I have pondered many times, the places that I’ve been, where I have felt the most ‘me’. Looking back, I can definitely pinpoint those memories in my life that made me feel like I had truly found myself, or was understanding the meaning of ‘home’ as more than just a physical place.
Three areas that have really shaped my design philosophy are Los Angeles, the midwest, and the east coast. All have very different vibes and have altered my style in distinct ways.
Where I was born
Los Angeles – I was born and raised in the city of Angels and spent the first 18 years of my life there. Southern California is pretty diverse, but the few things I feel that are big influences on my style stem from the laid back easy feeling L.A. provides, along with it’s ability to change and always be modern and chic. California has a way of making you feel fabulous with little effort, even though what you actually have to do to be that would be the complete opposite. But I love the cool modern feel that influences some of my true love for art, architecture, and fast paced living. The ease of al fresco living is the ultimate L.A. perk, and creating a little outdoor haven is always important for me to escape the immense traffic and crowds that feel smothering there to me now.
What’s in my DNA that I’ve connected to
The Midwest – My dad was born and raised in Wisconsin, having left at the age of 17 headed for California, where he married a local beach girl and never returned to live there again. However, I would say his midwest mentality is deep in my DNA because when we first moved to Michigan early in our marriage, much to the dismay of my California loving hubby, I wanted to spend the rest of my life there. I felt comfortable amongst the lakes and trees, creating a simple and safe life for our family, and I wasn’t too interested in heading back west any time soon.
For the whole 39+ years that I have been married, we have lived only either in Michigan or California, and the midwest is where I would always choose to be. The ‘lake life’ is much different than the ‘beach life’ and the midwest provides that simple American country and cottage influence that I love.
Where I feel that I found my soul
The East Coast – I first visited Cape Cod in 1988. My husband had a client that had retired there, so we took the kids to Boston, then out to the Cape for a week of visiting and sight seeing. That first time, crossing over the Sagamore bridge onto the Cape was so magical, just thinking about it gives me goosebumps. It’s something indescribable and when you know, well you just know.
I felt like I had truly found myself, clearly I was born on the wrong coast. We stayed in Eastham on the bay side, and continued to visit there every summer for the next 15 years. Our children looked forward to those trips as much as I did, because there is just something about this soul finding spot that stays with you forever.
We had a season of sporadic visits and then in 2020 we went back; my husband and I, all three of our children and their spouses, and their children. Another generation has felt the magic that is the Cape.
With my obsession for Cape Cod evident, and with our many travels throughout the New England states over the years, my love for white houses grew. I couldn’t get enough of beadboard, grooved paneling, white picket fences and hydrangeas.
America is such a new country, compared to the rest of the world, but that new modern spin to the old world look was born in this area of our great country. Who wouldn’t love a little weathered beach cottage, or an ancestral home decorated with layers of family heirlooms?
I love that relaxed vibe of vintage that provide a classic yet lived-in look. However, I’m not one to just hoard things to look at, as I love to collect items that are useful as well as pleasing to the eye. As I’ve said, my milk glass collection has been used everyday for the last 39+ years and I love to have items that are purposeful such as baskets, boxes, trays, books, and more.
Vintage finds add that history that my eye needs to see in any room, and I love the peely chippy furniture look paired with pretty linens, comfortable down pillows, and a few higher end touches. I do not mean to infer that I have anything that is truly high end, but I do feel it is always important to get inspired “above your pay grade” and then buy the best quality that you can afford for the big pieces that really matter.
Vintage shopping provides instant pedigree if you weren’t lucky enough to inherit it, and can bring that ‘well lived’ touch to any decor.
Learn to really ‘see’ the world around you
“The world is your oyster” is a phrase I live by, and Shakespeare had it right, even though we may never know his exact meaning. What I can glean from it is that, much inspiration is available to us no matter our lot in life, we must simply go out and seek it.
What places have brought a sense of home to you? Are there locations that you have been, where you can remember feeling totally at peace and not wanting to leave? What inspiration can you take from these memories that could show you how you might want to live everyday? Write ideas down, ponder them, look at old photos, and make a list of ways you can incorporate that feeling or those memories into your current living situation.
You may not have the power to change the whole world, but you certainly can influence your family and your immediate sphere as you move forward with what truly makes you happy. I have always found this to be true, for as I have looked around the world, I have discovered myself and our own personal home style. I hope that you will too!
“We shape our homes and then our homes shape us.”