I've made it no secret that one of the ways I deal with stress in my life (won't bore you with the details) is finding comfort by using the decoration of interior space as an art form. While I paint large canvases, design fabric, create on paper, write books and illustrate (with paint and on the computer), all of those artistic endeavors are part of my business as an artist. In other words, they are my profession and I am paid for my efforts. Money aside, I love all of those ways of being creative. But--I also do "house." To me, how one arranges the interior space of a house is like making art you totally surround yourself with. And, I enjoy it as much as any other medium I work in. The different part of doing “house” is that I do not do it for compensation. In that way, it is a relaxing and freeing.
Over the years of having my own home, I had to learn to do house. How does one learn to decorate? Not sure. How does one learn to draw? I guess it helps if you are predisposed to doing things for the sheer purpose of satisfying your aesthetics. And, to decorate in a way that is true to your own tastes and purely individual, you have to learn to trust your instincts and listen to your heart.
After years of trying to be “tasteful”, my heart told me this one important fact: I did not have to conform to anyone’s expectation in décor but my own. And, I did not have to decorate like an adult. What happened is that I started to decorate the same way I draw—by instinct. The best way I can describe it, is that I got to that space you get to when you doodle while talking on the phone. Aren’t those always your best sketches? Mine are. That is the place I like to go to when I create. And it’s the same place to go to when you decorate. It’s located somewhere in the middle of the chest. If you spend too much time designing with your brain, instead of your heart, your rooms will be tight and stifled.
Of course, designing with your heart is not as easily done as drawing with your heart. Certain questions, like “will this piece of furniture actually fit in this space?” and “is this cupboard going to make it through the entryway?” have to be answered. Can’t bring the old eraser around to solve those issues. But, really, engineering aside, anything goes.
The easiest way to be expressive in a room is to find unique ways to hang things on a wall. Groupings of the strangest things can be dynamic when hung up. There is something about a collection of like objects that can rock a room.
Collections do not have to break the bank, can add color and texture, and are often a lot cheaper than hanging framed art on the way (this honesty coming from someone who sells paintings). And the fun is really in the hunting and gathering. It’s treasure hunting without the risk.
So those are a few random thoughts on home design for February and some random shots of my not-for-grown-ups house.
Key advice: Have fun. Life is too short to worry about being proper when you decorate.