Friday, December 18, 2009

Looking Back: Frames

One of my first clients was Christie's in New York City in 1983. I was fascinated to see old master paintings in these wonderful, traditional frames. Since then, this interest has evolved and become a part of my design aesthetic. The idea of frames, and using them in non-traditional or surprising ways, has become a signature design concept for me.

You may notice I’ve used the same frame in a few pictures in this post. I went to an antique shop one day and found these beautiful baroque frames just sitting there. They became a part of my collection, and have served as a background for many takes on the framing concept.  The frames are about 5ft by 6ft high.

How can you use frames in your own designs? Here are a few tips:

Tip #1: Find the right frame.  Depending on your design, you may want to use large, ornate frames or small, minimal frames. Don’t be afraid to mix and match. Look for circular and oval shaped frames in addition to the traditional rectangular and square shapes.

Tip #2: Don’t be afraid of 3-D. Take unusual objects and frame them. We’ve framed everything from flower arrangements to candles. You can take dolls and frame them in a child’s room or you can take fresh herbs and frame them in your kitchen. Look around at what you have and you’ll probably find  many things you can stick in a frame!

Tip #3: As with so many of the other design tips I’ve given—pick a theme. This technique can  produce a very eclectic look. What you don’t want to happen is to have it look messy or confusing. Choose one color or one type of object to frame to give it a consistent and purposeful look.

Do you have any tips on what to do with frames? If you have any great pictures where you’ve framed something unique, feel  free to share those too.


  1. Dear Preston,

    I have used frames for years with out photo's in them.... Every one thought I was crazy!!!!!
    Nice to see that some one else likes to use his imagination!!!!!

    Love you,

  2. Visionaries are those who think and design outside the frame-work of the usual. I have also used them for mirror framing in a powder room, above a dresser etc. They make great ornate door frames and create impact and a wow factor.


  3. An other idea is to get the objetive of frames and use other objects as a frame, for example old windows... Sorry for my english...I am an spanish speaker.


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