There’s an art to curating an interior that feels cozy, welcoming, and also thought through. Not just an amalgamation of objects that fail to show any relation to one another, there is a way to fill your space with items you love and create that warm, lived-in aesthetic without feeling you’re constantly living among clutter. A perfect example is a charming brownstone, built in 1899, which gets an interior update with a modern design that still captures the charm and historic character of the building.
The three-story brownstone, a 2,800 square foot pied-e-terre 2 bed/ 2 bath was a clean slate, but it needed a thoughtful interior design. The original architectural elements and build designs were in great shape, but the goal was to compliment the classic features while incorporating the homeowner's love of modern art, vintage pieces, and bright colors.
This is where clustercore comes into the mix, offering almost a method of curation, to bring various elements together while ensuring the overall look makes sense. The objective was to ultimately craft a space that seamlessly blended functionality and a beautiful aesthetic, and it not only achieved that but became a great example of clustercore done well, the latest interior design trend designers are embracing right now.
What is 'clustercore' and why should you care about it
It’s probably a response to minimalism in interior design or an evolution from it, where we realized we do want to be surrounded by ‘things’ and objects, but in a way that makes sense. We want to live in a space that feels calming and clean and clutter-free, but still be surrounded by items we love and make us feel good and comforted. The secret to achieving that is not getting rid of everything, or throwing everything in the mix, but a balance of practicing careful curation.
Laura Britt, Managing Principal at Britt Design Group, the design team who renovated this home and gave it the clustercore treatment, explains what this trend (or movement) is all about: ‘Clustercore is about finding a way of bringing all the things that are important to you into a mindful design aesthetic. You don’t throw everything and the kitchen sink in -- there is a bit of curation and intentionality. It’s the opposite of sterile modernist approach,’ Britt tells me.
‘Using this theme is about embracing a color palette and like-minded objects that resonate with you, and then building in a sense of layers, pattern, and color. A great example here would be the sitting area that has a motif from a trip. Colorful art, photography, stacked books, wall hangings, and found objects all come together to tell a story,’ she explains.
The foundation of clustercore is a home filled with objects that tell a story
Everywhere you turn in this home there is a beautiful object your gaze will fall on: a plant, a lamp, a throw pillow, an artwork. Yet each and every item looks like it found its perfect place and is an important part of the overall room equilibrium.
Color was used thoughtfully, to create a calming atmosphere and almost a canvas for the objects to be showcased against. ‘We wanted to maximize the small, unique-sized spaces to be functional, cozy, and distinct so we included vibrant touches of color mixed with a neutral palette throughout the home,’ explains Britt.
Thoughtful curation is all about being intentional with your choices
It’s important to be intentional about bringing various objects into your home: do they mean something to you, are they good quality, do they express your style? If you’re going to surround yourself with objects, you will need to make sure you love them in order to achieve that eclectic style that feels authentically inviting. ‘Quality was important,’ Britt tells me. ‘We integrated found pieces and mixed them with bespoke and luxurious furnishings to create a balance. Every piece had to have intentionality behind it due to the combination of intermixed styles and limited space,’ she adds.
The client put a lot of trust in the design team to carefully place art and accessories with intention throughout her home. ‘The homeowner especially loved that so many of the pieces were one-of-a-kind and unique to her and that our team was able to breathe new life into so many vintage and personally curated treasures,’ says the designer.
Mix the old with the new for an eclectic look
Don’t be afraid to mix old and new, investment pieces with affordable items - it all adds to the eclectic look.
Start your clustercore home look by decluttering and removing all the items you no longer use or love. Start small, work with displaying what you have, and experiment with different placements in the home. Slowly build up your item collection with intention, by picking items that are special to you, and soon enough you will master the cozy eclectic look that makes a home feel warm and inviting.
Recreate this beautiful clustercore home look with these buys
Choose unique items in your clustercore home. This side table has an alabaster stone base which makes it special, and a conversation starter.
Price: $60 (set of three)
These vases will look beautiful arranged in a cluster together on a shelf or side table with a few stems. Add in some books for variety.
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Raluca is Digital News Writer for Livingetc.com and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.
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