But, What's Your Style?

September 8, 2019

As a designer, the style question always makes me want to laugh out loud. When someone says “But what’s your style?, I either want to say I don’t have one (which sounds ridiculous, right?), or, possibly just say “eclectic”, and cover all the bases. The word “curated” comes to mind, but it can sound like it will take a long time to develop, and when someone needs/wants their space renovated, they usually want it done NOW or maybe YESTERDAY. 

The truth of the matter is, that it is the client’s style and the style of their house that matters. The furniture and things in MY home aren’t necessarily going to look right in YOUR home. My home is specifically designed according to the architecture (and lack of architecture), the way it needs to function for my family, and the unique vibe that I want for myself on a daily basis. Oh, and did I mention budget? That most certainly has been an influencer as to what has happened here at Crosswinds! 

Luckily for me, I just love good design. I have a true appreciation for mid-century, old school traditional, bungalows, prairie style homes, farmhouses, log cabins……. You name it! They all have special attributes that make them unique and authentic, and great fun to work on to turn into homes. Here, in Door County, I have been lucky enough to see the interiors of some pretty fantastic homes, and some that need some love to live up to their potential. The surroundings are constant inspiration, and, of course, the owners are the most important part of the home equation.

Have you ever taken a “What’s your Style?” quiz on a web site? I have tried, but never liked being labeled by a category. It was always too confusing and made me feel like I was indecisive. I am more of a “I like what I like, and when I see it, I’ll know” kind of gal, so when people seem to be all over the place in trying to evoke their “style” with words, I totally get it. 

That’s where pictures are so important. I have been saving pictures from magazines for YEARS. I began tearing them out long before I knew that I would want to save the world one house at a time. When Pinterest came on the scene, I was in heaven, and now, the pictures on Instagram can be swoon worthy, with one caveat: “How does it make me feel?”

Sometimes, I look at a picture and wonder why I saved it. Typically, there is something in the picture that I like…………. maybe a light fixture, or a clock, or a pitcher, or a color. There is some detail that I find intriguing for either my own home or a client’s home. Maybe it is just the “I know what I like when I see it” thing. These pictures are unbelievably important to the grand scheme of putting together spaces, in the long run, however.

My style? Well, I know I like lots of light, except I love dark, moody rooms. I love antiques, but I like to mix them with more modern furniture. Clean lines are aesthetically appealing, but comfort is queen. Luxury is, well, luxurious, but simple and handmade is just so charming. I adore things with old soul that come with a past story to tell, but I have no problem making a story for something that is new.  It all just depends……………. There is no right and no wrong. It’s amazing how many “styles” can be mixed and matched to create a fabulous home.

One aspect of making a house a home for me is the requirement of having live plants in a house. This is one place where I will always try to convince someone to incorporate something new into their style, if they have not learned the joy of live houseplants. Fake plants will not do. They must be alive, and, yes, you must tend to them! What they give back to your home’s environment through healthier air quality to ambiance is truly special and worth the effort. 

Another “must” is having an authentic home to the owner’s personality and that of the people and animals that she shares her life with on a daily basis. I don’t particularly like clutter, but I am certainly no minimalist. I like to have things that make me smile where I can see them. It’s fun when you add in a little quirkiness or something tongue-in-cheek. I bought a small tray here in Door County that reads “May the bridges I burn light the way.” I don’t use it as a tray, though. It is hanging on the wall. I always know when someone reads it for the first time, because they laugh!  On another wall I have a saying by Walt Whitman – “We were together. I forget the rest.” I LOVE THAT! It’s how I always feel when my kids are all here. 

One of my favorite Door County homes absolutely exudes the personality of her owner. This home is another carefully curated home, where the art just keeps on going and going! The owner is a charming man who specifically chooses the frames for his artwork with such a good eye. Once again, there isn’t a specific style, (in other words, they aren’t all black gallery frames), but the time needed to frame each piece according to its unique personality sets each one apart from the others. The most amazing bit is how they all play so well with each other on the walls of his eclectic, authentic home.

So, what is your style? If you can name it, good for you! If you just know what you like when you see it (or maybe what you don’t like when you see it), all of the rest of us understand! It’s really all the style you need!