weaselmom recently posted a link to Design Sponge as she was pondering her personal aesthetic and how it relates to her new home, which she can decorate however she desires.
I have a total boner for spaces that are not only open and welcoming but that also reflect a person’s tastes and style. Where everything is just so, where individual pieces stand on their own but are part of a flowing whole where everything fits.
I know some people whose homes, to me, are perfect examples of this. Everything about them feels exactly right. Cole mentioned the other day about all the work he did angle-grinding Shannon’s bathtub to give it the appearance of fish scales, and something in my brain shivered happily, because the idea of that, for Shannon, feels perfect. This extends to personal style as well–adorning oneself via clothing or accessories; there are a few people I know who have very clear tastes which gives them an impeccable sense of style–Tara is one of those people. Everything she picks out, everything she makes, everything she surrounds herself with, seems to fit just so, to mesh immutably with her style. When she posts a piece that she’s done, everything about it says “TARA!”. Put her work in a lineup with other artists and I’d be able to recognize hers immediately.
There aren’t enough descriptive words in this expressive language to explain my utter jealousy of people with bold, distinctive style, because I want it for myself so very badly. I want to walk into my apartment and have everything just so. I want the way I dress to reflect who I am. Everything I do and wear feels so generic and lacking. Part of this stuff purge is to get rid of all of the things in my life that I don’t need, to be sure, and that part is going like gangbusters, but I also want to get rid of all of the things that are not me.
The problem is, I don’t quite know who I am. It would be all too easy to blame my mom for this–to a large extent, she dressed me until I was sixteen and couldn’t take it anymore/was earning an income and could pick out my own things, and then I just mainly picked out things that I knew would piss her off. My room was baby blue and light pink and pastel purple, bordered in stenciled butterflies with a ruffled bedspread and curtains, because that’s the way she wanted it. While other kids my age had hand-me-down cheap furniture that they were allowed to sticker up or paint or otherwise make fit them, I was polishing a cherry wood dresser and nightstand. The furniture I had as a little kid was more adult than the stuff I have now!
So, I’m at a loss. I’m finally getting to a point in my life where I can afford to pick out things that fit me…but I don’t know what those things are. My tastes are mishmash and I can’t begin to imagine a scenario where tin robots fit in with asian-influence furniture and a taxidermied bear that’s wearing an outfit (Ok, I don’t actually HAVE a bear…yet.) and a great big print of The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife. Clothes pose another distinct challenge–there just aren’t many cool, unique things for girls shaped like me. Even if there were stylish clothes that actually fit me, I spend half my work week climbing filthy warehouse shelves like a monkey which doesn’t lend itself to dressing well. How do I go about refining the things I have into the things that are right for me, the things that ARE me? If I don’t know who I am, will everything I do now just seem like a watered-down version of someone else’s distinctive style?
What’s YOUR design aesthetic? How have you decided what’s ‘you’ and what’s not?