brooke moorhead design getting to the finish line featured image

Getting to the Finish Line

Art and accessories abound in this home, thanks to the client’s extensive collection.
Photo: Jon Heil

There’s nothing more difficult than getting to the finish line of a project. Whether you’re trying to figure out the last piece of furniture you’ve been stuck on, decide on art, place some accessories, or fine tune your organization, you may find you feel burnt out.

The secret no one tells you at the beginning of a construction project is that the punch list can be excruciating. And the thing you’re not expecting at the end of a furnishings project is that you will need throws, pillows, trays, vases and the like to make the place look balanced and not like a furniture warehouse. Finding the right accessories takes time, and it can go as wrong as a bad furniture plan. Not to mention the fact that fine accessories can cost quite a lot (but they can also be quiet reasonable if you know the right places to go).

My scheming process in the accessories phase. I take a photograph of the incomplete space and add items to an image board as I find them.

To get the ball down the field, you have to have heart. And to achieve greatness, you have to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, and then you have to accessorize. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it DOES have to be finished. Getting it done is sometimes just about taking a leap, trying stuff out, and being flexible with the result.

A floral arrangement I tested in a new vase for a client. Photo: BMD

On the subject of flexibility: most of my projects take twists and turns along the way that are unexpected, and that’s a good thing. You don’t want to have a showroom as the end product; you want to have a home. Often, a home will feel most unique and interesting when things happened in the design process that were surprises, or at least unplanned, and this is most fun when it happens at the end with the finishing touches.

A simple dining room, transformed with the use of a mirror and a dramatic yet airy floral arrangement. Photography: Jon Heil

I always have a scheme for a project I follow along the way, but when I survey the end product, things are always a bit different, and each project has its own character because of that. When it comes to finalizing accessories, I find it’s difficult to do one item at a time, bit by bit. There are usually as many accessories in a project as there are pieces of furniture, so choosing them can take as long as it took to choose the furniture itself. No one has the stamina at the end of a project for that kind of legwork, so I like to bring in a lot of accessories all at once, play around with the placement, and see what sticks. The result can be transformative, and it’s very exciting to see a project come to life with the accents.

My apartment in TriBeCa was a lesson in layering in accessories. Most items came from my family’s past. Included: my husband’s art (which he himself painted), my mother’s and grandmother’s collections from their trips to France, and my own acquisitions. The place came together in unexpected ways as items found their homes.
Photo: Jon Heil

Lastly, never underestimate the power of a good floral arrangement. Next time you’re on Instagram looking at pictures of cool rooms, note whether there is a flower arrangement and note how much it adds to the shot.

Now, go finish!

In good design,
Brooke

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