Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Sense of Self

I've found it! Finally! No, not my mind - some would say that's still lost as evidenced by the photo below :) 

That's me on the left and Lil Sis on the right.

Here's a nicer one of me and Lil Sis just so if your reading this Sarah, you don't get upset that I didn't show you looking normal ;)

What I'm getting at is I finally found how to describe my sense of style. And I don't mean my style in clothes either:


(This is the nicest you'll ever see me looking - in this pic I'm dressed for work. When I'm home I'm usually in sweats and t-shirt :) And yep, that's my dog's business end in the background)

What I mean is, this post is about finding my sense of decorating style.

For awhile now (ever since I've had a space of my own - from my first apartment to the house my hubby and I own) I've searched for a term that adequately described my sense of style and how I like to decorate.  I used to say my style was country, but then some country is a little too country for me, if you know what I mean. Plus, some country decorating gets to cluttery and I start feeling claustrophobic.

I also love primitive and rustic elements, but sometimes those elements can be too primitive and too rustic and look a little dirty, making a house seem disheveled, rumpled, and downright unkempt.

So then I'd sometimes say that my sense of style is pretty traditional, but really, when I'd say the word 'traditional', what I actually heard is 'uninteresting' and 'unexciting'.

More recently, I've fallen in love with industrial design, but if you're not careful, a room can quickly become cold and sterile from too much metal and the hard lines this design style embodies.

*** In no way, shape, or form am I meaning to offend anyone who subscribes to any or all three of the above styles. I'm just expressing my feelings, and to each his/her own, right? Right. ***

Then, just this week, I received a magazine in the mail with an article that made it crystal clear!

Century 21 (through whom we bought our home) periodically mails free magazines called "At Home" with various home-related articles and how-tos. Normally I breeze right through it (they're only about 20 pages or so in length) and then toss it into the recycling. But something on the cover of the March/April edition grabbed my attention.

Under the headline, "Hot Home Trends" read 'Modern Country'....hmmm, I wondered what they meant by that, cuz in my mind, Modern and Country are polar opposites in the decorating world. And I've never really cared for some of the loud or expressive elements and colors often found in modern design - I mean, I LOVE looking at modern spaces, but more as a work of art than a space I feel comfortable living in. After all, I thrive on soothing, neutral color pallets and subscribe to an 'only beige, white, and grey on the walls' kind of lifestyle).

On the other hand, a bit of the minimalistic aspect often found in Modern design is something I can relate to and appreciate, you know? Because lately, for some reason or another, clutter has become absolutely hive-inducing for me :)

With my interest fully peaked, I flipped to the article on page 14, where the full-page photo took my breath away Feast your eyes:

O. M. G. this SCREAMS me! The long farm table (I made one for our patio table that I'll show you in an upcoming post), the white wood-planked walls and ceiling with exposed beams, the old, large photograph taking center stage on the wall, the light fixture above, a piece of driftwood (or maybe it's an antler?) sharing the table with beautiful fresh flowers. And that's it. It's simple, fresh, inviting, and cozy all wrapped up as one.

Page 2 starts the article where five lines in, it was like the author had read my mind. The text is tough here but it says a client had "grown tired of her home's traditional country look" but "didn't want to abandon the style completely." She "just wanted it updated."

Now that's me to a 'T'. I like country but I need it to be freshened up with new life breathed into it.

The article goes on to say (and as I'm reading it I kept nodding and thinking, "Yes, yes. TOTALLY. Uh-huh, right. That's EXACTLY what I love and look for!") that Modern Country's mantra is mix it up and pare it down. It's a balance between old and new that "introduces hard edges to classic country with things like chrome, glass, leather, and metal to blend with the rustic softness of country style."

It's not just about adding industrial items to the classic country mix, but how you add them. Take for instance this loft-like area that boasts great industrial light fixtures and other hardware (oh that stool - SWOON!). It's enough to make an impact but it's not harsh, because it's warmed up with dark wood floors, classic bathroom tile, and a cozy book area.

Here are more photos from the article:

AND modern country is just as desirable for its aesthetic values as it is for its practical ones. "The desire to simplify our lives and our living environments points toward a cleaner version of country-style homes. Less clutter equals less stress, so paring down collectibles and fussy furniture to create a more streamlined decor is definitely something people are asking for." (Insert more head nodding and yes, yessing from me here)  :)

The last page of the feature showcased several decor items that would help update a home's country look. Let's have a look-see, shall we?

And isn't that "No. 52" red and white knob darling? It'd be a good look for hardware on a dresser - so cute!

Well, that's the end of the article and the end of this post (again, many apologies if I offended anyone reading) but that is not the end of my decorating. I'm SO glad to have found a. A name for my sense of style, and b. A description to follow it by.

See ya...I'm off to mix it up and pare it down! :)

Happy Thursday all!


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