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10.31.20

Creating Joyous Spaces with Diane Rath of The Rath Project

Diane Rath of The Rath Project talks to The Local Vault about creating joyous spaces for her clients. Read more about the guest curator.

Now more than ever, we need our homes to serve us well. With all that is going on in the world and so much more time spent at home, we lean on our homes to function well and help us feel as calm and content as possible. Diane Rath of The Rath Project aims to help with just that. Located in Connecticut and New York, The Rath Project is the result of founder Diane Rath’s love of design and of helping others.

Photo Courtesy of The Rath Project

 

Before setting her sights on Fairfield county, Diane was a learning specialist in New York City whose love of design had her moonlighting as a designer. “I started a teeny tiny design blog as an outlet and began sharing my design likes and inspirations on Instagram, while also renovating our apartments and our lake house in upstate New York. Family friends quickly caught on and started asking me for assistance in their own homes.” When the opportunity arose to relocate to Connecticut, she faced a decision: carry on in her current field or switch gears and focus on design full time. “The choice was to either rebuild my current practice and continue down the path of education, or switch gears entirely and focus on building The Rath Project as a design firm in Fairfield. ” Though the two careers may have major differences, Diane has found satisfaction by helping others live their best lives in their homes. “though a piece of my heart will always be with those kids and families that have come so far in their abilities to learn and love the process of learning, I have been extremely fortunate that life once again gave us an opportunity to provide for families and to help make their homes a happy place.”

Photo by Erin Kestenbaum

Whether its incorporating a child’s budding interest, or making room for a beloved pet or simply finding the perfect layout for a room to be used to its best advantage, Diane is all about digging deep and creating a personal and unique space for each member of the family. Perhaps most importantly, this is accomplished all while giving a space a feeling of joy, warmth and of course, beauty. “I realized a long time ago that when we create homes that function better and feel bright, cheerful and full of personality, each person who lives in that home can focus on being their best self and the family grows closer.”

Photo by Erin Kestenbaum

To accomplish this, Diane and her team start by having a family meeting with everyone who lives in the home. “In addition to our virtual interview and the follow up questionnaire that takes every family member into account by asking about their hobbies, lifestyle, daily activities, like as and dislikes, etc., we essentially hold a family meeting. In this meeting we encourage all members to be involved or readily available, including the kids and pets! It’s important for us to see how the family functions as a whole and to be able to get feedback from each member so that we can create the very best environment for everyone!”

Photo by Erin Kestenbaum

While the goal is to create the best possible home for everyone, Diane cautions against the pursuit of perfection. “It’s so important to keep the mindset that things will never ever be perfect because we don’t live in museums! And in fact those imperfections show how lively and well-loved a home really is, so embrace that!”

Photo by Rebecca Stern Photography

With that being said, there are ways that she ensures homes (particularly those with children and pets) live up to their potential. “There are ways that we can help our pieces look prettier a little longer, and that’s by being smart about the choices we make when designing-including materials and shapes, sizes and functionality of larger furniture pieces. Choosing washable slip covers on sofas and chairs, upholstering a piece in performance fabrics, or simply picking colors and patterns that can hide stains or pet hair is the easiest way to extend the life of those most used items in our homes. Another clever way to keep things tidy and organized with little kids running around is to add beautiful case goods that not only elevate the décor, but also act as large inconspicuous storage vestibules. These can be in the form of dressers, sideboards, built ins, you name it- any place that can tuck away toys, games, crafts, homework…And the easier it is for the kids to put their things away, the more likely they are to do so!”

Photo by Erin Kestenbaum

Of course, the practical concerns of a design are only one aspect of a project. The mood of a room is a vital element of the design work that Diane, along with the help of Project Manager and Art Advisor Rebecca Little, are experts in creating. Working together, the two bring complimentary skills to each project they work on. “Rebecca and I complement each other-and now that we both have kids, Rebecca being a brand new mom, our perspectives are becoming even more similar. As an artist, she has a great eye for detail and I can very quickly see the big picture and soon to be transformation of any space- when pairing those two qualities, each project runs smoothly and turns out beautifully.”

Photo Courtesy of The Rath Project

The result is often a cheerful one with bold choices and color. For those who are considering bringing more color into the home, Diane suggests, “Paint! If you’re just beginning to dip your toe into the color pond then choose a smaller room that’s not one of the main living spaces- think powder room, guest room etc. One that you can leisurely “visit” when you’d like so you can get used to the idea of color. And remember paint is easy and relatively inexpensive to apply and just as easy to change!” Another element of design that can very quickly bring life and color into the home is art. “In order to choose the best art for each family you not only need to understand the colors and specific styles that they gravitate towards, but you have to make it personal- and this is easier to do when you really get to know them;  when you understand their interests, their hobbies, their favorite places to visit, where they’ve come from and where they’d like to be… To pick the best art, you need to know what speaks to each person as well as consider what you want that specific work to say in a space- do you want it to quietly compliment the décor or do you want it to scream hello? And a lot of that will again be personal- it will depend on (and give away) the personality of the individual who lives there!”

Photo by Erin Kestenbaum

Creating a space that is unique to each family can also be achieved through vintage pieces. “We continuously and religiously incorporate vintage into the spaces that we design! Not only does a vintage piece add a bit of whimsy and a pop of personality, but it makes a room feel layered and textured and lived in and collected over time. Vintage pieces help set the stage for “moments” in your home that add interest and set it apart from everyone else’s. It’s also a great way to recognize past designs, creatives and makers and to appreciate the history in how and why goods were made in a particular manner- adding vintage is not just about decorating gracefully, it’s about being a conscious consumer and a mindful human who respects the evolution of our world.”

Click here to shop Diane’s curated collection for TLV!

Text by Liana Hayles Newton / Headshot photo by Erin Kestenbaum

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TLV is about sharing, supporting and discovering all that's great about the community we live in. We strive to inspire, enlighten and sometimes entertain. Our team of tastemakers are mothers, wives, sisters and friends, and together we share our musings about love, life and home.
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