Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Anchors: A Weight Grounds a Room

"Every room needs an anchor."  This is a truism in design.  Just as an anchor keeps a boat from being carried off by the tide, so too, a heavy, dark or tall piece of furniture grounds a room.

Below are some examples of room anchors in our home.

In the dining room, the corner cupboard grounds the room.

In most kitchens the stove with hood are the visual weight. Is this true in my kitchen? What about the large Subzero refrigerator?  Because of the hood over the range does not continue to the ceiling, it is a bit morphed by the frig.  I'd vote for the frig as the anchor in this room.

In our sunroom, the bird prints which fill the main wall act as the focal point. Individually, they aren't large or dark, but when hung as a set of six, they definitely command the room.

Our living room is an interesting example of the "anchor" design principle with several heavy pieces of furniture and a fireplace. I wonder what you would say is the weight? Look at the room from a couple of angles, before you vote.
Actually, I waffle on this. The tall bookcase has the greatest height and visual weight.
However, it is counter-balanced by the bulk of the black piano on one side and by the fireplace and grandfather clock on another corner.  I could never figure out why this room arrangement works, but as I analyze it, I believe the three large pieces form a balanced triangle.  So, maybe there isn't one anchor in this situation, but three.

The library, too, has more than one large, dark element, but the bookcase/fireplace wall wins hands down as the anchor, because the other bookcase has no where near the heft.

Now, let's inspect the bedrooms.  Our main floor master bedroom has a tall piece of furniture opposite the bed.  However, the volume of the bed makes it the anchor, rather than the armoir.

master bedroom
The same is true for the uptstairs bedrooms. 

upstairs bedrooms
And the lower level guest room follows the same rule.
lower level bedroom
Finally, in the family room a stone wall with fireplace is the room's focal point and weight.
The single anchor-less room in our home is the exercise room.  The heavy equipment floats in the room without any heavy or dark or weighty piece.  Do you have a suggestion for changing this dynamic?
Design principles often have parallels in life.  What is the focus or anchor in my life?  How I spend my time and money reveal what I weigh as important.  If my time and money usage don't reflect what I want to be the most important things in my life, maybe I should make some changes.

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