations on Not Much, Billy Baldwin was only a name. It was in the big subject of ‘not much’ that I discovered that Billy’s Rules and my Rules are simpatico.
Here’s the quote that piqued my interest. “Nothing-at-all is better than second-best. Never fill an empty space just to fill it. Second-best is expensive, while nothing costs nothing.” Amen. I was hopeful that Baldwin and I would agree on other things. I was not disappointed.
“One of my favorite colors is no color at all.” Agreed.
“Lately I’ve been thinking how comfort is perhaps the ultimate luxury.” Yep.
“Stick to things you really love. An honest room is always up to date.” True.
“I don’t think anyone has the right to possess anything he doesn’t love- art or anything else.” Sounds right.
“The word that almost makes me throw up is satin. Damask makes me throw up.” Hallelujah
I love his rules. Without even knowing that I knew them, they have always guided me. Learning Baldwin’s decorating philosophy confirms that the principles used in feathering my nest are not just personal quirks. That our nest will never be featured in any publication or showcased on any home tour matters not. It’s a private nest for my flock- family and friends. It’s honest. It’s comfortable. It’s home to things that we love. It’s long on off-white- my favorite non-color. It’s full of empty. And I assure you it’s devoid of satin and damask!
Baldwin is both a rule maker and a rule breaker. “The first rule of interior designing is that you can break almost all the rules.”
Mind you, this truth requires a general knowledge of the rules. How can you flout a rule if you don’t even know the rule exists? Amen again! Rules make decisions easier. Think of them as guardrails for imaginings gone amok. They'll keep “What was I thinking?” at bay. What are the rules that guide you? They don’t have to be Billy’s or mine. Define yours. Practice them. And even break them.
Your best nest awaits!