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KEITH Etc.

SKI designer Keith Arnold is not only a master at his craft but he has
a great talent for styling and polishing every finished interior to picture perfection.
Here he shares a valuable tip in his signature witty way...

06-KeithPHOTO: PAMELA MOUGIN

THE PYRAMID

My first real job was at Neiman Marcus… I was hired right out of college by the Atlanta Neiman Marcus Visuals Department. I had no experience, no real skills, no idea what the job entailed and certainly no idea how to do it. I had graduated from Auburn with a degree in architecture, but had no real understanding of how it may have helped prepare me for my future.

On my very first day, I arrived about 45 minutes early, hoping my eagerness would help make up for my complete lack of knowledge or skills. My boss was Betty Turnbull, and she said she wanted me to start in a small boutique section of the gifts department. She explained to me how it had been shopped over, and was no longer representative of the standards of the store. It was my job to bring it up to standard.

06-PyramidLeft
06-PyramidRight

To do this, Betty showed me the proper way to arrange a Neiman Marcus shelf. There was a drawing and everything – a very specific way all NM stores arrange their shelves. Before I get into it, let me clarify, that this is not the only way to arrange objects and it is not the only way I arrange objects. It is, however, a great way to begin an arrangement and can be a beautiful way style objects… and it is all about the pyramid.

PYRAMIDS IN ACTION AT S.K.I.

06-BlueRoomv2PHOTO: SIMON UPTON

06-WoodLivingRoomPHOTO: SIMON UPTON


Betty had some sketches and photos illustrating the “pyramid.” Basically, when presented with a group of disparate objects that need to somehow work together, you think about a pyramid. It does not have to be an equilateral pyramid like those you might be imagining in Egypt. It just needs to peak and taper, and this guideline can be used when styling bookshelves, a console, coffee table, any place where you might be arranging a group of different objects.


06-BookcaseGrayWood
PHOTO: ERICA GEORGE DINES
06-BookcaseLightWood
PHOTO: THIBAULT JEANSON

I am sure Betty had no idea that her simple pyramid sketch on that first day would stay with me throughout my career. Styling can be an intimidating task, it’s about finding the balance between what looks good, but not over decorated. We never want a room to look over decorated – as Suzanne always says, it is about editing.


06-DaVinciBook
PHOTO: ERICA GEORGE DINES
06-WhiteStairsChairPHOTO: ERICA GEORGE DINES

In my experience as a designer, I always seem to return to the pyramid sketch Betty drew me on that first day of work – it helps me edit and create arrangements that are architectural and chic – yet simple and unassuming.

06-KeithSignature