A Slowly Cultivated Home
My heart did a double take when I first saw this home on Architectural Digest. My initial reaction was happiness- there was so much color and life in one photo that I couldn’t help but smile. My second reaction was calm. Why? Because it was evident this person took the time to cultivate their home. There’s an obvious thoughtfulness in it and that brings an automatic feeling of calm, stillness, and peace. And with that intention comes a well developed uniqueness that creates a genuine approach to style. You’ve heard about fast fashion; this week I want to talk about how to avoid “fast interior design.”
There’s power in taking the time to slowly cultivate your life and that intention will hopefully spill over into your home. Sometimes we’re so eager to “build a home” that we rush into choosing colors, decor, and concepts. And I understand why this happens- no one wants to live in an unfinished feeling space. To balance this concept of slow cultivation without feeling like you’re living in an incomplete environment, start with a good foundation for each room and slowly add to it. How do you do that? I recommend the following steps:
- Decide what feelings you want to feel when you enter a room. Be specific. Instead of saying you want to feel “calm,” discover what exactly that means. It could be “that type of calm you feel when you first see the ocean” and go forward with that. It doesn’t mean you have to decorate in aquas and blues, but it does mean the dominant color palette should be neutrals you love with as much natural light coming in as possible. If you want that excited energy that reminds you of conversations with a lively friend, pick large, unique statement pieces, like an intricate wall tapestry or boldly designed area rug.
- Be willing to experiment with wallpaper. For my generation and older, wallpaper got a bad wrap with being dated and frumpy. But I have some fabulous vendors whose inventory ranges from minimalist to classic to bold and trendy. They truly tailor to the needs of a more modern approach to decor. Bonus: Unlike paint, you know exactly what the color will look like on your wall so there’s much less guesswork involved.
- Be willing to experiment in general. Part of cultivating your home is being willing to look at it from different perspectives and being open to change. From simple things like using vintage barstools as a planter stand to more obvious changes like putting your bookshelves in the dining room to create a literary eating space, mixing up the standard is a great way to discover what you want visually and logistically from your home.
- Walk in and out of rooms. Repeatedly and at different times of the day. This seems like a no-brainer, but when we’re in the midst of building a room, we often just stare at it until we figure out what’s wrong (or right). Instead, walk through the door and take note of your initial feelings. Does enough sunlight hit your favorite parts of the room? What does the room look like when the sun is setting? Rising? And that leads to our next step…
- Go with your gut. When I work with my clients, I don’t ever want them to feel pressured to choose anything that doesn’t “click” with them. Like relationships between people, there needs to be a chemistry between my clients and the options they have. And if it doesn’t click, I create more options for them. Sometimes this takes time but that’s part of the joy of what I do. But be aware there’s a difference between taking your time and being indecisive. Go with your gut and you can be more the former and not the latter.
Study your home. Take the time to slowly build it. If you need help deciding on items or if you just want the options to be right in front of you so you don’t have to do the research, then hire an interior designer to be your “decor matchmaker.” But whatever you do, build intentionally and thoughtfully. You deserve that.