Monday, January 24, 2011


e·clec·tic  (-klktk) adj.
1. Selecting or employing individual elements from a variety of sources, systems, or styles: an eclectic taste in music; an eclectic approach to managing the economy.
2. Made up of or combining elements from a variety of sources.

+ mixy.
+ artsy.
+ soothing.
+ surprising.
+ playful.
+ cozy.
+ coordinated.
+ organized.
+ practical.
+ joyful.
+ welcoming.
+ homey.
+ cute.
+ beautiful.
these are adjectives I try to keep in mind when arranging my personal living space.

Add 'em up and they spell e-c-l-e-c-t-i-c.

Decades ago, the two words I favored for home decor were Japanese + Simplicity.

Living in a new suburban house in a California subdivision with hubby, two kids, several pets and no extra 'mad money' made that aesthetic all but impossible to achieve. It wasn't long before I accepted that the long dreamed about dining area comprised of a simple, large, low, smooth, shiny, black lacquer table set upon thick and fragrant tatami mats in an otherwise empty room with sliding Shoji screen walls - was not to be my reality. Minimalism was not in the home decor cards for this gal and her brood.

Plus, truth be known - I like 'stuff'.
As much as I can appreciate plain lines and very few knickknacks, severe minimalism isn't 'me'.

From the early years of a-home-in-the-making, eclectic started as, then began to define, my version of decor. In styling our various abodes over the years - found objects, hand-me-downs, poor choices in the purchase of new furnishings, acquisitions of previously abused used this and that - eventually led to a mixed decorative bag. To date, much of the old stuff has been replaced, yet things have remained decidedly mixed though not quite matched - which happened accidentally on purpose.

My hope now is to achieve a status of home that is a sanctuary of traditional, whimsy, artfulness and welcome.
A cute environment that is fun to be in. Cute and Fun are not typical buzz words when it comes to making a house a home. I ask myself 'Is this cute?' 'Is this fun?' Moreover, 'Will potential buyers be turned off by this look when it comes time to sell and move again?!?'

Much excitement can be derived from looking at a website like the one above. In the less obvious areas of a photographed room setting, inspiration lurks. Glimpses of a tabletop or wall-hung vignette of items can trigger decorating ideas with one's own stuff in mind. I truly become excited when I see an unusual set-up of books, or dishes stored in unexpected ways. I also get antsy to rearrange things when I spot beds, sofas, chairs and desks placed at interesting angles to the space. My preference is not the predictable grouping of everyday objects, but something beyond the usual, leaning a tad towards the unorthodox. Perhaps a bit more --- artful?

Such imagery is surprising, and often provides better indication of the homeowner's personality than would copying, 'verbatim' (in the case of the physical, item per item), the decor as laid out on the pages of a home decor magazine.

Spaces created with an emphasis on the dweller's unique world view best tell the stories of those who occupy that space. Much can be ascertained from placement of furnishings, choice of embellishments, the importance given to treasured items and how they are arranged.

Rooms can serve as fanciful shadow boxes, reflecting ideas, wishes and musings.
For those of us who enjoy taking note of individuals in their home environment, seeking out decorative clues that reflect a persona makes for a fascinating study indeed. It fairly tickles my aesthetic sense to do so.

What holds the greatest appeal for me are groupings of personal, practical and pleasing pieces, chosen purposefully and set together with the elements of design in mind. Conversely, an all-pervasive approach to decorating in the usual ho-hum way and applied to an entire home is much too predictable. It does not inspire me in the least.

Big Yawn on Solidly Seriously Staid!

Huzzah Huzzah for Exhilaratingly Excitingly Eclectic!

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