I'm declaring it here and now... I love classic beauty

"I love classic beauty. It's an idea of beauty with no standard." 
~Karl Lagerfeld

I've been keenly aware of my interior design aesthetics the past 6 months or more. It started when I decided to create a Pinterest board called "Finding my interior design style" after reading a very well written blog series entitled "How to Overcome Decorating Paralysis" at Fieldstone Hill Design. I saw the article pinned on Pinterest and despite the fact I was feeling just the opposite of "decorating paralysis", I clicked through and read it out of curiosity. I ended up with some epiphanies I hadn't anticipated.

I've felt like I've made some good choices when designing our cottage's renovations over the past 13 years, but was frustrated that I seemed to be making choices that didn't have as much lasting power as I'd initially hoped they would. I was wanting to change things after only a few years that were supposed to never be changed as long as we lived here (50+ years). Through the series mentioned above (particularly the Personal Style Boot Camp) I discovered that I had to define some "don't buy words"--style definitions of things that I'm lured to but are, in fact, my design "kryptonite".

Here's an example of what I mean... my head is easily turned by mid-century malt shoppe/soda fountain/diner decor, colors and accessories. I will ignore all else if I see something in that style. But (and this is a big BUT) 50's diner/malt shoppe kitsch in my own home doesn't really sit well with me for very long. It's too busy... too much like a movie set... too kitsch-y for my long-term aesthetic. As stated in the blog series that enlightened me, "...it ultimately will not have 'staying power' in my home".

Once I read that, I felt free for the first time in a long time! And I could finally declare that what did have staying power in my home was classic beauty—the kind of design that could be hundreds of years old or brand-spanking-new and you'd have a hard time discerning which it was. The classic design that emerged in the early part of the 20th century is a great example because you can see it in very modern homes today and it doesn't look dated.

My other realization was that just because something was "vintage" or "antique" didn't mean it belonged in my design aesthetic. And just because something was "new" or "modern" didn't mean it was verboten. I could mix the two and be quite happy... so happy that I never feel the need to change out that design element ever again.

Man, I wish I'd had Pinterest 13 years ago. I really REALLY wish I had. Fortunately, I'm resourceful enough and thrifty enough that I'll figure out ways to switch to my real design aesthetic without spending a lot of money.

And I just have to keep telling myself, "Lesson learned... move forward" instead of looking back and bemoaning my previous choices. I think that will be a bigger challenge than the actual work. In fact, I know it will.

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  1. I get it! It's really only a matter of deciding what we love, and surrounding ourselves only with those things. Simple!

    For me, proportion and scale are paramount, and an overabundance of accessories makes me twitch. It's okay if a group of things works as a unit, but I can't get into the emphasis on vignettes and the like.

    It takes a while for decorating style to shake down and become evident. I'm happy with where I am now.

  2. Very cool. I'll have to read those articles. I've never really focussed on my design style, although, I think I've intuitively followed my style in other areas like fashion - classic, with some basic black thrown in.

    Hope we get to see some photos of your newly renovated home, eventually. *smile*

  3. The first step is knowing what you love, and you do, I'm looking forward to seeing what you end up with.



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