Keeping Our Home Cohesive

Hello, friends. Is everyone having a nice spring? I’ve been having a lot of fun cooing over all my new plants on the deck (I deadhead my hanging baskets daily and I LOVE it) and actually attempting some gardening in back. Last weekend, I got 300 free ladybugs from Pike Nursery to take care of the aphid problem on my rosebushes and released them at midnight. It was totally cool, and now whenenever I see them (I assume they’re the same ones), I cheer them on. I am a big old dork. Go ladybugs, go!

Another thing I’m having fun with is decorating the final frontier of our house: the two upstairs bathrooms. We painted them and replaced some light switch plates when we moved in, but other than that, they’ve been largely abandoned, and I finally just got sick of it. Since they’re bathrooms (i.e. small and more easily changed), I’m giving myself a little leeway to try new things. I really try to be brave with our home decor, but because I have such design ADD, I worry a lot about our house looking like a crazy person lives in it. I mean, there’s eclectic, and then there’s just whacky.

Lately, I’ve been so inspired by Lesley W. Graham‘s gorgeous home. Her aesthetic is modern farmhouse, and she uses that as a guide to keep things cohesive. I try to use my style as a guide, too, but modern rustic glam doesn’t give me much in terms of parameters. I can’t even really use our house’s architecture style as a guide. I mean, it’s a 1980s … neo colonial? Or something? I love it, but it doesn’t have much character. I know what I can’t do in here (I probably couldn’t pull off formal Hollywood Regency or super-rustic farmhouse, for example), but it doesn’t exactly inspire me, either.

To try and give myself better parameters, I recently made a new Pinterest board called “Rooms I Could Live In.” I’m trying to collect design inspiration that I could really apply in our home, and that I actually have the balls for. I adore things like marble walls and velvet upholstered doors and rose gold bar stools, but let’s be honest: I don’t have the cajones. Or the money.

When I got really honest and selective with my pins, I discovered a few common threads:

  • Warm woods. OK, I knew that one!
    Style by Emily Henderson - Wood and brass dresser

    Design by Emily Henderson

  • Pops of color on accessories and neutrals on the bigger pieces. This one was more of a surprise. I’m crazy into bright colors, but when I look at the rooms I pinned, there isn’t color everywhere. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

  • Brass and gold used semi-sparingly. This house just isn’t fancy enough to have gold everywhere. I know this. I also know that I can’t afford to replace brass faucets and light fixtures and cabinet hardware everywhere when we’re trying to sell this place in the next 5-10 years. Must control the gold, as difficult as that is.
    White campaign dresser by Emily Henderson

    Design by Emily Henderson

  • Mid-century pieces. What?! I’ve been telling myself I don’t like mid-century modern for years. And it’s true that I still don’t like anything shaped like a spaceship, or chrome, or anything too low to the ground. And Eames loungers still aren’t my thing. But I do like tapered legs, and hairpin legs, and straight lines, and warm woods mixed with brass. So I guess I like mid-century. Weird.

  • Chunky, rustic elements. But just a couple pieces mixed with more modern items.
    Rachel Bilson's living room via Lonny

    Via Lonny

  • Plants errywhere. Duh.
    Bri Emery's living room by Emily Henderson

    Design by Emily Henderson

  • Patterned vintage-y rugs. I thought I was into modern, graphic patterns, but not so much when it comes to rugs! I just love the lived-in feeling that a worn-looking rug gives a space. I also inadvertently pinned a ton of off-white souk rugs, but my dog would somehow manage to vomit on one of those and stain it before I could even lay it down, so that’s out of the question.
    Emily Henderson's bedroom with warm woods and teal velvet

    Design by Emily Henderson

  • A lived-in, casual feel. This is key. Nothing tailored, nothing formal, nothing that looks even remotely uncomfortable or too precious.

Here’s a quick little mood board I made on Polyvore (which incidentally, is totally addicting):

Wood, gold and fuchsia

So, uh, with all that said … I still don’t know what our official aesthetic is. But at least I can try to be honest with myself about what I really like, and what I can realistically pull off. That’s better than no guidelines at all.

I recently put together a bunch of pictures of our home for a house tour, and I was pleased to see that the rooms don’t look as scatterbrained together as I thought they would. So, that’s good. Just gotta keep that up and rein in the crazy, I guess.

How do you keep your home cohesive? Have you picked an aesthetic to stick to, or do you fly by the seat of your pants and hope for the best?

PS: Yes, I noticed that the vast majority of the rooms I like are by Emily Henderson. And that my last post about our style was all about her, too. Apparently, I just want to live inside her brain. I bet it’s pretty in there.

Wanted This Week: I Love Lamp

Good afternoon, Universe.

Hope this finds you well. I just wanted to check in, and let you know what you can send me if you’re feeling particularly generous.

I would like a brass floor lamp, and I would like it to be free. Or perhaps under, say, $30. It should have a brass dome, like the one in this photo:

Image via Emily Henderson’s portfolio

But it should arch over, like this:

Image via Design Manifest

I’m not super picky. I would take this one, or this one, or even this whacky one. But as I mentioned, they have to be cheaper. Much, much cheaper.

In the event that you cannot make this happen, I would also settle for any of these three items.

(CC Skye Double Header Pave Spike Bracelet, Nate Berkus Handcrafted Orbit Table Lamp in Rose, Murano Glass Bead Wallpaper by The Paris Apartment)

I know you will do your part in ensuring my happiness by providing me with more stuff, universe. You know how I do. Thanks!


Modern Rustic Glam

When I can drag myself away from all the cheesy docu-soaps that I’ve somehow become addicted to, one of my favorite shows is Secrets From a Stylist on HGTV. Emily Henderson has the most amazing knack for nailing her clients’ individual styles and creating functional, stylish and custom-tailored spaces. It doesn’t hurt that she’s cute as a button, and totally charming. OK, so I might have a bit of a girl crush.

On the show, Emily usually works with a couple and has to combine their two styles. In the first episode I saw, I fell in love with this room, designed for Joy Cho of Oh Joy!.

Images via Emily’s portfolio

Based on the “style diagnostic,” Emily found that Joy’s style was “Artsy Nouveau,” while her husband’s was “Single Malt Minimalism.” Basically, Joy liked really girly, gilded things, and her husband was more into a masculine, Mad Men-esque look. To create a blend of their tastes, Emily deemed them “Single Malt Nouveau.”

Another favorite was “Untamed Modern Funk,” which mixed clean, modern lines with eclectic tribal pieces and funky ’70s stuff. It was insane.

What I’ve learned from watching the show that is that not only is it possible to mix two totally different styles, it actually makes for a more exciting, interesting room. Which is fantastic, because The Hubs and I definitely diverge when it comes to home decor. Since we’ll probably never get featured on Emily’s show, I attempted to do my own diagnostic to determine what our style-child would be.

I don’t think I need to say too much about my style. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I’m into shiny surfaces, graphic patterns, gold accents and bright colors. The only thing you might not know is that comfort is a high priority for me, and I like to keep things informal. When my friends come over, I want them to feel like they’re in their second home – not in a museum. I prefer big statement pieces to kitschy knick-knacks. I think my style is something along the lines of “Easy Graphic Glam.”

Image via Marcus Design

Brad shares my love of color and comfort, but that’s where the similarities end. His style is more like what you see in a Pottery Barn catalog. He appreciates antiques and furniture with character, and can even skew Tuscan (minus the vineyard murals). His dream home item? A super-chunky, worn-in farmhouse table. But at the same time, he can appreciate the symmetry and grace of a Parsons table. Brad’s style is a kind of “Modern Colorful Country.”

Image via House*Tweaking

Put those together, and what do you get? My guess is “Modern Rustic Glam.” Something like this:

Lilly Pulitzer

For us, it’s all about incorporating warm wood tones with cool white lacquer; sturdy, simple silhouettes with gold or mirrored accent pieces; and a few bright, bold statements that keep things fresh – bonus points if they’re from another country or era.

If you had to pick a name for your own personal style, what would it be? What about if you had to combine it with your partner’s or roommate’s?