homework - part one

Have you been reading Michelle's posts over at Holley & Gill lately? They've really been striking a chord with me. It's like she is reading my mind or something! She wrote one a few weeks ago called, "Commitment Issues" that talked about staying true to your design vision. In essence, she said if you stray from the style you love eventually you will go back and fix it. Accompanying the post were a selection of beautiful images that highlighted different genres like eclectic, rustic industrial and clean and classic. Michelle says:

When designing rooms, determining, or more importantly sticking to a style demands focus and confidence. Experts will agree that if you waver, the entire picture will falter. Following through and truly committing to your decisions is fundamental in putting together a successful design without regret or disappointment.

I couldn't agree with her more and it's actually something I've been struggling with lately in my own home. Seeing my house in photographs, I find the picture falters every now and then. There are design decisions I regret, purchases I shouldn't have made, and things if I had the chance to do again I would do differently. Yes, I admit it I have commitment issues!

If you're anything like me, your probably drawn to more than one style; rustic, modern, eclectic, bohemian, classic the list goes on and on! The trick is finding the look that defines you (which is probably a mixture of things) and then staying consistent. Consistency is key! My problem is that I haven't been focused. I didn't have a vision or a plan when I started working on this house and it shows. The houses I admire most are ones where the vision is clear and the home has a cohesive feel from room to room that never falters. Just take a look at the examples below.

So for the next few Monday's, I'm going to take a step back and do a little homework. I'm going to make some notes, takes lots of photographs and really evaluate my home. I hope you won't find this too self indulgent or boring! Throughout the process, I'm going to be really critical and I hope you will be the same. I'd love to hear what you think - whether or not I have it all wrong or whether I'm on the right track. Oftentimes a fresh pair of eyes can make all the difference.

To begin with, I thought it would be good to give you a little more background of where I started with the Marion house. Let's face it, very few of us walk into a new house with a blank slate. First, you have to deal with the bones of your new house which may include material and surface choices you wouldn't have chosen and may not be able to change. Then there is the furniture you already own. And finally, there's that thing called a budget which can really play havoc with your dreams! Even with all these factors, I think it is still possible to achieve the look you aspire too.

So where did I start....

Before moving into the Marion house we lived a few blocks North in a home that had been stripped of most of its original features. The house had last been renovated back in the 60s or 70s and was due for an update.

With this house we were very lucky, we pretty much had a blank slate and were able to do what we wanted. We owned very little furniture and had few possessions. My vision for the house was what I would call organic modern. The colour scheme was shades of white mixed in with lots of natural, textural elements. One of the best decisions we made was to replace all the flooring in the house with wide plank, white oak wood floors that were oiled instead of varnished. I'm not sure how successful I was in fulfilling my "vision" but these were early days. (I apologize for the quality of the photos - who knew I'd be blogging one day!))

As you can see, when we moved into the Marion house we brought most of our existing furniture with us and made it work. Many of these pieces I chose because I loved them so it only made sense to use them again. The dining room table, the Bertoia chairs, the coffee table, the cowskin rug, the credenza, and the fig tree have all found new places to exist in our house. So this is where I started, with a house full of furniture from a different vision. Next Monday, I'll start my homework and take a look at what I think is working and what isn't. Like I said, I hope you'll be critical and indulge me in this work. By the end of a process, my goal is to have a long term plan - a vision - of where to take the house in the next few years.

Image credits:

1) Emily Henderson
2) Rum
3-5) Living Etc.