So to start out, a little about my addictions, obsessions, likes, and style ... basically the reason for this blog! As they're all "works in progress" so to speak, nothing I mention or support is set in stone. I've recently experienced a good bit of change in my favorite decor-style as I fall deeper and deeper into design mags, blogs, and sites, and I expect it to keep evolving!
After the funky phases of high school that were supressed by my (smart) mother - I wanted to paint the whole room chinese red and ditch all the furniture for a mattress on the floor and a wicker chest for clothes - I entered college. Cement block walls and light wood dorm furniture don't lend themselves well to design, so my cousin and I threw up some vintage travel posters and a shawl for a curtain above my stuffed wool/velor (?) cream armchair and called it a day. Or year, really. We loved it. The next dorm room was similar and worked until I was able to flee the country for a year abroad in France.
I'd have to say this is where it all began for me. And no, I'm not in love with everything French. My host mother had a gorgeous 2nd floor 4 bedroom apartment. It was host to a rotating cast of foreign students staying anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, and in my lucky case, a year! I didn't know it at first, but it was also a work in progress. I now reconize that she had many items with "good bones" as they say, but many of her pieces were also mostly functional. Above all, there was not "too much." The home, despite mail and life clutter, was very open and airy overall.
During my time there, both the dining and living rooms were scraped and repainted while the guest bathroom was completely gutted and redone, and the warm, reddish, large hex-tile floor tinkled with loose tiles at every passage, but it was so live-able! I remember her yellow couch that moved around the living room at least 3 times while I was there, the stackable ikea stools we comfortably dined on in the kitchen, the huge glass dining table which did double duty on laundry folding day, her teenaged daughter's funky, ever-changing room and the high, high ceilings, the tall, french-opening windows with working shutters, and the huge, heavy, tall-but-thin front doors. I hope the memories and feeling of that apartment stay with me forever and influence my future designs. Oh and I also wish for her skillz in the kitchen, french-speaking-ability, and secret to how the cat's litterbox was always completely undetectable!
The next year my future husband and I found ourselves studying in Prague, another fabulous city of design! A local friend-of-the-family helped us to rent a first floor apartment (more tall, tall ceilings!) in a beautiful section of the city. While it was partially furnished, we followed the euro-trend of whole-heartedly embracing Ikea and kitted out the place for our year there. I still love the huge white paper lantern we hung over the bare suspended bulb in the living/bedroom, and the cheap mattresses we purchased there were agreeable the most comfortable we've had yet. We didn't decorate the walls at all, which I regret, but as our time there flew by so quickly, it wasn't a big loss.
I can't complete our time in Prague without mentioning a huge design favorite: our family friends' home in the country. It was their main house which they'd designed themselves with an architect. Very euro-modern, but homey at the same time. All their collectibles from years of travel were perfectly displayed throughout the open floor plan, and every bit of space was perfectly designed for storage, convenience and ease of use. The entire house was probably a quarter of the size of most American "McMansions" and I loved it's for it's perfect design. It's not that they didn't have plenty of land, they just seemed to know they don't need a 5000 square foot home to be happy! Jake even spent an hour mowing their lawn just for the novelty of it after so much apartment living!
Back in Prague, our flat consisted of a large living/bedroom (to which I previously referred), a foyer with seperate bath and toilet, and another good sized kitchen/dining room with a large closet, the only one in the apartment. We made it work and were very happy there, living with much less (clothing, furniture, STUFF) than ever before back in the States. I hope to always keep this love of moderation I feel I picked up from Europe.
I'll have to end it here as the night grows late and I've written way too much for a succinct blog. As I started with my history and didn't get around to any specifics, I promise to post more photos and coherent ideas next time!