Sunday, August 8, 2010

A home of ones own

Photo: My new throw pillows, loved the damask print in the center pillow mixed with the striped pattern

"If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
William Morris

I went to visit my friend Kelly last night who just purchased her first home with her husband Dave. (exciting!) It's an adorable little bungalow and they purchased it knowing that it needed a lot of cosmetic touches to make it their own. A conversation came up about this built in bench at the door way of Kelly's new home, another friend there said if it were me "I'd rip it out." Kelly responded with something along the lines of "well I was planning on adding some baskets underneath and a nice fabric covered seat cover", "I think it adds character." I was like "Hooray! for character." So here they go, on the same journey I have seen many of my friends (myself included) go through over the past couple of years. Buying that older, "fixer upper", and starting from scratch. Now this can be a very stressful process. When we bought our house it was so dated, and old. We moved in ripped out all the carpet, painting every inch of walls, trims, baseboards and ceilings. Over the past couple of years we have renovated our bathroom and kitchen and ripped out a wall separating the kitchen from the living room to make it open concept. When we first moved in, like so many of my friends, we chose a neutral palette. This tends to be an easy route, especially when you are essentially starting from scratch. We chose a couple paint colours, similar to benjamin moores Shaker Beige throughout. Painted the cabinets: contractors white. Trim: contractors white. Couch: Beige sectional. Yes, I was guilty of this boring decorating "dilemma" as I like to call it. It's like many people of my generation have lost the ability to be creative and add all of those little touches that make a home a home. I see alot of brown or black leather couches, beige walls, not too much on the walls, stainless steel appliances. Each of these houses looking staged for an open house, but who lives here?
Photo: This is an example of this type of decorating so typical of people I know. Yes, its nice, but seems so typical.

Slowly over the past year or so, on my simple abun
dance journey I have realized some things about myself and the things that I feel make a house a home. What is character? It's the little touches. It's the cute little built in's that are original to the home. Many of the new houses that people buy today "cookie cutter" houses lack these little details that they have in older homes. However, it doesn't mean character can't be added to newer homes with accessories, paint and all the little details. Of course we all want our houses to be aesthetically pleasing, we like things to match and blend. We do need to listen to what makes our heart skip a beat, and think less about what matches. "Staged" homes are not for living in.
Photo: I loved these towels found on etsy (the shabby chic cottage)
I realized that I am drawn to the comforts and cozy feelings th
at the country/cottage bring to me. I like the character of vintage vases, weathered and distressed furniture, painted furniture, beautiful handmade quilts, patterns mixed with patterns; like stripes and florals combined. I like cute little whimsical decorations like my silver pear, and this new sign I bought for my bathroom door that is shabby chic looking and it says "Toilette." I love fancy perfume bottles, and fresh flowers in every corner. I love yellow, and pink, and turquoise. Chandaliers, wicker baskets, decorative birds, damask and toile.
Photo: These little beadboard birds are found at The Shabby Chic Cottage on I may order them for the shelf in my kitchen.

Take yourself on a creative excursion, and browse thro
ugh a home decor store or second hand store. You don't need to buy. Take a notebook if you want. Take notes about what really calls to you. Listen to yourself, this takes practice. Have a browse on and have a look at the beautiful handmade items or vintage housewares. I invite all of you to begin to make your home your own. I realize that the beadboard birds may be hideous to some, and I'm not suggesting that a shabby chic style is for everyone but you need to find out what is your style. Please join me in my revolution against living in a "staged home."

Photo: Love Love this Jadeite plate reproduced into a clock.

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