7/20/10

HOME DECOR: KNOW WHAT YOU LOVE

KNOWING WHAT YOU LOVE
EXPLORE YOUR INNER DECORATING VOICE



I was playing around the other day on Google Earth - (seriously fun if you haven't tried it).  I discovered it when my son was in Brazil and I needed to SEE where he was.  This time I was looking for one of my own childhood homes in Reading, England and the school I attended there, Grovelands Primary School.  The school was gone, replaced by a large clump of modern buildings; but the house I lived in was still there, as was the very large park where we used to walk the neighborhood dogs.  That park spoiled me for all other parks.  It was seriously big, filled with wonderful mature trees and had wild gooseberry and blackberry brambles at the edge which we would gather for my mother to make gooseberry jelly and blackberry pie.  The gypsies camped in the woods surrounding it in their colorful caravans and sometimes they came into the neighborhood, selling their handmade laces and telling fortunes.  At least that is how I remember it...

BLOOMFIELD ROAD, READING, ENGLAND


MY SISTER APRIL IN FRONT OF OUR HOUSE ON BLOOMFIELD ROAD

PARK IN READING, ENGLAND

GYPSY CARAVAN

THAT'S ME, CENTER FRONT WITH MY PARENTS AND SISTERS
 IN A PHOTO TAKEN JUST PRIOR TO LEAVING FOR ENGLAND

Looking at the images from my childhood; I started thinking about my life and the experiences in it that have influenced my personal design choices

When I was 7, my father's job took us to the United Kingdom for several years.  Fresh off the plane after a very long flight, and having only the possessions that would fit in our suitcases, we were told by the company representative that permanent lodgings had not yet been secured, but that temporary accomodations had been found for us just outside of London.  We traveled down a tree canopied lane to a pillared gate and a large mansion at the end of a circular drive that was to be our home for several weeks.  My sisters and I explored that manor from top to bottom, as well as the grounds, which were extensive - a formal rose garden in the back bordered by tall trees and shrubs.  It was a magical time.
EDENBROOK

England is a land of contrasts and even at the tender age of 7, it made a great impression on me. 

WINDSOR CASTLE - BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND

It is a land of castles and cathedrals, cottages and museums

CROOKED HOUSE AT WINDSOR

It is a land that embraces the charming and odd, and the ridiculous.  Don't ever let anyone tell you that they take themselves too seriously.   You have only to attend opening day at Ascot to see their sense of humor.
THE ARISTOCRACY
OPENING DAY AT ASCOT
THE QUEEN ARRIVES
HATS, HATS, HATS
It is a country with pride in the cleanliness of their streets and the efficiency of their rail system.  Pride in their edifices of higher learning and their national treasures. 

HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT AND BIG BEN
CAMBRIDGE UNIVERISTY

TOWER BRIDGE

STRATFORD ON AVON

It is the land of Shakespeare and Sherlock Holmes
and the infamous Tower of London;
the birthplace of Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice, Robin Hood and King Arthur.  It is equally at home with shiny glass and steel office buildings and old stone walls, roses and English country gardens.

Our life experiences have unique ways of influencing our personal design taste. From my experience in England came my appreciation of the ancient and the old, antiques and worn surfaces, stateliness and charm. It has directly influenced how I plant my garden and decorate my home; what surfaces I use and how I incorporate the elegant in with the casual and charming. I'm nuts about small cottages and beautiful, decaying manor houses; stacked stone walls, roses and lovely thatched roofed cottages.





SWANS ON THE RIVER THAMES

Because of England, I am particularly fond of green in the landscape and parks that don't have a jungle gym, baseball diamond or swing set.  I lived in England for 3 years - I attended grammar school, rode the trolley bus (now extinct, see below), and walked in the pea-soup fog (also now extinct).

TROLLEY BUSES WERE ELECTRIC VEHICLES THAT RAN ON ELECTRICITY SUPPLIED BY OVERHEAD POWER LINES
I WAS A LITTLE SAD TO FIND THEY WERE GONE, BUT GLAD THAT THE OVERHEAD MESS OF ELECTRICAL WIRES NEEDED TO POWER THEM WERE NO LONGER CLUTTERING THE SKIES ABOVE THE STREETS

NATURAL FOG FROM BEING AN ISLAND NATION, ALONG WITH SMOG FROM INDUSTRY AND ALL THE COAL-FUELED HEATING SYSTEMS IN ENGLANDS HOMES CREATED THE THICK DENSE FOG IT BECAME FAMOUS FOR
SOME FOGS WERE SO THICK AND DENSE THAT CONDUCTORS WOULD WALK IN FRONT OF THE BUSES WITH A LIGHT TO LEAD THE WAY

 I was young, and yet the images from that time are still vivid for me, so strong are the memories of that time and their influence.  I have told you about just one life altering adventure, but there are others that have impacted me just as strongly.  As a result, I know what I love, and that makes decorating easy for me.

Do you know what you love?  You'd be surprised how many of my clients don't.  Things as simple as your choice of color to the actual style of decorating you are comfortable with, are influenced by your experiences in life.   If you don't know what you love, my job gets very hard - because my job is to help you decorate your home in YOUR style, not MINE.  So think about your life, your childhood, your best vacations, your great adventures - your life's influences....

What do you love?  What about your home makes you happy?   Is it art, a favorite armchair, a souvenir from a vacation, a particular fabric or a wall color?   Perhaps it is something vintage passed down from a relative or discovered at a swap meet, or something one of your children made with their own little hands.   Think of that and WHY you love it.

Whatever it is, that is the place for you to start - build on the things that you love and you will never go wrong in creating a space that makes you happy.



So.... tell me what YOU love!

Best wishes,

Claudine

WHAT DID YOU MISS?

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