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How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Posted by jockewing (My Page) on
Wed, Dec 19, 12 at 0:49

Does anyone else go through constant periods of obsessions in home decor?

Years ago, I went through a tropical colonial thing. Then an Asian period. Then a MCM period. Now I am back to an Asian thing, totally smitten with ANYTHING Chinoiserie.

Although I continue to go through these phases, I find that more and more I am distilling my personal style into something that has certain non-changing hallmarks that I tend to always gravitate to.

Being from the South, I don't think I can ever abandon my love of traditional homes to at least some degree. I will always appreciate high baseboards, trim around windows, front porches, and a love of at least a certain amount of symmetry. Although I can appreciate mid century architecture, I don't think I'd ever be comfortable living in such a house with that spare type of furniture everywhere. Although I love many of these pieces individually and think they are fantastic mixed in with traditional/transitional pieces in a limited amount.

It's amazing though how quickly I can shift from one side of the pendulum to the other. Watching a season of Flipping Out, I start to crave a more spare, modern style. Then I can look at an article in an old Domino magazine and want to embrace my love of a certain amount of "granny-chic" Palm Beach/Park Avenue style.

Sorry if I am not getting my point across exactly the way it is in my head, but I am 36 and I have been interested in decor since I was a child. Although it has taken me this long to finally get to the point where I think I REALLY know what I want and like, I still find my tastes changing every couple of months.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I am with you-- the older I get, the more I appreciate various styles but would not want to live with them, or at least not exclusively (eclectic would be OK).

I have finally realized that what captures my style is the art nouveau period. I did a lot of calligraphy when I was young (like at age 10) and found the font from that period appealing. I am drawn to Klimt. Love the incorporation of nature in the way it is used in arts/crafts but with more of a fluid sense and softness/lightness. I also like the fact that it is ornate, but with restraint.

I am like you-- have been interested in design at a young age (would spend my afternoons looking through BHG type magazines that my neighbor gave me) but have not had a final moment where I cast all styles aside and defined my own. (Even with art nouveau-- not sure I would want everything in that style!)

Oh, and anyone who wants to correct me regarding the above commentary I gave regarding style, please do. I am trying to learn but need far more info.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

"How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?"

As of right now 58 years, 64 days.
It began the moment I became aware of my surroundings and has never stopped.
Never will.

Too literal?
Our lives are fluid as are our tastes.
We ebb and flow taking a piece of this and a hint of that, keeping parts of the world aesthetic that appeal to us and rejecting what does not.
End result should be individually unique and will evolve as we age and grow to appreciate different aspects of our lives and surroundings.

IMO there can be too much cookie cutting in decorating- I have learned that I can love and admire what others do without feeling the need to duplicate their efforts in my own home. I may attempt achieving the same effect or vibe but I will do it in my own way, certainly not by copying piece by piece what someone else has done.

I think it takes a certain level of confidence to listen to your own voice and that confidence can be slow to emerge for many round pegs who have been pushed into square holes since entering public school at age six.
Conformity is safe, it is a hard thing from which to break free when you feel pressured to blend in.
It becomes even more difficult when arts programs have no funding and children are not exposed to cultures and ways of living other than what they see in their own homes on a daily basis.
Ugh, rant creeping in.

Nutshell: I think our culture teaches that keeping up with the Jonses and mirroring how folks on TV live is more important than expressing yourself in a personalized and unique fashion.
I hope someday that changes.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I think I'm an oddball. I started getting into decor when I was a teenager watching my mother decorate our home. I've carried those same colors and style my whole life.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

i started decorating my room when i was 7 years old... my mother is an interior designer thats why she appreciated and motivated us to make our rooms furnished according to our own choices and comfort zones.... it helps alot in maintaining your individuality!!


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I shared a room with my sister until I was 10yo, but once I had my own room, I was always moving stuff around. Didn't help that I came from a furniture store family and would spend time in the store with lots of pretty things! My family (parents and both sets of grandparents) decorated then didn't change things - only added here and there. For the most part, that is my way also.

My first apartment was eclectic. Then I started going to local antique stores... LOVE. We still have many pieces purchased early in our marriage. They have moved around the house (and moved to new house) over the years, but good pieces are versatile pieces, imo. Early marriage I was more into primitive country (quilts, chippy paint, gray/blue graniteware, etc). I still love chippy paint, and the graniteware is now holding garden gloves, etc in our upper garage but our furniture and accessories are more traditional-old world-English-country cottage-with a touch of Asian-or wherever we've traveled and whatever we've brought home. I honestly don't know what "my style" is, but that doesn't matter. lol

If you're changing that drastically all the time, I'd say you haven't settled on your own personal style. It sounds like you are too swayed by magazines, television, etc. It's okay to enjoy looking at and appreciate other styles not in your home, but it's unrealistic to think/to change styles so often.

I'm also from the South and have seen many traditional homes with touches of Asian decor (my BFF had a blue/white fetish for years, and she grew up in Hawaii, so that was there too!). Some restraint has to be used in order to not end up looking like a home decor store. It sounds like you want your home to be comfortable for you, and contain items you visually love to look at daily (who doesn't?!) and one that looks like it has evolved over time.

Maybe it's time to take a look around, and see what you want to keep. What to sell. Move things around... especially before you add more. Is there a friend that enjoys decorating as much as you do, you would trust to help? My blue/white BFF would have me come over and move/rearrange and accessorize. Sometimes a new pair of eyes are a big help. Then you can add, or not, but never buy just to fill a space. That space can stay empty until the right things comes along.

Sorry for rattling, and maybe getting off subject at bit. But it's always good to think/look at things a different way.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I have been interested in interior design for a long time. My parents always used a designer, and I wanted to be a residential architect for a long time. I also got a design degree that I finished at 40.

But I think the only thing that has had any lasting influence on me is education, meaning learning about particular periods of, and movements of design. So I like things that others might find hideous (I know this is true from posting things in here), but I like them because I understand how they came to be, and I really Don't like a lot of things that might be currently popular.

So I don't think I have ever looked at a magazine as an adult and been influenced enough by a room enough to want to Have a room like that. I would say my influence from television is about zero, although I go through periods of avid watching of design shows (not the past couple years, but who knows in the future).

So that is why I give advice in here that is sometimes a little confusing, sometimes a little annoying or bossy, and usually anti-trend. I actually have a very hard time working with clients who are too influenced by trends because I try to get them to the Core of what it is they Want, not work with what they pulled out of November's magazines. Because usually by July, they are onto something else.

I am not saying my taste has not evolved and changed somewhat, but I think there is an essential part that either hasn't changed much or has come back around close to where I started.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

My taste did evolve over time, and it is still evolving, though less so now that I'm older...probably because it's evolved into eclectic with a bent toward traditional....traditional in that it keeps it going for a long time (the green in me hates wasting anything)...eclectic in that it allows me the freedom to enjoy the best of whatever the style mavens of that era had to offer. I find that I'm least happy with rooms that are completely and thoroughly one style (unless of course I'm looking in a museum where it's very intentional). I find it can be so overwhelming that I can no longer get comfort and enjoy the room...it's like it's a perpetual scream of "50s" or "art deco" or whatever...I just want to be able to turn the volume down so it makes the room more livable for me.

When I was a young girl, I chose turquoise walls, the furniture was white french provincial with gold trim and the curtains were the criss cross ruffled sheers...very girly.

Then came the 70s when LSD had such a tremendous influence on design....the green shag carpet came in, the bright yellow paint with matching drapes went up on the wall, the mattress went down on the floor and I covered a metal bookshelf with contact paper that had shocking pink, purple, yellow and green in it. The "flower power" poster went up on the wall as did the peter max poster of George Harrison. It was fabulous for me as a teen, but certainly not my taste now!


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Growing up in the 60's and 70's my parents and relatives had more of a colonial look to their homes and furniture (which I did not care for) vs. I loved sleek modern lines, which I clearly still do. We had a huge clawfoot tub in my first childhood home, and I still would love a house that could accommodate one.

I love homes with character--interesting woodwork for eample, but the reality is our home pretty modest. I would love a full-blown MCM, but my heart also sings for Victorians, though I probably would not know what to do with a home that big.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I don't have the vocabulary to explain well what I like. More experienced, more educated people here could do it for me, I'm sure - people like pal ("But I think the only thing that has had any lasting influence on me is education, meaning learning about particular periods of, and movements of design.") and others.

I'm not sure I have the vocabulary to entirely explain what I don't care for either. I can list things, but that doesn't really summarize does it. I don't care for over-reliance on neutrals, too much tailored, too many cleanlined contemporary things in one house, modern geometrics, that whole glass-box house look from the 1960s (?), the shabby chic look, houses or rooms that try to recreate Colonial or Victorian America, or Tuscany or Provence or Japan. (If the rooms were in Tuscany or Provence or Japan, that would be another thing altogether; to me, that's where those rooms belong!) Despite not liking too many neutrals, I also don't usually like too much high color contrast, especially if there are big blocks of complementary colors. I don't like overly frilly or overly feminine, overly cottage-y either. jockewing, I enjoy watching Flipping Out, but I don't like the decorating style at all. Once or twice, yes, but over and over is boring to me.

That's a pretty long list, and none of it says very much about what I do like. I think some of what I like could be described as a melding of traditional and more modern (?) I like color, pattern, layers, enough softness or roundness (or somethingness) to balance tailoring. I like ornamentation.

jockewing, I love Chinoiserie too! A relative traveled to China and Asia in the early part of the 20th century, maybe in the 1920s. Unfortunately, he wasn't close enough to us for me to end up with more than bits and pieces. I was in the house of his more direct descendents on several occasions, and that's where all the good stuff ended up!

BTW despite saying I don't care for highly contrasting colors, for example, if it's done well, I might like it very much indeed. pal's room with the black and white upholstered chair immediately comes to mind. That chair in that room - I loved it! (Plus something red - a piece of coral I think?) Without it, the room struck me as really, really good; with it, fantastic.

Does all of this means my style hasn't evolved yet?


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I've evolved. In my 20s I like contemporary furnishings, usually in bright colours. Not because I necessarily loved the design, but because I wanted things that were 'different' and out of the norm (which at the time was pretty traditional, neutral, stuffy or stuffed, imo anyway). By 30 I had shifted from simply contemporary to slightly more modern, and I've been shifting that way ever since I think. I'm in my early 40s now and I think my taste taste has evolved relatively consistently, no violent jumps.

In my 20s when we rented apartments I frequented auctions and bought many affordable 19th century antiques, but I lived in old Victorian era housing at the time. All of the homes we have owned for the past 15 or so years have either had no distinct style of their own, or were 'transitional' and open to interpretation I think. Certainly I bought our current 1877 era house because decades of additions and renovations had created a house that I thought could welcome my more modern design aesthetic.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

My decorating has definitely evolved by having to get creative using pieces of junk and used furniture in my early life. When I was a teen my neighbors drove me 45 minutes away to a store that was similar to a goodwill. After not having a bed to sleep on for a few years I was thrilled to buy (from my meager p/t jobs funds) a very cool old iron bed and headboard. My art teacher gave me all the primitive unclaimed pottery pieces from past classes where I picked out a few shapes and colors. I also paid a neighbor who made afghans to make one to my coloration specifications. When I was all done I had a sort of industrial primitive chic thing going on that actually looked very stylish. This was in the 70's. To this day I still cannot help but add a few pieces of used junk to my decor. In fact it almost bothers my eye to go into a home where everything is so perfect that my eye just skims over it all as a whole. Not to say I like abrupt stops of the eye but I do like interruptions with just a tic of ugly to add interest.

This post was edited by jterrilynn on Wed, Dec 19, 12 at 11:35


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

My obsession with interior decor has lasted for over 60 years and I'm sure will continue as long as I can think.

My personal style is continuing to evolve altho has a traditional base that began before I went to school when I visited homes of friends with my DM for tea. I can still clearly see some of those homes in my mind. I clearly remember a home I visited only once when I was 3 years old.

From the first home DH and I had I've added eclectic touches to the traditional and that has continued. I did try Euro modern when we lived there for 3 years but knew it was only a convenient temporary style. Every one of my many homes have been decorated differently as I always find something different to try altho don't change the basic expensive pieces often.

While I peruse ID pics online almost daily I could never copy a room verbatim but do often find ideas I tweak to make my own. I have little fear of 'making mistakes' with my decor as have no one but myself to please. If it doesn't work out I will change it as soon as reasonable. Sometimes I live with mistakes awhile until they bother me enough to change. Sometimes they only require a slight adjustment, other times they might grow on me. For me interior decor is a passion but not something that requires perfection.

I could have written what cearbhaill did except for the time frame - I'm now over 70 and continue to learn about ID.

One of my fav designers is Miles Redd.

Here is a link that might be useful: Miles Redd


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Great link luckygal thank you for sharing!


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

This is where I go all didactic for a few minutes.

"2. fond of instructing or advising others: tending to give instruction or advice, even when it is not welcome or not needed"

I don't think some people will ever evolve into a personal style. Part of it is that they are too distractible, part of it is that they never learn to see and evaluate what may be good on it's own merit.

A lot of people could never look at a room from a design magazine from 1987 and say "That is a good room, that holds up." All they can say is "eww that room is from 1987, so it's bad, it's ugly ,it's dated, it's from 1987!"

Meanwhile that room from 1987 my very well be dated, but there may be absolutely nothing the matter with it from a design sensibility. Maybe it does need to be freshened up a bit, because who wants to live in a time capsule, but there are rooms from 1987 that are capable of making small subtle shifts between 1987 and 2013 without changing too much at any one time.

But many people either can't or won't recognize this. I see it in this forum, I see it in the kitchen forum on occasion. Complete rejection and replacement of something just because it's "old" with something that is essentially inferior, but "up to date."

To put this in a different context, since I work with mostly women, I work with one woman who is a bit critical of another woman's appearance because the woman basically wears a "uniform" of sorts that is a bit bland, but everything fits well and is flattering. She has also had the same haircut, with mild variations, since I have known her. The critical woman (who is actually a good friend of mine) always has something on that is right up to date, but generally doesn't flatter her very much, or fit very well. (She is one of those people who won't buy a big enough size as if the size label is on the outside). And, her hair goes through continual permutations.

When we see old pictures, she always says "Shreeiiiik, look at my clothes!, Look at my hair!", and then says "Oh she looks just the same.".

She doesn't have the insight to see that she didn't even look that good THEN, she was just following the trend, where as the boring dresser had kinda found what she liked and stuck with it.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I guess its been the same from my teens. I remember "decorating" my first bedroom, my love of things old and funky, dark woods, clean lines, uncluttered space and textiles in cobalt blue, rusty reds and paisley has perserved!


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

First, alison0704, I don't know what to call your style, but I *always* think of your home as "serenely warm" (if you will). I don't have the self editor to create nearly as honed a vision as you have, and I admire those who can do it. pps7 is another that comes to mind, love the home, but could not pull it off in my house.

Anyway, yes, my style has evolved, or, perhaps, devolved, into a mishmash of stuff that is fun, funky and functional. When I was younger I liked safer things, and wanted things to match, now I don't like matchy-matchy at all and I like the unexpected and, even, bold. I also find my taste has gotten more modern/contemporary over the years and I find myself drawn to Danish Modern, industrial modern and Asian in a way that I would not have dreamed of in my 20's.

I totally agree with palimpsest's comments about the well done (I don't say "timeless" that makes me cringe, it's rarely applied correctly IMO) rooms from decades ago, some even from cringe-worthy decades, like the 1980's. I can relate to the comments about the woman whose style doesn't change, cuz that's me. I have had the same long, close to waist haircut for almost 35 years (got it chopped twice and promptly grew it out), but what has changed is how I wear it, it's not long and flowy anymore, or in a ponytail, I wear it up in a bun or in a braid, but it's still the same haircut. My clothes are very similar (albeit in a larger size), but now I wear scarves and large, funky jewelry, when I was in my 20's and 30's it was strictly diamond stud earrings and other simple stuff. So I guess I my style has evolved but stayed the same. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

Interesting question.

sandyponder


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

My taste has not changed much. It's always been eclectic, and I've always preferred simple lines to baroque or frilly, preferred natural wood to painted finishes (good Chinese lacquer and authentic folk furniture is the exception). Any period or design style that fulfills those loose criteria works for me.

I never got so entranced with a single style that I wanted an entire house full of it. I prefer the collected look, as if several generations with amazingly excellent taste had contributed their favorite pieces from their eras. It's the sweet/sour, soft/crisp ... the balancing of the ying and the yang and the chi and the utter baloney of the design ethos.

With attention to scale and color and lines you can blend almost any period into another period. Or highlight something that totally contrasts, treating it like art.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I think "timeless" is too much to ask for, and even "classic" changes unless you are talking about purely classical architecture from thousands of years ago.

What I think Can be done is to confuse the time stamp or imprint somewhat, so that, okay, you can tell it is probably not current, but when exactly IS it from? But lots of people don't seem to want that, either. Most people are more comfortable with things they can identify and categorize in some way.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I think I might be one of those people who does not really have a personal style. I have a nice house and it feels welcoming and somewhat unique maybe too much so to actually be stylish. I still have and use most of the pieces I purchased for my first apartment in the mid 90s. I have always decorated, I used "wood" contact paper around an area rug in my dorm to hide the cinderblock floor and used black and white contact paper to give the look of tile in my college bath. People thought my parents owned a flooring store:). I like nice spaces that are tidy and well lit places and I love antiques but I am more eclectic than traditional and I am not that good at design to call my eclectic a style. I have OCD and that does give me a great ability to place stuff where it fits best and my scale is usually dead on though. Very interesting thread.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I don't know that I have a personal style, really. My style is informed by the houses I choose to live in. And it helps that I've been drawn to/been able to live in houses with a strong point of view. I've had a little Tudor bungalow, a storybookish stucco house, a Mediterranean bungalow and now a post-and-beam MCM. It takes a lot of the load off me when the house can tell me pretty much which way to go.

I think one vein that runs through it all is simplicity (and me being cheap). Something old, something new. If I were to find myself in a house that didn't help me out, I would likely default to a "Cottage Living" sort of vibe. Clean and comfortable, but not fussy.

Our bedroom has a light cherry sleigh bed I bought 15 years ago when I was single, a vintage faux-bamboo dresser for DH, a HeyWake dresser for me ($40(!) and DH refinished it for me), my grandmother's cedar chest, and two rattan/laminate side tables for nightstands. Oh, and bedside lamps I bought at Lowe's (blushes) and sheer linen curtains from IKEA.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Something I have noticed in myself and wonder if anyone else does this...

There were things I hated with a blind passion years ago that I love now. I remember doing an entire apartment in black lacquered furniture and swearing that never again would a wood grain cross my path.
Years later- I'm into woods.

Same with colors- I remember hating every shade of green imaginable and now the entire interior and exterior of my home is some permutation of green.
Doilies or braided rugs?
Not on your life!
I'm a hip modern career woman!
Fast forward 20 years and now it's "um.... braided rugs sure are are expensive- I'll bet I could make one" and suddenly I'm pioneer woman over here learning to quilt and braid rugs...

It just seems as if any time I have an extreme dislike of something, give it 20 years and I'll be in love with it.
It's strange.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I don't think that natural evolution or adaptation is the same as not having a personal style. I think it is more reasonable to adapt to say, moving from a Victorian house into a ranch house by not tricking out the ranch house in high Victorian details, because you loved them in the Victorian. This doesn't mean that you have to get rid of all your Victorian furniture, but you should think twice about putting up anaglypta and plaster medallions on the ceilings. This type of change is environmental.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I don't know that my personal style will ever settle down. I'm still figuring out what works well for me.

- 2 apartment-sized sofas instead of one longer one and a chair? No. I like a place to stretch out.

- slipcovered sofas with cream washable covers? No. I love the look but until dirt and grass come in white or cream, that doesn't work with pets who have a dog door.

- warm, worn woods? Yes. That works. Especially if its an antique with some character (not perfect).

I find I am more drawn to comfortable than beautiful as I get older. But, I am over 40 and my personal style is not set yet.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I am going to haul out this picture again, which has been seen a number of times over the years.

I am posting the black and white version so as not to distract people with the actual color scheme.

Photobucket

This room was furnished in 1969 and the upholstery changed in 1987. The accessories evolved, as accessories do, over 40 years but the room was furnished as a done deal 44 years ago.

So, let's analyze it.

Do you hate it because you hate Colonial Revival? Okay, rule out this style and move onto something else.

Do you like its essence? Other than the fact that it is a bit stiff, is there anything particularly Wrong with it for a 44 year old room?

If so, what changes would you make?

If you can analyze it in that way, completely disregarding that it is a 44 year old room, you may have a better grip on developing your own personal style, or it may be developed.

But, if you look at that room and all you see is that it is obviously not in a 2012 magazine, and so it's dated, and dated is bad, and it needs to be redone on that fact alone, you are in the camp that is highly trend and media-influenced, perhaps.

There may be people is each group that Hate it, really. One because it isn't to their taste, the other because it is not fashionable. These two groups have essentially different mindsets.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Now I like the room but I think it is because it is quite familar feeling, my parents livingroom is quite similar so it feels like home to me. Which camp would nostalgia put one in?


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

P, I don't think it's so black and white. That room, for instance, I hate aspects of it and even to a degree, what it represents, but I can easily see how changing some things would make it much more palatable and even, up to date. (lose the wall to wall, replace with hardwoods and rugs, lose some of the fireplace wall symmetry and replace with something organic).
Up to date is not the same as fashionable. I can wear clothes that are perfectly acceptable but certainly not fashionable.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

It's not as simplistic as I have stated it no, but the part about altering the fireplace symmetry starts to really plant you more in the second camp. You could furnish a room like this however you wanted really and successfully, but trying to alter the symmetry of something like a symmetrical colonial revival paneled end wall (short of demolishing it and turning it into something else, which is okay if you do it right)...that puts you in the trendy vs non-trendy, dated-vs not dated, fashionable vs non fashionable camp pretty squarely.(Whatever terminology or semantics you want to use.) That particular piece of architecture presents itself for exactly what it is and no simple update for updating's sake is ever going to successfully change that. Also "what it represents" lacks an objectivity that I think that people who are Not influenced too much by externals and have a consistent style tend to have. It's an emotionally based statement that to me, speaks of outer influences. I am not saying that is bad or wrong, just that I think someone who thinks this way even about design may be easily influenced by externals and change their mind because of them.

This post was edited by palimpsest on Wed, Dec 19, 12 at 18:57


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

"Do you like its essence? Other than the fact that it is a bit stiff, is there anything particularly Wrong with it for a 44 year old room?

If so, what changes would you make?"

Replace the chair next to the fireplace because I don't find it attractive, nor does it look comfortable for me to sit in. Possibly one like it but with a lower back, a little wider or with rounder arms, and different legs would be OK. Angle the sofa (chair?) to the fireplace's right so it's facing the rest of the room. That might loosen things up a little. Replace the lampshades with different ones. Replace the shiny brass fireplace things with less shiny ones.

I might feel differently about the carpet if I could see its color or feel it. Also, there are small items I don't especially care for. On the whole, however, I've listed the changes I'd make; although the room does look stiff to me, and it's not really all to my taste, I could live with it. It looks comfortable and warm.

pal, do you by any chance have any close ups of the glass on the coffee table?


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

No, but it's Steuben, Lenox, and artist produced crystal, mostly paperweights, I think. It was an accumulation and I think there was a bit of everything to from very good all the way to one from GC Murphy's with a piece of felt glued on the bottom. The other table is boxes, from Wedgewood down to stuff that candy came in.

The lampshades are not good. But they are one of those things that people hate to pay what they need to pay to get the right ones when it comes time for replacement.

This post was edited by palimpsest on Wed, Dec 19, 12 at 19:03


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I've never met a room or house I wouldn't change in some way! I don't hate Colonial Revival altho would remove the mirror. I'd have to redecorate the mantel as IMO there are too many little things there. I do find this room too formal and stiff partly because it's too 'pure' a style for me, I'd have to add some pieces from other styles to make it more eclectic and some funky things to make it more fun. If I inherited it 'as is' I'd have to replace all the tiny tschotchkes with larger and more personal tschotchkes! LOL I'd also remove the plates from the wall (altho I do usually like plates on walls) and use framed art instead. I'd have to add the antique wedding photo of my Grandparents as that's an important personal part of my decor. I agree the chair does not look very comfortable but I think it would be greatly improved with reupholstering and a new thicker seat cushion. I find the back of the loveseat too low and I'd probably replace it with another chair. I'd definitely have to rearrange the room as the furniture is hugging the walls too much. I'd also remove most of the tiny bits of furniture and large andirons. Too much busy-ness for me and I'm usually a more-is-more person. I don't even 'hate' wall-to-wall altho if it needed replacing I'd hope there is hardwood under it.

I would hope I am not looking to make this room more trendy but certainly would like it better if it was more my personal more mixed (or eclectic) style. Nothing wrong with it IMO as a 44 year old room. I'd have loved it 44 years ago.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Actually, I didn't mean the architecture but the accessories.
I like the fireplace and I like the furniture but the size of the accessories bother me. I would prefer something larger and more asymmetrical on the mantel itself but not in the panels- that should be the same on each side. The ditsiness of the plates is distracting, however. Similar sized but non matching lamps would be my preference. A combination of formality and modern arranging while losing the stiltedness.
And always, the floor.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

That room Pal posted is what a "good living room" is supposed to look like, to me.

There is no TV, and that is one of the cues that the room is for other pursuits.

Great spot to read by the fire. Ample room for folks to stand and converse during a party. Enough lighting and end tables to sit and gossip or eat a plate of food.

I live in a neighborhood of 1930s homes, and this is what a lot of "good living rooms" might have looked like in the 1980s or 1990s.

Where I live, a new young buyer of that home would pull up the carpet and refinish the hardwoods, put 2 sofas flanking the fireplace, and maybe have a secondary seating area with a pair of club chairs and an ottoman. Fireplace would have a larger piece of art over it, and the bric a brac would be different. And probably can ceiling lights would be added. But overall the room is very nice.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I think my style and the things I'm drawn to have remained fairly consistent through my entire adult life so far. While I find that my basic style doesn't change much, I do like my space to feel dynamic. I mostly feed that need through changes in color. I allow myself to be swayed by prevailing color trends and then I'll swap out pillows, throws, and other inexpensive decorative items. I'll make and hang new art, or move what I already have around. Furniture, curtains, rugs and paint are all in neutral colors and in styles I never tire of, but I will rearrange it all every so often (well, not the paint).

Palimpast, I really like that room. That said, there are a few things change. It feels like there are a few too many small things to look at and I'm not a fan of the way the lamp shades hide the bottom of the panels flanking the fireplace. I would remove the table? bench? footstools? by the window. I would remove the little table with the bowl and then flip flop the positions of the chair and table and lamp that are to right of the FP. I would swap out the table lamp behind the fireside chair for a floor lamp and scoot in more toward side of the chair, but behind the small table there. If I wanted to go really nuts, I would replace the plates with a series of 4 prints, 2 for each side, that were of the same style, size, and subject matter and framed identically.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I like the room and feel but would change the flooring, the two lamps by the fireplace, and the upholstery on the sofa near the flowers and remove half of the doodads on the tables. The area's where the round plates are displayed would have some type of either semi-vibrant original oil canvas art or maybe some collectible wall paper mounted on wood panels. I like the shape of the furniture and the way it is arranged. All it would then need to make me happy is some nice throw pillows to jive with either the wall paper panels or art work.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Unfortunately those mirrors, I think, got tainted by all the fakes that were produced in the 1970s around the Bicentennial, but that mirror is not a reproduction, its the real thing, either a classical period or centennial period girandole.

But in general, changing it is not really my point either. The next change this room will see is contents removed and house sold, with the next owners doing whatever they want with it.

More to the point is that of personal style and evolution. Part of the problem with this room is that the owner is 89, and at some point any natural normal small changes that would be made stopped. But the owner was 45 when this room was installed and while certain aspects changed and evolved over the decades the essence, and the furniture has not. That's a pretty well-developed sense of style. I think it looks a bit Impersonal in this photograph, in BW with things aligned just so, but that is more a function of the frozen second of the photograph, and the age of the owner.

I am surprised of the criticism of the size of the accessories though, it's all pretty classical colonial or colonial revival stuff: Staffordshire dogs, Royal Doulton, export vase lamps, Virginia Metalcrafters....not very adventurous perhaps, but absolutely what "belongs" in a room like this.

With the exception of the floor, this could really be 1900 colonial revival, 1925, 1950 1970 or 1990. People did decorate this classically in 1900 and 1925, against all "modern" tastes and the only thing that gives it away in the photos that I have seen is the lamps,--the thickness of the cords. (and of course in color photos, the prevailing color scheme will often hint.)

Maybe I am the opposite of a lot of people but the idea that this room is potentially hard to identify except for "old" is a Good thing in my book rather than a bad thing. Several years ago when I posted this picture I think the guesses on date ranged from 1950-1990. For good or bad, try that with a picture of a room from Pottery Barn Catalog.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

What I think is most ironic, is, I know I have seen similar pieces in todays furniture and accessory stores. Classic never goes completely out of style


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Pal, I generally like that room. I find that the age of things doesn't matter so much when they are well-made high quality items. I still today love things like Staffordshire dogs and plates like that, although in my case, I'd most definitely replace the Royal Doulton with Imari or something blue and white. Maybe I am too influenced by trends as well, but I would probably update some of the lamps, want to re-upholster some things, and change out some of the accessories. But the actual furniture and bones of the room are pretty good as is. This looks like a very well appointed, comfortable, classic room to me. I guess for me, I'd never really be comfortable with leaving every little detail the same for over 40 years, even if I like the overall feel of the room.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Pal, every time you've posted this picture, I've always thought how classically traditional it is.

From where I'm siting, I *could* visualize the room in my home, but would have to change out the mirror for something more ornate, and put in wood floors. Everything else is acceptable. Ok, maybe print(subtle)pillows.

I appreciate your Pottery Barn comment~ I've been in in two stores, one time each, and it was to buy decorations at an after Christmas sale. I find their furniture too simple for my taste, and trendy, good for those in their 30's/40's who may not have acquired a sense of what they like yet. And if it ain't *real* wood, it ain't going in my house.

It's a pleasing room, but black lampshades(they don't have to be expensive!)could add a bit of drama~don't you think? ;o)


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I really hesitated to post this picture as the example of what I am driving at, because of the feeling of having blinders on placed by familiarity.

*But* if I lived in this room, even if I kept most of the stuff, it would look completely different, so I *do think I can be pretty objective. The room, even if kept in colonial revival mode, would be more eccentric than it is, but honestly I think I would have to mix some pure contemporary in with it, I couldn't stick with the purist rigidity.

I am going to analyze some of the commentary, and although there is criticism in critical analysis, the point is not to disagree, but to analyze the thought processes.

The thing that most everyone has done is address how they would change the room, and that's fine. But sometimes HOW only comes after *should* and *why*.

Getting rid of the stiffness: check. I understand this completely.

Changing the accessories: okay, but to what?
Is there something "more appropriate" given the overall room? Probably not. So, you can change them, and I would change some of them, but they would have to be things that are just as appropriate--just different.

Specifically changing the mirror: it would have to be another antique, or another fine mirror of some sort, to be an actual improvement.

Changing the lamps: sure. Actually someone said change these to non matching lamps. They are already non matching but the shape and height is almost identical. But again, they would have to be changed *in kind* to either two antique lamps, two vintage lamps or two contemporary lamps with equal presence.

I am going to quote this one not to single you out patty cakes but this is a very big misconception that I deal with with clients and internally with myself:

"lampshades(they don't have to be expensive!)"

Sorry, the problem with the lampshades in there now is that they weren't expensive Enough. The originals were much better, NOT because the were more expensive per se, but because they were the Exact Fit for the lamps: perfect shape, perfect size. These replacements, which weren't exactly cheap, are all a bit off: shape isn't right, size isn't right. But getting that exactly right would have meant custom or semi custom.

When "Trading Spaces" was all the rage, I was asked what I would do in this room for $2000. My answer was "Buy better lampshades, and if there is anything left over maybe some pillows". In the absence of that $2000 would maybe suitably replace the drapery or reupholster something, fabric included. $2000 can furnish and decorate an entire room, I know because I have done it. But it wouldn't be *this room or replace this room.

And inexpensive black lampshades are the worst: I know because I have two. The lamp looks fine until you turn it on. Bulbs on, you are getting sickly light cast through a gray and white mess.

Replace the rug with hardwood. Completely understandable. That would be a complete upgrade and more appropriate. You had better have the budget for a killer rug though, too. I don't think you could find the right rug for this room for under about $5000 though. I am not trying to be elitist, just realistic.

Change out the shiny brass. Not sure about this one because shiny brass hardware which is a complete replica of what is historic is the most appropriate. Does changing it make the room "better" or just "different"? Of course if you change the character of the space in general, that's perfectly fine.

No one brought it up specifically this time unless it was included in the above, but the first time I posted these pictures someone suggested that the cabinet hardware in the room to the left be removed and replaced with something inexpensive from Home Depot (along with the chandelier).
This REALLY speaks to the conflict between "better" and "different". Again, this is hand cast reproduction hardware in a historically patterned house. The pattern is a bit overwrought for todays tastes, perhaps.

But does changing it just to be "different" make it "better"? In my book, *not if it's some lightweight piece cast in zinc from a hardware store. Not that cheap stuff is always bad, but in this case is taking something out that is at the very least appropriate and high quality and replacing it with something inexpensive and *not* as appropriate "better"? If so, how?

Again, the right way to replace something like that is "in kind" : a shape or style that is more compatible to your tastes but of comparable quality and appropriateness. The major problem I had with the "you can do it!" design shows so popular in the last decade is the idea that cheap updates were always compatible with and *preferable* to the status quo--and that idea spread like a bad infection.

This post was edited by palimpsest on Thu, Dec 20, 12 at 8:24


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Pal, I agree - changing would not make the room better, just different.

I think many are influenced by media and what is marketed. If someone is not happy with their room(s), then their mind cannot rest - being decorating obsessed is sometimes a curse! If not a visual person, than mistakes can be made... and are hard to live with. Not being able to zero in on a personal style (and sticking somewhat closely to it) can easily become helter-skelter.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Pal, if I had inherited that room, and wanted to make it my own, I wouldn't challenge the overall sensibility of the existing scheme. I'd keep the allocation of space as it is, with the two established seating areas. In place of the wing chair, love seat, and tables with lamps, I'd use a pair of very well-made armchairs angled like the wing chair, but settled back closer to the wall, with small footstools, side tables, and substantial brass swing-arm floor lamps - with really good ivory silk shades!

I'd take the plates off the walls, just because I don't like plates on the wall, and replace them with a pair or a quartet of something - my first choice would be a pair of antique Chinese ancestors on scrolls, followed by a quartet of Audubon or botanical prints of something interesting.

I would under no circumstances take out that beautiful iconic mirror, but I'd remove the dogs and vases, and install a pair of substantial hard-wired brass wall sconces. Those, plus the floor lamps for reading, would balance the light at that end of the room, I think. Moving the chairs back a bit would ease the circulation, and pull the fireplace into the composition a little more.

Across from the sofa, I'd use a pair of French caned armchairs, or Chinese bamboo chairs, and I'd use a simpler, lighter coffee table - nothing wrong with the one there, but I have seen enough of those to last the rest of my life!

And I'd put in hardwood floors in a rich brown, and use two oriental rugs, one for each of the two areas.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

At my age, the answer to this question is the same as the answer to the question 'How old are you?' How soon do you need to know?

Just kidding with you...At one point in my life I was fairly contemporary, early marriage to some Meditteranean-influence. At another I just knew I wanted (but never really had) traditional cherry. Now we have evolved into an eclectic soft traditional/arts and crafts blend. I don't know what to really call it, except it isn't fussy at all and it incorporates a lot of the colors and elements of nature that surrounds us.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I find this discussion very interesting. Yesterday I was looking at 3 small pottery pieces I have on the piano and thinking that while I enjoy them others may well wonder why they are placed together. They vary in size, somewhat in shape, and in color but they are all by the same potter and to me they tell a little story about her work. To visitors that part of their meaning would be absent. I'm not good visually so I'm not sure they work well together as a visual presentation.

In the room pictured above I find the placement of the two sets of 5 plates jarring. Having thought about it for a while I can't explain it. I just know that if it was my room those would either have to come down or be rearranged somehow for me to be comfortable there. I experience the room as cold but I know why that is. It reminds me of a room in a home we visited frequently when I was growing up and the focus was on everything being just so and not on the comfort of inhabitants or guests. I don't think the room is inherently cold but my earlier experiences with the style lead to my association of cold with the room.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

It looks like I'm the only person who likes the plates in the room. Coincidentally, I have some old Limoges fish plates that I'm planning to hang on a wall, once I figure out which room, and which wall. To my eyes, the issue with the plates in the picture isn't their busyness, it's that the lampshades are too high relative to the plate arrangement. The lampshades impinge on the display, but that could be a funtion of the photograph angle.

Speaking of lampshades, I would not care for black, but I'm not sure I'd like ivory either. What about some kind of pattern, one which would coordinate with color scheme, perhaps of some of the room's accessories? And with trim around the bottom of the lampshades as long as we're at it?

"Change out the shiny brass. Not sure about this one because shiny brass hardware which is a complete replica of what is historic is the most appropriate."

I love the mirror, and I covet it. I still think all the fireplace things are too shiny. I don't see any hardware though. My issue with the fireplace things isn't their shininess per se, it's that I don't see anything shiny elsewhere in the room to balance it. The mirror does not look too shiny, and I'd leave it just where it is. If the image were in color, I might feel quite differently; maybe the overall color scheme would be enough to balance the shiny brass.

The small things I mentioned not really caring for include the shelf on the wall, the small three-legged stool near the fireplace, the small Asian chest with brass hardware (Oh...is everyone talking about that hardware?), the Wedgewood, except for the black one., and the bowl on the table with the flowers in it. Remove the flowers, and I like the bowl. Move the other things to some other room or place, and I like them - except for the wall shelf.

"No one brought it up specifically this time unless it was included in the above, but the first time I posted these pictures someone suggested that the cabinet hardware in the room to the left be removed and replaced with something inexpensive from Home Depot (along with the chandelier)."

The hardware was one of the first things I noticed, oddly enough. Probably because I think it's beautiful, and I've been pricing artisan-made similar hardware around here. Close up, I'm sure it's even more interesting than in your picture. In fact, the whole set up, hardware + cabinets (which I thought were doors) is elegant.

I still think the room looks warm, comfortable, but at the same time too stiff. The stiffness might have to do with the style being Colonial Revival?

Probably most of us would like to see the room loosened up, and with things in it that are personal.

pal, thanks for the info on the glass. I had my eye right up to my monitor trying to make out the details!


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Pal, a really well made lampshade can make a world of difference, and yes they can be extremely expensive. I have a couple of Jeffrey Bilhuber's books and Frank Roop's book. They both use a lot of highly colored custom lampshades, and I can only imagine how much they charge their clients for these items. But a well made lampshade can almost in my opinion outweigh the lamp itself.

This is a bit off the main topic, but if I had to choose my favorite accessory for rooms, I really think lamps would be my choice. They are one of the only accessories in a room that not only serve a decorative purpose, but a utilitarian one as well. In the last few years I have really learned to use lamps in lieu of lighting everything from above. The lamplight feels more natural and provides such warmth to rooms. I am a self-professed "lamp tramp". If I won the lottery, one of my first purchases would probably be several Christopher Spitzmiller lamps in vibrant colors. I have a couple of vintage lamps I picked up at antique stores (one is a mid century gourd type lamp in acid green, the other a 60's white pagoda with ceramic tassels and bells) that are currently topped by some sub-par pleated shades from Lowe's. These were meant to be placeholders until I could find something better. Unfortunately, I haven't found a place to buy good shades. The lighting shops in my area didn't have much of a selection, and I would love to find some options like a color band along the edges or something like that. Does anyone know of an online source for some great lampshades that aren't insanely expensive?


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

jockewing, those Christopher Spitzmiller lamps are beautiful! I see why you like them so much.

Me, I want Murano or Venetian lamps, but one problem is that many of the ones I like that I've seen around here don't and never will go with the existing decor. I also want a Venetian glass chandelier, and that definitely wouldn't work. Did you read the interesting discussion pal started on not owning everything you like? Unfortunately, most Murano and Venetian lighting is in that category for me.

I still think about and regret not buying two lamps that were originally Chinese vases or something, animals carved in jade, and with lampshades to stand up to them. I decided they were far too expensive. Despite the fact that they were not in the budget at all, I think not buying them was a mistake. Does that make any sense?

I have a 1960s driftwood lamp with its original fabric shade, both in perfect condition. Unfortunately, I have nothing to put it on at the moment, so it sits in a closet, collecting dust.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I want to shift away from that particular room to a pair of rooms by Michael Taylor and Suzanne Tucker.

Again I will be handicapping you a bit by presenting the pictures in black and white. Photos courtesy of House Beautiful.

2-taylorlasts-livingroom-0108-xlg_zps1f7ceb48 michaeltaylorsuzannetucker_zps8451c15f

8-taylorlasts-diningroom-before-0108-xlg_zps46a6a46d 10-taylorlasts-diningroom-after-0108-xlg_zps54337dba

The clients engaged Tucker about thirty years after the rooms were installed by Taylor for a refresh. (I think it was about thirty)

The bedroom was more completely redone. The original chinoiserie paper chosen by Taylor was removed and replaced with the same chinoiserie pattern--in lightly upholstered fabric.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Fabulous fabulous rooms! Wouldn't really need to change a thing! Now that is my style--unfortunately WAY out of my price range! I would kill to have a dining room papered in de Gournay chinoiserie or something similar.

One pet peeve--don't really care for the bouillon fringe on the bottom of upholstered items. Just too frou frou for me.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Pal, sorry I can't offer ideas where you can purchase 'nice' inexpensive black shades. Mine were all bought at least 5-6 years ago(maybe longer!)before I built this house 4 years ago. I did find one for DD at Target, and when I put it on her lamp and turned it on, it gave off an ugly grayish cast. Terrible!

My black fabric shades all havev a goldish fabric, and the paper(?)one has a gold/black stripe inside. My lamps are not for reading, which means I don't care if they give off a tremendous amount of light, which they don't . The majority of light comes from the bottom of the lamp, which spotlights what I have on that particular cabinet, table, etc.

I once read where every room should have a 'touch' of black, hence re:black lamp shades. I do change out mine in the spring/summer months in exchange for ivory, same with pillows.

I'm in favor of leaving the plates! I 've actually been looking for plates the last couple of years, but haven't been able to find anything worthy of buying~I'll know it when I see it!


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Jockewing, Which one of each do you think is the "before"? I made the photographs black and white and cropped them a bit to minimize the evidence.

Patty_cakes, I have a couple of decent black shades, too. They have the gold paper lining: much better. I got the relatively inexpensive black shades to replace some IKEA shades that were literally taped onto the lamps in very jerry rigged fashion. IKEA now only seems to make shades that fit on their own lamps--no regular spiders.

Personally I don't prescribe to the "touch of black" theory at all, although my personal rooms have a fair amount of black--I actually have black floors and a black painted room. But I don't think some rooms are helped by it at all, especially rooms done in high-traditional fashion. I think relative lack of contrast is what makes some rooms really work.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Pal, are both sets of rooms presented in the same order (old-new, old-new; or new-old, new old)?

I am pretty sure the dining room on the right is the newer one, based mainly on the chandelier.

For the first room, I almost think the one on the left is the newer one, but if they are presented in the same order, I'd say the one on the right. For some reason the garden stools seem newer and the mirrors also on the left hand side of the first room.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Jock, I'm in agreement! In either case, both versions are meticulously 'done' . I would call Tucker a talent in her field, although as a lay person, should I really have an opinion?


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

oh I love those rooms. I think the architecture, and the grace and height of the space is just beautiful. Plus, I love the just-enough symmetry and comfort of the furnishings. I hope the trees in the dining room are real, that would be my only sticking point.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Actually, only the textiles differ in each room. The mirrors and chandelier are the same.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I think the DR on the left is the older one - it's the striped chair fabric, which, for some reason, seems less current to me than the solid fabric.

The LR on the left looks newer to me, again, it's the fabric that strikes me as more modern - both the pattern on the carpet and on the chair and the use of both those patterns in the room. That plus the fringe on the chairs in the righthand picture. Other things too, like that lamp near the sofa and some other things.

I'm stretching though. What is most striking is that it's pretty hard to tell.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

I'm going to say that for the LR, left = newer. for the DR, right = newer. I saw this because I think the fringe on the chairs in the LR looks older than the crewel chair (which are on the rise IMO).

In the DR it's the fabric on the chair at the head of the table and the flowers, the centerpiece look more "now", a little less stiff and formal.

Tough assignment.

sandyponder


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Everybody is right with their guesses, the LR with the lighter fabric and the DR with the damask host chair are the newer. I think if you really compare the older version just looks "older".

But some of this is the photography: we can get better wide angle views with the ability to correct distortion than we could even in the 80s, and the photos can also be digitally enhanced.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Other than the fact that it is a bit stiff, is there anything particularly Wrong with it for a 44 year old room?

If so, what changes would you make?

It's too cluttered, fussy and rigid. It has a good traffic flow.

The mirror would go, not because it's bad, but those warped reflections make me nauseous (it's an optic thing). A flat mirror with good glass clarity in that spot would be fine.

Assuming it has colors I liked and comfortable seating, I would clean off the tables, rip out the carpet and use a nice oriental rug on polished hardwood.

The lambrequin might go or be recovered with something less formal. Lamps are OK, would replace scalloped shades for less formal linen ones. Because the colonial era was a big trading era, I would invent a family member who "was in shipping" and sent back interesting things.

I would hang more paintings, fewer non-paintings. Mirror on the right would go, hang a nice landscape instead.


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

As far as personal style goes I LOVE this blog. Ok I will admit that the rooms are too vast but I love most everything else except I would need more natural light or lighting in general. I love the slightly tacky look of some of the furnishings, love the colors and love the idea of giving an old building new life.

Here is a link that might be useful: oldhousedreams


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

Thank you, sallyponder. It feels that way to me too. :)


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RE: How long did it take you to evolve into your personal style?

For much of our lives, DH and I have been poor students/academics and our style was "find the least disgusting stuff at goodwill and see if it fits in the room". Only the past several years that our careers have matured and we were able to purchase a home and furniture that was not random art offs have we been able to exert any style choices!

I find for us the home itself dictates thestke to some degree. For example our first home was a modern urban loft condo. We stuck with a more modern look than we'd normally prefer because it looked right for the space.

Now that we are in a more traditional replica Spanish mission townhouse, we have moved toward a more traditional style.


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