Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Luxe Life

In my last post, interior designer Jenny Miller was described as living 'the Luxe Life' . This is just one in a series of contemplations on luxury that I have recently read, which got me thinking. What is luxury? There is somewhat of a theory of relativity when it comes to luxury. What is luxury to one person may not be luxury to another. Some think of luxury as prestigious or exclusive; others may think of luxury as trendy and fashionable. The evolution of luxury has even changed over the past ten years with mass production of upscale products, and lower price points for "entry level" items that used to be only affordable to the select few. Luxury is much more mainstream now, in a world where Victoria Hagan has a line for Target (although, of course, it is a world apart from her own Victoria Hagan Home collection).

Interior design by Victoria Hagan

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The technical definition of luxury is as follows (from the American Heritage Dictionary):
1. Something inessential but conducive to pleasure and comfort.
2. Something expensive or hard to obtain.
3. Sumptuous living or surroundings

In an article from a 2006 Fine Furnishings International, several top designers were asked to define luxury. Charles
Spada, a legendary Boston designer who is known for his "tranquil and lavishly under-decorated" interiors, describes luxury as an indulgence in the unnecessary. In his design practice, luxury means an unlimited budget and the ability to attain one of a kind items. However, he also acknowledges that luxury can be found in the casual and informal, like a hot bubble bath at the end of a busy day.

Interior design by Charles Spada

Suzanne Lovell was also featured in this article. She did not have much to add to the definition of luxury (other than a comment that our homes reflect the amount of luxury that we have access to), but I really liked her design portfolio so I thought I would put her in here!

Interior design by Suzanne Lovell

Another interesting designer in this article is Michelle Nussbaumer. Her observation is that luxury is a lifestyle, a certain enjoyment of life, and that the luxury of time is important.

Interior design by Michelle Nussbaumer

Sara Zook, a designer based in Denver (and founder of New Classic Designs), describes luxury as "Beyond the necessary, beyond the average, and beyond the expected". Sara had my favorite definition of luxury: the blending of quality and uniqueness, which can be attained in many different ways; it can be through wonderful architecture, a top notch art or antiques collection, a wonderful view. However, she does acknowledge that although unlimited budgets are not a necessity, luxury without expense requires tenacious, creative design".

Interior design by Sarah Zook


  1. What a great question. To me luxury is anything I consider beyond the mediocrity of the everyday--whether it is buying that expensive handbag or being able to sleep late on the weekends.

  2. Love your iron gates of Charleston post. Really nice.

  3. I think that is a good definition...it moves away from the material aspect of luxury.

    By the way, I have no idea why my blog is suddenly posting with no line spacing...it is so tiny and hard to read. If I increase the size of the font, that does not help (just makes it too big). I cannot find a line spacing option. I may have to dive into the HTML unless someone can e-mail me a solution! Thanks!

  4. I agree with bits and pieces of these designers' definitions, and I also agree with Brilliant Asylum. Luxury to me is doing something or buying something to treat myself.

  5. Sarah, your blog is reading fine for me. Maybe you have fixed already?

    Luxury for me would be time to savour the moments of life that mean the most.

  6. Another great post - thanks for dropping by my blog and allowing me to discover your blog! :-))

  7. The biggest luxury to me right now is time and having enough space to live in.

  8. I just love these pictures! They are so beautiful, especially the second one!!!



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