Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The "Why" Story

Why do we do what we do in life? Why do we choose the careers we choose, the partners, the way we make decisions? These things can tell us a lot about ourselves. Why do you do what you do? 

Confused lady via Google

love to remember why I chose the design field. When I was young and lived in my parent's house, there were many siblings and not a lot of privacy, in fact I shared a room with my sister until I left home. I was always moving the furniture, pictures and ornaments my mother had placed willy nilly around the house much to the consternation of my family.

As the oldest girl, I was in charge of picking up the house (a never ending job with three messy brothers). My mother was overwhelmed and could not keep up with the day to day chore of keeping house and so it fell to me to help her out. I resented every minute of it! I loved to cook and be creative but overwhelmed mothers don't have time to recognize or indulge the whims of pre-teens, so cleaning, dishes and picking up were the chores I was tortured with. 

When vacuuming and dusting the living room the natural thing for me to do was move the furniture into different positions and try new ways to make sense of the pieces that came and went in our hard living household. My father later told me he never knew where his favorite chair would end up when he came home from work! Sometimes my mother would catch the decorating bug and we would paint, wallpaper or move things together. That was nice to have the approval to try something new.

As I grew older and the siblings were in and out with friends and my mother went back to work hardly anyone bothered me with objections about where the furniture went. I had almost a free hand in placement and was never happier. It was a natural I was going into the decorating/design field!

So why do I do what I do? The challenge of the next space! I love the unexpected results and happy accidents that happen in design work. 

True statement via Pinterest

I am most gratified when an overwhelmed (hmmm, mother substitution?) client becomes enthused and excited about the decisions of planning their space. It's as if a light bulb pops on inside them as they catch the whole idea! I share with them the reasoning behind the design and they are hooked. I'm always happiest when helping my clients express the love of their home with cherished items. Like Nate Berkus says: "The Things That Matter". Home truly is where your heart is! 

Sweet Shabby Chic via Pinterest

Do you have a cherished item you would never part with? Drop a note and let me know what it is and I'll let you know what mine is too! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Color My World

Color is a manifestation of energy and light as are we, so everyone sees colors differently. Men and women absolutely see color differently. Some women can determine some 99 million more shades of color. Whaaaaat? 

Via Pinterest

The X chromosome has photoreceptors called cones that allow the brain to perceive color. Men have one X chromosome. If one of their cones are mutated, the man sees reduced shades of color, referred to as color blindness. As we know, women have two sets of X chromosomes so they have a backup. Interestingly, colorblind men have women in their families (usually their mothers) that have a mutated cone as well but it results in the ability to see additional  color in the spectrum. These women are referred to as tetrachromatic and see shades of color within color.  2 to 3 percent of women have this mutated cone. See this ScienceLine article for the whole story. Cool, huh?

Awesome Eye Art via Google

This explains why some people are so picky about their choices in color. My poor long-suffering husband can attest to this. He just hands the color decisions over to me and backs off. Wise choice!

Smarty Pants Michelle via Google

If you can't get a handle on why certain color combinations aren't pleasing to you, it may be that you (if you're female) are a tetrachromatic! I've been doing an informal poll amongst the artsy types I know and it seems most all the women can see multiple shades of color or undertones within a color. In my humble opinion, it seems that all successful arty-type woman must share this ability and are super comfortable with color. Color experts it appears!

The Colors Within Emerald Green
The colors Within Gray

Are you thinking you may be  tetrachromatic? Write a note and let me know your color story and we'll see how many we get!    

Cutey Mad Scientist via Pinteres

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ch-ch-cha Changes!

There are people that resist change. Duh! My grandfather and father were a couple of them, then I married one who had one as his father! To be fair, change is difficult for these people because it represents an end to the status quo. When you are complacent, comfortable i.e. stagnant, change is hard. In my examples, once changes occurred, these men were and are fine. Funny thing, all of these men had huge across the ocean or across the country moves in their lives. Hmmm…..I think I'm on to something here. Could it be that their moves were so disruptive they never wanted change again? Calling Dr. Freud……

Image via CartoonStock.com

In design work, I meet up with loads of client's/client's family members that are resistant to change. I once had a client's spouse that claimed he would not would not give up his inexpensive, ratty recliner. He wanted it reupholstered or left the same. Ewwww….. I suppose reupholstery would have worked, but it would have been the price of a new updated version (that and my upholsterer would have fired me). We went shopping to the right places and bingo, problem solved. He was resistant because he had never put his bum into a proper sized or priced chair. I wonder sometimes if 25 years later he still has it but in his nursing home!

Recliner via Lanefurniture.com

Resistance to change can be a power play on the part of the person balking. Perhaps they are afraid of factors they think are out of their control. Are they comfortable with the budget that's been set? Can they not envision the whole room? Are they afraid of losing their identity in the design? Do they want to "punish" the offending spouse for suggesting change in the first place? All of these things can be overcome with open communication and really thinking through the reason behind the proposed changes.

Color board via thedistictivecottage.com

Compromise is the only way to work with resistance to change. I have met up with a few designers that feel it must be their way or the highway. No one should have that much control over your home. Including the naysayer. This is where a firm velvet covered foot can be very helpful from the person asking for change. (Look at last week's post on Self Esteem and Decorating). Listen to the objections carefully and you usually can get to the crux of the resistance, but make your own need for change heard. 

Happy couple via familytreecounseling.com

In my case, hopefully this has been done before I'm on the scene! Sigh….sometimes design work is close to giving therapy….. me know about your change horror stories and I'll share some more with you! Write below, all your comments are appreciated and welcomed. Hit the follow button too so we can stay in touch!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Self Esteem and Decorating

Everyone craves a home environment that pleases the eye and nourishes their soul. Our homes are our sanctuary, respite from the world and the heart of our families. How does an average person achieve this seemingly impossible task?

Home & hearth via Pinterest

Let's start by defining the three D's:
~Decor is the style or scheme you choose in a room or your home.
~Decorate is the fashionable and beautiful choices made to put in the decor.
~Design is the creative process, the external being pen to paper and the internal being what your heart desires. 

To further define: a house is the building and products within the walls, a home is internal. It's your feelings of comfort and peacefulness. It can be anywhere. Remember the adage "a home is where the heart is"? It's that feeling of Saturday afternoons watching movies on TV, cooking at Gramma's side or making paper dolls with your sister. It is that softer, satisfied portion of your psyche. Your internal sense of home is already there!  Trust in your own feelings of home, they belong to you.  I once worked with an older man that wanted a round bed in his red and white velvet master bedroom. It was to be similar to the bedroom of a past amour! You are the only one that knows your personal style.  

Anyone can rush out to a home decorating store to fill up your space or hire the best decorator in town for the most fashionable look. You can deplete your bank account and still be uncomfortable in your home. People nervous about their sense of home assume they need experts to make the decorating choices. Could you live with the stress of someone else's taste in your home? I don't think you could for very long. Our homes would be beautiful and current but lack soul and comfort. Read Nate Berkus' book "The Things That Matter" for a tear-jerking story on decorating with beloved items.

Why are we so afraid to make decorating decisions in our own homes? Here's the deal. When we open our homes to guests, we are putting our lives on public display. We are open to criticism from our peers. There is pressure to be trendy and "updated". What will people think of us? What if my style doesn't fit what everyone else is doing? So to create a home that nourishes your heart's desire you need to work from the inside out, know and be secure in what you like.

My advice is to make list of things you love. Write down feelings, textures, times of day, whatever makes you feel those homey thoughts and give you that loving experience in your mind. The next step is to collect pictures and swatches of items, fabrics and colors that are representative of those feelings. Look in trade magazines (that's what they're published for, IDEAS not copying), surf the net, shop fabric stores for swatches and bring home some paint chips. Put them together on a color board like the pro's do. Here is a good tutorial on making one if you need help. To decorate for your heart, this will be your roadmap!

Color board via Google

Now I'm not saying you may not need help to pull this off. If you want a certain shade of blue that represents a robin's egg you found as a child, the color board could help a paint salesperson get the idea. Smart phones are a perfect tool for this. Snap a pic of the sofa in one store, show the lamp salesperson in another and ask if your selection is the right scale to work. Ask for help when you need to, professionals are in all departments of home improvement. Just be certain the mood stays true to your heart. A collage of ideas is a gift when you hire a designer too. A good one will get where you're headed and help you tweak it without judgement of your taste. I'll say it again; trust in your own feelings of home, they belong to you!

My life…...I wish via Pinterest

Any pix or stories of your heart decorating? Write a comment and let me know!