Designers often talk about creating a “collected” look. When clients don’t have heirlooms and collections of their own — especially if those clients are young, just developing their tastes and starting to assemble possessions accordingly — this layered and personal aesthetic must be manufactured out of whole cloth. This type of interior, even when deftly executed, can sometimes convey a lack of depth; when conjured by unskilled hands, it feels contrived.
Neither is true for Baltimore-based designer Mona Hajj’s projects. That’s because the collected aesthetic comes naturally to her. In A Romance of East and West (Monacelli), her recently released second book, she talks about the homes in which she grew up during her Beirut childhood. “Many of the pieces we lived with had been handed down through generations,” she writes. “There were no formulas for the ways these rooms came together, which may explain why I am so averse to any sort of design formula now.”
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