September 22, 2009

Rewind Wednesday: Whose Design is it Anyway?

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Today’s Rewind Wednesday post goes waaaaayyyyy back in our archives. It’s one of the very first posts I wrote. I hope it gets more than five comments this time around!! I’d love to hear your thoughts about…

whose design title

Can one person “own” a design?

I was just browsing the Rate My Space web site. I saw four rooms with colour-blocked walls. They were all similar – blocks of various colours with white “grid” lines in between. A few years ago, a member of the House & Home forums painted a similar colour block & grid wall in her daughter’s bedroom. Who came up with the idea first? Did they all copy each other? Can one of them lay claim to the design?

When you think about it, every design is based on another design. We take a design that we see and like, and then create our own interpretation of it, putting our own spin on it and giving it our own personal touches. For example – these are the walls in my home office {Pics of the final design are coming soon!!}

office 1 office 2

office 3

It was inspired by this nursery on Rate My Space. Unfortunately, I can’t find the original post on RMS, so I can’t give proper credit to the creator of this room. {I just found the nursery featured at Project Nursery. If you’d like to learn more about it, click here.}



The inspiration for the letters on the nursery wall came from this bedding from DwellStudio:

dwell bedding

And this bedding was inspired by… well, I guess the alphabet. The history of the alphabet started in ancient Egypt over 4,700 years ago. So does that mean the ancient Egyptians get credit for these three alphabet-inspired designs?

Here's another example. This is our bed:

bed 1

My husband and I came up for the plans for it and built it. We based it on an upholstered bed from Restoration Hardware

RH bed

And a bed that Sarah Richardson designed for a bedroom on Sarah’s House:

sh bed

There are obvious similarities between the three beds, but differences as well. All three have a nailhead trim detail. The headboard corner cut-outs and legs on our bed are based on Sarah’s bed. But Sarah used a bold patterned fabric on her bed and we used a solid brown velvet.

So who owns this design? I say all of us — and none us. The beds I used as inspiration for our bed were likely inspired by other beds. In fact, Sarah had to change her original headboard design because the original wouldn’t fit up the stairs to the bedroom. Which is an example of how a design evolves as you move through a project.

Nobody can say that a design is 100% (or even 99%) theirs. Every design is a collaboration of people and ideas — from pictures in books and magazines, TV shows, Internet forums, a friend’s house, stores, hotels, nature… design inspiration is all around us and in all of us.

Well, that’s what I think :-) What do you think??

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Cristin // Simplified Bee said...

I agree. We all give and take design ideas. I love getting inspired by someone elses design. BTW, I blogged about that nursery too. Loved it.

cristin @ simplified bee

Sarah @ In A Dream said...

What a great question. I guess it's interesting to think about who came up with the idea, but in the end, I think as long as you don't completely copy a whole room, it is your design. You may have been inspired by different things in different areas of the room, but you came up with the room as a whole. When you decided the bed would look good that way in your particular room that made it your own. Wow, that was confusing. We all take inspiration from different things, so I don't think anything is entirely our own, but at the same time when you come up with a set of things to put together that wasn't copied, it is yours even when parts of it were inspired by someone else. I'm done. My brain hurts! Thanks for the thought-provoking question!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Love your headboard, Kelly! Your lamps, too! I agree, and sometimes you have to adapt an inspiration picture to better fit your home, lifestyle or design goal. Why reinvent the wheel.

Michelle said...

I love that bed by much print though...I always use solids for such large peices, but the bed makes me think otherwise.

A great rewind!


Maria Killam said...

It's a good thing I just read this post. I am specifying a king headboard that has to go up some stairs and I better measure to make sure!!
I think everyone is inspired by someone else personally.

Pam Kersting said...

Awesome post Kelly! I love those color combinations too -- brown with baby blue. All designers may THINK they are original, but frankly, we all reinvent the wheel every time, don't we?

Susan @ Your home, only better. said...

It's like's the combination and interpretation of the ingredients that make an entree sizzle!

Thanks for the inspiration! :)


ps - I'm visiting from the HOMEdigz blog party - glad I found your blog!

Interior IDentities said...

Kelly - Excellent post. Inspiration can be found everywhere, and using our own nterpretations of a design help us to create our own unique style. Love your rooms and examples, too. Great job!

Glad I found you via the HOMEdigz blog party.


Katie Lane said...

I've said it before but I LOVE those wall letters. You need to come help me out :)

mrsben said...

Kelly, though a rewind this is a great Post!

'Whose Design is it Anyway?' Briefly; the same question applies to the Fashion Industry. That's my take on the subject.
SMILES -Brenda-

Alycia Wicker said...

You are so right! I have had this conversation before. Design inspires other design. Sometimes I think there are no original ideas anymore, everything is an improvement or has evolved from another idea! Thanks for the post, and glad to connect thru HOMEdigz!

Gayle said...

I think anything creative is not 100% one person's creation. We can't help but be inspired by what we see others do! I also say, inspiration or not, I'm hopeless at interior design!

Puna said...

I love the idea of the letters on the wall in the baby's room. It's very sophisticated, not too childish. Very cute!

Anonymous said...

Thi have been inspired by this creative designer!

Nicole said...

Hmmm....what came first for inspiration, hunh? Well I guess I'll try and answer that since it is my son's nursery that you are featuring from Rate My Space. I cannot take all of the credit since, yes, I did use his crib bedding as my inspiration. The letters on the wall however were originally designed and layed out to work on his walls dimensionally and in proper perspective. Especially when choosing which letters would be highlighted with a dark or light color. So although it was inspired by the bedding, our re-take on it I think made it unique and original. And thanks to everyone's interest in the mural and art, it did inspire me to start FORMbaby where I now produce and sell modern wall art. Inspiration is such a wonderful thing :0) - Nicole

baby crib said...

What I really love in your designs was the wall. That is one of a kind design. It was very fascinating and anyone who is going to see is going to be stunned.

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