As I've been planning the color scheme and decor for the French Farm House Project, I realized that it is probably a good time to discuss finding my personal style. I shared this information a few weeks ago over at my friend Pamela's blog but wanted to make sure that I also shared it here as well because I hope that I can inspire you and help you to find your style...the one that's uniquely YOU!
My style is continually evolving and, for me, it has a lot to do with where I'm at in my life and the people with whom I share my home than it does any one style. Just after college, my style was certainly much more feminine than it is today.
My current decorating pallet involves several shades of grey, beige and ivory. This might have something to do with the fact that I live in a home where I'm the only female (unless you happen to count Martha Stewart who has lived with us for the last fourteen years. No, not that Martha...the one who lives in our home has four legs and is a yellow lab.)
It also may have something to do with the fact that I wear those colors as the basic parts of my wardrobe much of the time. One of the things that I've learned over the years is to take color cues from the clothes that I love the most. I found that the colors that I wear most often are those that are easy for me to use when I decorate.
I think that my style is best described as evolving and eclectic. It has strong traditional elements but the pieces in our home range from my great grand parents sofa and chair to a brand new dining room table. I also want you to know that that the evolution of my style hasn't been much about me finding my style as it has been about my style finding me.
Over the years, I've continued to be drawn to the same sorts of things. Most of them are warm...and comfortable. They've usually got an interesting shape or a fascinating detail. Many of them have a story to tell. I've collected, inherited and roadside rescued much of the furniture that resides in our home. Very little of it has been purchased new.
I tend to decorate with mainly solid, neutral colored pieces and then allow just a few areas like cushions, draperies, rugs, and pillows have pattern. I studied Art and Design in college and I'm a weaver so, I find that I'm drawn to fabric with interesting textures or soft fibers like chenille.
Details (like a collection of vintage ironstone and a few wooden spoons in painted holder or the hand painted tile back splash) help to make our home feel not so "new". One or two special details can define an entire room and make it feel like "home".
I like to mix things up. I combine natural wood with painted pieces, different types of counter tops in our kitchen, hardware on cabinets that doesn't "match". I found that doing this helps our home feel as if it has been "put together over time" rather than the nine year old "new-ish" home that it actually is.
I like down-wrapped cushions and plenty of throw pillows. I like cozy spaces (like window seats) but I find that I also like rooms with loads of natural light and which are open to each other. This makes it really easy to entertain everyone from just a couple of people to large groups.
I've discovered that my style has become much more casual now that my sons are nearly grown. I'm also mixing things up a little more than I used to (like combining my very traditional, formal dining room table and side board with a painted cabinet, the park bench from my yard and a hutch that I built from reclaimed barn wood).
The most important thing that I've discovered is to allow you style to tell your story...and the story of the people who live in your home. Surround yourself with things that make you feel comfortable...things that make you smile... and don't worry if they "match".
I'll admit that I'm a compulsive re-decorator and I'm constantly changing things around. I regularly move pieces from one room to another to keep things interesting (and keep my sons guessing). Having much of my furniture upholstered in neutral colored fabrics allows me the freedom to do this fairly easily.
Family pieces will always remain in our home decor but, other items are sold (or donated) to make room for "new" things. This keeps our home fresh but still allows it to have a sense of "history.
More than anything, I believe that home should be a place where you feel comfortable. Whether it's a sleek, modern, minimalist apartment in a high rise in the city or a charming country cottage, your home should feel like YOU!
Have fun with decorating. Try different things and, if the result doesn't feel right, change it...try something different! You never know where or when you'll find your style...these days, I'm finding mine at thrift stores and flea markets...and often at the curb!
As the decor at the French Farm House takes shape, I think that you'll find it slightly different than what you've seen at my current home but the overall feel will still be same: warm and eclectic....with just the right mix of vintage cast offs, pieces that I've restored, and a few new things.