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What My Childhood Taught Me About Home DecorI have a 14 year old niece whose life revolves around her hair and it’s a different color every time I see her. On my last visit, I got a shock when I walked into her bedroom - not in reaction to her "Bubble Yum" colored tresses, but to the state of her room, resembling more of a landfill than a place of refuge, serenity and personal expression. For her 12th birthday, I yielded to her every design wish and designed a colorful and fun bedroom to enchant she and her friends. I began to hyperventilate when I realized the reason I couldn’t see her floor wasn’t because she had blacked out her window with a gorgeous mohair throw I’d given her but because all of her worldly possessions, hair product included, seemed to have exploded violently from her closet and lay in heaps in the war-zone her once-stylish bedroom had become. I felt faint and steadied myself on her graffiti covered closet door. We simply cannot share the same DNA.
As a child I was reasonably coiffed and well adjusted, however, while my peers aspired to sports or music, my ambitions lay more in the direction of "design disciplines". Interior design and home decor were my passions for as early as I can remember. I spent hours in my bedroom rearranging my furniture and carefully placing each possession, which I adored and had triumphantly earned by torturing my mothers nerves until she ultimately relented with a sigh of defeat and the flash of her credit card.
The labor for moving my bedroom furniture came cheap. My brother was often up to something my parents wouldn’t approve of so occasionally I’d find out and blackmail him into moving my furniture! He moved my furniture about the room (reluctantly) until I was completely satisfied with the floor plan. Being twelve, I was limited to a budgetary design allowance of $3.50 per week so there were expected creative limitations to my work. The arrangement of my furniture would often change from artful to practical such as reducing awkward "traffic flow" to create optimum use of my bedroom for entertaining friends at my Saturday night slumber soirees.
There was the time I redecorated for escapism after my parents refused to give me a television for my bedroom. Rebellious to the core, I slammed shut my door and ripped out my closet doors and stuck my bed inside the closet. The closet doors gained new life as a room divider. I was so smugly pleased with my newly designed "cocoon" my pouting subsided. There are those who eat for comfort, I redecorate!
I grew up in the late 70’s when HGTV, Pottery Barn and IKEA were not yet conceptualized. While I did have limited exposure to my mothers early copies of Better Homes and Garden my biggest design influence was actually my father who was a homebuilder. Our family moved often and usually we moved into the first home built in each neighborhood where he was building. No home was untouched since hide & seek dictated my friends and I know every square inch of each new home as it was being built. In the process, any spare building materials was fair game for forts or dollhouses.
My love of houses and home decor may be in my genes, however, being the daughter of a builder doesn’t comes without issues. Dad was a workaholic so naturally his work influenced our family social time. Our family outings were unconventional in my household and usually consisted of traveling to potential building sites or visits to the families who purchased my fathers homes. We did go to Disney World once.
I had strong opinions about design early on. In the 70’s we may not have had cable television but we had The Brady Bunch and they were all the rage. Sure, I had a crush on Greg and Peter Brady but my biggest distraction was the home they lived in. Sure it was cool but, frankly, from a design standpoint, I was perplexed. 8 people lived in a three bedroom home designed by their father, architect Mike Brady. As far as I was concerned he failed his clients. What was he thinking? Where was the privacy? At least the boys had a bunk bed in their bedroom. But the girls bedroom? Very pink, very cramped. Had Mike or Carol Brady ever given thought to a Murphy or trundle bed? Even more disturbing was the confines of one very small bathroom shared by six boys and girls. My niece has no idea how lucky she is that when she wants to dye her hair she doesn’t have to vie for space with 5 other kids!
So, being the cool aunt that I am, I spent Saturday afternoon with my niece for a girl getaway. We went for a spa treatment and shopping at her favorite thrift stores. O.K., so I steered her to a few of my favorite shops, including a home organization store in hopes she’d get the idea... I am not giving up on her yet.
Naturally, I myself am knee deep in my home decor and design business. My house is completed (for the moment), but I am able to satiate my obsession for home decor homes of my clients.
Now fast forward 20 something years later, when I score a fabulous piece of furniture or accessory, I still get every bit as excited as I did when I was a young. The only the difference is I can reach for my own check book rather than contrive a tantrum to get what I want! When I do find a great piece of furniture or accessory, I can’t help but share them with everyone on my website www.houseaboutit.com. One of my favorites, Aidan Gray are masters of marrying old world finishes with functional furniture and fabulous accessories. I also love the ephemeral feel of Fringe Studio transfer ware vases, trays and candles. Also deserving accolades is Cavallini. Almost every book in my home is covered with their gorgeous papers. I also love the artful images in the Cavallini calendars. I can’t live without any of these awesome designers in my own home!
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