Relaxed Sophistication

Viridian Skies Rising in the Rooms

While retaining much of its country charm, Nashville has clearly grown into a sophisticated city. However, such change can present unexpected challenges. For example, how to design interior spaces that pay homage to the best of the past while making room for the best of the cutting-edge. Brentwood Lifestyle asked Hayden Phelps, creative director of the full-service design firm Viridian Skies Interiors, for a few tips.  

Tell us about Viridian Skies Interiors.

VSI specializes in the creation of curated spaces with an emphasis on custom features, fine arts and antiques and is committed to introducing people to an unexpected but cohesive aspect of design. VSI interiors range from the historical to contemporary, treating each project as a work of art. By balancing beauty and function, each client's individual personality speaks.

Is there a challenge particular to Nashville you are coming across?

I have many clients who have a hard time incorporating an abstract or modern artwork into a “Nashville” or relaxed ascetic. There is a perceived notion that contemporary art, especially minimalistic pieces, must be placed against a white wall and surrounded by unconventional furniture. While contemporary works do present well in this illusion, the truth is that wall color and contrast in accessories are needed for appreciation of the artwork. Everything should not be one note.

Any tips on hanging art?

You would be surprised how many times I have seen expensive works of art installed behind a lamp or below a sofa. There are key notes on how to properly install artwork both singular and within sitting arrangements. No one's head should be resting against the fine art when seated or artwork installed so high that you get a nose bleed from viewing. There are measures any homeowner can take to cause impact to the pieces so that they spark an emotional setting to the room.

What about the art itself?

It’s all about buying artwork that speaks to you and to not being cautious about how you are going to present it. Supporting local artists and infusing the community into your home is key. My interiors are about living in originality. I don't want anyone looking at my interiors and knowing where everything came from. Almost all elements of my designs from dominate to subtle are either handmade, originals or vintage/antiques. These items are not only quality but also allow me to curate a space that is as reflective as the individual living there.

Any other tips?  

When curating an interior revolving around fine art, it is important to take in the color palette, composition and more importantly the emotion of the work. You want your accessories to complement the artwork as well as spark conversation in the space.

It is ideal that the middle of the piece be eye level with the viewer. 

1. Measure the height of the artwork.

2. Divide that measurement by half.

3. Add 60 (inches) to that number.

4. Next, measure the "drop" of the piece, the distance from the top of the artwork to the top of the wire/hooks. Make sure wire is pulled taut when measuring.

5. Take the measurement from step 3 and subtract the measurement of the drop to get the nail height. If using two nails, make sure they are level.  

When hanging artwork above a sofa, add 8 inches to your overall nail height for additional space for the artwork to not interfere with the functionality of the space.  

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