Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Home Style ...

Late in December (which I remember only because I had saved some of what appears in this post as a draft), I had long, involved dreams, most of which centered on buying, renovating, and decorating living spaces.

So that's what I posted the following morning as my status update on Facebook.

Which prompted my friend Laura to chime in, "Time to audition for HGTV!"

To which I replied, "Oh, a Design Star I am not. I would make everyone's homes look like mine. Probably not what they're going for in a show: 'Beth's House ... AGAIN!' "

Which made me laugh.

I think that would be a funny idea for a design show: A designer who makes every room she designs in every home she enters look exactly like her own home, over and over and over. It would be the "Groundhog Day" of design shows.

I do love to decorate, but I don't know if I could do it for other people. Maybe I could. I've never tried.

For now, though, I will content myself with doctoring my own space. Maybe 2010 will be the year I paint my office. It has a high, slanted ceiling, so I have yet to figure out a way to paint that room so that the color won't overwhelm yet not leave what would amount to an off-white "hat" sitting on top of the colored walls. And what of the tallest of the walls? Do I paint all the way up to the ceiling. Or do I paint all the walls up only 8 feet or so?

Or perhaps I should install molding at a typical ceiling height, and then paint only up to the molding. Ah, another day, another design conundrum. And don't even get me started on how hard it is to find the right shower curtain.

When I became the proud parent of a satellite dish last May, I thought that it wouldn't be long before the Food Network bug was permanently burned into the lower right-hand corner of my TV screen. Because if I have any reputation that precedes me, it's for baking. So naturally, I'd be glued to the channel that's all about cooking, right?

Wrong. I subsist on a steady diet of HGTV. And some days, it's not so much a diet as a bender.

My name is Beth, and I am a design-show junkie. I only record three of them, though: "Divine Design," "Color Splash," and "Rate My Space."

I love Candice Olson and her penchant for sparkle. I love David Bromstad and his paintings. And I love Angelo Surmelis, his easy laugh, and his knack for designing in so many styles.

You know when a room's been designed by Candice. They're all different, but they all have her stamp. David's rooms are sometimes too bold for my tastes. I like color, but David likes COLOR.

But Angelo is a design chameleon. None of his rooms look like "Angelo" rooms. Instead, they look like rooms that the homeowners would have designed for themselves if they knew how.

Angelo is also Greek, and have you ever met a Greek you didn't like? Me neither.

In addition to hosting his show and designing his line of furniture, he also hosts a video segment on his site, angelo:HOME and on his blog called "The Daily Tip."

But the segments aren't just about the tip. Oh no. They're little programs. Or maybe they're little auditions, because I wouldn't put it past Angelo to have a master plan that includes a daytime lifestyle show, because he's not just a designer, he likes to cook, too. And he's delightfully chatty. (And frankly, I wouldn't mind if he knocked Rachael off her perch.)

Anyway, for the purposes of this post, my point is that last week, I tried to define my decorating style.

I'd seen and heard and read several sources that all recommended defining a style, but I'd never bothered. Because I'm lazy. And because I thought "eclectic" was enough.

But when I was reading Domino: The Book of Decorating (which Angelo recommends), I decided that it was time to put a little effort into defining my style, so I grabbed a pad and a pencil and started jotting down words that I thought applied.

And you know what I came up with?

A list of words.

No "style." Just a list of words.

My friend Jim suggested that I write a decorating style haiku, an idea which I loved, so I wrote one:

matte, patinated
comfortable, eclectic
relaxed, muted, hewn

And it was still just a list of words, albeit in a different shape.

So I pinged Angelo and asked him for help. On "Rate My Space," he's always tossing around styles, so I decided that he was the one to ask, him and his fluent designspeak.

I expected him to request a few photos and then make his pronouncement.

Oh, he made his pronouncement, all right. Today, during The Daily Tip, which you can see here, on his blog (a direct link), or here, on his site (not a direct link, but you can toggle to full-screen mode on the site, which you can't do on the blog; look for Episode 125).

It's way above and beyond what I expected from him; he even plugs my blog, the doll. Not that you need to know about my blog. You're already here.

But I am very grateful for his assistance. He didn't offer one description of my style. Oh no, not Mr. Overachiever. No, he offered four. All of which are variations on the same theme, but the one that struck me was "Modern Vintage."

I love it. On the one hand, it's an oxymoron – modern is of the moment, and vintage is of the past – so "Modern Vintage" would seem to cancel out itself, but on the other hand, it's the perfect description of my space, because my home is indeed made up of a mix of things both new and old.

He confirmed that my style is eclectic, broadly speaking. But I like having a description of my eclecticism. I was bothered by the fact that I write for a living yet I couldn't string together two or three words to describe the style of my decor.

I had said that I didn't think my style was "country" or "cottage," and of course it is both those things. But it isn't just those things, and I needed words that conveyed that fact. And now I have them.

Doreen once referred to my house as Calico Corner. Nick, likewise, once referred to my home as a Laura Ashley House. Yeah, I have a few floral prints in my house. Hey, I'm a girl. But it's not like my home has been swallowed by a giant bolt of chintz.

Angelo encouraged me to consider pieces outside of my style, which I will. I do. I've long been a believer that if you love something, it will work in your space.

But now I feel more at ease, having words to use as part of any future decorating conversations, thanks to him.


Anonymous Alison said...

It was cool to see the photos of your home. And I hope you get a gajillion hits from Angelo's video!

9:17 PM  
Blogger Jeff Hunter said...

Angelo and Candice design spaces for people to use that look good.
David designs spaces that look good to somebody but should never be used.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Jeff Hunter said...

PS. I like your style. Clean, neutral wall colors, warm woods.

11:33 AM  

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