What My Childhood Taught Me About Home Decor

I have a 14year old niece whose life revolves around her
hair and it’s a different color every time I see her.   On my last visit, I got a 
shock when I walked into her bedroom – not in  reaction to her “Bubble Yum” colored tresses, but to the state of
her  room, resembling more of a landfill
than a place of  refuge,  serenity and  personal expression.  For
her 12th birthday, I yielded to her every design wish and designed a colorful
and fun bedroom to enchant she and her friends.   I began to 
hyperventilate when I realized the reason I couldn’t see her floor
wasn’t because she had  blacked out her
window with a gorgeous mohair throw I’d given her but because all of her
worldly possessions, hair product included, 
seemed to have exploded violently from her closet and lay in heaps in
the war-zone her once-stylish bedroom had become.   I felt faint and steadied myself on her graffiti covered closet
door.   We simply cannot share the same
DNA.

 

As a child I was reasonably coiffed and well adjusted,
however, while my peers aspired to sports or music, my ambitions lay more in
the direction of “design disciplines“.  Interior
design and home décor were my passions for as early as I can remember.  I spent hours in my bedroom rearranging my
furniture and carefully placing each possession, which I adored and had
triumphantly earned by torturing my mothers nerves until she ultimately
relented with a sigh of defeat and the flash of her credit card.  

 

The labor for moving my bedroom furniture came cheap.  My brother was often up to something my
parents wouldn’t approve of  so
occasionally I’d find out and blackmail him into moving my furniture!  He moved my furniture about the room
(reluctantly) until I was completely satisfied with the floor plan.  Being twelve, I was limited to a budgetary
design allowance of $3.50 per week so there were expected creative limitations
to my work.  The arrangement of my
furniture would often change from artful to practical such as reducing awkward
“traffic flow” to create optimum use of my bedroom for entertaining friends at
my Saturday night slumber soirees. 

 

There was the time I redecorated for escapism after my
parents refused to give me a television for my bedroom.  Rebellious to the core, I slammed shut my
door and  ripped out my closet doors and
stuck my bed inside the closet.  The
closet doors gained new life as a room divider.  I was so  smugly pleased
with my newly designed  “cocoon”  my pouting subsided.   There are those who eat for comfort, I
redecorate!

 

I grew up in the late 70’s when HGTV, Pottery Barn and IKEA
were not yet conceptualized.  While I
did have limited exposure to my mothers early copies of Better Homes and Garden
my biggest design influence was actually my father who was a homebuilder.  Our family moved often and usually we moved
into the first home built in each neighborhood where he was building.   No home was untouched since hide & seek
dictated my friends and I know every square inch of each new home as it was
being built.  In the process, any spare
building materials was fair game for forts or dollhouses. 

 

My love of houses and home décor may be in my genes, however,
being the daughter of a builder doesn’t comes without issues.  Dad was a workaholic so naturally his work
influenced our family social time.  Our
family outings were unconventional in my household and usually consisted of
traveling to potential building sites or visits to the families who purchased
my fathers homes.   We did go to Disney
World once.

 

I had strong opinions about design early on.  In the 70’s we may not have had cable
television but we had The Brady Bunch and they were all the rage.   Sure, I had a crush on Greg and Peter Brady
but my biggest distraction was the home they lived in.  Sure it was cool but, frankly, from a design
standpoint,  I was  perplexed. 
8 people lived in a three bedroom home designed by their father,
architect Mike Brady.   As far as I was
concerned he failed his clients.  What
was he thinking?   Where was the
privacy?  At least the boys had a bunk
bed in their bedroom. But the girls bedroom?  
Very pink, very cramped.   Had
Mike or Carol Brady ever given thought to a 
Murphy or trundle bed?   Even
more disturbing was the confines of one very small bathroom shared by six boys
and girls.   My niece has no idea how
lucky she is that when she wants to dye her hair she doesn’t have to vie for
space with 5 other kids!

 

So, being the cool aunt that I am, I spent Saturday
afternoon with my niece for a girl getaway. 
We went for a spa treatment and shopping at her favorite thrift
stores.   O.K., so I steered her to  a few of my favorite shops, including a home
organization store in hopes she’d get the idea….I am not giving up on her yet.

 

Naturally, I myself am knee deep in my home décor and design
business.   My house is completed (for
the moment), but I am able to satiate my obsession for home décor  homes of my clients. 

 

Now fast forward 20 something years later, when I score a
fabulous piece of furniture or accessory, I still get every bit as excited as I
did when I was a young.  The only the
difference is I can reach for my own check book rather than contrive a tantrum
to get what I want!  When I do find a
great piece of furniture or accessory, I can’t help but share them with
everyone on my website 
www.houseaboutit.com.   One of my
favorites, Aidan Gray are masters of marrying old world finishes with
functional furniture and fabulous accessories. 
I also love the ephemeral feel of 
Fringe Studio transfer ware vasesScience Articles, trays and candles.    Also deserving accolades is
Cavallini.  Almost every book in my home
is covered with their gorgeous papers.   
I also love the artful images in the Cavallini calendars.    I can’t live without any of these awesome
designers in my own home!

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