While researching bathtubs at the Boston Design Center yesterday, the experience of showroom browsing further impressed upon me how I feel about decorating the home. Design is very personal and should be viewed as an extension of who you are vs. who you think you are or who you want to be. I don’t know why that hit me yesterday stronger than ever, but it did. Maybe it was the lady I watched barking at the sales professional because she needed the exact room on display and how dare he say the sofa is no longer available in blue velvet! Yes, many are like this lady. Lost deep in a design hole, with no clue that design isn’t heat-n-eat, but takes time and patience to evolve.
Example. Some people live in bare boring apartments for many years and then, almost overnight, decide to buy everything they need to create a trendy space because they suddenly feel the need to grow up and impress others. If that’s you, consider this. I had a 38-year-old client in the same situation. Yes, 38. She was put under pressure by her manager to hold a holiday party at her home a few years back and hired me to transform her apartment into a hip pad. Of course, I knew how to approach it and what steps to take, but I found it sad that she was only doing it to impress others. Insta-design, as I call it, may certainly trick house guests but for the more intuitive set, we can tell when rooms aren’t genuine or personal, when there’s no depth. After the process was complete, she realized how she’d been short changing herself all of these years by not embracing her home. Now, she reads my blog and collects things whenever she travels to add to her space. She is free because she is finally living in her rooms.
The best spaces I’ve visited are the ones that have stories to tell – stories that go beyond last year. The dweller slowly built their collections over a period of time. Items picked up 4 years ago at a flea market. Art purchased in college at a fair. Your embroidered bib, given to you by your mother, that you’ve framed for the new nursery. Textiles handed down from grandparents. Books collected since teengage years. When I step into homes like this, I want to explore and ask questions. I want to know the person.
Design, at least through my lens, is all about the need to surface what I’m feeling on the inside, along with memories I’ve built over the years, and create a home sanctuary in which all that I think and feel is in view. These items all serve as reminders, not only of my own roots and progress (sometimes we can lose touch), but to give visitors a clue about who I am.
Decorating the home is much like writing a diary or creating zines and books from scratch. On one side, you are pulling from within – so many personal reflections, adventures, even some sad moments, and revealing those things to others. You don’t always know just how much of yourself to put out there, but you make decisions along the way and hopefully they are the right ones. On the other side, it’s also very revealing because you are pulling all that is personal to you and displaying it for the world to see. Takes courage to display your sock monkey collection, doesn’t it? Any home can be an ‘overnight success’, but I prefer the longer route, when time is needed for the design to evolve.
Think of a home that you love. It could be a friend, or something you’d spotted in a magazine like ReadyMade, Living Etc, and Domino. Doesn’t it radiate the person living in it, on all levels, right down to their scent?
Today, I encourage you to think about how your home is evolving. Don’t be ashamed if you’ve taken the ‘heat ‘n eat’ road in the past, you can resolve today to infuse a little more YOU into your space. You may think it’s dumb, but do a bit of an inventory. Walk around your home with pen and paper in hand, and write down what you don’t like about it. Be specific. Write down the items that make you feel drained or sad. Perhaps they hold bad memories or you just no longer enjoy them. Those are the items I put on detention for awhile – I pull them from the space and put them in the closet or in the attic for a month or two. Then, I revisit the item and if I still feel the same, it goes to charity or craigslist. The point here is to design for yourself and for your family. Show all that you love in your home. You shouldn’t live around things you don’t care about or love. You are only the age you are today one time in your life. Tomorrow, you will be older. Life is moving forward.
My husband once told me that I had a habit of putting dreams and ideas on hold until a future date when circumstances would somehow be ‘perfect’ then. He told me back then that there’s no future ‘magic time’ when you should start officially living your life and doing all that you love and living in an environment that meets your standards. That time is already here. It’s called Today.
With that being said, anyone have a room in thier home they’d like to share that has evolved over time? OR Do you have a space you need opinions on? A little design direction? We’d love to post and comment about them! Email me at decor8blog AT yahoo DOT com and I may post it here on decor8 with a link to wherever you sit on the web (your blog, business, etc.).
(image from bdc showroom lee jofa.)