“Collect things you love, that are authentic to you, and your house becomes your story.”
-homeowner Erin Flett
I think this might be my favorite decorating quote of all time, because it completely describes how I’ve felt about design since the start. Yes, my style has changed, matured, grown overtime, but I’ve always cherished things with a story. It’s something people always comment on and notice in my home. I am far from a hoarder, I’m always purging and rearranging, but there are many things I have in my home that tell a story of where I’ve come from. I’d like to say I have one certain style I’m drawn to. It actually bothers me a little that I can’t be formed into that one particular look. I
scroll through Instagram pages and look at these perfectly staged, monochromatic matching photos and I can tell instantly they have a look, a style, a label of who they are. Maybe it’s part of my growth process to find that someday, but for right now, I okay with it. I live in a Midcentury Modern home that’s decorated in a very eclectic way. Partly because I can’t afford to start all over, and partly because I love the furniture we own. I was raised very practically. We never had much money to just replace things, and you had to figure out how to make what you owed work. I am very sentimental when it comes to family heirlooms, but then my practical side comes out and I just have to edit, and be real. If I never got rid of things because they had a story, my house would be bursting at the seams, and who can live like that? It’s funny because in college, I remember being scolded by teachers for trying to make art that had a purpose. Everything I’d want to do needed to have a function in my home, and it would drive my Professors crazy. It’s just in my blood.
That being said, those who know me, know my love for antiques. That’s not a surprise, but I like to use them in a modern practical way, which helps my need for more (don’t tell my husband)! There are so many aspects of modern architecture, vintage industrial design, mid-century, bohemian design that I love. So why pick just one? One thing I know for sure, I’m not country and I’m not traditional in any way! Be careful of collecting too much antiques. Make sure you mix the modern in, otherwise it’s going to start looking Grandma chic!
So what’s in my home that tells a story of where I’m from? I have a lot of things my dad and I build together. Talk about sentimental… my dad passed away about 5 years ago and it makes my soul happy just to be surrounded by things that we made together. I have an obsession with old trunks. Stacking them on top of each other and putting wheels on the bottom truck creates the perfect storage solution and end/coffee table! Black and white photos displayed in a non-traditional way can be an interesting display in your home. I’ve taken old candle sticks and used a cork and paper clip to create a photo display that never goes out of style. A collection of one particular object can create a beautiful collected gallery. I love to find antique hand mirrors and I display them over our headboard. It was a process to get them all, and I remember where each one is from. That’s the sort of thing that creates a collected look. Make sure you are picking pieces that you LOVE, not just because it works. You need to love everything you bring into your home. One of my favorite things is a metal lunchbox that was my grandfathers, whom I’ve never met. I just imagine him taking it to MGM Studios, where he worked every day, and eating his sandwich wrapped in foil. It’s a piece of him in my home, and even though we never met, I feel like in a way we have a little connection.
Another way to achieve a collected look in your home is art. I used to be an art teacher, so you can say I’m a bit of an art snob. Please, please, please never buy art from a big box store. It’s going to look cheap, everyone’s seen it, it’s not original and probably a million other people have it too. If you’ve fallen in love with something that’s from bed bath and beyond or Target, mix it up in a gallery with other art that are originals. It will make it looked collected, and eclectic. Buying original artwork doesn’t have to be expensive. I’ve bought many paintings from garage sales, estate sales, college art shows, Goodwill, consignment shops… there are so many options and you’ll be surprised what you find! Art is a great thing to collect too, because real art doesn’t go out of style, and it can be an investment as well.
I hope that helps with making your home more of story about yourself, and not a cookie cutter model home. It’s a process for sure, but an enjoyable one, and trust me, you’ll love your home so much more when your surrounded with things that reflect who you are!