If you are a regular reader of my blog (thank you!), you know that one of my favorite things about helping others design their homes is helping them reimagine, repurpose, rearrange, reorganize, etc. things they already have to make their homes more beautiful and functional. I love using inherited and hand-me down pieces as well as pieces that clients have collected over time in travels or otherwise.
When I describe my personal design aesthetic, I find myself saying things like eclectic, contemporary traditional and collected. But what I think it all comes down to is that I like design that is PERSONAL. I don't like rooms where everything feels new, too matchy-matchy or just look like they came straight out of a recent home furnishings catalog.
I recently read a book called Love the House You're In: 40 Ways to Improve Your Home & Change your Life (Roost Books, 2016) written by my friend Paige Rien. Paige and I connected several months ago after I launched my business and she's been a big support, source of inspiration and a sounding board for me. Several years ago, Paige was a designer on an HGTV show - Hidden Potential (the original one!). After learning this I (obviously) googled her and when I saw the video clips I was like "oh my god! I TOTALLY remember her!" Naturally, I bought her book to see what she had to say.
Turns out, what she had to say is perfectly in line with how I feel about design - it's no wonder we became design buds! Her thoughts on design are so eloquently written, so simple to accomplish and so easy to understand that I felt it was important to share it here. You see, my very favorite part about writing this blog is the feedback I get from people when I have inspired them to change/fix/update something in their homes - even very simple things. I absolutely love it when people email me or text me and say, "I read your blog post and look! Here's a picture of my new plant." Or "here's how I rearranged my shelf thanks to the inspiration you shared." Or look, I hung my art lower!" (thank you LORD). It makes me so happy. Well, buckle up, buttercups, because here is some serious (and simple!) design inspiration, tips and tricks for you courtesy of my friend Paige. I look forward to hearing how you all implement her advice in your own homes!
Excerpts from Love The House You're In
Your Home is About YOU
"If you want to love your house, here's the secret: it doesn't come from a really great couch or the perfect happiness inducing paint color...[Loving your home] comes from within you...It comes when you stop looking at what everyone else is doing. It comes when not everything matches but when the spaces match you and what you're all about...Your story includes all your travel, your education, your faith, your accomplishments, and your life's transitions. Beware of telling someone else's story."
Take It Slow
"A personal, soulful home takes time, and ideally draws equally from these three components: the glory days of the past, a possibly busy and bland present, and whatever the bright-eyed future holds. It will be painfully slow to pull together - that's OK...As slow as it may be to affect big change, small things can make a big difference."
Decorating with Kids - Do It Anyway
"Get a nice couch. Get nice everything...get the things you like, whether or you have kids or not. If you have children, you will clock untold hours at home with them, even if you work outside the home. Better to be surrounded by things you love. Making your house work for you as an adult...is important to your well-being. And children do better in spaces that are personal, reverential, and interesting. They do even better with happy parents."
Purge It If you Don't Love it
"Most of us think we need more furniture than we actually do. The key is to get clear on each piece and its purpose then make a plan to clear out the stuff that doesn't work for you...I like my things in three categories: I Love It, Placeholder, or Pass it On. (Notice there is no category for "I own it because someone gave it to me and I can't throw it out because they'll be upset." This category is also called Pass It On.)...A lot of times we keep things because we think we should, we were told to, or we are afraid of trusting our gut. Keep what you like, and donate the rest."
Start with Art
"A good place to start is art. Art is often collected in a meaningful way: you are friends with the artist, someone gave you a painting you admired, you attended a gallery show you really liked, you inherited the piece, or you just fell in love with something. Art is also associated with a specific time in our lives...Great rooms often start from just one meaningful piece...If you do nothing else, find the art you once loved and find a place for it."
Learn to Love It
"Carefully shed the negative opinions [you or] others have about your house. Sometimes we have a distaste for our houses because of what others have said to us. Or perhaps our discomfort with what we have comes from what others have said about split-level homes, older homes, or yellow homes - whatever it is we have that others have labeled unfashionable or wrong in some way...[T]une in to what you like, what you appreciate, and what you find beautiful, letting go of what others think and specifically how they perceive beauty."
Focus Your Energy on the Spaces that Affect You the Most
"When you're making your [to do] list, consider usage and frequency...Most of us use our kitchens multiple times every day. The guest bedroom might be heinous beyond redemption, but if you don't have occasion to use it very often, it shouldn't be at the top of your list...Focus on things that affect you the most, emotionally if need be, on most of the days of your all-important existence. Others will get over any shortcomings they experience during a visit much more easily than you will."
These are just a few of my favorite tidbits, tips and quotes from Paige's book. I highly recommend grabbing your own copy (oh, hey, Amazon). It's got awesome homework and tutorials and, if you're like me, you'll need to dog ear nearly every.single.page so you can come back later. Check out my Instagram because Paige has kindly offered to do a giveaway of her great book!
Thanks for the inspiration and the wisdom, Paige. Now, to start loving the houses we are in!