Robert Stilin has the how-to when it comes to decorating with artwork.

Design by Robert Stilin

Recently, as I look at the blank walls of our mountain house project and as I consider the future of our newly expanded home here by the beach, I have been contemplating how to intentionally build on our art collection in a meaningful way.

Heffe and I made the decision earlier this year to use Valentine’s Day as our excuse to buy art for our life together. We started with a modest trio of black and whites. A limited print lithograph from 20×200 alongside two pieces I hand selected while in Mexico City.

Within the walls of this blog I’ve said it a million times, but I’ll say it again.

I was an art history major…

That education weirdly paralyzes me when out in the world “shopping” for wall decor. It is really hard for me to reconcile the difference between art and just plain old decor. One seems so fraught with meaning, materiality, historical context and value… the other so wonderfully simply aesthetic, and thus materialistic, devoid of intent beyond color combination, easy.

What that means is that I don’t ever actually make a real art purchase because it feels like a commitment and it never feels like the right one.

It’s not to say our home isn’t filled with art objects. It certainly is. When I look around, there are legit art pieces collected back in the day, there are specific painterly projects that my family and I worked on together for our walls, there are after school art projects that Jeff’s kids presented to him that we had framed.

I don’t actually really deep down care if the “art” that adorns the walls comes from after school, the Christie’s Auction House or the art aisle at Home Goods, my ultimate motto is if you love it, you should live with it!

But, when it comes to my own walls, I just have to jump that hurdle in my mind first.

What art do I LOVE and want to LIVE with?

Now that you have gone with me on that unproductive self reflective diatribe, let’s go down the line of lovely inspiration images from a fav Designer, Robert Stilin.

He really knows how to work a room with a piece of fantastic art!

It really inspires me to want to get my act together. Look at the impact a perfectly placed piece can make!

If this were a gallery wall you’d lose your damn mind. But because that single large splat commands your attention, your eye is given a respite from all of the wild styling of the objects placed about and the mismatched chairs and the repetition of those six circular sculptures.
Cobalt blue is a true art lover’s hue. Here the entire room is built around this painterly abstract in monochrome. Gah, I love a good abstract.
This large scale photography of tree branches is a success. You’ve seen this trick a gazillion times!

Water at this scale brings a true sense of calm to a room.

Art for Art’s sake is always a win in my book.
Here we get massive scale by repeating a grid of imagery. You can do that!

Viewing the work of Robert Stilin enforces the notion that scale is everything.

Large art makes deep impact in a room and while it’s all the more paralyzing to work and get right, it is ultimately the goal.

Thanks Robert Stilin for showing us how to do it right.


Sarah was previously looking to a Robert Stilin kitchen to illustrate the importance of a comfy seating area in your kitchen.

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