I have a feeling that if we ever actually met Alison Cayne in person we would hate her. After all, she, of the New York cooking school Haven’s kitchen, she, the mother of five children, she, the untrained, sole decorator of her West Village townhouse, would surely dredge up our all feelings of insecurity and insufficiency we thought we’d long ago reconciled. This woman is good at everything, we would marvel.
But here, on the internets, we can be content to admire with awe and respect.
We can, at least, applaud her take on design, not even necessarily because it is any of our personal interpretations of the perfect space, but because it is hers.
“I think decorating is a lot like cooking—you just have to learn what you really like and how to get that effect.” She told One Kings Lane. “I realized this doesn’t have to be anyone else’s favorite place. It just has to be my favorite place.”
Amen, mister sister.
Photography by Lesley Unruh for One Kings Lane
To the untrained eye, most things, I think appear formulaic, design included. You have to do this style with that style and this tile if you do those floors and always, always hang your curtains as close to the ceiling as you possibly can.
(That last one is true, though; don’t let anybody tell you differently.)
But the reality is that any space or creative entity is merely the manifestation of one person or a team of people’s preferences and sensibilities. Why did a designer use a mix of vintage and modern art? Because she liked them together.
If we, like Alison Cayne, know what we like (and have an eye for it, excuse me, Cayne) then we need only trust our inclination and not worry so much about how disparate items will marry together.
The more you it is, and the more you know who that you is, the more sensational it’ll end up being.
Anyway, that’s the thought we’re going with today.