The main reason I started a design blog was to have a place to document my design style. I thought my design philosophy would become clearer if I wrote about it. Well the blog has definitely helped me with this process, but the act of writing isn't the main reason for my new found clarity. It is actually through my dialogue with you that my thoughts on my style and my design process have become more defined.
My last post on my Wisteria lantern is a perfect example. After reading your 116 comments as well as the 50 e-mails that I received in the past couple of days, I've started to realize that my flippant "buy what you love" statement is much more complicated than I first thought. I've started asking myself "Why do I buy what I buy? Do I really just buy what I love?"
Can someone really analyze why they buy something? Maybe not, but it was an interesting exercise. Here are some of the reasons behind what I purchase:
1. Value. I won't go into this too much because I think we are all looking for value in our purchases.
I bought my Tritter Feefer desk because I loved the style, the finish, the quality, and the price was great.
2. Eco-friendly. Last week I was reading Things That Inpire's interview with Joe Niermann of Niermann Weeks. In the interview Joe explained that his company is always trying to reduce their carbon foot print through the use of farmed wood, water-based materials, and recycled and recyclable materials.
These Gustavian Klismos chairs are gorgeous and eco-friendly too!
Of course, high end furniture makers like Niermann Weeks aren't the only ones jumping on the eco-friendly band wagon. Some companies, like furniture maker Cisco Brothers, promote themselves as a company that sells "sustainable living".
My favorite way to be eco-friendly? Buying antiques and vintage pieces. Nobody does this type of environmentally friendly design better than my friend Shane, owner of Big Daddy's Antiques. Shane is the master of turning old doors into a focal point of a room, or creating a beautiful dining table out of an old industrial base.
Another master at creating unique spaces with antiques, is Antique Dealer Mark Sage. His booth at Round Top was like an art exhibit!
Buying antiques and vintage pieces leads me to one of the main reasons I buy something:
4. Personal Expression: To create a warm and inviting home for my family that uniquely represents us. I think in today's mass design culture it can often be a struggle to create a home that reflects your unique style and not Pottery Barn's style!
When Steve and I built our home, we searched local flea markets and antique stores to fill up our home. It was also the year that Michael Bruno started 1st Dibs. What an amazing resource that has been!
We found this French book shelf on 1st Dibs when we first built our home. I love it because of its unique curves and beautiful aged finish. I haven't seen another piece like it.
My French settee and my vintage Murano glass ceiling fixture were also great 1st Dibs finds. My Swedish clock and French clock face were found at a local flea market. Because our house was new, it was important to me to find old pieces that would make our home feel lived in. I also chose pieces that felt "accessible" and not too "hands off" , because most importantly this is our family home.
5. Memories. A couple of years ago we took our children to Italy. While we were in Venice we stumbled upon a little lighting store run by two charming sisters who spoke absolutely no English. Their light fixtures were beautiful. I knew that I wanted to purchase a few of them as mementos of our trip.
Steve and I bought a pair of these sconces and two sets of table lamps.
6. History. I love buying antiques because of the unique story behind the pieces. I think this is why I'm drawn to our Swedish furniture. In the 1700's the Gustavian style evolved from the popular French styles of the time, but they also reflect the more humble character of Sweden. Learning about the history of these pieces made me appreciate them and want to have them in our home and our shop.
7. Emotions. Yes, I must admit that ultimately I buy something because when I see it, it just makes me smile.
When Steve and I first got married, we found this quirky little vanity at an antique store. I loved everything about it: the curvy lines, the crusty paint, the little carved legs. It came with us from our old home....
So what have you taught me? That ultimately I buy what speaks to me. In each case it may be for one, a few or all of the reasons I have listed. It doesn't matter if a piece is old or new, cheap or expensive, from a catalogue or from a family trip. Each piece not only fills my home with the things I need, but they also reflect my personality and my values.
As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts!
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