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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

There’s room {in décor} for all of us!


Do you believe the following?

"Be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is ever out of style." -Billy Baldwin

That’s the quote that I display on the sidebar of my blog.

(room by Billy Baldwin)

Have you ever heard, “A good house is never done”?  And, quotes like, “It's not what you have, but what you do with what you have that counts.”?

Charles Faudree says, “It’s not the match, it’s the mix.”

(room by Charles  Faudree)

And, Suzanne Kasler’s design mantra says something like, “if you get the architecture right (the bones and structure of a room), everything else falls into place” plus she says “a room should be collected not decorated”.

(by Suzanne Kasler)

Of course, I could go on and on.  There’s hundreds, maybe thousands, of good design quotes from wonderfully talented designers.

I say, Thank Goodness!  

Thank goodness for all the inspiration and ideas that exist. Thank goodness for the centuries of style that we reference today.  So much so that we could never exhaust the creative possibilities in our homes.

(Powell House, Philadelphia)

(Frank Lloyd Wright interior)

This post was prompted after I read Joni’s post over at Cote de Texas about Sally Wheat, a designer who has morphed her home into something creative and fresh.  I spent a long time reading, re-reading, and studying the pictures of this wonderful post.  What was most interesting to me were the comments that it generated.

(room by Sally Wheat)

You have to read the post to understand the details of this room and how it got here.  All of Sally’s rooms are great….the befores and afters.  They are just different. But each is magnificent in its own right.  They are symbolic of her evolution and growth in her own design scheme.   We should all be so brave!
To me it’s very simple.  Feel the love people!  We are all different.  We all have different tastes and styles.  Isn’t that what makes life interesting?  We don’t all like the same things.  

Hooray for flavors other than vanilla!  Remember the old  Baskin Robbins slogan of “31 flavors”?  The number 31 was chosen so that customers could have a different flavor every day of the month.  Yes, it’s good to have variety.  Same is true with décor.  (Actually I think I see some popular decorating colors in the ice cream chart..i.e. tangerine!).


Change is good.  Change is inevitable.  Believe me, I’m glad I changed my tastes and don’t still have a blue-checked, duck-themed kitchen from the late 80s!  No really, thank goodness.  Not to mention hunter green countertops and wallpaper border. (Sorry, I HAD to mention it.)  And, that was fresh out of interior design school. UGGH!  What were they teaching us? lol    Over time, we all change.


Change keeps us moving.  It helps keep us alive, with a pulse and vibrant energy.  Our lives change.  We age and our children grow up. We look at things differently, we change our opinions, and we have paradigm shifts.  It’s  perfectly normal.  Our wardrobes change.  We may have pieces of vintage clothing but we don’t dress everyday like we live in the sixties.  We update and move forward.


Why should our homes be any different?  Why should our homes look like everyone elses? It’s the variety of styles that makes décor so alive and so interesting.  Decorating is not a constant, it’s static.
It’s o.k. to disagree with designers.  We all have our favorites and those we don’t like as much. Isn’t it wonderful to have a choice?  Designers have their own personal “look” (they’re human, too) and even they change their minds and evolve over time.  Interior Design is not black and white.  It’s merits rest on creativity and artistic interpretation (basically human preferences).  It’s not rocket science and it’s not an exact science.  

Sure, there are some basic tried and true design principles relating to scale, balance, proportion, color, etc.  but it’s how it’s conceptualized into the final product that really matters.


My observations:

1. Trends will always come and go (in fashion, food, and décor).  Good trends and bad trends.  It’s up to us to decide how much and long we will incorporate them.

2. Timeless design will always be around.  True classics may wane in popularity or go out of vogue for a time, but will always re-surface and be re-interpreted by a generation of new designer’s eyes with a nod to the past.  (Example: sunburst mirrors from the 1960s/1970s that we all love right now and are all the rage, are actually from 17th century France.  You all  knew that, right?)  Good investments.


3. Bad décor does exist. Here today, gone tomorrow.  There are certain things that have a short-lived popularity that will never re-appear (unless otherwise seen in seedy bars, i.e. the infamous velvet dogs playing cards picture)  And, please, folks, don’t get mad if you so happen to own one of these and have it hanging in a downstairs game room for a retr0-whimsy effect!)  Maybe wall-to-wall shag carpet, too!  Don’t invest in these things.


La Belle Époque


I have changed my style many times.  Some things I thought I’d never like, I suddenly do. Some things I thought I’d always love, no longer find my favor.  I’ve totally surprised myself by looking for things at antiques shops that I used to pass over.  It’s exciting to appreciate objects when you see them with new eyes.  As I’ve mentioned in other posts, we built our house almost 7 years ago and there’s several things I would do different and many things I would do again.  Read here about one such change from deep rooted ideas of what a traditional dining room should look like to letting go.



Sweet Shenita, over at Embellishemnts by SLR, has one of the best self-proclaimed design aesthetics I’ve read. She says, “I adore all things Southern, with a European twist. I call my style a "gumbo"...it's a little Southern and Traditional, a pinch of Old World, a dash of Tuscan, a drop of Contemporary and a sprinkle of French.  Way to go, Shenita. She has embraced her eclectic heart and runs with it.

On soapbox:
Let’s face it.  Most of our homes are eclectic.  We may have an overriding style, but most are basically eclectic.
Off soapbox.

Kudos to Sally Wheat for designing not mimicking her interiors and for following her heart.  If you study her rooms, you will see she certainly has a blend of old and new.  It is interesting to note, that she moves furniture and collections around in her house for a totally different look.  I think this is an important lesson for change without always having to get something “new”.  This is one of the most important things I learned in design school way way back when (use what you have decorating).  Look past the Angolian fur seats if its not your thing, and truly study what she has done.  I said in the comments that “if this wasn’t a good design study, then I don’t know what is”.  I think all students of design should read lots of stories like this so they can take their ideas  and fly.  

(our son’s condo)

So bring on the 1970s with its groovy funkiness.  Bring on Mid-Century Modern, Hollywood Glamour,  Country French, and Shabby Chic.  Take a second look at Early American, Chippendale, and Sheraton.  What about Tuscan or Spanish Colonial?  Farmhouse or Swedish, you say?  Let’s have fun identifying the best elements from each for our ongoing design recipes. It takes many ingredients.  It’s not about bringing back lava lamps (o.k. I did buy one for my son when he was in junior high because he thought they were cool), but about re-invention in fresh new ways.  Can you imagine “LAVA LAMP MEETS ASCP”? lol  (O.K. I’m sure some of you brave souls out there may try this! Please share if you do!)  I had to end on something I thought was funny and you have to admit they are fun to watch!


I,  for one, will continue to read stacks and stacks of design books and magazines and all your great blogs with many different styles and ideas.  Hats off to all the furniture-istas like me.  I want to be exposed to it all.  Formally trained in design or not, there’s always something new to learn.  How can you know what you like, if you never see anything you don’t like?
There are a couple of popular  styles in blogland right now and that’s great. It’s also o.k. if you like something different.  That’s great, too.   Silly rabbit, decorating is for everyone!


And, although I may never have an all-white room or a very colorful Moroccan theme room,  I’m sure my style will change.  I certainly hope so.  But for now, piggybacking on Shenita, I think my design aesthetic is COUNTRY FRENCH MINIMALISM MEETS BLUEGRASS MODERN WITH A CHIC TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN STYLE VOGUE!  Yep, that pretty much sums it up.


What will it be 5 years from now? Who knows? Your guess is as good as mine!

Vive la différence!

I’m linking up to:
Cowgirl Up! at Cedar Hill Ranch
WOW! Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
{Primp} Your Stuff Wednesday at Michele Raven Designs


Michele M./ Finch Rest said...

I think this is an awesome post.

In the 80s I was Extreme Minimalist Leaning Toward Scandinavian black/chrome/glass and lots and lots of sharp edges.

In the 90s I worked and moved so much, who remembers.

Now? Um. Gulp. Pottry Barn meets Tuscan/Mediterranean meets traditional with touches of contemporary and lots and lots of natural finishes - you won't find plastic in my world. Wood, stone, granite, marble, glass, pottery.....and I have a bedroom that is more painted shabby French and one of my guest rooms is all girlie Victorian.

Ecletic? Yup. Mixed? You bet. Me? Absolutely - and it all flows beautifully together.

To Thine Own Self Be True.

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

Great post, Kim. Honestly, I just like comfort. My environment changes constantly, and my style is whatever makes me happy.

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

What a super post!! So true so true. I had to laugh about the vanilla ice cream reference. My husband always orders vanilla and it drives me nuts. He also is not wild about change, but hey he married the wrong person.

Shenita @ Embellishments by SLR said...

Kim, I absolutely LOVE this post!! Thanks for "getting" me!! LOL!!! I don't think I will ever lean totally to one design aesthetic. I love a mix of styles; and I think it makes a home more interesting. Thanks for the mention! I really appreciate you!!

Maureen Wyatt said...

I was always startled when someone was asking about my decorating services and wanted to know what style I did. It never crossed my mind to work in only one style. The home is a reflection of the people who live in it. My job was to find out their personalities, lifestyles, needs and wants, and interpret that in the most functional and pleasing manner possible. I never wanted someone to walk in and ask who their decorator was. It should look natural. Off soap box, now! ~ Maureen

Anita at Cedar Hill said...

Kim thanks for linking to Cowgirl Up. You make some awesome points, and I think people do get to much into a trend, and then don't like it later. I am trying to be careful not to fall into doing too much stuff that I may not like later. I don't care too much what's in or out, but what I like. I call my style Texas Living with a French accent. I am having a bit of a time, though since I spent so much money on my 18th century reproduction furniture in the early 80's and now I really love French things. I can safely say it isn't a passing thing with me, since I have been in love with French style for now over fifteen years. I am really trying to keep what I really like, get a few new things that I really, really like and get rid of the rest. And so I am buying some new French chests to replace my old triple dresser. It's hard since I know I won't get my money back on the dresser and it is a well-made piece of American furniture (which is becoming a thing of the past) but I just don't want it any more. I am still loving some of my mahogany pieces, just not all of them. Any way with all of the recently inherited pieces, our carefully edited house is now overfull again, so I am trying to decide who stays and who goes. I do put some overflow on the ranch porches, but they are getting pretty full.

René said...

What a thought provoking post with many meaningful quotes. I do love that blogging brings us all together because we share a passion for decor and a style that is all our own. I love that Sally Wheat room!

Stephanie said...

This is so true - great post. I shudder to think of some decor I had in the past. (Yes I had the blue kitchen with ducks.) Now I have a mix of contemporary and vintage but somehow it works for me.

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Great post, Kim! Whatever you call your style I call it BEAUTIFUL!
Hugs, Sherry

Lynn Wood said...

I am so glad I ran across your post today. It has such a feel-good-about-who-you are feel to it. I just needed that.



Julie Taylor and Danni Greenwalt said...

We gave you the Liebster award on our blog. Check it out.

thistlewoodfarm said...

I love this post. I think a home should be made up of what we love. If we love it, it will work within the confines of our decor. Thanks for being so bold in sharing this and providing such wonderful inspiration.


swheat said...

I loved this post!!! :)))

Sandy said...

Kim, This is a fantastic post! I'm sure I will refer to it again. I cringe sometimes when I look at some of the things I've done to my home.. Thank god for change. I agree, I like the collected look over time. I also love the Billy Baldwin quote. I'm going to check out some of the other links that you referenced. Love your style!

Rooms by Ann said...

Kim, Your stlye is beautiful. I love this post. Thanks for sharing.

Bliss said...

I think my house is *gumbo* style too!


Jan said...

When I read the posting I laughed so hard - we inherited the entire framed series of dogs playing poker from my husband's grandmother! They're been in a box out in the garage for years. They're so tacky but also so funny. We'll probably pass them on to our grandchildren!

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