The main three places that I see that have really shaped my design philosophy are L.A., the midwest, and the east coast. The three places have a very different aesthetic and have shaped my design story in different ways.
Los Angeles – I was born and raised in the city of Angels and spent the first 18 years of my life there. Southern California is pretty diverse, but the few things I feel that are big influences on my style stem from the laid back easy feeling L.A. provides, along with it’s ability to change and always be modern and chic. California has a way of making you feel fabulous with little effort, even though what you actually have to do is the complete opposite. But I love the cool modern feel that influences some of my true love for art, architecture, and fast paced living. The ease of al fresco living is the ultimate L.A. perk, and creating a little outdoor haven is always important for me to escape the immense traffic and crowds that feel smothering here to me now.
The Midwest – My dad was born and raised in Wisconsin, having left there at the age of 17 headed for California, where he married a local beach girl and never returned to live there again. However, I would say his midwest mentality is deep in my DNA because when we first moved there (to Michigan) early in my marriage, much to the dismay of my California loving hubby, I wanted to spend the rest of my life there. I felt comfortable amongst the lakes and trees, creating a simple and safe life for our family, and I wasn’t too interested in heading back west at any time. For the whole 30+ years that I have been married, we have lived only either in Michigan or California, and the midwest is where I would always choose to be. The ‘lake life’ is much different than the ‘beach life’ and the midwest provides that simple farmhouse influence that I love.
The East Coast – With my love for Cape Cod evident, and our many travels throughout the New England states over the years, my love for white houses, beadboard and grooved paneling, picket fences and hydrangeas, and tree tops that never end began here. America is such a new country, compared to the rest of the world, but that new modern spin to the old world look was born in this area of the U.S. I love the American history found here, charming coastal houses, and that touch of tradition that keeps the story alive in any decor.
The things that have shaped my design story are those heirlooms and collections that allow that relaxed, but lived-in look. However, I’m not one to just hoard things to look at, as I love to collect items that are useful as well as pleasing to my eye. As I’ve said, my milk glass collection has been used everyday for the last 30+ years and I love to have items that are purposeful such as baskets, boxes, trays, books, and more. Vintage finds add that history that my eye needs to see in any room, but I do feel that upholstery items look their best when they are new and kept clean. I love the peely chippy furniture look, as long as I can pair it with pretty linens, comfortable down pillows, and a few higher end touches. I do not mean to infer that I have anything that is truly high end, but I do feel it is always important to get inspired “above your pay grade” and then buy the best quality that you can afford for the big pieces that really matter. Vintage shopping provides instant pedigree if you weren’t lucky enough to inherit it, and can bring that ‘well lived’ touch to any decor.
“The world is your oyster” is a phrase I live by, and Shakespeare had it right, even though we may never know his exact meaning. What I can glean from it is that, much inspiration is available to us no matter our lot in life, we just must go out and search. I have always found this to be true, for as I have looked around the world, I have discovered myself. I hope that you will too!