It’s The Little Things – A Challenge

By Meredith Hutto

"It’s all about the details." It’s something architects, artists, and designers say so frequently. We spend plenty of time scrutinizing and repeatedly reviewing our work to make sure we haven’t missed anything. If something is not right, we can feel it. We go home and we dream about it. We can’t get it out of our heads.

Personally, I have found that at times, this approach stops when I leave work. I have spent so much time being meticulous that I become rather unobservant throughout the rest of my day. My senses say "alright I’ve had enough for today" and I meander home.

Majestic mural atop the Empire Café in Chelsea

New York is a city full of grand gestures, endless advertising, and diverse culture. It can be easy to become desensitized and fall into the routine of burying our faces in our phones (or books) and minding our own business.

Colorfully painted storefront

Last year, when I realized this about myself, I challenged myself to keep the observations going. I dared myself to notice little things that are begging to be noticed, because the designed world is beautifully detailed and it needs to be seen!

Detailed entry on the Upper east side

Here are some of my findings (the ones I stopped to photograph) from just trying to focus on the world around me more! On my walk home, or on an outing, whatever the case may be. I have found it to be very rewarding.

Street signs & stickers

Red doors in Brooklyn

Luxurious window bars

Window shopping in Soho

Tiny floating window terrariums

Mirror door on the Upper east side

Bookstore ceiling

Street chalk

Ivy-covered townhouse

Glimpse of a staircase in the MOMA

I have many more, but you get the picture. Some people might be highly observant and naturally notice and appreciate everything that I have shown above, and that’s great! I just found that this helpful exercise gives me a greater appreciation for people, places, and spaces. Nothing profound, just a good practice to keep up.