A clever remark. A knowing look. An object that seems audaciously out of place at first – yet when you glance again, it’s absolutely perfect.
I adore it. I love its inherent mirth, its dusting of defiance, and its underlying intelligence.
Does wit reflect a particular view on life? I think so.
Can wit be expressed in our interiors?
I’m certain of it.
Pretty vs. Witty
I’m addicted to my French magazines, and confess that I recently caved to an overwhelming urge to splurge as I gazed (longingly) at the travel section in my local bookstore. Côté Paris was calling my name! It’s one of my favorites, and I justified the expenditure as a means to maintain my French.
So why this periodical? Why these interiors?
The appeal is more than my fondness for France in general, or the draw of the City of Lights in particular. It’s a matter of the interiors I’ve personally experienced in this much storied environment – their diversity, their insouciance - and the fearless, elegant, eclectic surprise in all of them.
It’s witty over pretty, and unique over uniform. It’s confidence and attitude, and I’m hooked on both!
More delectable descriptors for the wonders of wit?
Merriam-Webster explains that witty suggests a “quickness of mind,” and further defines wit as:
… amusingly or ingeniously clever in conception or execution, marked by … clever humor; ready to see or express illuminating or amusing relationships or insights.
Aren’t we always looking to decipher the intents of others? Their motivations, their decisions, their past as well as their present? Their big breaks, their heartaches, the secrets to their success?
Sophisticated Style, With a Wink
When presented with a wide range of styles, I couldn’t be more pleased.
The issue I’m speaking of? It offers all manner of marvels.
On its glossy pages I find a masterful mix of sophisticated spaces that are sleek (ah, Philippe Starck), classically modern (the Egg chair), and irrepressibly abundant (art, art, art). Rooms pop with op and restrained ebullience, they feature ample originality and a surfeit of quirky objets d’art, yet they never dip into the indiscriminate, the ragtag, or the jumbled.
Now if only I could manage that!
Life By Design?
Those best laid plans in life – or design?
Let’s just say, not so simple.
As for my collecting conundrums? My prevailing personal style?
Some would designate both as a siege of seeming contradictions and contrariness: 18th century pieces sidle up to European modern; flea market finds hum happily alongside contemporary paintings; children’s chairs are as likely to be affixed to walls as set on shelves where they can be admired.
What Your Living Space Says About You
Perhaps I’m attracted to the confident and capricious spaces in Côté Paris because they sing “I know who I am, I’m telling my stories, and I don’t take myself too seriously.”
I’d like to think my own interiors would speak so eloquently, with a nuanced nod, and a furtive, flirty wink.
As for my living situation at present, I’ve been ponderous and pouty. I’m struggling to streamline, and frankly – frustrated in my efforts. Flipping through French design magazines, I’m reminded that while I need to edit significantly, I shouldn’t try to be someone I’m not.
So I’ll continue to give prominence to the pottery artifacts made by my children, to sculptured pumps picked up an exhibition, to texts from Centre Pompidou that I love to lounge with, and to all the other odd objects that suit me and surround me.
Here’s hoping they reflect my interiors, and do so with wit.
Image scanned from Côté Paris, Février-Mars 2013, p. 79, photographed by Jean-Marc Palisse. Visit cotemaison.fr.