Posted on October 25 2016
Hi there, today I thought I’d share my memories of my very first home, and my thoughts on style evolution. Learning your own style is really important I reckon. I really do believe that decorating isn’t just about creating a super cool pad to make the neighbours jealous (though obviously we all want that too!) but that it’s about confidence, learning to experiment, to express yourself and know your own mind, to take risks – and that attitude trickles through into everything. Sure we’re not all there with our very first homes, but it’s all about learning along the way. Hopefully this will help some of you who are just starting out or aren’t 100% sure yet of your own style. Oh and if you are in your first home or just about to get one please let me know in the comments and on social so we can all join in the journey! Anyway, without further ado, allow me to take you on a trip down memory lane…
My first real home was in America, a sweet little place with a white picket fence in the Midwest. Before that I was continuously shunting from rental to rental in London. So this was our first proper house, and I loved it. It was a classic American 60’s build near Detroit. Most of all I loved the sense of space. The house was built mostly over one floor so it felt quite loft-like, open plan and airy. I had a huge garden with massive trees and a sloping lawn too – such a luxury and a revelation after London living.
Crazy as it sounds now, I didn’t really consider decorating until G and I had relocated to the States. I can’t say it was my decorating that I loved much in those early days – that love came later. For me, the house meant freedom. I was in a new country in my early twenties, and at that stage of life (at least for me!) I was out of the house much more than I was in. At that age, I was all about expressing myself and my personality through fashion instead, and hadn’t made the jump to transforming interiors yet! It used to be all about clothes – amazing pairs of shoes, designer jeans and god knows what else used to get my heart pounding. Nowadays I’m all interiors, and I’ve replaced a shoe fixation with obsessing over paint, vases, artwork, cushions, door hardware – you name it! I don’t think I’m the only one, right?
When it came to decorating I actually played it very safe, which I now know is just the worst thing you can do. I think I hadn’t really developed my own style or decorating personality back then, so I was quite uncertain. We didn’t have a ton of money so most of the house stayed in the neutral palette that had been there when we moved in. Get this – in the living room I had a jute rug, and two large sofas in a taupe and white check neutral palette. I decorated it soooo simply and plainly, which at the time worked for us but certainly wouldn’t now!!
Obviously my style has rocketed off in a different direction since then. About the only constants in my decorating from then to now that I remember are having quite a few metallic accents and accessories though. I must have been a magpie for a long time hey! That’s when I began to experiment with art and lighting too. Nothing particularly weird or wonderful, but I did begin to collect art at this point. I put together a real hodge-podge collection, from high-end paintings I found in galleries in LA, to flea market finds, to high street posters. I’d try clustering a collection of table lamps together to try to nail the perfect lighting. The lights themselves were very simple, but I loved the effect and I learned that the more light sources, the better!
Honestly though? Looking back I can’t believe how boring I played it. Now things are obviously very different, and as I’ve grown in confidence I constantly take risks and break boundaries. I do still love open plan living and hanker off big Stateside-style layouts. And I’m really grateful to that first place for giving me the space to experiment. Over the years, decorating has given me so much confidence – not just at home but really everywhere, if I can go that far. I’ve learned to push boundaries, to play around with colour, scale and form, to have the confidence to start my own biz, to always push it further, to know my own mind and also to create a home that I now never want to leave.