ISSUE 14  |  Warm Minimalism

Required Reading: The Stuff of Life

April 11, 2014 11:00 AM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

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British stylist Hilary Robertson has spent many years in New York perfecting interiors for magazines, such as Elle Decoration, Real Simple, and Town & Country. Along the way, she’s become an expert at The Stuff of Life, the apt title of her forthcoming new book devoted to the art of display.

In the first two chapters, “How to Arrange Your Stuff” and “Where to Arrange It,” the stylist draws on her experience and dispenses valuable advice on corralling the things in your life. The second part of the book, “Stories Told by Real Homes,” provides inspiration from real-life examples. Whether you’re a passionate collector looking for ways to display your finds, or a minimalist on a mission to tame the clutter, The Stuff of Life has you covered. Here’s a prepublication preview of our favorite arrangements from the book.

And, by the way, we know where we fall on the minimalist-maximalist spectrum. What about you? Fill is in in the comments section below.

Photography by Anna Williams

Above: A sage green wall provides a calm backdrop for a display of mottled enamel kettles from the first years of the 20th century.

Above: A picture can ground an arrangement. In Josephine Ekström’s home in Sweden, Robertson calls our attention to the use of a Deborah Bowness wallpaper panel as an anchor for a tabletop display.

Above: Rustic and modern mingle well: here, Ekström pairs Eames Eiffel chairs in earthy colors with a farm table.  

Above: In the beadboard-paneled living room of her summer house in Copenhagen, Danish designer Charlotte Vadum uses daybeds—placed at right angles to each other—in lieu of sofas, and brings the room to life with textiles, favorite objects, and art.

Above: A 1960’s sideboard in Vadum’s living room was selected because it creates a strong horizontal element against the vertical beadboarding.

Above: Against the black stove, Vadum’s textiles in natural brown tones blend together into a secondary visual layer. 

Above: Kitchen cabinets painted a deep cobalt blue add an unexpected contrast to the dark wood mantel in retailer Liza Sherman’s New York apartment, where kitchen utensils are repurposed as light fixtures and frying pans hang as wall decor.

Above: The Stuff of Life by Hilary Robertson, photographed by Anna Williams and published by Ryland Peters and Small, will be available starting on April 30 from Amazon; pre-orders are available for $24.92. The book is available in the UK through Amazon for £25.

Looking for more ways to arrange your things? How about Plates as Decor or Paintings in the Kitchen? And over on Gardenista, there’s a handy DIY arrangement to be had in Medicine Vials as Wall Vases.