Blank Check

May 14th 2015 Comments: 4 Topics: ,

Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory. -Coco Chanel

Even though Mlle. Chanel’s sage advice pertained to fashion, I think it’s a valid point for all types of design. I can’t count the times I’ve referenced this quote in terms of architecture or interior design. Seeing a blank wall, the natural tendency is put something there. I say leave it alone.

Most people are afraid of a void and their knee-jerk reaction is to immediately fill it. I find blank space inherently necessary and akin to silence. Often, it’s human nature to be fearful of quiet. When faced with dead air, most tend to say something – anything – to avoid the awkwardness of stillness. I assert that a built lull can offer peace and calm to a room. In our visually busy world, this quality is one we all need – consider it a blessed rest in the stanza, a place to breathe, a pause allowing thoughts to coalesce.  We should relish this grace, not mask it.

Most medical and spiritual professionals tout the healing benefits of meditation. If this is indeed beneficial to our minds, why shouldn’t we instill our buildings with a laconic quality? After all, both fill up with clutter way too readily.

To quote another design great, less is indeed more.


Work commissioned originally by Atlanta Homes & LIfestyle and licensed to McAlpine Booth Ferrier for reproduction in a book project and marketing.


Untitled 2horrellInteriors-010


Greg Tankersley for McAlpine Tankersley


  1. Nancy says:

    Lawyers recommend mediation. Doctors recommend meditation. Tricky. Quiet. Nice post.

  2. Angela says:

    This concept applies to journalism, too, where we allow for “white space” on a page full of text and graphics, so the reader has some visual breathing room. How universal this is. That Coco…

  3. Michelle says:

    That’s a great comparison. I have never thought about how people try to fill in space like they try to fill in the silence. I’ll have to pay attention to that now.

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