Thursday, July 3, 2008

Inspirational style

The sweet life: Kirsten Dunst as the pampered Marie Antionette in the film

Okay, I admit it. If I wasn't married, there are a lot of things I would be doing that I am currently not. Before you let your mind wander too far, I'll tell you one of these things I would do if I were a single (or a more selfish) girl is decorate my house in complete, over-the-top girly style. I'm talking sugary cupcake colors on the walls, chandeliers with colored crystal droplets, zebra print fabric galore, eccentric candelabras, oversize gilded picture frames on the walls and on tables, feminine French-inspired antique arm chairs and tufted ottomans...the list goes on.

Now, I'm not really a flowery, country, "chintzy" kinda girl but I do like decor with a wild, feminine twist. My husband, an actuary by trade, is much more conservative in his style. So, I've blended our tastes and modified my style so that our home is a reflection of us a couple--with a lot of my personal preferences sprinkled throughout in small doses. The result is personable, unique and very livable for both of us. For example, I have a large black and white zebra print bench in our study but I've balanced it with stacks of books on top, masculine worn leather furniture and a large black rustic bookcase. My husband is thankful he isn't subjected to years of living in a pink painted palace.

But I still love looking at, and dreaming of, all things whimsical and wonderful.

Tracy Porter is a designer who always inspires me. I bought her book Tracy Porter's Home Style years ago and still love flipping through the pages for fresh ideas and a new perspective. She's creative and isn't afraid to think outside the box--let's just say her home doesn't look like the pages from a Pottery Barn catalog! She injects her own personal style into everything she does, creating a look that represents her individuality. She is truly an artist.

Another store and website I love to look for girly things is Anthropologie. They have great gifts, vintage-looking accessories and unnecessary pretty things that make life fun. (I don't think everything you own should be practical.) Do we really need tea cup candle holders? No, of course not. But life wouldn't be quite as sweet without them.

I try to find inspiration everywhere, especially from places I have travelled. Some of my favorite little decorative touches come from locations around the globe.

My home office is the one room in my house which I can completely indulge my own personal style. It is light, bright and airy. It is a mix of a beach cottage and a Paris flat. I've taken things from my trips to help create a space that reminds me where I've been, but always makes me feel at home:
  • Vintage Paris postcards--you can buy little postcard collectors books for about $7.00, tear out your favorites and frame in a collage. I've also collected postcards from museum gift shops of famous art pieces at that museum and placed them in frames for inexpensive, yet tasteful, art.

  • Old maps or high quality wrapping paper--look at higher-end gift shops or stationary shops for sheets of wrapping paper and for about $7.00 (expensive wrapping paper but CHEAP art) they offer a beautiful selection of prints. Once placed in a pretty frame, you have a large piece of art that's unique and inexpensive. I've also taken the paper to be mounted and laminated on an easel and it gives it even more of a "tailor made" appearance.

  • Natural objects-plates, little bowls or trays made from oyster shells or shells mounted on stands, peacock feathers, painted ostrich eggs...all these things make amazing pieces of art. I think art can be most beautiful when it's found in nature.

Some of the prettiest, and most expensive, sculptures I've seen are taken from the ocean, the trees, or the earth. Why not recreate this look on your own using things you've picked up on your travels or nature walks? Tall twigs like curly willow can be used in large pots or urns to add depth and dimension to a room, shells can be placed in a dish on a table or painted silver to add a touch of glamour to a shelf in the bathroom. Use a large oyster shell as a dish to put jewelry on a nightstand or business cards in an office.

Be inspired, be creative--and be yourself! Your personal style should reflect who you are and what you love. It's easy to do what everyone else is doing but the most fun and interesting homes to step inside are those in which the person is reflected throughout. Surprise and inspire all those who enter...

1 comment:

Phil & Kathy said...

Delightful post, Brianna! I keep checking this blog from different computers to see how it looks. My MAC looks different from the PC's. I hope you get tons of hits! I am doing my best to spread the word!