As I was planning our first home, a talented designer friend taught me to flip through magazines (pre-Houzz) and identify what it was I liked about the picture. Was it the colour? The window trim? The stone of the fireplace? Be specific. Write it down. This was great advice, because it helped me understand what it was that I really liked.
Don’t decorate how you think others would decorate. Study thyself. Own thy style.
Yes, when I would later walk through our first home after we’d sold it (ironically purchased later by that friend who helped me design it), I could see that gal knew something about style that I would never know. She’d make the pages of House and Home one day. Or start a business. Or at least live in flourish in a way that I would not.
I’ve learned the four most valuable aspects of a home for me would be:
1. Sun, all available windows facing due sun when you need him. I live in a part of the world that “too much sun” is not a phrase used in casual weather conversations. Neither is too much heat, most of the time. So bring on the sun in every single room. A 360 degrees rotating house would work for me.
2. Function, how you prefer to function. If the first thing you want to see in the morning is a cup of coffee, consider a beverage center in your bedroom–or steps away from it. You build your house the way you actually function, not the way you aspire to function. No weekly neighbourhood soirees? Then don’t build a room for forty.
3. Privacy, walls with double fill, cement, whatever does the trick, so you can feel like you’re in Tuscany with author Frances Mayes and the kids are… Wait, where are the kids? Or only one person is in a two foot vicinity of the bathtub at one time. Ahh, a mom can dream…
4. Quiet places and spaces. Different from above in that you’re not necessarily trying to sequester yourself from the kiddos, you just want to putter through that magazine while they’re playing Monopoly with their dad. Or you can sit with a book and gaze at the emerald ripples through the douglas firs.
5. My style. I wish I were the modern, sleek, urban condo type. Geometric fabrics, contrasts of orange and purple. But it’s just not me. I remember having coffee at a gal’s beautiful new house where she told me she hadn’t chosen the furniture or the artwork, her designer did. I want to choose pieces and a design that express me. So to grandma’s house I will search for inspiration, with a teeny bit of rural France to remind me of my time in Italia (similar flavore, but France my favorite style).
What things are important for you in the home you choose?