on making a home

8 years ago

My mother has always had a well-appointed home.  At any given time in my life, from the time I was still living with my parents up to and including today, my parents' house has always been decorated beyond reproach: the couch always matched the loveseat, the art on the walls always complemented the colours of the furniture, and each room always had a theme:  mid-century Scandinavian.  Antique Oriental.  And twenty years ago, when I moved out on my own and started building my own home, I tried very hard to emulate her style.

And then my daughter was born.

All of a sudden, how my home was decorated mattered more -- but it became less about being a showcase for guests, and more about creating a haven for my family, a place to return to, to feel safe, and loved.  For me, this meant decorating in a way that fed each and all of our souls:  not a place where plastic toys took over (because that would hardly be a haven for my husband and I), but also not a place where my daughter felt like she had to constantly be on her best behaviour, or felt restricted from touching anything or inviting her friends over.

I wanted to create a soulful home.

I've spoken before about how I use art to help create this feelign of soulfulness:  we buy art we love, regardless of whether or not it "goes" with anything in our home.   As it turns out, if we love the art, it naturally "goes" in our house.  The same, I've found, works with furniture and other accessories -- if we love it, it "goes."  The result, I think, is a home that sort of defies characterization -- but it's one that feels most authentically "us."

Still, this need to create a home which reflects my sensibilities doesn't mean that I don't have an HGTV addiction or religiously comb through design blogs -- dear God, how I still do.  It just means that I'm always looking for new ideas, for things that spark that little "wow, I'd love to do that in my house" twinge deep in my gut.  And the following are some blogs that are doing it for me lately:

Desire to Inspire always features really amazing interiors, and this post featuring the work of interior designer Kay Kollar is no exception:  there are elements of these images that absolutely speak to me. (Note to self:  at some point, some day soon, I am going to have a wall that is floor-to-ceiling books, like the ones in this post.  Perhaps in the dining room.  Because, why the hell not?)

I'm also loving this beautiful home being featured on Design*Sponge -- but I've always been a sucker for rustic farm tables (preferably with some history attached to them) placed in rooms with crystal chandeliers (preferably hung in homes with some history attached to them).  Also?  Flag garlands.  I love a great flag garland.  I should really get one for my daughter's room (since the only one I own is currently hanging in the window of my home studio!).

And finally, I find myself returning time and time again to this feature on Home & Garden Buzz, showcasing the absolutely beautiful home of Andrea of Hula Seventy. Andrea's home is the very definition of "soulful," from its quirky globe collections to the beautifully ingenious way she displays art, photographs and ... well ... letters.  I don't know if I have the guts to be as creative as Andrea is with her home, but Lord knows she provides tons of inspiration.

How about you: how do you decorate your home?  Any cool places where you get ideas?


Karen is a writer and photographer in Houston, Texas.  You can read and see more of her work and life at Chookooloonks.

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