Friday, May 11, 2012

A Room with a View

Great interior design tells a story.  I find it fascinating how Carlton Varney, in-house designer at the Greenbrier, uses the views between rooms to intensify his message.

It's easy to forget the importance of the relationship between rooms.

The view can highlight architectural features,

spotlight furniture or art, or visually expand the size of the room.

It's a great trick for adding drama or creating flow.


In landscaping, the practice of Jiejing (Borrowed scenery) originated in China.  In Japanese the word is shakkei.  Landscape architects use borrowed scenery to visually expand the size of a garden by incorporating views from outside the garden into the design.

Terrace Garden, Ladew Gardens

One sees this at the spectacular Ladew Gardens in Monkton, Maryland.

A garden doorway frames a focal point, and draws the visitor through the garden.

Doorways in garden rooms and interior rooms act like picture frames, enhancing and highlighting whatever is seen through them.

One can use the view to introduce or repeat a color story.

Martha Stewart pays close attention to this decorating detail- adding beauty by considering how a room looks from within, as well as from adjoining spaces.

Here Martha uses borrowed scenery to layer pale colors, one upon the other.  Have you noticed, her soft, muted colors are serene, but they never seem boring?

The gray-green hall cools down the warm olive walls in the bedroom, and red across the hall repeats the theme with a jazzy rhythm.  

This technique can also be used with all-white or cream walls- a great trick is to use three or more shades of white to create depth and richness.

Have a great weekend!  J & G

Further Reading:


Images:  1. The Greenbrier hotel photographed by Gordon Beall for AD  2. Morgante-Wilson Architects, Melanie Elston Interiors 3. Chiswick House Photographed by Derry Moore  4.  Suzanne Rhinestein  5. Adachi Gardens 6. Ladew Gardens 7. Ladew Gardens 6.  Martha Stewart 8. Martha Stewart 9. Keith Scott Morton 10.-12. Martha Stewart 


  1. Those are all very handsome rooms, indeed. The use of color and objects to bring one's eyes beyond the confines of the space in which one stands is beyond clever and creative. Thanks for posting photos of some of my MS favorites. Reggie

  2. Beautiful images! Great tips too!
    Have a great weekend.

  3. Such gorgeous rooms, and yes, the adjoining rooms look the last image with the subtle color changes from room to room, but the same tones...wonderful!!

  4. Ladew does the most amazing job at vistas and rooms in their gardens.


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