Designer Tips

Proof That Decorating Opposites CAN Attract

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When Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell traded in their city digs to become country dwellers, their new way of life soon became a sensation, thanks to their TV show, The Fabulous Beekman Boys—named after their home, Beekman Farm. In their new book, Beekman 1802 Style: The Attraction of Opposites, they share their unique aesthetic, where rustic meets refined, old is combined with new, and highbrow mixes with lowbrow to beautiful effect. Here, a few of our favorite lessons in decorating with opposites, straight from the pages of this new tome.

 

Mismatched chairs, a 1930s table, and a Noguchi paper lantern—all come together beautifully. What really makes this room work is the use of curved shapes, from the backs of the chairs to the light fixture.

Mismatched chairs, a 1930s table, and a Noguchi paper lantern—all come together beautifully. What really makes this room work is the use of curved shapes, from the backs of the chairs to the light fixture.

How many times have you seen a version of these twin beds? They are a staple of so many guest rooms, but look how easily you can give your guests something to write home about by adding a blingy mirrored desk (that doubles as a nightstand) and some generous pops of color.

How many times have you seen a version of these twin beds? They are a staple of so many guest rooms, but look how easily you can give your guests something to write home about by adding a blingy mirrored desk (that doubles as a nightstand) and some generous pops of color.

Old Meets New

One of the biggest decorating challenges arises when something old or vintage comes into your ultramodern home, or you fall in love with a new vase from Ikea that seems to have no relation to any of the pieces of antique furniture that you scavenged from your grandmother’s attic. Hey, you can’t help what (or whom) you fall in love with!

But these styles can work wonderfully together when you find something to unify them. Color? Shape? Texture? Theme? Everything old really can be new again if you only look at it in a new way.

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In this “wow moment” entryway, the wallpaper, the woven baskets, the pendant light, and the pottery take the mind to the Orient, but it’s all brought back home by pairing these elements with the cabinets lined with chicken wire.

In this “wow moment” entryway, the wallpaper, the woven baskets, the pendant light, and the pottery take the mind to the Orient, but it’s all brought back home by pairing these elements with the cabinets lined with chicken wire.

An Italian chandelier, a mid-century Parsons table clad in bird’s-eye maple veneer, and a Louis XVI–style mirror show that even a taste for the exotic can be brought together in a tasteful way.

An Italian chandelier, a mid-century Parsons table clad in bird’s-eye maple veneer, and a Louis XVI–style mirror show that even a taste for the exotic can be brought together in a tasteful way.

East Meets West

The lessons here are twofold. First, don’t assume that items with an ethnic or more “global” feel won’t work in your home. If you love something, you can find a way to make it work. Second, when you move into a new house, you may not have the financial resources to undo the work of the prior owners. Don’t let this deter you. Sometimes the most brilliant combinations come from being exposed to layout and design challenges you would have never otherwise thought of.

This kitchen uses an antique crock as a trash or compost receptacle.
The interior is painted black, which references the same lines and tones in the hanging lamps.

This kitchen uses an antique crock as a trash or compost receptacle.
The interior is painted black, which references the same lines and tones in the hanging lamps.

Imagine this bathroom with a standard white pedestal sink. The wallpaper would not have the same effect if the pop of extra black were not on the base of the sink.

Imagine this bathroom with a standard white pedestal sink. The wallpaper would not have the same effect if the pop of extra black were not on the base of the sink.

Black Meets White

People often ask us the key to our successful long-term relationship. We tell them that it’s our differences that make us compatible. The same idea applies to finding a successful relationship between the objects in your home. Through contrast, we achieved harmony.

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Related: Inside Designer Timothy Corrigan’s Lavish and Layered L.A. Home >

Join the Discussion

Join the Discussion

2 Responses to “Proof That Decorating Opposites CAN Attract”

  1. cookala says:

    Did the Beekman Boys decorate their home themselves or was someone hired to do it? I see so many magazines featuring homes that are not decorated by those who there live but by outsiders. Just don’t understand letting someone else decorate your own living space, it’s the vision of the decorator one sees, not that of those who live there. I love Brent and Josh, follow them on facebook, have bought items from them, love the farm, the animals, all of it.

  2. emisimmons says:

    Thats is a gorgeous pedestal sink. Where can I get it?

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