Friday, November 16, 2012

Even Then

When I was a girl, I was obsessed with decorating.  I didn't know there was a career I could have forged from this love.  All I know is that I arranged and re-arranged my room constantly from the time I was probably 7 or 8 years old.  I brought leaves inside and put them in baskets (I couldn't afford accessories).  I took my mother's porcelain figurines from the living room and hoarded them in my room.  I wish someone told me I could study interior design.  But being practical (and good at math and science), I went to university to study medicine (then it became engineering) instead.  

I forgot about decorating.  It wasn't until we bought our house 6 years ago that my love for decorating was rekindled.  But when I look back at photos from my 20's and 30's, I see lots of evidence of my latent decorating love that I didn't even know had a label.  

I remember the day I took this photo (in Paris, when I was 23 and doing grad studies there), like it was yesterday:
 I remember I loved the mirror and the lamp and the little silver tray...I remember I wanted a life that was pretty like that. 

I remember wondering when I would have enough money to buy pretty things (I was living on about $1000 a month, with $500 going out in rent for a Paris apartment I shared with 2 other girls).  

I walked everywhere (the bus and metro were too expensive).  I lived on fruit and day old baguettes just so I could afford to go to museums every weekend to look at art.  I bought flowers for myself.  I loved fashion but wore a lot of black (because you can survive on very few clothes if you wear all black).  I took tons of pictures of beautiful things.

It is really quite interesting to look back at my photos (of flowers, shop windows, furniture, architecture) and realize that my one true love...beautiful things...was staring me in the face all the time.

I really must post more of these photos.  It is shocking how many pictures I have of *things* I liked the look of...


  1. I love this post. Looking back, it's interesting to see the influences in life that bring us to who we are today. And life is so full of opportunities in so many directions.

    Love the photo of the younger you reflected in the mirror.

  2. Oh my, I love this picture. And you were such a gorgeous young woman! The look on your face seems to express all you wrote about in your post. So wistful. Thanks for the lovely thought from your past.

  3. totally weird reading about changing furniture around when you were young, I drove my mom and dad crazy doing the same thing from about the same age...I to did not know you could go to design as a job. found an ad for a school on a friday and started on the next tuesday.
    this is my life...only difference I found the design school at 40 and decided to leave my working life for 4 years and dive into design... there is still time to do it if you really want to!
    your days in Paris sound so interesting... I would love to see the pictures you took back then..they sound very interesting, would love to see the pieces you wanted back then. Have a great weekend. x

  4. What a great photo! And if you look at all the things in the photo, they're all things that I could see in your house today. You've stayed true to your style.

    I would love to see more of your photos!

  5. How clear the view when looking back! I have often thought that you are a very fine decorator. It's never too late to hang out your shingle, is it? Can you imagine making shopping trips to Paris several times a year or helping clients find their style?

  6. wow what a great post terri. what a fab photo of you too.

    i too had a love of decorating at an early age but i didn't know it either. i used to cut out pics of furniture and art that i liked and would decorate an imaginary home in my head.

    and i love the description of your life of simplicity as a student. wasn't it wonderful?!

    that is the exact same feeling we are trying to capture in our lives. getting back to the way we lived before we started making real money. that really was the best time in our lives.

    thanks for sharing terri. xo

  7. I love your stories and when you post about all your travels. Any one would know you love pretty things, that you have studied and love art and decor just by seeing your blog and reading your words.
    I love that picture.

  8. Yes, please do post more of those photos. Thanks for this peek into your past. I know what you mean ... my husband and I were lamenting about this same subject recently. It's a pity he had not been given more info years ago about different career path options. My husband would have made a great wildlife biologist.

  9. I loved reading this post, Terri. You are fortunate to have lived in Paris. It must have been difficult living as a young student in one of the most beautiful but expensive cities in the world. But the exposure and experiences....those are priceless! Perhaps you can start a part time decorating career now? :)

  10. What a sweet look back. Some passions are life long, aren't they?

  11. That was a lovely read, as I have often had those same feelings. :) It's never too late to pursue a dream.

  12. Beautiful post, Terri. It's never too late. Cooking was a second career for Julia Child and she did not publish her first book until mid-life.

  13. i love that photo of you. it almost appears that you are looking into your future
    yes, please post more!

  14. LOVE the photo and the history that goes with it!

  15. Anonymous8:34 pm

    Lovely photo.
    I too wanted to be an "terior decorator" from the same age as you (before I could even pronounce it properly - turned into a family joke). I would move furniture around and dream of what my room would look like with decent furniture (which my parents would not buy). My mother refused to allow it and so off I went to university, earning several degrees at top schools and pursuing my other passion (working with immigrant women fleeing gender violence - odd, I know, I am a gemini). So, one down, burnt out, approaching 40 - perhaps it's still time? With the explosion of interest in design in the past decade or so, though, I do think it may have been the more financially lucrative choice despite my mother's fears (I think she was hoping I would be a lawyer not an activist. Oh well). Thanks for the pic again, it is gorgeous, as are you in it.