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Looking West: A Conversation on Living with Art

Artwork Details (Left to Right)

Sea Treasures, Henry O. Head; Sweating, Maryalice Carroll

For our inaugural design issue, By Design, we are obliged to collaborate with emerging designer and Arkansas-local Whitney Romanoff. Founder and principal designer of Meet West Studio, Romanoff establishes spaces that balance beauty, comfort, and soul, lending her eye to clients to transform an ordinary space into one that is vibrant, memorable, and functions for how you live, work, and play. With this approach in mind, Romanoff collaborated with MIXD Gallery to hand-pick her favorite pieces of art to style in her own recent project, Canyon Grove, for a lifestyle shoot specifically for the current issue of MATCHBOOK. Now, she’s putting her own process to paper, sharing her method for curating pieces at home, and sharing tips for how to intentionally live with art. Without further ado. . . 

Artwork (Left to Right)

Bent But Not Broken, Flora Saldivar; Genesis Lamp, Natalia Franco; Strange Visitor, Madison Svendgard; Raku 3-Legged Bowl, Trip Johnson; Desert Oasis Vase, Kathryn Smith; Green Diamond – Banff Edition, Marc Mitchell

MIXD: Please share with us a bit about your design studio?

Whitney Romanoff: We believe the true measure of good design is how it makes you feel. We create spaces that balance beauty, comfort, and soul and that are personal reflections of our clients. Our goal with every design project is to help our clients transform an ordinary space into a vibrant and memorable one that functions for how our clients live, work, and play.

We are all about the mix – original pieces that you invest in can always live beside a well-framed print or vintage piece you pick up on your travels. 

MIXD: In what ways do you encourage clients to live with art? 

WR: Art is one of the most important elements that helps us add soul and set the mood of a space. It really has the power to switch the feeling of a room instantly. We help our clients curate the right pieces for their home to add color, texture, pattern, and an emotional core that is cohesive with the furniture, fixtures and other decor of a room. We start every project by exploring the feeling our clients want to feel in their home – it’s a real sensory study. We dive deep into our client’s personalities and what lights them up – from their favorite hotels, places to eat, and what movies and music they return to over and over. From there, we create a visual story for how we want each room and the home overall to feel. We find this process really helps us get to know our clients and what type of art may help us spark that desired feeling for them as they live in their space each day – more than any other feature, art helps to channel that story. 

Artwork (Left to Right)

1989 Circle, Brioch Ochoa; Faucet Chairs, Vincent Edwards; Dinnerware, Soeun Park; Tri-Horned Bowl, Trip Johnson; Summer Friends, Henry O. Head

MIXD: How do you help clients select pieces?  

WR: Art is like a tattoo – once you take the leap on one piece you love, you’re hooked and suddenly you’re a collector. It can also serve as a touchstone memory for a certain phase in your life. I think clients can sometimes feel overwhelmed or intimidated when choosing art for their space. It feels like a big commitment, and sometimes it’s easier to have a designer by your side to help you tune into what you are really drawn to. Whether we are shopping for original pieces in a gallery, prints, or funky vintage pieces at a local antique store, we encourage our clients to be unafraid and to go for what sparks a memory or an emotion for them. We introduce our clients to new artists, galleries, and styles they may not have explored before. We may show a client many different pieces before they find the one piece that makes them feel weak in the knees – if the art affects you at the intuitive, gut level, we know we’ve found a piece that is meant for you. 

Art is like a tattoo – once you take the leap on one piece you love, you’re hooked and suddenly you’re a collector.

MIXD: Why did you select the pieces you did for our Meet West x MIXD Gallery collaboration at your Canyon Grove project?

WR: Canyon Grove is bold and eclectic, and we chose pieces that dialed up the mood. 

Artwork Details (Left to Right)

Raku 3-Legged Bowl, Trip Johnson; Vase, Kathryn Smith; Sweating, Maryalice Carroll

MIXD: Any design tips for selecting art for the home?

We love to use art to create contrast and spark a conversation. In a more traditional home, we love the electric tension that a bold modern piece of art can create, and vice versa for a modern home.
We don’t like to be limited to art just in the living room or bedroom – think about how you can use art to set the tone of a bathroom, create a special moment in a hallway or staircase, or even add color and interest in the kitchen. You also don’t have to be limited to defining art as something that hangs on your wall – textiles, furniture, ceramics… all of these are ways to incorporate art into your home and live with it everyday.
We are all about the mix – original pieces that you invest in can always live beside a well-framed print or vintage piece you pick up on your travels. 
If you see a piece in a gallery one day, and you can’t stop thinking about it days later, GO FOR IT. It is meant to be yours and will be a no regrets investment.
We don’t like to live by any hard and fast rules when it comes to art, but one pet peeve we have is hanging art too high, so it feels like it’s awkwardly floating in space, rather than grounding the room. We like to keep the art at an average eye level, which usually puts the center of the art about 57 inches off the floor. 
That said, when it comes to gallery walls, we love an organic arrangement and are all about art from floor to ceiling – we aren’t ones to get out a measuring tape but follow our gut on where things feel right in the space. 
Consider the full lifespan of a piece – just because it may be over a mantel or part of a larger gallery wall today, it may take on a whole new life in another room one day or as you move to a different home. As long as you love it, you will always find a place for it to work.

A very warm thank you to Whitney and her team for the insights, collaboration, and ongoing partnership. If you are interested in learning more about their Studio you can do so HERE.

See Something You Love?

Peruse Whitney’s curation and bring a special piece from the photoshoot home. Not seeing it listed? Reach out to our gallery team at hello@mixd.gallery and we will be happy to assist you.

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Creative Direction by Anna E. Cottrell

Design by Blake Chamberlain Creative

Development by Andrew Brewer & Happy Design