Thursday, October 15, 2009

More on Figuring Out My Style

So now that I had some ideas on color, the next thing I did was walk around my house and see what other common elements leaped out at me. I envisioned one of those design boards like they have on the home design TV shows. What else would go on that tray? Metals were fairly easy for me, I like silver, pewter, copper and cast iron, but I am not a big fan of brass or gold tone metals. For example, I have a few bright brassy gold door handles that I just hate. I think my problem is that when those metals are done cheaply (and boy howdy are those some cheap handles I have,) it really shows in gold tones. In comparison I also have a number of antique copper and steel colored door handles, and while I don't think they were high end when they were put on, I love them.

I then looked at wood tones. I have pretty much every color wood under the sun in my house, from ultra bright white woodwork, to every shade of beige and brown, to deep cherry red and even black. In furniture, my taste tends to run from medium brown to black. My mother was fond of a color called "Golden Oak" and most of the furniture my father built is in that stain. Frankly, it is a bit too light for me, which takes the pale Scandinavian maples and ashes right out.

On my tour through my house, I noticed something else as well - another common design element. I love spirals. Now, this is something I have always known, but I didn't expect to see it in my home furnishing, yet sure enough, there it was. I have spirals on the rug in my library room, and so much of my furniture has ornate, curving designs. All this was really starting to pull it together for me.

The next thing I decided to do was to take some of Tracey's advice and go look at design magazines for photos of things I like, so I headed out to one of my favorite bookstores. The bookstore is located next to a Marshall's, and you know what? Just for fun I took one of my two store credit gift cards that I was unable to spend before. This time I went in with the shape of a plan in place. In no time I picked out three fabulous things that fit my home decor perfectly, that I love, and that are in my new colors! I know it is too soon to be shopping, really I want a better plan first, but this was kind of a mini celebration of being on the right track!

At the bookstore I met up with a friend of mine, a graphic designer, and we looked through magazines while sipping hot apple cider in the cafe. It wasn't long before I realized something...

Labels are kind of useless. Country, Old World, Modern... they don't really work for me. My taste is entirely too eclectic. Telling a friend recently that I liked well crafted wood furniture, they said "Oh, you should look at Mission." I replied, "I love Mission... until I don't." A Mission styled coffee table or rocker? Fabulous! I am all over it. An entire living room in Mission? Looks great in someone else's house. Or another example - I don't consider myself a fan of Country, with gingham plaids and geese, but show me a rustic wooden farmhouse kitchen table and I am in love. I also don't think of myself as being Modern, but hold up a bold colored rug with simple geometric designs and I am trying to decide if it would look best under the country kitchen table or the Mission coffee table! It's like high school, very few people could be pigeonholed entirely into the labels of jock, nerd, stoner etc. - no matter what the movies of the 80s tell us. Sure, there are a select few who are all one thing; my mom has a friend who did her entire house in log-cabin, as in rustic furniture with deer and moose and so on. My mom says it is cute, and I am sure it is, but most people I know have a mix - a little of this and touch of that. It is as individual as the person themselves. Just like yesterday I made up labels for my family and friends (which might not at all be what they think of themselves) I'll be making up my own label.

That label may end up having something to do with the word "Victorian." After sorting through several magazines at the bookstore, only two had enough photos in them that I wanted to take them home, and both were by This Old House. It fits - I have an old house. It was built in the 1800s! My antiques tend to come from the early 1900s to the art deco period and late 1930s. I love the ornate look, but even though I might be willing to add Victorian to my description I won't let that limit me - I won't be covering my house in doilies. (Actually, I kind of like doilies, but they are a bit fussy. My friends tease me that I am a 90 year old woman in disguise... I think I just proved it.)

Looking through the magazines also helped me realize what I don't like. While my graphic designer friend was oohing and aahing over bright teal walls with chartreuse chaise lounge chairs and purple couches, I kept thinking, "Not in MY house!"

Photo by: Maia C
via flickr

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