Going Against the Grain

Can good design still be good design if it isn’t the flavor of the moment?

When clients ask me what the current trends are, I really just want to cringe.  The more appropriate question should be, what is currently trending in your home or with your lifestyle?

We are so locked into the flavor of the moment, we forget that we will be living with this “look” for 8-10 years.  For some of us, even longer.  With that consideration, is the “trend” the right one for you?

I’m a firm believer in allowing your personal style to speak to you.  It should be nurtured, and allowed to grow.  Do our tastes change over time?  Certainly.  But does that mean everything we valued from before needs to be chucked, just because it doesn’t work with the new look?  No!

Here are my rules for designing my own home.

  1. Don’t shop where everyone else shops.  I want my home to be unique and reflect my personal style, and I love antiques, things with history. I shop Antique Shows, Estate Sales, and yes, the Antique Mall when nothing else is going on.
  2. Don’t be afraid.  If you see something that catches your eye, and makes your heart pound buy it!  Believe me, I have let a lot of things get away.  Don’t worry about how you will use it, if it’s a great piece it will find it’s way in your home.  I have pieces that are floaters.  I have had them for many years and they still haven’t found the perfect home.  But, they make me smile when I handle them and they look great wherever I put them.  I may know they aren’t in the perfect spot but no one else will, and frankly no one cares.
  3. Start a collection.  Collecting has been one of the greatest joys of my life.  Am I still using the same things that I purchased 40 years ago?  Some of it, absolutely.
  4. One thing isn’t enough to make a statement, but 3 things from the same genre can make a huge impact.  Five things even better.
  5. Know when to say when.  This is very important.  I collect many different things.  A home that is furnished with only one collection is not balanced.  The sum of these various collections has created my own home, my own lifestyle.
  6. Experiment.  “Stuff” is toys for grown-ups.  It shouldn’t be sacred, it should be handled and enjoyed.  For example, I don’t “set a table” I create tablescapes.  I pull accessories from all over the house and play with the table.  I don’t have a huge pantry that is full of “Table Scape Stuff” my stuff is always in use.
    Antique Blue and White Transferware
    18th Century Brides Table

    For me the greatest joy of entertaining isn’t necessarily the food (there is always Taco Bell!)  It’s the table and creating something that is delightful to my eye, and if it pleases one of my guests so much the better.  Move your “stuff” around.

So, the answer is NO!  Good design can still be good design if it is not the “flavor” of the moment.  Give yourself a break and be true to yourself.



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