Thursday, October 16, 2014

Finding My Style (16/31)

Welcome back to 31 Days of adding beauty & loving my home! This post is part of a series for the month of October - visit the first post for details & links to all the other posts! 

Hey, lovelies!

I'm sorry about missing yesterday's post. If you follow my Facebook page, I fessed up to being completely unprepared for it. I'm not mad about it, though. The trade off was a weekend full of family time, and that has been too hard to come by lately. I wouldn't trade it for anything!

So I think I will just postpone that post for now, and squeak it in when I'm ready, some other time.

Today, before I move onto another room, I wanted to touch on the topic of finding my style. It's been an interesting process since I decided to take back my home. My style has changed so much over the years, and I'm always wondering what, exactly, will stick with me through the years and what will change.

Here's how things have evolved over time.

The Apartment
Matt and I moved into a brand new apartment complex - we were the first ever tenants in our unit, which was really all kinds of awesome and takes out some of the ick of renting. We were also on the top floor, which meant no overhead noise from neighbors (but really tough grocery shopping!)  When we moved in, I was 19 and Matt was 23, freshly graduated from college, and had his first "real" job. He had the money, he called the shots. So he filled our apartment with stuff he'd always wanted. Leather living room seating, a big screen tv, an all glass-and-metal coffee table. A black rug. Plain green and bamboo bathroom decorations with Chinese symbols on things. You guys - - I lived there. (haha!)

Later on, when I found a job and decided to take the reigns a bit more, I filled up with coffee-themed decor, and any cheap or hand-me-down feminine touches I could find (like Walmart and gifted candles, plants, and curtains). It eventually started to feel home-y, especially during the holidays when my kitschy garlands would come out to play. But it was still very man-influenced, and bare-bones.

The Charlotte House
Shortly after Matt and I got engaged, we started house hunting. We toured A LOT of developments in Charlotte, as they sort of only do housing that way down there - at least in the new areas. We ended up with a pretty nice place in one of the older new developments (it went up in 1999 when housing there started booming, we were shopping in 2007). We didn't have the money to upgrade furniture, so we pretty much had to make do with paint on the walls and some cheap wall decor. I was trying to think back to what influenced my taste in this new house, and then it dawned on me. It was all of the housing developments!

I saw those model homes all pulled together and coordinating, professionally staged, of course. When I pictured us in a house like that, I would see those model homes, so I knew what my neighbors must be doing in their homes and I wanted to fit in. Silly, I know. But that's how I decorated our first home. Man apartment furniture, model home paint colors, cheap bits of decor here and there. And I did like it. It did feel cozy, and I found it fairly easy to keep clean (well, it was just us, and then a baby up to 9 months old and they don't make much of a mess on their own!) When we sold that house, we got lots of compliments on the decor, and it made me feel good, but I knew it was just because it was appealing to the masses. Almost anyone could slide right into that house the way we had it and feel like they could make it work. I remember my FIL saying that he felt comfortable in our house. Multiple friends and family members visiting from out of town said they wished they could replicate it in their hometown. That house was a one-size-fits-all style. But it didn't wow me.

The Crooked Apple
Aside from the terrible kitchen, I was pretty excited to move into this cozy little place. I was a little concerned with the size of the rooms & closets, but I reasoned that our kids would grow up remembering our awesome, sprawling property - not the size of their rooms. And they'd probably even remember it as bigger than it was! My memories of childhood places are always bigger than they actually are - probably because I was smaller!

When we moved in here, I did carry over just a bit of my Charlotte house style. I re-used two paint colors exactly (our bedroom green, still in the bedroom, and our bathroom purple that's now in our dining room). But I knew that this house would function differently, and I also had a different feeling about it. I wanted it to be more down-home feeling - closer to farm chic, I guess you could call it. So I left most of my coffee decor boxed up, forgot about most of my modern things, and slowly transitioned each room to be more cozy, kitschy, and quaint.

Because of the nature of kids and all of their STUFF (toys, clothes, books, and paperwork - omg, the paperwork that starts at preschool and exponentially increases after that!), I feel like our house is too small for us most days. When it was just us and Luke, it was perfect. Better than perfect. With Henry, it was a little tight and more time consuming to keep up with, but do-able and reasonable. Now with three, it's just a constant disaster area. There's times when I feel like there's too much clutter (my never-ending hobbies and related supplies make it worse, I admit), but when it's cleaned up in  here and everything is in its home, it feels so cozy. Like the whole place is a giant comfy bed with warm, soft blankets on it and big, fluffy pillows.

It's still a work in progress, and there's a lot of "stuff" to sort out (I feel like with public school just coming into our lives, we're having to re-adjust how we do everything), but we're headed in the right direction, I think. I do not "have it all together", nor do I feel like this style suits me for the rest of my life. But it suits this house and this time we're in, and I'm definitely being true to my style in the process.

A few months ago, when all of this house revival stuff started happening, I tried to nail down my style in this house. I couldn't find a name for it. I tried, but nothing quite fit all the way. Instead, I nailed down these points of things that make me say, "YES! I need you in my house!"

♥ I love color. Bright, sunny, bold, happy colors. Neutrals need not apply.
♥ Typical decorating tips and books don't seem to apply to what I like.
♥ My heart flutters over seeing handmade pieces, crafted decor, and items that represent the members of my family and our love and traditions.
♥ I feel the most longing and inspiration from seeing homes in the Home Made Lovely series than anywhere else. No thanks, HGTV!
♥ I always knew I loved pink, but I didn't realize I felt just as strongly about aqua, lilac, pale yellow, and powdery blue.
♥ I really, really REALLY adore florals.
♥ I'm also drawn to lace, doilies, polka dots, contrasting pastels, plants, and anything that brings the outdoors inside.
♥ I think if I had the supplies, time, and permission, I would put a garland on everything. EVERYTHING.

(List from the post, On Being You, All The Way.)

I also made up a style name. Or tried to. It's a mouthful. Ready for this?

"Eclectic Crafty Thrift-Store-Feminine Shabby (with a touch of Granny/Cottage/Farm) Chic."

Do not get that confused with country, because..........NO.

I'm still figuring it all out, and I always find myself in situations like this in other aspects of life, too. How do people settle on one thing? How do they find something so perfect and comfy that they stick with JUST that? I feel that way about hobbies, my etsy shop, my blog topics, my music/book/tv show tastes. And now with decorating....I feel like I will forever be collecting "yes, that fits" pieces when I can't even explain why they do. I just kind of operate with the idea of, if it makes me happy, I want it around.

Anyways. You've all seen my 31 Days posts lately - what would you call my growing style? Also, do you see any similarities in my three adult homes as my taste has evolved? I'm interested to hear your thoughts!

31 Days of Adding Beauty and Loving My Home

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