Marilyn Frank of F2 - Add Light, Form, Color, Context to your Home

This is Part II of the Marilyn Frank/F2 interview.  Part I is here.  In this part, Marilyn tells us how to incorporate her design ideals into interior design. 

Marilyn Frank of F2 - Add Light, Form, Color, Context to your Home

Judging from the picture on your profile, your apartment also seems to capture what you're going for in your work: light, form, color and context. How about 4 tips for other Curbliers to help them make their places better? One for light, for form, for color, and for context?

Well-placed light can really make a room.  sometimes you only have one light source in a room, and it's a small window facing a fire escape. best thing to do is find lighting that has a dimmer that can cast a nice glow when fully lit.  that's why i love rice paper lamps, and white lamps in general.  when lamps have colored shades it's not always the best thing to use if you have weak or minimal light sources.  white works the best in making light expand and fill a space.  also if you must use curtains, again, i have to suggest the white!  we have white curtains in our living room which only gets eastern exposure in the morning and the glow is amazing!  i know it sounds boring to have white curtains, but if you don't have a lot of light it can really make a room feel more open and bright.  also yellow could be nice, or whatever resonates with you, but make sure it's going to open up the room as opposed to close it off.  and if you have too much light, then the opposite can be done nicely.

The shapes of your furnishings, and the form they create when placed in a grouping or setting should always be functional, above all else. if a chair is too big and cumbersome for a table you paired it with, you'll feel uncomfortable; and likewise, the reverse is true.  finding the right proportions is essential to the flow of energy in a room.  a small couch in a huge empty loft might feel all right, but can get lost so pairing it with other elements, like interesting shelving, chairs, tables can help balance it out.  when i first moved to nyc in my 20's, i lived with a guy who had a HUGE couch and our studio was only 500 square feet!  it was really annoying, cumbersome and claustrophobic.

color is such a subjective thing but should be chosen after you've decided what the function of that room will be.  for our home studio, we knew it would be a work space and we needed light.  but because it's a basement, it was even more important that we made it seem lighter and less "basement-like."  so we didn't use any color on the walls, and installed a nice row of track lighting in the back, a hanging pendant light in the corner, and flood lights in the ceiling. most of these things were already wired in place, so we just had to choose the right bulbs.  light and color are so intertwined.  so by lighting the space as much as we did, we didn't need to use so much color.  most of the color is in the furnishings which was enough for us.  in contrast, our home office has a blue motif...the floors are light blue and dark blue, with dark blue painted trim (white walls also, since the office is also in the basement).

even if you live in a one room studio, always consider the context in which the elements relate to each other.  in working out the furnishings and design of the rooms of our house, we considered how each room, when walking from one to another, makes sense and reflects who we are.  in one or two rooms, consider how all the elements relate to each other and how the forms and colors interrelate.  we were going for a cohesiveness, choosing elements that made sense when placed near each other.  if something doesn't work, it goes in storage or to the salvation army!

the best guage is to use your intuition or gut feeling about something.  don't overanalyze!  if something's not working, leave it alone and let it sit until you feel ready to deal with it again, and an answer will come.


Thanks Marilyn!!  I think anyone can put these ideas to work in their own home. 

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