Home Tour

This Creative Director's Home Plays With Symmetry, Scale & Color in Unexpected Ways

It's full of fun details and bold design choices.

June 23, 2023
Photo by Schoolhouse

This article originally appeared on Schoolhouse, a Portland-based company in the Food52 family of brands.

Playful, unpretentious, aspirational, inspiring, and brilliantly down-to-earth—stepping into Creative Director Joanna Bean Martin’s home is like experiencing all of the best parts of an art museum. Colorful and light-filled, her 3,000-square-foot dwelling is full of fun details and bold design choices that play with scale and symmetry in unexpected ways. Scroll below to be smitten by her style and space while simultaneously getting a lesson on the modern use of color.

Photo by Schoolhouse

1. Play with Scale

Playing with proportions creates a sense of harmony and balance within a space. By styling with objects of varying sizes that share a common design element or color, you can create a cohesive and unified look that ties the room together. In the kitchen below, the large Schoolhouse Dish Knobs contrast the sleek cabinetry while complementing the curves and color of the arched entryway.

Pro Tip: Pair oversized artwork with petite accent pieces or a sculptural, statement-making chandelier for a visually balanced but unexpected look.

Photo by Schoolhouse

2. Create Symmetry

Symmetry is often achieved by creating a central focal point in a room. Some of the easiest ways to incorporate this style into your home is through artwork, furniture, or a light fixture. Since modern symmetry is all about simplicity and minimalism, look for clean lines in your decor and architecture to create a visually balanced space while repeating design elements (such as shapes, colors, and patterns) to add an unexpected and inspiring touch.

Pro Tip: Lighting is a key element in achieving symmetry. Use multiple light sources throughout a room to create balance and avoid having one side of the room feeling darker than the other.

Photo by Schoolhouse

3. Embrace Bold Color Pops

The simplicity and sheer impact of painting a part of your home is a design tip to take note of. Below, Joanna opted for a rich spruce green to keep the space feeling fresh and modern. The placement of the white Eduard Sconce helps draw the eye up while adding a sculptural element to this colorful corner.

Pro Tip: Never underestimate the power of paint—experiment with accent walls, or consider painting furniture, doors, or kitchen cabinetry in a vibrant new hue.

Photo by Schoolhouse

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Elizabeth Hokyo

Written by: Elizabeth Hokyo

Senior Editor at Schoolhouse