What makes a house a home? A question designers and homeowners alike ask themselves when conceptualizing any interior space. The challenge of making the contents within your four walls feel like you is an art form like any other. Dwayne Bergmann achieves this by softening edges, incorporating favorite colors, and most distinctly, layering in personal pieces that hold special meaning to the inhabitants. From family heirlooms passed down through the generation to the pieces that have become fixtures in your family’s everyday life, Dwayne gives each prized possession the honor it deserves.

Featured in a recent online article by The Wall Street Journal, our very own Robin Correnti describes the beloved leather sectional sofa that her in-laws spotted during their travels in Israel that now is the centerpiece of her family home. The piece holds special meaning for the Correnti family, representing the “meant to be” nature of how it wound up in their home after being spotted thousands of miles away, not to mention thousands of dollars more expensive. Robin tasked Dwayne with designing her new Fort Myers family home around this prized sofa as the main focal point. By floating it in the family room, it now serves as the epicenter of their life, a conversation pit for the modern age, and a gathering place where memories are made. With ample room for “everyone to fit on it at once”, the sofa spotted all those years ago makes the Correnti house a home. Click here for the full article.

We all have special items that have traveled with us, through time and sometimes across State lines, that we grant permanent real estate within our home. For Dwayne it is an Antique Secretary Desk, passed down many generations and which still resides with his Mother in her family room. This piece is something that he hopes remains in his family for many more generations to come.  For some, it’s your parent’s china or great Aunt’s crystal stemware, but for others it may be the antique collected while abroad or the steal procured at a major sale from a favorite brand. Folding these meaningful items into interiors requires a practiced hand and editing eye. Dwayne’s approach centers around the piece’s function and form. Primarily, will the piece act as a focal point or should it blend seamlessly into the surroundings? Does it pair aesthetically with the space it relates to functionally? Does it require special treatment, like spotlighting, hanging, or natural light control? All questions that inform Dwayne’s decision-making process when layering in special pieces.

In a recent project, the team was tasked with infusing the home of a well-traveled couple with their vast collection of antiques, artifacts, and art from around the world. Uniquely challenging was the spectrum of design influences and cultures, from early English to ancient Asian and everywhere in between. In addition to intentional placement throughout the home, including groupings and shrine-like displays, Dwayne converted the guest room into a traveler’s time capsule. Every inch was adorned with meaningful memories in the form of art, objects, and furniture. For guests, the room is a museum, but for the couple, it is a living reminder of their collection of experiences, transporting them back to the times they represent. These special pieces are what make the home distinctly theirs.

There is no checklist or formula for what makes a certain possession specifically special. It’s not price or provenance, but personal meaning that the owner has bestowed upon it. Perhaps it’s attached to a memory or significant person in your life, or maybe it was handmade with care by a loved one or artisan. No matter the reason, these pieces hold a special place in our hearts and therefore our homes. When designing around or including these tangible articles of our personalities, the home becomes layered with individuality. Take a moment to look around your home and identify the pieces that are the most special to you. Are they tucked in a corner, hidden in a cabinet, or sequestered to an unused room? Bring them out into the spotlight with thoughtful placement that celebrates their unique story.
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