Timeless Taste - Can There Be a Place for Everyone's?

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Services for Real Estate Pros with Fresh Eyes For Your Home

What is timeless taste? And for that matter what exactly is taste? For those of us who design things, this is not a theoretical question.  If there is such a thing as taste, we do need to recognize it so that we can accommodate all of our clients and not just the clients whose tastes and preferences reflect our own.

Many people say that taste is subjective.  They believe this because it feels that way: when they like something  they have no idea why.  It could be because it's beautiful or their mom had one.  Maybe they  saw a movie set that they loved or, maybe the item is expensive.  Their thoughts are a tangle of unexamined impulses.  Saying that taste is personal is a good way to prevent disputes.  And while relativism is fashionable, it can hamper us from thinking about taste and admit that there is such a thing as good and bad taste.

For those of us who design things,  these are not theoretical issues.  If there is such a thing as beauty, we need to recognize it and we need good taste to create good design.  When you make mistakes, what caused you to make them?  Once you start to examine the question, the same principles come up over and over again and it becomes very difficult to separate good design from good taste.  And so, here are my thoughts:

Good taste is simple: You hear this from math to art.  In math, it means that a shorter solution is a more elegant solution.  Clearly less is more.  It means much the same thing in architecture and design.  Beauty should depend on carefully chosen structural elements rather than a profusion of superficial ornament. When you are forced to be simple, you are forced to face the real problem because if you can't deliver ornamentation, you must deliver substance.

Good taste solves the right problem:   A chair needs to be well designed in order to accommodate the sitter.  A well designed chair has enough structure to enable the sitter to make it through an evening meal, in comfort.

Good taste looks easy but isn't: When Bauhaus designers adopted the slogan "form follows function" what they meant was form should follow function.  And if function is hard enough, form is forced to follow it and there is no room to spare for error.

Good taste resembles nature: It's not that resembling nature is intrinsically good but rather, nature has had a long time to work on the problem and it's a good sign when the design solution resembles nature's.

Good taste uses symmetry:  Symmetry is another way to achieve simplicity but mother nature uses it a lot which is definitely a good sign.

Good taste is daring and unexpected: Today's experimental design is tomorrow's new standard.  "Mixing it Up" to create the unexpected is the newest trend in design today, replacing the "matchy matchy" look that prevailed in homes for so many years.  The real challenge here is having the taste to get it right!

Have I convinced you that good taste is timeless?   In math, every proof is timeless unless it contains a mistake.  Aiming for timelessness is a way to evade the grip of fashion.  Fashions change with time so to design and make a room look good, far into the future, it's appeal must derive more from merit and less from fashion.  AMEN!

 

 

 

 

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Rainmaker
774,028
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

Thanks Debb Janes and yes, I think Audrey Hepburn is the perfect example of someone who had it.  And Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905 you are the best!! Thank you for enjoying and oy, that thinker pose does terrible things to the jaw line - you are way too kind.

Mar 26, 2015 01:51 PM #31
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

What I learned

Mar 28, 2015 11:21 AM #32
Rainmaker
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Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Joanna Cohlan,

I was so happy to see your post featured in Kathy Streib's "Ah-Ha" moments for the week and disappointed it wasn't featured by AR! I read the comments  and felt Debb Janes was so on with her comment about Audrey Hepburn oozing timeless taste! Seriously wonderful post!

Mar 28, 2015 10:10 PM #33
Rainmaker
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Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Joanna. how very very interesting. I love your Mother's line and remember it from mine.

Mar 28, 2015 10:14 PM #34
Rainmaker
3,280,817
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Joanna, we are at a point of moving and starting over, leavingthe past behind. It will be an interestin journey to see how my wife's tastes have changed. Enjoy your day!

Mar 28, 2015 10:44 PM #35
Rainmaker
774,028
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

Thanks so much Dorie Dillard you are always so supportive and I am delighted to be appreciated among my girlfriends in the Rain!

Sheila, do you think it's a Jewish thing?

You bet Wayne Martin and sometimes people do a 360 so fasten your seat belt!

Mar 28, 2015 11:09 PM #36
Rainmaker
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Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Absolutely, Joanna, taste is in the eye of the beholder. And yet, when we see bad taste we know it! Another think I've found over the years is that money does not buy good taste, necessarily.

Mar 28, 2015 11:12 PM #37
Rainmaker
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Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great post! I can see why Kathy included it this week in her summary!  Well done!

Mar 29, 2015 12:35 AM #38
Rainmaker
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Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com

I've always been a big fan of mixing old and new materials when it comes to design. I don't think that style ever goes out of fashion. 

Mar 29, 2015 01:09 AM #39
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Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

This post so resonates with me Joanna Cohlan ! What a wonderful piece of writing and so well expressed. I so totally agree, good taste is timeless. I'm a big believer in less is more. My tastes are a bit eclectic, but that doesn't equate to clutter ;O)  I love your sharing style through self examination. In music it too is symmetry and proportion and no one does it better than Mother Nature with fractals or the golden mean. 

Mar 29, 2015 03:16 AM #40
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

My Mom, who also used that taste being in someone's mouth, also had a phrase, "Simplicity is good taste."  Simplicity never goes out style.

Mar 29, 2015 07:14 AM #41
Rainmaker
797,152
Cindy Edwards
RE/MAX Checkmate - Johnson City, TN
CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677

Very nice, I'm glad Kathy featured you.  Good style is timeless.  You stated this very well.

Mar 29, 2015 07:20 AM #42
Rainmaker
774,028
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

Nina Hollander you are so so right!  Thanks so much for stopping by Kristin Johnston, Waukesha Realtor 414-254-6647 .  Actually Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert everything goes out of style and comes back but we need to be able to withstand the trends! Rene Fabre you rock and clearly you understand aesthetics and beauty.  And right you are Chris Ann Cleland and you had a smart mom for sure!

Mar 29, 2015 10:35 AM #43
Rainmaker
774,028
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

Thanks so much for stopping by Cindy Edwards always happy to know what people feel about taste.

Mar 29, 2015 10:35 AM #44
Rainmaker
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Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Hi Joanna Cohlan - taste is elusive and it is always evolving.  We once thought stainless steel was too industrial.. and now it seems to be a must have.

Mar 29, 2015 10:38 AM #45
Rainmaker
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Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

How right you are Joan Whitebook !!

Mar 29, 2015 10:41 AM #46
Rainmaker
1,516,262
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Good taste is indeed timeless..as is bad taste!

Mar 31, 2015 02:04 AM #47
Rainmaker
1,538,192
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Very interesting! I naturally think more about good taste in word choices. My point being, taste really does affect all areas of our lives - from furnishings and clothing, to words and behavior. 

Mar 31, 2015 02:25 AM #48
Rainmaker
1,079,379
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Joanna, I have never been a big fan of matchy matchy and notice that neither have Architectural Digest homes. This is a great piece!

Mar 31, 2015 10:09 AM #49
Rainmaker
774,028
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

I don't know what to say about "bad taste" Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC except that there is way too much of it!

You are right Marte Cliff - taste is important in all aspects of our lives.  I am on your wavelength Sharon Alters and matchy matchy is not my taste either but, it does not make it bad taste!

Mar 31, 2015 01:22 PM #50
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Joanna Cohlan

Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes
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