Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The making of an interior decorator

  What's your interior design aesthetic?
"What's that you ask?  Design aesthetic?
Should I have one ?  Perhaps I do! " 

This is not a question I could have answered in my teenage years, but it was those early years that laid the foundation for what I would come to understand and appreciate about design in my adult life.

 I believe our  interior design aesthetic (aspects of interior environments we are attracted to) is developed from what we've been exposed to  through our life experiences:  the house we grew up in,  homes of friends, your home town, reading, travel, and various forms of  media, etc. 

 The road to my house just before my birth

My house age 8

 Is this a town that raises a design conscious gal? 

 How did that happen?

I was exposed to very functional decor growing up in a small town in Newfoundland in the the  50's and 60's, but there were always  handcrafted  items in our home and I was encouraged to participate in their creation. There always seemed to be lots of scraps of wool, fabric and thread around.  I  appreciated what an individual could create with very modest materials, and I  believed at an early age that I could create anything I wanted.  That's a pretty powerful beginning.

The Singer sewing machine got lots of use in our home. It was a sound I did homework to, read to and even made it hum myself. 

What came off it was varied: curtains, quilts, bedspreads, and even mini skirts and tent dresses. Fabric remnants came from family members in New York.  That link assured I was current in textile designs! When not sewing I was busy with  crocheting , knitting , and hooking  rugs. All added warmth to our home.

At 13 I discovered the library in the next community and my design world expanded. 

Good Housekeeping

 There were books and magazines  that took me well beyond the small town I grew up in.  I devoured them, imagined, sketched, and rearranged our bedroom (with my sister's help) numerous times.  Mom took it all in stride. 

 Quite the design statement!  I had nothing to do with this decor, but I did make the dress! Not bad for a 15 year old.  At the time, I thought I would be a fashion designer, but good old Newfoundland practicality took over. 

TV programming added to my understanding of what was in style. I jet setted around the world with The Man (Men) from Uncle without ever leaving my living room. 

 And got my first taste of that famous British style on the Avengers. 

What we now refer to as Mid Century Modern design was in its prime in my formative years.  For the youngun' reading this think  Mad Men. 

When I was 19 I spent the summer in New York. It was a trip of firsts.  First time I went to large department stores,  first time to see art galleries,  first play.....   And what about what I saw on the streets and in store windows?  It all went in and somehow came together into a feeling, a sense of what I liked and wanted in future interiors.While this type of decorating was happening in New York....

Albert Hadley, New York, 1971

The average homeowner was living in this.

That was a pivotal time in my understanding of the broader world and the vast discrepancies among the homes I was used to and the homes of the "out of reach". I began to read more and think about what elements and principles interested me  in the designed interiors I was viewing on TV and reading about. My design aesthetic was forming.  

In 1973 I got my first apartment and  it had a lively colour scheme of white with red and navy accents.  All very fresh and simple.   All second hand and dressed up with lots of covers and paint.   I moved from being a university student to a teacher - a different kind of designing! I continued to read about design and do lots of DIY projects. 

It wasn't until the mid 80's that I decided to study interior decorating and it would be another twenty years before I officially advertized as a decorator.  I would contend I was always one. During that time I also began to paint.  It was this activity that honed my colour sense and gave me a firm understanding of the elements and principles of design. 

 My design interests today can be traced back  to my roots as a mid century modern girl.  I still love clean design without too much "fussy".  I like  furniture with straight lines,  geometric motifs especially circles, lots of texture, light colours, hand made items and abstract art.  I describe my look  as casual contemporary with a quiet edge.

What's your design aesthetic?

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this post! I have no idea of my design aesthetic. I usually just buy stuff that catches my eye. I have lots of mixture. Antiques, modern, mid century. I like white right now but have painted bright. I like used, found and free stuff. Thanks for sharing your beginnings. Cheers


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