Before you start digging into your house, I think it’s extremely helpful to narrow your focus and spell out how you want your house to feel. With words. You know, like where you are actually going with it all. Luckily, I had the luxury of an extra long winter in Cleveland to think long and hard about these important things before I even saw my house in person. I came up with a list of eight priorities to inform and streamline design decisions.
I’ll preface the list with the wonderful fact that we aren’t planning on selling this house anytime soon. Of course anything is possible, but this house is really the first place we lived that could be long term. Our kids could primarily grow up in this house. That feels like a lot of pressure. Our previous stops have always been temporary, so there has always been a big dose of restraint and temperance in design choices as resale considerations loomed. As a result, I’ve never lived somewhere that was truly me. Just to let you know, the real me is pretty weird. Finally, my house can match. So here is my crazy list of house goals, in no particular order…
1.) Bright, light and colorful. All at once. A toughie for me. My favorite spaces are always a.) extremely moody, dark cave-like spaces or b.) extremely bright and airy, cheerful spaces that pop. I’m going with the latter this time, mostly because I have kids and that’s probably a better environment for them, right? I love color so my challenge is to tighten up my palette (saying no to some good colors so that I can say yes to the best colors) and embracing mostly white walls as the necessary counterpoint to all my colorful stuff. I love how this room is full of strong colors, but still feels so light and open:
source: Desire to Inspire
2.) Minimal. This is odd because my instinct is to hoard but I really, really believe in LOVING what you have and getting rid of what you don’t. One great piece is always better than ten OK ones. Clutter makes me crazy and I totally strive for simplicity in my life, all around. This is especially true once you have children and then toys want to swallow you whole. I love having a blank space both to rest my eyes on and to spotlight the things I really like. But I don’t want things to feel sparse and un-lived in either. Basically, I want to fit into my house without excess, both physically and visually. Look at this perfection:
source: bfs design atriumhaus
3.) Fun but a bit off. Oddly fun. Funly odd. Quirky. Just like Jonathan Adler, but with a little less stuff. He (and his house) is a favorite!
source: Architectural Digest
4.) Cohesive. With each room feeling like a part of a whole without everything being perfectly matchy. I really love many different styles but I naturally put like things together so I can easily get too theme-y if I don’t watch myself (i.e. danish room, earthy hippie 70’s room, Elvis’ jungle room, etc.). Not only is it disjointed and jarring to walk through a house like that, but it reads as kitsch. Not what I want. Not that I want this particular look below either, but the clean cohesiveness is admirable:
source: Home Adore
5.) Relaxed. Livable. Comfortable. Both in vibe and practice. I have 2 young kids. I want to rip my hair out when they scratch up furniture. Patina sucks so bad. But I love my kids and I want their home to be inviting and a ‘yes’ kinda place. I don’t want to go all Cameron’s parents on my kids and make a museum house where they can’t touch anything (even if it’s a freaking awesome museum house.) I want them to be allowed to be kids and I want me to not stress out about them being kids. This translates into not investing too much money into things (at least at this stage of our family’s life) and not holding any object as too precious. I love how laid back and comfy this room is:
6.) Graphic. I LOVE large, bold, geometric patterns and want to live with them. This might be my dream house and Jamie Bush might be my dream designer:
source: Jamie Bush & Co
7.) Full of texture. A space without texture feels hard and cold instead of layered and cozy. Texture comes in many forms and I love it all, except for small prints. I tend to stick to solids (unless we are talking about the chunky, bold goodness of #6). Floral prints are especially not my thing. I gotta make up for this lack of 2D texture by going overboard in surface texture. Like shaggy rugs, chunky throws, grasscloth wallpaper, nubby barkcloth fabrics, mosaic tiles, and maybe even some fun paneled wood walls eventually. Don’t you want to just roll around in here:
source: Mid Century Real Estate via Desire to Inspire
8.) True to the house. In architecture and location. Another kind of cohesion. This house, at its core, is a happy 60’s house near the California coast and I want the interior to reflect that. When I lived in a 1919 Dutch Colonial in Cleveland my furniture and possessions looked ridiculous in it (and so did I). I don’t necessarily want to have everything I own be of 1961 vintage, but I want it to work within the given space. I’m thinking playful, cheerful, California cool. A lot of Palm Springs modern with a tiny bit of Polynesian-pop kookiness. My house was made for backyard luaus. I love strict mid-century modernism but it doesn’t quite belong in this house. I love everything about this happy room below:
You know when you finish a burrito and you are all like, “That was soooo good. So good! I could eat another burrito RIGHT NOW.” I’m sure that’s how you are feeling about this list. But don’t worry. I have another one coming right up. This time, on color! I know you can’t even wait. Does anyone else make goals for your house, or am insane?