I had originally written this post to be shared on another blog, but it never made it into the schedule, so I’m sharing it with all of you now. I hope you find some encouragement and inspiration in it.
Back in late 2010, I found myself at home with a newborn baby. After working in a fast-paced legal environment for many years, while my new babe slept, I felt a need to stay busy and the quiet made me restless. I began searching the internet and discovered the world of blogs, a term I had never heard of before then. Blog after blog was filled with beautiful pictures of magazine-worthy photos and cozy homes, being created by “ordinary” women, not professional stylists or interior designers.
Some of the very first blogs I followed were My Sweet Savannah by Melaine Thompson pictured below. I was completely in love with her style and attention to detail:
Lemonade Makin’ Mama by Sasha Brodeur with her simple interior decorating and raw, honest posts about her faith and motherhood:
and Miss Mustard Seed by Marian Parsons, of course for her styling, beautiful photographs, antiques and of course, her love of ironstone:
I mean what’s not to love about all of that pretty blue in Marian’s bedroom!
Their styles were different, yet somewhat similar. What they all had in common that I was drawn to was a relaxed, cozy atmosphere with a nod to farmhouse style, mixed perfectly with the addition of vintage treasures and some beautifully chippy paint.
It is easy to see the way someone else decorates and want to incorporate what they have into your home. I had already begun the transformation of bringing in a lot of white into our home, some farmhouse looks and even some blue, like Miss Mustard Seed. As I began to do that, I found myself feeling unsettled. I loved it in their homes, but why wasn’t I loving it in mine?
You see, when you stare at others’ photos long enough, you can begin to be influenced by them. I would try something, but it never seemed quite right. It was like Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. I brought in pieces that were “way too wrong”, sometimes “a little okay”, and then definitely “not right at all”.
In the midst of getting acquainted with talented bloggers in 2011 and 2012, I was developing (unbeknownst to me) our future business. I was refinishing furniture left and right, and selling out at vintage markets in states across the Midwest.
What was developing, simultaneously, was a deep appreciation for found vintage treasures and an unwavering affection for the color black. I wore it all the time in my clothing, but I had never considered adding it to my home. It felt too modern to me and you don’t see black in many of the old farm homes from back in the day. It had never occurred to me to add it in. I thought I needed chenille and chippy white. I was naive and immature in my interior decorating still. However, I was on a road of design self-discovery, and was learning as I went.
I love farmhouse white looks, but it always felt a little too innocent for my personal taste. Back to the Goldie Locks reference, white by itself never felt “quite right” for my home. However, every piece of antique furniture that I refinished in black, always stood out to me. I would immediately fall in love with it and have a difficult time parting with it. Those black pieces of furniture, always ended up being some of my favorites. I appreciate the sophistication that black lends to any vignette or room design. What I didn’t realize was that was my gut telling me to go with it.
As I began to style and design our first brick and mortar store, I noticed myself adding in more and more black here and there, especially in the way of black chalkboard walls. Oh how I love black chalkboard walls (and chippy black shutters)!
I was even adding ship-lap in 2013 before ship-lap would be a trend:
I craved texture and dimension. And as I added more and more black into the store, I began doing it more and more in our home. We added black granite countertops back in 2012:
and I scored an entire set of black Thomasville windsor back chairs for free on the side of the road to mix in to our dining room:
The blend of black into the white farmhouse look, has always struck a chord with me. I also like to blend in green, with boxwood wreaths and topiaries, tarnished silver platters and antique wood cutting boards, to provide perfect texture to the black and white palette throughout our home.
As I began to find my own style, I embraced it. I got rid of what we had that was influenced by others (blues, chenille throws, rusty buckets, etc.) and it was like having newborn skin. I began to feel more relaxed and I fell in love with the things we were surrounded by, a little “found”, mixed with a little of the modern conveniences, and added in some antiques. I absolutely love the mix of old and new together, with a nod to farmhouses and days gone by. It has all made for a very good mix of “me”, and what I like.
Now I can see things when I visit an antique store or a vintage market, and I can appreciate it and love it, but pass on it, knowing that it’s not truly my style. I learned that by gathering it, and then ditching it later because it didn’t work, over and over again. It definitely took a few years to find my style.
What I encourage you to do is ask yourself two (2) questions when you see a room you love:
- What do I love about it? What am I drawn to in the photo?
- How can I put my own spin on it?
Looking at what others are doing through blogs and social media is a wonderful development of the 21st century. I just hope that you find inspiration from the pictures you see, and use what you find there to create a home that is a unique and beautiful expression of YOU and what YOU love.
Throw out rules and go with what you love. It is YOUR home, after all, isn’t it?
I hope my blog has helped you, in some way, to search for the clues of what your true style is. Maybe you already know and your home is perfectly you. If not, maybe today, you can start by making a list of the things you really true love, and can start incorporating them more into your spaces. Because there really is “no place like home”.