More Is More

A few years ago, Todd and I were in Palm Beach, Florida looking at venues for a client. One of the site visits included staying at The Colony Hotel. I’ve stayed in a lot of hotels over the years, but there was something about this small, older hotel that quickly caught my attention. The style is classic Palm Beach with vibrant pinks and greens. As our host was giving a tour, she identified the interior designer as Carleton Varney. I recognized the name as the successor of the Dorothy Draper Company. Outside of a few magazine articles, I didn’t know much about him. I started reading everything I could find. I would use words and phrases like “over the top” and “wow” and “bold and dramatic” to describe his work.

While visiting Palm Beach, Todd picked up the concept of “maximalist.” It’s the idea of design (especially interior design) being the opposite of “minimalist.” Maximalist design typically uses bright and bold colors. An aesthetic of excess is another way it’s been described.  Maximalism is certainly not a new term or style. Maximalism can be found through the ages in music, literature and art. More is more another way I’ve heard people talk about the concept of maximalism.

When Todd heard this word “maximalism,” he immediately commented that our Christmas decorating style certainly fit this description. Since then, I have become a fan of maximalism, trying to learn as much as I can.  I’ve come to love the style more than I realized was possible.

Dorothy Draper was a pioneer in the interior design world (usually identified as the first interior design company). Carleton Varney bought her company in 1964. He had designed the interiors of The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and so much more.

We designed our office Christmas tree in the spirit of maximalism. With orange, hot pink and red, we covered the tree with large ornaments, included pieces of luggage in the tree and lots of bright ribbon. Christmas is the perfect time to embrace maximalism and go with the phrase “more is more!”

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