We walked by the store windows in New York City for years and admired the artistry of the self-contained worlds created behind a sheet of plate glass. When we moved to Sharon Springs and opened our own Mercantile, we tried to bring a little bit of that magic to our own little Main Street—usually with paper and glue!
(Click here to see some of the windows we created).
We would have never thought that one day we’d have the opportunity to create our own “little world”.
Bed Bath & Beyond store in Chelsea is now the only place in Manhattan where you can browse and feel and touch the Beekman 1802 Heirloom Collection, and to celebrate the launch we designed two huge windows for the store.
Here are some ideas we learned in the process that you can use in your own home:
Think of any room or corner in your home as a place that “tells a story”. What will happen in that spot? What memories will be created? Will you or any of your guests want to be a part of that story you are creating? The story that we wanted to tell in the windows was how our design inspiration comes directly from the farm and how those elements could translate into an apartment that a person in NYC calls their home.
Sketch out a plan (even if you can’t sketch!).
You can see that sometimes things come out exactly as you envisioned…
And sometimes you have to adapt as things don’t work out as planned.
When decorating a room, don’t be afraid to add an element of surprise. In the window we combined bales of straw with our furniture and bedding to help tell the story of “country meets city”
Here we used old crates as shelving units. Think of lighting and shadow as actual textures. Use different styles and wattage bulbs to create layers and spotlight areas of particular interest.
Every room or nook should have “one singular sensation”. This is a stand out piece or conversation-starter that will make the room memorable. Here we’ve used a rusty, 2 foot tall metal letter from an old gas station sign.
If there are architectural details (pipe or duct work or odd angles), don’t feel the need to mask or conceal them. Sometimes that just draws unwanted attention. Instead try to place something nearby to draw the eye away from that area.
This is the access point to the display window. As you can see in slide #4, we drew the eye away from the obvious lines of the door by hanging a large black poster to divert the gaze.
You can create an entire world in very little space. The window well is only 3 feet wide, but actually has great visual depth.
Think of the area as having visual planes (do you remember planes from high school geometry or old episodes of Star Trek?). We created depth of field by first painting a mural of the farm and then layering in front of it. You do this all the time in your home. The first layer is your paint or wallcovering. Then you add a shelf. Then objects on that shelf. Then seating in front of that shelf.
Make sure that you think about function as much as form. If you can’t really live in the space, you’ll never really love it.
Lastly, build a huge metal scaffolding frame to sit on and admire your handiwork
If you are a Bed Bath and Beyond shopper, you can see the entire Beekman 1802 Heirloom Collection by clicking here