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