Eclectic approach allows homeowners to use different textures in window treatments

Feb 21 2011

San Francisco designer Michelle Homme encourages her clients to include vintage furnishings in their decor.
San Francisco designer Michelle Homme encourages her clients to include vintage furnishings in their decor.
San Francisco designer Michelle Homme tries to introduce as many vintage pieces as possible to her clients, both as a decorator and in her furnishings shop called Homme.

Whether in lighting, upholstery or cabinetry, Homme told the San Francisco Chronicle that there's greater freedom in combining finishes and styles for an eclectic look than ever before.

"I try not to look at magazines," she said. "I always tell myself to go in with a really open mind. If you're stuck looking for certain things, you'll miss stuff."

Homme's design career reflects her widespread tastes. Before opening her own design business, she studied decorative arts at an auction house, helped design a fabric line and worked as a set designer.

The newspaper reports that Homme warns would-be collectors not to rely on trends. "It's always helpful to collect a few things, but don't go overboard," she said. "Stick to your gut. The biggest mistakes occur when you try to do something someone else is doing."

The same eclectic approach can work when home decorators are looking for the right window treatment. For instance, a nubby-textured, fabric roller shade will offset the softness of a sheer or lacy curtain. Or a set of elegant silk drapes will looker rich when they hang under a natural wood tone valance.

Homme's particular passion is for vintage instruments and globes that look as if they've been plucked from a social studies class. One way to display globes is to take them off their metal bases and group together several of assorted sizes or one impressive globe by itself.

Homme is an inveterate shopper of flea markets where she often finds pieces that need a good scouring or new paint before being placed with a client. She also promotes the work of local craftsmen, whether they make one-of-a-kind pillows, contemporary photographs or handmade soaps.

When consumers are shopping for home décor items, one barometer of how well a unique accessory will fit in their house is to ask if they really like the piece or if they chose it because it reminds them of something they saw in someone else's home. Find an inspiration piece and let it lead you to a look that's highly individualized, Homme recommends.

In that way, a home will truly reflect the style of the people who live there. "I think people love to see unique things at [other] people's houses," she told the Chronicle.
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