2009 Arizona Bead Dog Interview with Linda Britt
Profile at-a-glance: Linda Britt, Interior Designer
Linda Britt, Interior Designs, Inc.
5820 N. Paseo Niquel
Tucson, AZ 85718
Arizona Bead Dog: Is there some general advice you can give about how to create a focal point with a mineral specimen (small or large) or statue?
Linda Britt: Lighting is the key to making a mineral specimen the focal point. For example, light reflecting down and into a geode grabs the eye with all the depth of color and sparkle. If the mineral is cut and polished, light can shine through the piece. Either hanging the specimen or placing it in a stand, with a light source coming from behind, brings out all the patterns and colors in a stone like agate. If the specimen itself is not dramatic, using color in the surrounding area can bring attention to the mineral.
And once you have everyone's attention, be sure you have a story or at least know the name and something about the stone. Tell a visual and verbal story!
ABD: Do the considerations change if the piece is outside versus inside? What about lighting?
LB: Larger pieces are more dramatic outside and lighting generally comes from below or in front for highlight. Inside the key is scale — does the piece fit the space available?
ABD: Should a client buy a piece he or she really likes even though it might be a bit odd, or should the client simply try to match the furniture?
LB: A client should always buy a piece (accessory) that they love and find interesting. That's the time to add the client's own personality to the home.
(Variety of cathedrals and table bottoms from a mineral showroom here in Tucson.)
ABD: Can you offer tips on how a designer helps clients create a mood, space, area? For example, is there any rule of thumb you use when considering the different elements a house already has (wood versus mineral, for example, or cloth versus leather)?
LB: Using a variety of textures — smooth to rough; using a range of color — light to dark; using the space — being very aware of scale and rhythm. These are all ways of a designer can help her client use art elements to create an interesting space. Most important is the underlying space planning that considers the traffic paths and functions of the room.
(Onyx mineral "slab" from Madagascar Minerals, right here in Tucson.)
ABD: When adding a mineral specimen to the home as a design element or an art piece, are there any other insights you can offer (for example, is color ever a factor considering that a mineral is a natural piece of the earth — does it depend on whether it is just a specimen, or whether it is a granite countertop, tub tile, or table top)?
LB: It is usually better to keep a mineral specimen in a display area. If the countertop is polished granite and you want to use a specimen in the same area, the specimen should not be the same color and should be natural texture. In other words, too much of a good thing (polished granite and polished specimen) is too much of a good thing! Tables and countertops are great places to use minerals with wild veins and lots of movement. Always look at the actual slab to be used instead of looking at a sample.
(Quartz crystals from Don Burrow, right here in Tucson.)