My decorating style is ... eclectic

You know those quizzes in interior decorating magazines and books that ask you a series of questions to determine your style? Well, I think I flunked them all. I was thinking about this today as I was sorting through old home decorating books.

The quizzes in those books usually base their analysis on whether your answers fall mostly in Category A, Category B, etc. The problem is that I usually had five As, five Bs, six Cs, six Ds, and so forth. I never had an overwhelming number of answers in any one category, so I would walk away dissatisfied. Thankfully, those years of curiousity (or insecurity!) have passed, and now I just say I have an eclectic style. Let's go into my front room so I can show you what I mean.



Red and yellow dominate my front room, with mostly modern furniture setting the stage for Mexican artwork and crafts I've bought mostly on reporting work trips throughout Mexico. Anthropologie's Ditte sofa is the star of the show, giving the room a modern vibe, alongside a leather armchair and ottoman I use as a coffee table (soft corners are less hazardous to my very active kids). The antique Guatemalan chest in this photo is one of my favorite Craigslist finds at $50 from the same West Hollywood gal who sold me my reading nook table. It is one of my favorite pieces because I adore the artwork, the rustic, aged patina, and the fact that the previous owner also loved it but was selling it due to life circumstances.



So, we have modern, rustic, Hemingway-like leather, Mexican artwork and let me not forget the red glass lamp I got from Z Gallerie that's reminiscent of mid-century style. Here, you see the lower base of that lamp on this table (the white circles you see on the bottom are little bits of museum putty I use liberally on the bottom of the few fragile pieces that I dare put out in light of flying balls tossed by my kids). And wait, let me also tell you about my fondness for Indian silver vases and woodwork that also help decorate this room.



The dining room features paintings by artists in Mexico or New Mexico, where I once lived. I enjoy looking at this art wall and imagine the paintings all depict scenes from a day in a town somewhere in Mexico. The colorful paintings in dark frames are a nice contrast to the white walls. Truth be told, I love color so much that I fantasize often about painting this front room a different color. Yellow? Military green? Orange? My indecision and desire not to expose my kids to paint fumes (even VOC) means we won't be painting any time soon.

Not to worry, however, I do love this front room because it combines so many different elements about our family and life. Perhaps that's why my style is so hard to define. For the moment, let's call it bohemian eclecticism, though you're welcome to just call it funky or whatever else you want. I promise I won't be offended, and I know my style is not for everyone. At this stage in my life, I am quite comfortable with who I am and what my home looks like.



Others have commented that my home is "comfortable," "colorful," "clutter-free" (these were the people who didn't see the entire house)," or that "there's always something interesting to look at."

Once I was accused of having a "Mickey Mouse house." Granted, it was a comment made by a contractor I hired to paint all the rooms in a 1,200-square-foot townhouse I lived in. He had quoted me a fairly low price, not realizing I was going to request a different color in EACH room. "But why don't we paint the entire condo in a nice tan color?" he asked hopefully as I shook my head and frowned. "Ah, you, you and your Mickey Mouse house!" he muttered loudly as he walked away, waving his arms in frustration.

This is one of the rooms his employees painted for me:



It's OK if you feel a need for sunglasses and are feeling sympathetic for those poor painters right about now. I know I did the first time I saw this front entrance the day it was painted. Without furnishings, the room truly reminded me of a highway job gone bad.



This was the dining area in the townhouse right after I moved in. My husband, who was then my boyfriend, kindly agreed to remove this floor-length mirror from the wall despite the risk of flying shards of glass (yes, this is when I began falling in love with him!).

When I decided to sell the townhouse, I worried there would be no buyers for such a personalized home. As my luck would have it, the condo sold to a woman from New York who soon after escrow closed asked for a full listing of all the paints used in the townhouse so that she could do necessary touch-ups. My realtor told me the colors were one of the reasons she was smitten with the townhouse.

It turned out my style, whatever it was, didn't really need defining, just someone else to love it as much as I did. Now that I no longer live alone, my husband and kids are the ones whose opinion matters, and thankfully, they all love color as much as I do.

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8 comments:

Kristin @ Contented Me said...

Your home is gorgeous!!

I especially love how much confidence you have in your style and that you surround yourself with things and colors that make you happy.

The art wall in your dining room is amazing. I love how colorful it is and it really does depict a bustling town. I actually think (sorry for the unsolicited advice) that you should stick with white walls because it really makes the art pop. A colored wall might not let it shine in the spotlight as much. Just a thought...

OK. Have a good weekend!
xo, K

CACHANILLA73 said...

Life is full of gray days... we all need color in our lives, in every aspect. I have the same opinion about those magazines cuestionarios, You see, the difference between the picture in the book or magazine and your house decor is that the first one is just a show room intended to be shown not to live in and the second one, you are creating a home, where memories, good momments and life lessons are created....

Saludos....

Tina said...

Hi Minnie :) I have been trying to get onto your blog all day:) I think your 'eclectic' design style is wonderful! I love your use of colour and the artwork on your walls are just beautiful! The best part about your style, to me, is it reflects you and your HOME (Note - I didn't use the word 'house')! Your style shows how much your home means to you and your family and I love the fact that you have used pieces and artwork that you know where they came from and some even have wonderful stories attached to them. To me, at least, that is TRUE style! Your design style and your beautiful home would certainly hold their own in any interior design book - be proud! Oh - before I go, I love your use of museum putty to hold your gorgeous precious items in place, do you mind if I borrow your idea:)? Warmest of Aussie hugs to you - Tx

PS: I think my style must be 'Country Bumpkinish' - lol :)

Barbara said...

Your home is beautiful! And just what a home should be, filled with things that express who you are and what you love. What is nice is that everything has a story that tells your story. "Decorating style" is all about what comes from within and let what the decorating books tell us simply be some guides of what emerges.

My Owl Barn said...

I stumbled across your blog and I am glad that I did. Your house is lovely! You are kidding me, did you seriously get that Guatemalan chest for $50? Lucky you!

TheCluelessCrafter said...

I must say that I love your use of color. It is much more bold than a lot of the powder blues that I see all over the design world these days. This has more zip!

corine said...

Ah, I can see what you mean about mostly yellows and reds. This is a place where Frida Kahlo would feel right at home. Frida and Mickey. kidding!!!! I had the same exact experience when I asked painters to do the same to my first house. They expression told me that they thought I was clinically insane. Now my walls are white, but mainly because I go so wild with colors everywhere else tat I needed the walls to 'go with everything. But beige, no. Never.

corine said...

Ah, I can see what you mean about mostly yellows and reds. This is a place where Frida Kahlo would feel right at home. Frida and Mickey. kidding!!!! I had the same exact experience when I asked painters to do the same to my first house. They expression told me that they thought I was clinically insane. Now my walls are white, but mainly because I go so wild with colors everywhere else tat I needed the walls to 'go with everything. But beige, no. Never.

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