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Designers debate: Gallery wall or statement piece?
Dec 15, 2017
Staff

Robert Stilin and Shawn Henderson (friends and office neighbors with studios down the hall from one another) duke it out on how to live with the art they love—layered, salon-style gallery walls or singular statement pieces.

Designers debate: Gallery wall or statement piece?
Robert Stilin; Shawn Henderson

Robert Stilin, Robert Stilin, LLC
Salon-style artwork allows you to show the breadth of a collection—it creates warmth and comfort for me in my own home, and my clients are drawn to that, too. Layering, when it is edited and organized, brings soul to a space. Practically speaking, if you want to do a salon-style wall, it takes 15 to 35 pieces of art, so you have to make choices and be decisive. Just start hanging things! You can’t overthink it and analyze every single piece. (And it doesn’t all have to be fine art. Buy a vintage wool 48-star American flag and get that framed!) I know a lot of art collectors who only have statement pieces, but I find that their places tend to be more museum-like. Shawn likes it more minimal, too—not conservative, exactly, just less stuff around. But then when he comes to my office, which is 45 times a day, he always wants to take everything home. He just can’t make a decision—that’s the real truth!

Shawn Henderson, Shawn Henderson Interior Design
I have five pieces of art in my whole house, so I love to tease Robert about all of his collections. I like his look, but it feels a little chaotic to me to personally do that. The same with accessories and books: I love them, but when I try to load it all on there, I always end up peeling it way back to create more breathing room and space. Using statement pieces has a cleanliness and spareness to it, but that doesn’t mean the space is lacking warmth—that comes out through the materials and fabric choices, in the overall palette of a room. I think if you came to our offices, you’d see that Robert and I have a lot of the same stuff, but there’s a subtle shift in how we combine things that makes us different. (That, and the fact that, in case you haven’t noticed, he’s not afraid to throw a flag into a project.)

This article originally appeared in the Business of Home Winter 2018, Issue 6. Download the issue or subscribe.
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