Designer Feature: Andrea Garrity

How to design for large spaces, featuring Andrea Garrity

You know the expression “Everything is bigger in Texas?” Well, that certainly seems to be true in Houston, especially when it comes to our homes. In 1970 the average home was 1400 square feet. In 2009 the average was 2700 square feet. In an area where we have tons of wide open spaces and plenty of room to grow it is not unusual to find homes 25,000 square feet and bigger. For the interior designer, as well as the decorative painter, this offers a whole new set of challenges and creative ways to meet those challenges. How do we make huge spaces look inviting and warm?

Andrea Garrity, ASID Interior Designer and I worked on a project together in just such a home. “In large spaces, scale and proportion are of paramount importance to the design concept,” says Andrea. “If the scale of furniture is wrong the room may look out of balance and the end effect is that the furniture looks miniscule and the rooms look cavernous. The reverse is also true. The furniture can look monumental and the room appears overwhelmed.

"Likewise, you don’t put a 14 inch high coffee table in front of a sofa with a 20 inch high seat. That makes the room look out of proportion."

A great example of the proper use of scale and proportion is the carriage house that Andrea created for a client who collects 50’s and 60’s classic cars.

Carriage House

"My vision for the carriage house started with the movie Sabrina,” says Andrea. “We wanted the space to be glamorous and elegant like an old Hollywood film. The vintage cars needed to take center stage but to appear to be right at home in the setting. The room would be used to showcase the clients car collection but also for entertaining. Hardwood floors and wooden beams along with huge wooden carriage doors were used to help give warmth and a intimate feel to the room.” Our company did a Diamond Plaster finish on the walls and ceiling to give the huge room a softer edge.

"I love working with Janie and the Anything But Plain crew. Janie is very professional and her team reflects this. I can always count on her work looking like the sample I approve.

"Anything But Plain is the best." – Andrea Garrity, ASID
Garrity Design Group

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Janie Ellis, RID, ASID-IP, CF,
Master Artisan