What’s your style?

I was chatting a month or so ago with a woman who works in a consignment shop. I mentioned that, since my husband moved out several months ago, I’m now furniture-challenged in a few areas. Specifically the dining room, where my guests and I now dine at a lovely conference table from Sam’s Club (you know the kind – long, narrow, with legs at the ends so that if you have to seat someone there you end up banging your knee when you sit down). At least the chairs match – they’re folding chairs from Sam’s Club as well. He took the dining room table and chairs because they were his grandmother’s, even though I did ask that he leave them until the house sells (which, frankly, in this economy could be ten years…), but he took them so that when he has our kids over for dinner they have somewhere to sit. Not that they’re going to go to his house for dinner any time soon, since they’re not exactly on warm and fuzzy terms with their father right now… Sorry, I digress.

Anyway, consignment store lady asked me what my style is.

Sorry?

“What’s your style? Contemporary? Antique? Scandinavian?”

Snort.

My style… my style has been whatever was cheap, wouldn’t get destroyed by the dogs (or if it was destroyed was cheap so we didn’t care), kid-friendly, didn’t show dog hair (good luck…).

In other words, style was something we never thought about.

Style was certainly not on anyone’s radar. Like so many other areas of our marriage, we didn’t put much thought or planning into how we decorated or furnished our home. It was slap-together, whatever evolved, careless.

Now I have the opportunity to redecorate and re-furnish to suit my needs. And I have the added benefit that I can do it slowly (and let’s be honest, I have to do it slowly because I don’t exactly want to break the bank here), with great care and forethought, and that I don’t have to compromise. The other advantage is that my husband is really happy to take many of my castoffs, so it’s easy to get rid of stuff. It’s all about me, now.

Problem is, I haven’t a clue.

What’s my style?

Do I need one? Do I want one?

What happens if I don’t define one? Do I get in trouble?

How do I start?

I started to look at some blogs to get some ideas. I’m kind of drawn to shabby chic, so I checked out a lot of bloggers who devote themselves to that style. I like the idea of taking old furniture and painting and repurposing it. It appeals to the frugal and green parts of me. What I don’t love is that a lot of shabby chic bloggers also seem to love tons of vintage stuff (I like vintage, but only to a point); and I’m totally not about aquiring a lot of old glassware, china and bric-a-brac to strew about (I always wanted to say “strew about”). I lived with the clutter-monster for too long.

So… I am in the style-seeking mode here. This is my opportunity to remake my home as I remake my life. I want to create my haven. I want it to be an extension of my personality, to nurture my creativity, to make me feel safe and content. It also has to be inexpensive, dog-friendly and easy to maintain. That’s not too much to ask for, is it?

Where do I start?

So this week is going to be my week to explore what I like about my current home, what I’m frustrated with, what I hate and what I feel I have to change immediately. I’m going to try to define some priorities and come up with a plan of attack. Warning – there will be photos posted (and they’re not pretty, I can guarantee you). I’m also going to try to find photos of the places that appeal to me and figure out what the appeal is and how I can bring it to my home.

Just like when you’re getting a divorce and reevaluating a 30-year marriage, I’m sure that it will be a little painful to really pick apart how my surroundings have affected me for so long. But just like starting over after a long marriage, getting rid of the physical stuff that hasn’t nurtured my soul has got to be good in the long run.

Come along for the ride, will you? And please give me some ideas – I still have no clue about the style thing.

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Filed under Creating a new life, Haven for one, Singleness, Transition

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