Photo by Hilary Kennedy

Designer tip: Joel Fazende on adapting to ‘open concept’ living

When deciding to downsize a living space, families often have a difficult time figuring out what to do with their previous collection of art, decor or rugs. According to Joel Fazende of Dixon Smith Interiors, the best option is also the fastest and most economical—just pick the best pieces that work with the new space, and let the rest go.

“Use and appreciate your treasures and let go of everything else,” he says. “Clutter can diminish the drama of a space because the eye doesn’t know where to focus. This can be a key detail to keep in mind with an open floor plan—you must be conscious of how spaces interact.”

Fazende points to the image above as an example.

“The living room, dining room and kitchen are all in an L-shaped room, so the furnishings had to be harmonious through the space,” he says. “One way we did this was by keeping the wall color and trim color the same throughout, and using the same drapery fabric on all the windows, but with various hanging techniques.”

Fazende also opted out of the four existing hanging light fixtures the homeowners had installed before deciding to downsize.

“I simplified this by using their prized antique Dutch chandelier and hung it over the kitchen island, forgoing the obligatory dining room chandelier,” he says. “The result was a smaller space filled with only their favorite pieces.”

For more information on Fazende or Dixon Smith Interiors, visit