Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My Style

Over the past 18 months or so, I've immersed myself in the interior decorating world, mostly in preparation for buying our new house last December. I've pored over magazines and blogs, did the rounds of all the shops (more than a few times), and visited countless virtual retailers and boutiques. During that time, my tastes have evolved and my preferences have changed, if ever so slightly. I always knew what I liked and still do. But what's worse is that I've found myself liking disparate elements of various styles. It's worse than when I started!

Sometimes I wish I could be one of those people who has a clearly defined style! I keep changing my mind about the looks I love most. I've always loved the classics, but one day I want one of those tranquil, spare all-white rooms with a fluffy duvet and maybe a soft blue pillow, and the next I fall for a fussy traditional room with a lot of pink toile and dark wood. What's my problem? I'm clearly a woman who cannot settle for a single lover.

I visit your blogs and websites and see women whose tastes seem to fit into neat categories (I'm sure they really don't), gals who have whole stores and styles devoted to them (think Shabby Chic, Vintage, and those hard-core Traditionalists!). I see people who've at least managed some conviction when it comes to colour - they do patterns and rich colours like there's no tomorrow, while some stick to a whole house full of pale watery hues. I'm sure these women are never decor-conflicted.

I'm vaguely envious (in a lovingly kind way, of course) because while my tastes have basically remained traditional in their roots, and I've always loved historical, weathered, antique and rustic things - there seems to be no name for my style. Eclectic isn't right, nor is Pared Down Traditional (or whatever you call less-busy traditional looks), nor is Rustic nor Modern Country. The Belgian and French categories don't cut it either since I'm not a fan of roosters and wrought iron, though I love almost everything else! I'm not a shabby girl either because slipcovers annoy me in their disheveled-ness (although they look so soft and inviting in pictures!).

I love the simple Scandinavian looks, especially their use of white and visually calm interiors. Country-styles often make me happy, whether they are modern or cozy, because they often involve worn, well-loved things...and hey, I'm a sentimental kind of girl (who was raised in the rural woods, I must add). I like the sweetness and warmth of country looks, even if they are spare.
But I also love a starkly elegant interior, an old-money kind of home. You know, with traditional elements like brick and stone, expensive millwork and high baseboards, window sills and ivory walls, dark wood floors, traditional fireplaces, chandeliers and expensive rugs with runners tacked up the stairs, four-poster beds and armoires. And of course, in this house, everyone is wearing wool sweaters and grey slacks and has great heads of thick hair (like in a Ralph Lauren ad). Basically I can't make up my mind. So I maniacally flip through magazines and decor books (which I bring home, en masse, from the library), and browse blogs and online shops looking for photos that I can point at and say "okay, that is ME." I often find bits and pieces, but it's rare that I find an entire spread, an entire retailer, or a single blog that is perfectly up my alley.

I admire your homes and politely covet some of your things. For example, I want Linda's Wendy Addison Advent tags (and many other lovely things in her delectable house) and tasteful Sara's Christmas decorations and many rooms in Melissa's Christmas house (especially that wreath on the bedpost) and Poppins' lovely Swedish home and Aina's impeccable taste. P.S. I could spend hours visiting those Swedish blogs with all that simple and classic white!!

But don't feel left out, because there are things I love about you too! It's like that saying about "don't frown, because there is someone who loves your smile...". Well, I admire many of you from afar, for the way you adorn your homes to the way you turn a phrase or bake a cherry cookie, or make me feel loved!

God bless you all this holiday season and Happy Decorating!

All photos from

Riviera Maison, a Dutch retailer who, sadly, does not appear to ship abroad.


  1. Sweet Terri, you are not alone in your wandering eyes. I can never decide upon a style. A style is something that just happens upon me and I cannot predict which way it will go! While I dream of creating a perfect room from scratch, it has never been that way for me. My homes have all had their style leanings, I have been given many lovely piece of furnishings, I have bought many treasures in my travels and happened upon many great deals. The sum of all that is MY style. I could not recreate it if I tried! :-)

    Thanks for the lovely thoughts. Looking forward to many new decorating adventures to be shared in the new year!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family,

  2. Oh boy, do I hear ya! I am all over the map and I doubt that I'll ever come in for a landing. It's true of everything from decorating to writing to movies to books to whatever the flip it is. Sigh. Maybe I'm manic.

    For what it's worth, I think you are creating a beautiful, coherent home. Your style will continue to evolve, which only means that your home will never be dull or stale. That's a good thing, right?

    Somehow your post reminded me of this quote...

    "Use whatever talents you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except the very best." ~ Henry Van Dyke

    Frankly, my dear, you are one of the "very best"!

  3. Vee, that's probably one of the nicest darned quotes I've ever read. Thanks so much for sharing that! What words of wisdom.

  4. Heehee...oh, Terri... so like us all, I am sure. We just love beautiful things...and our taste for "beautiful" changes with the seasons...and the styles...and discoveries.... yep...I think eclectic kind of covers it for me.

    I used to have a lot of pastel colours..and whites or off whites for walls...but then... all of a sudden... colour came into it. And now, even some real depth in colour. Fawn's Leap suede in the living room. Somehow without realizing it ..we ran some similar colours throughout the house in our choice of furnishings...and then continued with that as we liked the mossy type of greens..some caramel creams... and some burgundy/wines.(this is all furniture I speak of, not food or drink although when I re-read make my mouth water!)

    Yep... eclectic. and we went through several types in between... which was getting expensive to change. We even had Italian modern for a bit...all glass and stone,... anybody that is looking for a crystal waterfall type coffee table? Still have one sitting here..

    I think you do know what you like... it will take some time to get it the way you want it...and don't never really ends... it is an ongoing fun part of it. Looking, changing...etc...

    Oh, and...I saw some charger plates at Stokes today... glass centers with just a wide rim (about 2.5 inches) of silver foil ...only $6.99 ...

  5. glad to see you like the little cherries.. you could always wait til between Christmas and New Years to do them.

  6. A merry merry christmas to u to.
    If u want to ever come and see our life here, with ice hotels, skii slopes, skiing on river and northerlights u are welcome here, sadly we have had +5 c the last 3 days so the snow is slowly dissapearing and that is a disaister, I never ever in my life had a christmas without snow...:-)

    Take much care

  7. What a wonderful post today! Your writing strikes at the heart of all women contemplating decor and what we want. I am forever admiring new bits and pieces of day all classic white, the next bright and bold colours, the day after THAT soft pastels.

    Your decorating is perfectly YOU. Whatever it is you do over your holidays, may it be peaceful and bright.

  8. Oh, thank you, Terri! I'm blushing with pride that my home is mentioned on your blog.
    But I must say that I feel exactly the same way as you about home decorating. I love different styles and I also have to consider that I am not alone in my house. My husband has strong ideas about home decorating and he loves the traditional English style. I like that too but I also like the Scandinavian old style and French country. And we have to mix all that in one home. But I think there is something basic that links it all together. And the mix makes it personal and maybe that is OUR style.
    Must say I love all pictures you show. Is it from your home?

  9. Thanks for your sweet comment. Alas - this post of yours speaks directly to me. the photos are beautiful. I don't think anyone ever figures out their style! Well, anyone interesting, that is!

  10. Now I saw that all pictures are from Riviera Maison. I must visit them...

  11. terri -

    they don't ship abroad? well here's the deal; you and i will catch a plane and head over w/empty bags so we can fill them up there. :) sound good?

    i find myself thinking the same as you; and i don't have to worry about decorating yet, as we are students in a small apartment. but i always figure that's why a house has so many rooms! i can do some in bold colors, or with shabby chic design, and some in traditional european style, and more muted know. :) probably not encouraged by the style mavens, but what can you do?

  12. Anonymous2:31 pm

    I know just how you feel! I have to cut myself off from browsing my favorite blogs sometimes when money is tight, because I often find things that I simply must have in other peoples homes. :)

  13. I stopped trying to decide on one particular style some time ago...when I realized that I'm too complex to fit neatly into one box (kinda stole part of that line from Halle Berry. I like too many styles! So I embrace them all and think...they lok divine together :)