Above are three aspects of designs which Clayton has implemented in his environment: furniture, garden, and house design.
Early in Clayton’s marriage, he designed a bureau for his wife and commissioned a local woodworker to build it. Since then he has designed tables from old stall dividers, low benches to sit on while changing into farm boots, and a variety of furniture for use in his house. Every piece of furniture has a lot of thought and consideration behind the design – a padded seat for the boot changer, sliding table extensions to accommodate high chairs for his children, airiness in a dining table to reduce its visual space. All these designs incorporate a sense of aesthetics so they are pleasing to the eye.
Clayton has high standards for his gardens. First, he plans for specific plants and often stays up late pouring over catalogs and plant books to find the ideal plant aesthetically, as well as in terms of terminal height, spread, seed color, wet/dry roots, shade or sunny location. Second, he understands the need for variation of texture and line in a garden, which means he is happy to rip out plants which don’t work in one space and either replant them elsewhere or dispose of them. Third, he will cruise a nursery during its fall sale, find a plant or tree he appreciates, and visualize the best site for it. Lastly, Clayton often plants specifically for artistic appeal of a flower, such as a silver thistle, or a vegetable, as the Jarrahdale squash.
House design was a logical extension of Clayton’s ability to envision what he could see clearly in his head. When he sees a property he can almost immediately envision how he could transform the existing structures in a house design. Much of what appeals to Clayton’s aesthetics is a sense of vibration – light and shadow, old and new, changing rhythms. An old Pennsylvania farm house, a derelict boat house, a 1700’s barn with a nearby 1800’s two room school house: what already exists guides his ideas for changes. Each project ends up like his art – with deceptive simplicity that hides studied complexity.