Ocean Bottega Interiors

paula clarke

It's a thin line between Love and Hate

Layered interiors, colourful style, relaxed living, fun attitude, timeless life


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Musings on Design

​​In the design world it’s not unusual to bump up against a client’s taste or preferences. We are brought in for our ability to set standards for visual appeal, think in new and interesting ways and create that which has never been seen before. But sometimes a client just doesn’t like it. They can’t see it. They’re afraid of being different. They don’t want to take a chance. They want comfort and safety. Even I experience this kind of thinking on occasion. 

 One of the things I love about really great art is that it usually has multiple faces. It might look quite different from a distance compared to up close. It may be complex so that every time you look at it you notice something you haven’t seen before. It’s simplicity may be a blast of wind that completely bowls you over. It can have a significance that you relate to in a very personal and emotional way. Sometimes you like it just because you like it. It can bring about feelings of passion.  And instinctively we all know Passion’s flip side is Hatred. “It’s a thin line between love and hate.”, according to the Persuaders’s song covered by one of my favs, Annie Lennox. The love of her life is now hated with a dangerous intensity.

When I was in my 4th year of art school we were asked to do an interesting exercise. We were called upon to challenge our likes and dislikes. My class was required to pick two items, one we were in love with and one we detested. We were to put the two items side by side in a place where we would see them several times a day for the duration of the course. Love, love love and What?!? Be stuck with that thing you hated!?!

What was so interesting about the exercise was that over time the thing I thought I loved so much started to lose it’s shine, became a bore, passe. I was asking myself, “Do I really like this?” The flip to that was, “What is so jarring, disagreeable…unfamiliar? Could I actually like this?” As time went on I started to really get into the art I had previously loathed, couldn’t get enough of it. It was almost as if the more I had hated it the more I now loved it, having been surprised and then intrigued by the contrast of the two feelings. I felt giddy. “There’s nothing worse than the newly converted.”, my Mother used to say!

The more I design the more my tastes expand. There are times when enough change has taken place a client will come around to the idea or thing that was inconceivable at the beginning of the project. It’s not unusual for me to follow a path for the sake of a client and then get bitten by the love bug myself. I adore it when a couple is clear about their separate styles and when the two come together you get something delightfully unique. It begs the question, How do you know what has longevity for you and what might be here today and gone tomorrow?.

If you’ve loved something forever then there’s a good chance you’ll continue to love it in your future. If you’ve fallen for something hard, go easy until you know whether it will go the distance for you. Keep an open mind to New and Unusual. Use your observation skills to get a deeper sense of Unfamiliar. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting to know each another. 

It’s effortless to follow routines and recycle old ideas when you’re already overloaded. In a world where busyness is synonymous with importance and deadlines are King, it can be hard to be still long enough to hear your inner voice and know what you might like. It’s often easier to fill our consciousness with noise rather than face our own thoughts when quiet and patience may be required to do the necessary sifting. Guilty! 

Contrary to popular belief designing isn’t about perfection (although we love when it happens).  It’s about looking and listening. It’s about exploring and being playful. It’s about following your interests and being open to where they take you. And yes, it’s about the journey. Often it takes a lot of courage to be different. Be yourself no matter what expectations surround you. Take up the challenge of evolving and embrace what you don’t like. Give it some time. See what happens.


When it comes to evolution some say, Change or die. I say, Don’t be afraid to fall in love.



Thought for Food
Try this challenge for yourself. Keep a  journal and every time you look at your items jot down your thoughts and feelings. It can be word or two or a few sentences. After a month or more do you notice a change in how you feel about your chosen works of art or furniture? 

One of my girlfriends is a wonderful artist. When her son’s friend came to her asking her to design his tattoo she did so willingly on condition he tape the image on his mirror for a year before getting it inked!



 paula

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