REFINING YOUR DESIGN EYE, PART TWO

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I'm back with another High/Low from one of my favorite Canadian magazines, Style At Home. This should be a bit easier to guess than the last time...

photography: Micahel Graydon
So which is which and more importantly, why???
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The "High" is photo number 2 (hope you guessed right)! I won't give you the numbers & sources (you'll have to go to Style At Home for that!), but here are 9 things your eye should've caught:

1. Lighting. The high has 3-4 bulbs, while the low has only 1. The slightly oval shape of the high should also tell you that it cost a bit more than the standard round shape. I'm pretty sure the "Low" light is from West Elm.
2. The artwork, HELLO???! This is quite possibly the biggest a-ha. One looks like it came from Z Gallerie (the Low), the other looks like a truly artistic piece from a contemporary artist. 
3. The console table. One is a more run-of-the-mill, 1-shelf chrome & glass table (CB2) and the other is visually heavier, with a thick chrome frame, 2 shelves, and chrome legs with detail. 
4. Pillows. The thick, fluffy texture of the "high" pillows adds so much detail to the space versus the flatter style of the "Low". For those of you who wonder about interior styling, these photos are perfect examples of why you always want to use a mix of textures to create visual interest in your design.
5. Lamps. You have to look closely but the carved, Asian-inspired wood base, glossy paper shade, and gold ring finial let you know that the "High" lamp didn't come from Target. Not that we don't love Target, and all....
6. Coat Racks. Peep the scroll and curved detail on the "High" coat rack--detailing almost always means more $.
7. Storage boxes & baskets. If you shop Ikea like I do, you know the "Low" baskets are an Ikea original. With the storage boxes, one pair have a hinged top, the others have a lift-top. We DIY-ers know that hinges cost money.
8. Rugs. Antique rugs look faded but still have a color (and detail!) that isn't matched by contemporary rugs. Don't be fooled.
9. Did you notice the pashmina's hanging from the baskets? One looks like beautifully detailed wool...the other doesn't even look like a scarf!
Did you guess correctly? What did your eye notice first??
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REFINING YOUR DESIGN EYE

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I subscribe to the Canadian magazine, Style At Home, and one of my favorite pages in the magazine is the monthly "High/Low" feature, where the stylists assemble one vignette using both high & low end items.  I like to use this feature as a way to refine my eye and pick up on the small details that make all the difference in quality (or expensive) furniture. Now the items in these features are generally pretty easy for me to decipher, but this month's issue surprisingly had me stumped--take a look and see if you can honestly figure out which image is which (and if you've already seen the mag, don't cheat!).

photo: Michael Graydon
Look closely...
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Would you be surprised to know that the high image is the second one?? I was. When I look at these images, I always look for details, specifically on the furniture pieces. Here are the things that caught my eye (and made me think the first image was the "high"):
1. The dresser has a slight bow (image #1) which I took for a sure sign, since more expensive furniture generally has more detail.
2. Side table detail rim (ditto above).
3. The colors in the wallpaper look a little more detailed than in the second photo.
4. The ottoman looked a little more tailored, which I figured would be more $. The bottom one looked like a slipcover, but obviously not. 
Things that should've stood out to me:
1. The difference in the rugs. Now that I look, you can clearly tell that one of the rugs is whiter with a finer pile than the other. It actually almost looks like a cotton ball puff--and you can't get that for $199.
2. The orchid. Multiple blooms will almost always cost you more dough. 
3. The pink pillow in the "high" image. It's still a knife edge, but even my basic knowledge of custom textile work tells me that the added panel along the edge equals more time (double seam) which also equals more money. 
Clearly these are all relatively minute details, but they're especially important to me because I'm so passionate about vintage furniture! When I'm out shopping antique/flea/thrift/vintage stores, there's little time to do research, so I'm always looking for details that stand out & say "quality". Training my eye is everything.  
Here's another High/Low...and this one's a bit easier to guess...
photo: Michael Graydon



The first thing that gave it away for me? The desk. I recognized it as an Ikea original immediately (image 2), and that was all I needed to know! The first photo is the high, and the second one is the low.

Did you guess correctly both times??

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