• Cheryl Maeder on Decorating and Design Elements


    Decorated Life has been fortunate enough to showcase Cheryl Maeder, fine art photographer and designer of Gardenhouse before with her adventures across country to Palm Springs. In this interview with Cheryl Maeder, we focus on her use of design elements and decorating experience which is found on her wonderful site Gardenhouse. We discuss how she pulls design elements together from nature, photography and where it all started for her in Switzerland.

    When did you discover you have an “eye” for decorating?

    I am originally from New Jersey, USA and was living in Switzerland for about eight years in my early 20’s.  I would travel throughout Europe going to antique stores and flea markets finding unique vintage pieces.  It was my New Jersey roots in combination with the European aesthetics that helped to create my style.  Living in Switzerland I witnessed the beauty and sensuousness of architecture and furnishings that were allowed to age.  I learned to appreciate the art and design all around me in Europe.  This played a strong part in creating my designs and photography.

    What 3 things did you learn from being in international magazines?

    If you have a great idea in art and design, just put it out there into the world.  Do not be afraid what others might say or think.  Share it!   People ask me how did I get my photography and designs featured in so many magazines.  I just simply put it out there.  I do not let any considerations stop me from following my vision and believing in the work that I do. My style hopefully is fluid and the more I grow inside myself, Gardenhouse, the brand will continue to grow.

    When decorating which design elements do you use?

    When working with a new vintage piece, I treat it as a piece of art.  Each piece I work with speaks to me differently.  I just come up with ideas as I go along.  I like combining raw finishes with elegant fabrics and visa versa.  I like mixing it up.  That is where the creativity comes in and also the fun.  Each piece requires its own particular fabric, color and paint finish.  I practice the same philosophy for painting and refinishing walls in rooms.   Whenever I move into a new home, I do not immediately run to decorate and paint the walls.  I live in it and after a while the house will speak to me intuitively on what is needed. When Gary and I lived in Mill Valley, California,  our house was this adorable country New England Cottage. We painted the living room a butter yellow color and the furnishings were more subdued.  Our house here in South Florida, however,  is a historic Mediterranean style cottage and we currently live in the tropics.  When we first moved into this house the walls were white,  which I normally love, but in this house, it did not work.  One day it hit me… our house felt like a combination of Southern Italy meets Southern California.  Our house in order to be a home needed “Color”.  That was it.  We painted the living room a beautiful sea blue and our bedroom an Italian venetian looking pink.  It just felt right.

    That would be my suggestion to your readers when taking a piece of furniture or painting a color on a wall.  Not to act impulsively but to wait and use your instincts and don’t be afraid to experiment and most importantly have fun…

    Where do you get inspiration?

    Just going outdoors into nature, that is where I get my inspiration, the color and the light have much effect on my designs and my photography.  I lived 15 years in San Francisco area and moved to Palm Beach six years ago.  I fell in love with the tropics.  The colors of the ocean change constantly and I am always aware of the play of light on the waters.  I also love the vibrancy of colors in all the plant life here. I also get much inspiration from traveling.  My husband, also an Artist, and I love traveling to different countries as well as visiting other parts of United States.

    I love seeing things fresh and new and traveling to other places and seeing other cultures is very inspiring to me.  I also get my ideas by reading and watching wonderful films.  I would say that if you stay open you will find your inspiration everywhere.  It is there right in front of you.

    How do you manage the many facets in your life?

    The past six years have been very creative for me.  Not only do I create my fine art photography work but I am also designing the Gardenhouse line of furnishings and wallcoverings.   I have learned to integrate the world of Art and Design into my life.  Since it is what I love doing, I put a lot of energy and passion into it. It is also a matter of always staying focused and in the present to what is in front of me.  This allows me to finish what I am working on and start on something fresh and new.

    You can see more of Cheryl Maeder, her decorating style and how she uses design elements at Gardenhouse at www.GardenhouseDecor.net ; read more on Cheryl Maeder in previous posts on Decorated Life. Please leave a comment. I love hearing from you!

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