Cinematically Inspired Design
Updated: May 23
I've developed a design style I call Cinematically Inspired Design. Whenever I've designed anything - be it a home, a hotel, a restaurant, or even a wildlife waystation, I have pulled inspiration from a stage other than TV - the cinema!
Why? Because they are MASTERS at design. Think about it - they are basically given 2 hours to tell us everything they want us to know about the characters who live there and to create a mood or set the tone of the film. So, they have learned to condense design down to have the greatest impact.
And, because of that, the design they create is timeless, because it isn't about what was current at the time. Rather it was designed to create a mood and tell us more about the people who live there - to fill in the blanks for us.
Knowing that, why wouldn't we want to borrow from their expertise for the design in our own homes? Why wouldn't we want timeless design that creates a mood and tells the story of the people that live there - the story of us, of our families?
Part of what makes our favorite movie homes come to life involves their use of colors. I often draw from the rich hues of the classic movies of the 50's and 60's that were dripping with deep, saturated colors. I always thought it looked as though the cinematographers had poured a layer of golden honey generously over each frame.
And when we watch it, it's as though we are looking through that layer of honey. There is a warmth and a glow. Color in film was a relatively new thing back then. And I think they took advantage of that to help give a film more impact and to create a mood.
Everyone has their favorite classic movies. And we don't just love them for the actors or the storyline - they usually have a feeling or mood that goes along with them. That's part of what connects us to the film on a deeper level.
Set design plays a HUGE part in that. Whether we realize it or not, it's working hard in the background to set the tone of the film. It's part of what seeps into our brains, connecting us to the film on a much deeper level.
When it's done well, it tells a story of the people who live there. It tells it brilliantly, with colors and artwork and hues and textures and lighting, scale and dramatic architectural features and even the specific placement of items. They have a large bag of tricks they pull from and they aren't shy about using them. And they work!
And, though all of those details may go over our heads while we watch a movie, they are a part of that intangible, almost mystical "thing" that gives the movie a special place in our hearts.
What I do when I design a room or home, is take those very principles, those secrets from the cinema that make us fall in love with those movie homes and apply them to our own homes.
But, there is no intrigue in just copying a style. You don't want to copy a movie home verbatim . . . yawn. The question becomes - how did they achieve that look? that mood? What principles does the cinema know that I don't? How did they use them here? And, how can I bring that same magic into my own home?
So, rather than copy a home from a movie, I study the elements and principles that are used in the cinema to evoke a feeling, create a mood, and tell a story of the family that lives there. And, in the process, create a timeless design.
Why not bring that into your own home?
When I design a home, I'm always thinking about the family that lives there. What kind of feeling/mood/atmosphere makes sense for that family?
If we want our homes to create a mood, tell a story about the people that live there and remain timeless, why wouldn't we take cues from the people who make these incredible movie homes that do just that? It's a no-brainer. So, why isn't it being done?
Well, now it is!
These principles are taught in every episode of Cinematically Inspired Design.
If you look at the homes in classic movies, most have held up over time. You could step right into them today. Oh, you may change a wallpaper or a fabric on the sofa, but overall the design stands.
That's because they were working to create a mood and tell a story, rather than follow a design trend.
When I'm done with a room, my hope is that 10 years from now, no one will say - Oh, that must have been done in 2020, or in any certain year at all. And, I want each room to be full of character, almost as if it is part of a movie waiting to be filmed, and yet still be very livable. Timeless.
Most importantly, I want it to tell a story of the people that live there, I want it to set a tone. That's what you can do in your own home!
Think what story you want to tell about the people who live in your home. Think about what tone you'd like to set there, what mood you'd like to convey, what feelings you want attached to your design. Become the set designer of your own home.
And why shouldn't we live that way? The homes in classic films have stood the test of time. They don't follow trends; they transcend time. You can live in a home that, like the great movie homes, creates the mood and atmosphere you want to have there. That is what Cinematically Inspired Design is all about.
I bet by now you're getting it.
So, now all you need to do is learn how. That's what I'm here for.
If you want to learn how to work this cinematic magic in your own home, just watch episodes of my new show, "Cinematically Inspired Design." Click on the image below to take you there. I'll teach you how to easily bring these same principles into your home. It's not hard. You can do this!
Thanks for pulling back the curtain along with me and checking out what's going on backstage. For now, that's a wrap.