June 26, 2015

Decorating Thru The Decades

I was recently asked about how my decorating style has changed over the years...so, after thinking about it, I thought I would share my thoughts with you too.

I will begin at the beginning, which goes way, way back. :-)

The first clue I had that I might be interested in decorating was when I was a little girl. I liked to have my dolls lined up on my bed and my Barbie doll clothes in order. I doubt that I did this every day...but I have a picture in my mind of the dolls sitting on top of my bed. I wanted my room to look pretty!

Moving on, as far as dorm living...it was pretty basic. But I kept my space neat and tidy. (A messy environment messes with my head.)  I think maybe I had matching bedspreads and a rug.

I spent my junior year of college living in France with a French family...so I had a huge French armoire for my clothes...and a basic bed. All bed linens were supplied. The room  had a table in the middle for studying or eating. Through out the year I was exposed to French style as it was in everyday homes and in displays at Le Louvre. I was developing an understanding and love  of European art. I found myself visiting many great works of art in Museums all over Western Europe. 

My senior year of college I had a dorm room to myself, so I had a few more personal items around. I recall my room having a bookcase that I "antiqued" during the summer. Do you remember the "antiquing" fad?

To this point I have no real design style!

After college I married and hubby & I had a two room apartment. Hubby had the apartment during his first year of law school, and I just moved in after we were married. There was a living room with a mini kitchen at the end. On the other side there was one bedroom with a tiny bathroom off the hall.

Seventies Tupperware...colors of the day.
And I had some Tupperware like these examples! 
We were given an avocado blender as a wedding gift.

This looks like our grad school apartment stove. Seriously!
The furniture was already there because hubby and his parents furnished the rooms. The sofa and chair were actually nice new seventies style gold fabric...with coordinating end tables and a coffee table. Not sure that the tables were wood...but they were sturdy and nice. I think it was the seventies Mediterranean style. Heavy and dark! We were doing well for grad students! We lived in a new apartment complex located about a block from the University of Louisville on Third Street. I eventually figured out that Mediterranean style is not "my" style though.

Our cute little apartment had avocado green wall to wall carpet...with
coordinating avocado green appliances and kitchen light fixture. Yep...it was the early seventies. There was a lot of avocado, harvest gold, orange, and brown in kitchens in those days.

We had wonderful wedding gifts, some of which we brought to the apartment.  My mother-in-law's cousin gave us a beautiful Paul Sawyer print. (traditional) We brought that for wall decor. Though thinking back...it may have been too nice for our apartment. ha! We were concerned about someone breaking in. It was nice to have a comfortable apartment and furnishings since we "lived" there when we were not in class. We basically went to class...then came home to study. I thought that our home environment was important to being happy and settled. I fixed vignettes here and there to make the place cute...with what we had. There was no extra money for decorating or the fun things happening in and around Louisville. ha!

For our first Christmas tree in the apartment...we bought a cheap one, plus one string of lights and one box of ornaments. We thought it was beautiful! ha.

After grad and law school we bought our first home. The house we found was a cute brick ranch with all hardwood floors. This is where my design and décor gene went into gear. We painted every room in the house! And we bought a new sofa. The sofa was our first piece of married furniture. Next we bought our first piece of really nice furniture, a cherry Ethan Allen butler's tray table. We still use it in fact. I love the memories. We needed a table and chairs...so my father and father-in-law helped us out. I chose a solid cherry dining table (American Drew), with matching cherry windsor chairs and buffet. My own style is emerging at this point, and it looks traditional.

My mid seventies Ethan Allen coffee table. Still in use today!
Our next house was also a brick ranch...and fairly basic. Our furniture purchases were an uber traditional lemon colored damask Duncan Phyfe sofa and two wing chairs. Oh yes...traditional here I come.

The next house was a two story rustic style. The only new furniture we bought was a sofa and two matching brown velvet swivel chairs for the family room. The sofa was long and low, very square and contemporary, with brownish velvet. Oh the seventies! We lived here for several years and brought two babies home from the hospital to this house. We had avocado appliances...again.

My brass chandy today. Brass is back!
My style took a major turn when we built our first home...in the mid eighties...a large Georgian in the country, on several acres. I guess our style became very Williamsburg with brass chandy's, brass door hardware, and brass faucets. I am clearly traditional in my decorating style now. We first had queen Anne style in the dining room, then changed to more of a Chippendale style. I am using that dining set still today. We added a wonderful wool rug as part of our décor investment.
Still using my rug and Chippendate today.
My Williamsburg Brass candlesticks from the eighties...today.
We bought EA cherry for our bedroom too... Four poster bed and yes "matching" dresser and highboy. Yes, matchy matchy. I know.  That's what people did...buy a bedroom set.  Our daughter also had a smaller four poster with matching dresser and chest of drawers. Son had lots of inherited pieces in his bedroom. A seventies style dresser and chest. Then bunk beds. Then a four poster. Traditional me!

The lighting is not the best in this pic...but it is a dark room half of the day.
Now that we have downsized (back to a ranch)....we had to sell many items that we would not be able to use in our smaller house. I hated to turn loose of things with sentimental meaning, but I had to.

My design style is still traditional...but a curated one that has room for some transitional touches in fabrics and accent pieces. I still have plenty of solid traditional items, but I am having fun looking for a bit of modern fabric to cover chairs. I am thinking of modern traditional...which I guess is called transitional these days.

Oh my gosh...I think I have been into traditional style from the beginning. It took me years of reading and researching to learn the history behind the the terms Federal, Chippendale, Duncan Phyfe, Queen Anne, and more. My flavor of traditional incorporates my love of English style as well as what is called Southern Traditional. Oh how I love to tour old homes and plantation houses of the south too.

I love this dining room! I think of it as Southern Traditional. 

I see Southern Traditional as a very livable style. It is one that incorporates old family pieces, rugs, gorgeous fabrics, and modern living. One can copy the style fairly easily I think...whether one has a large or small house. Think of: Quality trim work in the house. Nicely finished hardwood floors. Elegant Light fixtures. Sturdy door hardware. Elegant faucets. Lamps. Bed linens. Etc. I think it is better to have fewer things and better quality than to have several things of lesser quality. (Clothing can be the same way.) I always think of quality when I go in search of special items for my home. I like to buy it one time and be done. Quality will win out every time for investment pieces. I still  have my seventies Duncan Phyfe sofa...and its as good as new, except that it needs to be reupholstered. (Don't get me wrong I love places like TJMaxx, Marshalls, Home Goods, etc. for fun things.)

Lately, I have been flirting with more modern touches mixed into the classics. I am really liking some of what I am seeing. I don't really have any of those modern looking things in my house...but I have been looking at lots of pictures! I like classics that have been updated to look fresh for now. Traditional with a twist is what I call it. 

Look at these great Chippendale chairs...after they have been recovered in fresh new fabrics. Love these! (not my chairs. just a pic I have saved as examples of what mine might look like after new fabric.)
borrowed pic...showing updated fabrics on traditional style chairs.
I have developed a love of Kentucky antiques in recent years...which is a new thing for me. Before I was not the least bit interested in "old" furniture, silver, houses, etc. While I am not wanting to dress my house with lots of antiques...I love having old family pieces.

Here are a couple of light fixtures I selected after we moved in to our smaller ranch house. One, A little dressy. The other, a little casual with a distressed/ shabby finish. I mix all of it! 

My old pine chest still lives among my curated treasures. 

I am on the prowl for some updated fresh fabrics to cover some older chairs. The chairs are classic, traditional styles, but I am planning on bringing them into the twenty-first century with new fabrics. 

I will share fabrics in another post. Once I find them! Ha!

I am kind of a mixed up with my style...but traditional is at the base of it.

How about you? How has your design style changed over the years? 

Thanks for visiting.
My Kentucky Living
My Kentucky Living

Hello, I'm Sheila and my house is a giant art project! I enjoy creating an environment where my family can feel safe, secure, and loved. We are empty nesters learning to slow down and enjoy life.

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