Finding and Defining Your Style
It’s been a month and half since we closed on our new-old house and it finally feels like something is happening! We officially committed to Houseplay Renovations, the same firm that helped us decide that we should make an offer after going over all the possibilities that the bones and current structure of the house provided. We met with our project manager and designer in person and gave them an on-site walk through of our wish list. We then sat down with our designer to define our style. I tried to prepare for the meeting by writing down all the words that appealed to me: clean, functional, light floors, Portuguese tiles, antique-looking, vintage, farmhouse, but not cottage, black windows, white cabinets, pop of color, some texture, surprising element, unexpected, highlight, island, easy to clean, usable, workable, spacious, open, airy, cozy, Atelier-style windows, natural light, sunlight, plants, green, comfortable, lived-in, some open shelving, glass uppers, lots of storage and on and on!
But how do you define your style when you like almost everything that you see on design magazines and Instagram? How do you narrow down your likes and have a cohesive style throughout the house? How do you communicate this to the team implementing the design of your forever home?
I reorganized my Pinterest board last year when we started looking for a house. We went room by room and talked about the most recent design details I’ve liked and showed examples to our designer. (For easier writing, I use “I” here because I’m louder than Alec; but trust me, he has veto power.) Every time we looked at something, I always ended up adding how I operate in that room, so we immediately knew everything had to be functional. Streamlined hardware on kitchen cabinets are nice to look at, but how do you open them when your hands are full or dirty?
I also used to go antiquing and my apartment in Harlem started off with the “shabby chic” look: the more wear and tear and distressed, the better. I’ve strayed from that style in the last 10 years but I found myself still attracted to that piece de resistance; that one item that pops out as unexpected in the space. If I’m going to have a functional kitchen, I don’t want it to be too uniform; I still want that antique work table as a food prep station.
When it came to colors, I gravitated towards a lot of white for airiness and lightness, but with a combination of black to highlight a section; I also liked some natural colors to balance them out. I am not afraid of pattern or texture because I want that surprising element. After almost two hours of discussion, we settled with “functional Scandinavian farmhouse”.
This style will often feature unfinished wood throughout the home, large windows, lots of whites along with the occasional black contrast, and a minimalist approach to home decor. There are also lots of plants and textiles in Scandinavian farmhouse style, as pops of green and bursts of cozy fabrics keep a space from feeling too sterile.American Farmhouse Style
That quote seemed to summarize it all, even though I didn’t even put weight on my plant collection! Overall, it was a good exercise to have an outsider look at what we want and define them in terms that can be understood by the trade so that everything can be professionally put together. We can’t wait for the next step: layout options for each of the rooms in our new-old house!