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.
3 weeks ago