Where are YOU in your home?
I don’t mean which room or chair. I’m talking about the essence of you — your personality, interests, passions, relationships, beliefs, dreams. Are any of the many pieces that make you YOU evident in your home?
Home is your one private spot on the planet. Inject it with the present and future you and you’ll achieve the best foundation for your life — a place to land softly or launch boldly, and ideally, both.
I recently turned 58 and had some girlfriends over to celebrate. It was the first entertaining I’ve done in my new house, and truth to tell, I was a little anxious because so much remains to be done with interior design. It’s not only not “finished” in many areas, it’s not even begun!
So I was happy (and frankly, surprised) at all the great comments and encouragement I received. Nothing like a tribe to spur you on.
My gal pals seemed to really like the living room/den and the office/second bedroom. The living room accolades made sense; it’s the most pulled together and “grown up” space here so far (and yet I’m still full of plans for changing and embellishing it).
But my office? It’s a colorful riot with no discernible style other than second-hand-ecletic, and contains a mishmash of furnishings fulfilling various needs. Frankly, some are el cheapo finds acquired in desperation right after the fire. And there’s more that needs to come in, like a rug to ground and warm the room.
My “expanding” self sees all the flaws and has in mind a more elegant design to align with the warmer, savvier, deliciously complex woman I’m becoming.
My day-to-day creative writer self is cozy and inspired every time she’s in here. (Even when it’s a chaotic mess — like right before a trip, as in NOW, this very minute!) She’s in no hurry to upscale any of it. She may be a bit hesitant to say goodbye to things that mark such a transformational period in her life.
As it is, this space reflects the most authentic “design” in my home. It’s not trendy or sophisticated; like me, it’s still becoming. But even unfinished, it accomplishes what I wish for all of my clients in their homes: a reflection and affirmation of who we each are and want to be.
I see, feel and know ME in my office. Here is where touchstones to my entire life have a home; here is found my quirky attitude; here I am inspired; here my creativity shines in managing to make a whole from disparate parts. It’s my happy space, my cuddle space, my dreaming space, my laugh-til-it-hurts space, my pity-party space, my create space, my take-care-of-business space.
The wall above my antique baking table turned desk tells pieces of my story.
The black velvet hat with ear flaps? A childhood gift accompanying a rose-red, wool dress-coat my grandmother made for me. I grabbed it on the way out during fire evacuation. It’s hung in the office in every home I’ve had. It’s a sweet, connecting thread to the little girl I once was.
The “love you more” sign represents a phrase used with my kids when they were growing up, long before its current popularity. Next to it is a printout of my Soul Style Home Manifesto … an inspirational gem I came up with before I even knew a business was about to be born.
The typewriter is obvious — it reminds me of my creative heart and inspires me to keep telling stories. The little “Living the Dream” box sitting on top of it? A darkly humorous find at a thrift shop weeks after the fire. But NOW I really am living my dreams!
The angel-with-words art? Purchased a year ago, when I wasn’t at all certain of who I was or where my life was headed. The verse reads: As she took the journey back to her wings, she embraced the truth that she was worthy and that she was enough, just as she was, imperfections and all.
She guides me every single day.
And who doesn’t need a pretty, inspirational calendar? Or a whimsical clock? My brother nailed it when he chose that owl timepiece for me at Christmas.
And we’re just talking about a small wall display.
The IKEA file cabinet (via craigslist), the sage green armoire (free from Goodwill after the fire), the daybed (new from World Market), the linens atop it (a handmade crazy quilt gift, PB ticking stripe cover and bolsters, and leftover pillow “mistakes” in fur, damask, and crewel); the wicker étagère (consignment shop) and the books, photos and tchotchkes filling it — all of these office furnishings converge and sing Susan.
They’re aided and abetted by the “Happyloosa” painting, a vintage bomber-ish desktop timer, the step stool in front of the armoire (vital if I’m to read the printer’s screen), and the childlike pastel ceiling fan. They’re all part of the playful me.
Truth is, Susan shows up all over this house — to lesser and greater finesse.
My friends and clients love playing with the idea of making home both reflect and inspire them, too.
Barb has created a home that reveals her love of travel, serious reading, and exquisite natural beauty. She is a brilliant and heralded writer (I am inappropriately envious of her magnificent study!), a deep thinker and a natural beauty.
In Denise’s house, the vibe and décor are serene, organic and a little bit vintage. Denise is one of the warmest, most sincere and easygoing people I know. She’s into cycling, is a fabulous cook and has a wry sense of humor. These interests and attributes come to life in her furnishings and artwork.
My client Melissa chose an unconventional aqua color for her kitchen. Melissa epitomizes “live out loud.” There are endless delights throughout her home revealing her wit, sense of humor, and desert roots.
In YOUR home, YOU can show up in ways that match your aesthetics, personality and ambitions. You get to decide how you’re manifested — be it color, arrangement, furnishings, art, textiles, organization, whatever — all, some, or even just one little nod to whatever is uniquely true to you. Then when you or others walk through the door, there’s an immediate recognition and delight in an authentic, welcoming home.
Because YOU, dearest one, are part of the art of Soul Styling.
Want to dig deeper? I’d love to work one-on-one with you in your home. Email me to arrange a phone chat or schedule a session. My 2015 calendar is filling up!
Prefer to dip your toes in first? I'll be presenting a workshop in Colorado Springs on February 21, 2015 called “Your Home, Your Way — Soul Style.” For more information, click on over to my workshop page. If registration isn’t up yet (I’m working on it!), email me and I’ll handle it for you.