I’ve been doing a lot of design-soul-searching lately, trying to really get a handle on my personal style.
(Image from Carlton Varney’s Wisconsin lakehouse featured in House Beautiful)
While always evolving, I think it’s really important to hone your personal style or design philosophy into something you can wrap your head around & define. It makes us better designers/ decorators/ homeowners & more equipped to make decisions. When you really know who you are (or who your client is)and what you’re trying to achieve, it’s much easier to look at an object, a color or any other type of design-decision & know if it’s right for a space or not. Check out my first apartment (Ah! I can’t believe I’m showing you this!!! haha I found lots of cool Asian objects & just decorated the room around the objects instead of what I actually loved. I used lots of bold colors because they created that “wow” effect I was after.) But looking back I really can barely stand this picture because it’s just so not me & I’ve really found my style since then:
Once you know your design style or philosophy, you can ask yourself some really important questions: Do I love it? Even if I think it’s amazing, does it fit with my design philosophy? (Which was my problem with all the Asian objects- they were really cool & interesting, but they didn’t strike any notes within me & as a result, the design rang hollow.) What’s the overall impact it’ll have on the space? Will it add or detract from what I’m trying to do? (For example, “If I want an uncluttered space, even though I love this set of antique prints, I know putting them in the room will make it feel too busy.”)
(By Carleton Varney featured in House Beautiful)
(Philosopher from fineartprintsondemand.com)
As I’ve written in the ‘About Me’ section on the blog page, “My design philosophy, “pure style,” is based on keeping things simple, beautiful & fun. “ But I’m in need of breaking it down & defining it further. I’m talking something deeper here. (And I don’t mean “Early American” or “Modern Asian” or “British Colonial” …. I mean something that can be translated across styles… Something more core, more innate.)
I think it’s really cool to see yourself begin to have a signature look that can be translated across many homes & styles. If you really get down & dissect what it is you love about rooms & what your recipe for a great room is, your personal style can translate across other design styles & I think that makes you a stronger designer. For example, what designers personally do in their homes is usually not exactly what clients want in their own homes, but there’s something about the designer’s style that clients see & love. – a signature look, a design philosophy, a personal style that comes across in every room. (Think Darryl Carter, below)
I think the more rooms you do, the more experience you have, the more your signature look will become apparent. I’m noticing this in my own work & it’s a really cool discovery. But it takes a lot of time & I’m SO not even close to where I hope to be one day. Blogging really helps you get a jumpstart because people start to say “Oh that’s so you” or “your style” and you start to realize that you actually are developing a concrete style. (Just scroll down blogger’s entire pages, quickly through all the posts & see how cool it is to get a glimpse of that blogger’s style!) — Like Eddie Ross’s signature style very apparent in his gorgeous living room below:
There have been some elements I’d never thought about until I started blogging. Here’s what I’ve got (SO FAR) for my ingredients in the recipe for a perfect “pure style” room: sculptural elements (such as spheres, large lamps, branches in a vase, certain furnishings that are just beautiful on their own like this table (below)from a Belgian-style home in House Beautiful:
Style contrasts (a modern painting hanging over an antique console) like this modern stainless oven paired with the antique linen dishtowel & botanical prints in my dad’s kitchen:
Something quirky/fun or unexpected (like cute little porcelain busts on a dining room table or the flea market froggy) Check out this lady we’ve had in our family for years. She used to hold fake fruit (My Grandma Maestranzi was an old Italian lady who put plastic on the sofa) & I stuck her in my dad’s bathroom to hold the soap as a joke but we actually ended up loving it:
Ok, so here goes my attempt at defining my personal style, or shall I say “pure style” haha. Pure Style is clean & simple, well-edited, natural, beautiful, sculptural, a blend of old & new, neutral with splashes of color/pattern & a little quirky & fun.