Friday, September 16, 2011

Design Trend Ruminations: What's Your Individual Style?


Thank you to all who responded to my dining room dilemma yesterday. I kind of threw it out there at a moment of design frustration, hoping to also get some good dialogue going about individual creativity and expression versus doing what we are told is trendy or in style.

Blogland is such a great source for ideas, but it can overexpose us to them. It's easy to get schizophrenic, chasing trends and wondering if we are dated or not. In fact Joni from Cote de Texas just wrote about it here.

I purposely mentioned Restoration Hardware to "stir the pot!" Although RH is a certain look, please know that I am no way going to go down that road!

My dining room above is a work in progress. Combining and layering patterns has always been my trademark. It is certainly not what is all over blogland, but it's me.
Here are some photos of holidays past in my dining room, as well as some very interesting comments from readers. I love the dialogue!

Christmas, years ago with toile. The rug hadn't been rolled up yet. Different brown floral and plaid drapes.

Lee said, "slap... slap... pull yourself together dear...you've been blogmotized!"
"Weighed down? I see come in sit down, put some color in your life!"

Rosie said this: "When I got the RH catalog, I was in shock. It DEPRESSED me, the lack of color. The downright depressing industrial feel......anyone can do neutral. Color is tougher, and more interesting."

Easter, also years ago with new brown floral.

Dianne said: "I am so tired of burlap/linen and sisal/seagrass and no one thinking individually....Everyone is doing the same thing."

I really like what Liz said: " I hate that we are a throw away society now. The trend to quickly change all the time has turned us into deco junkies. I think that's why I gravitate towards traditional. Timeless and Elegance."

Christmas last year

The Scribbler said: "I am getting really tired of the ubiquitous linen/burlap/seagrass look, because although it makes for some fetching eye candy in photos, I know that it would bore me to tears."

And finally, Liz sent me these quotes from my design hero, Bunny Williams:
"I just don't feel I serve my clients by slavishly following the latest trends."
"We need to get back to people developing their own sense of taste."

Last night, Mr. A and I sat in the dining room for dinner. We never eat in the dining room!
But for some reason, he wanted to. As we sat there, he said "I love this room, please don't change a thing!"

Let's keep the dialogue going! I think we all have a lot to say about trends, individual style and what we love. I would love to hear what you have to say!


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43 comments:

Kelly said...

I have made many changes to my decor over the years and I am definitely guilty of following the trends sometimes. However, I keep my more expensive pieces (furniture, flooring, counter tops, appliances etc) classic. I have slipcovers over my furniture. I love using them because I can change them out and wash them. I live with 3 males and 1 dog so I NEED slipcovers! All of my fabrics are neutral and solid. That keeps them looking timeless. If I had a specific COLOR and PATTERN I might tire of it more easily because it would lock me in to that look. I just got rid of a burgundy chair because that color felt dated (to me). Had it been a neutral color I would've kept it. I use color and pattern in my accessories and pillows. My dining room was red for 15 years. Once I re-painted it neutral, I thought of all the new decorating opportunities I now have with that room. I choose to decorate for the lifestyle I have and choose things that make me excited to live with.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

I totally love a mix of pattern and color. I really love your dining room. Beautiful. Hugs, Marty

Kelly said...

By the way, I got on such a roll, I completely forgot to mention that I love how your dining room looks! I think it flows well with the rest of your house. Once you change out one room, it will lead to another. So it needs to be consisitent. The first pic on your post is my fave!!

Kathysue said...

Hi D, YOU know How I feel about the current trend train. When we went to RH shopping I was totally depressed with what I saw and I wrote the post, "I miss Silver sage!" I spent years with my clients developing techniques to help them get in tuned to what THEY really loved so that they would be able to live with what they chose for years and when I was no longer around they could make good decisions based on what they KNEW they loved! You know who you are and I say stick to it, why mess with perfection!? xo Kathysue

La Vie Quotidienne said...

Hooray! I am so glad to hear that not everyone is completely sold on the current fascination with white/nuetral. I love it but it is not for me, I am in your camp...I love color, mixing patterns and the richness that provides in a room. I think one is always best to follow your own intincts. This is a beautiful room under any circustances.

Anonymous said...

First, I absolutely LOVE your style!! I, too, have been struggling with the dilemma of the current trend of seagrass/white linen slipcovers, etc. vs. my more "traditional" french country look with red plaid, roosters, Persian rug, etc. Everytime I'm feeling compelled to slipcover everything and start over and go "neutral," I look at your pics and am reminded of how much I love COLOR! While I love the neutral look, it makes me feel like the picture is in "black and white" and not "real." You definitely do "color" well! :-) One nice alternative for you is that you have the weekend house where you can express a different style, and that house lends itself more to the neutrals, as the view of the land surrounding is so captivating you don't want to take away from it. You definitely have an eye for style, so you should trust your instincts and go with what looks good AND feels good to you! Good luck!

Rhonda said...

I agree with Mr. A!!!

Designs By Pinky said...

Ok, since you asked.......I have been depressed seing ALOT of what is happening in blogland. The all white rooms with touches of GRAY make me crazy. I am such a COLOR person all the whiteness is horrible to me. Plus I hate that so many peoples houses all look the same! That is one of the things that made me love your blog: YOUR personal style. I think we all need to OWN our style and keep what we love. I have acquired things over a lifetime and love them and don't want to just "follow the herd":):) Now I will get off my soapbox and say, I agree with Mr. A.!!!!! XO, Pinky

housedressingblog.blogspot.com said...

I'm fairly new to blogland... first I followed the drop cloth slipcover trend, the shabby/vintage/French country/English manor/Tuscan village/stand on your head and do the hokie pokie trend! And none of them looked right, I just couldn't pull it off without everything looking 'forced'. Finally, in just the last month or so, I started removing the slip covers, scraped, sanded and steamed off the white spray paint, got rid of all the mass produced kitschy farm animal knick knack crap, and rediscover the wonderful colors, wood grains, and dearly loved collected meaningful 'things' that are ME. I reconnected with the grown-up, slightly masculine, sexy decorating style that is 'MY' trademark... not bloglands.
I'm a happier person, and hopefully a better blogger for it.

Taylor Greenwalt said...

I think you need to just do what feels comfy! You go with what you love. Your dinning room is you. It does not need to look like anybody else. Your right though, gray is over done, but i think in blog land we see so much of it. Most of the public is still in to Old world! At least in calif. Every home I walk into is decorated that way.

Lee said...

To thine own self be true... It is far more beautiful...
Lee

Anne said...

I love traditional but with a personal touch of "Me". I look at blogs for ideas, then adapt them to my own colors and taste. My daughter had a decorator's assistance and is gorgeous. Our home is not as fancy but is says "come on in and stay awhile" and is filled with things we like. Love your blog and the dining room looks elegant and comfy.

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Well, you know I love color and pattern. I have a lot of color throughout and have lightened up the kitchen and dining room walls this year. I do love the lighter colors in those rooms because the furniture and accessories add the color. I do have seagrass in two rooms only because it is easy to clean from accidents. My sisal is stained and I will never buy that again. Good thing I can hide the stains under the sofa and a stack of books. It is easy to get caught up in trends. I am tired of seeing all the white and neutral rooms and several people putting down the use of color. What on earth is wrong with color?
When we look around us we don't see white, gray and beige.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'm a color person. Trends come and go and I think the trick is to incorporate SOME of a current trend but not go overboard with it. SOME burlap, maybe a slipcovered sofa if it works with your lifestyle and taste and you like the diversity that can develop with a change of pillows. I'm a pattern person. I LOVE to mix patterns. I only incorporate trends in accessories and things I can change.

Cynthia said...

I love this! I set out with the intention of doing the neutral thing but I couldn't. Colour is too beautiful to ignore, it changes the way you feel and the way people use rooms.
I also think that it doesn't suit rooms that are used mostly in the evening.

Scribbler said...

Yesterday I received a HUMONGOUS new catalog from RH -- and it is almost creepy in its lack of color. My first thought was that it looks like one of those bizarre movies which is shot in tones of gray and brown to further make a point of how depressing the subject is, something like, say, a nuclear winter. Why on earth would anyone want to live with that? While I can respect the level of craftsmanship and ingenuity of their line, and I can appreciate some of the individual pieces, there is no way I could ever live in a world devoid of color and pattern.

Julie@beingRUBY said...

HI Delores
Well I never can decide what style I like. so it's a good thing I'm living somewhere at present that doesn't allow me to really do anything.. [need to move]

I've found over the years I need to keep major items fairly neutral as I tend to tire of a pattern quickly. I change around the little details when the mood moves me... Often re-introducing that 'once tired of pattern'... One thing for sure.. as much as I love all the neutrals... I am a COLOUR lover!! and that will never change.. Colour creates mood and depth and is as vital to me as air ...

Well there you have it.. haha.. Thanks for popping over and your kind words .. and I agree with Kelly that the first shot is my favourite in the bunch!!

Have a great weekend.. ciao Julie

Anonymous said...

Since you would like a change, I have a couple of thoughts to share: I would love to see a slightly deeper color solid green on your dining room curtains. That would give the eye a continuously pleasing sight with wall paper and curtains happily complementing each other. Or you could keep the brown floral curtains and put something on the wall that would complement them. The rug and fabric on the chairs could remain as they are. They're lovely.

The enchanted home said...

I did as you might know a two part series on trends which was very well received and people had such opinions about it all. What I took away is that most, like myself are not real trend followers but rather will go with what they truly love, despite it being in or out of favor. I agree RH looked dull and boring and like it had no life in it, but then again I with the exception of a few great pieces have never been their biggest fan.
Your home is gorgeous, full of rich color and an elegance that would never possibly be in or out...its truly timeless!

Cait Throop said...

I love it too! Wish you could come to my house and fix up my living room--it is totally boring! Your rooms are lush and elegant--just what I love!

Sonia said...

I love your dining room the way it is..the layers, textures and pattern make it special and unique. Anyone can edit and neutralize their decor right into boring and plain but then it looks like a sterile model home without any personality. The brown fabric in your dining room is a favorite of mine -I have a runner in that fabric and I just love it! I am sure you have many fabulous memories and times shared with friends and family and the wonderful feel of the room contributed!
If you decide to redecorate it will be beautiful!We will be in your neck of the woods next week..we are attending the Fall Music Festival in Glen Ellen, Tahoe and Half Moon Bay. Hope to do some wonderful shopping!
Miss Bloomers

Lori said...

I was loving reading over the comments! Slap.. Slap ...Slap yourself is right. I just love color and layers upon layers. I do have one shelf in my kitchen that has gone a little blogland beige. But that is it! I'm so glad I'm not the only one out there. My antiques are getting much more valuable as people keep painting theirs.

Gayle from Vintage Farmhouse said...

Great post, it's nice to know I'm not the only one not into this "neutral,sisal,gray" look. I love your home, the colors and patterns you use have so much personality. I understand wanting to simplify but it's a balance, keep those things that make your home you.

The Decorative Dreamer said...

Hmm? First let me say I love your dining room also! I love the mix of colors and patterns that you use. Your den (or maybe living room?) was one of the very first rooms I saw when I started blogging and remember how much I loved it! I love color also and am not a fan of the neutral look. I do enjoy seeing it in others homes but not mine. I am wondering if maybe it is the brown in your dining room that is bothering you? I know I often feel when I have too much brown and it drives me nuts! To me brown is another neutral especially when there is too much of it. I would move the brown screen out and see how much better that feels. If you still feel you need a change maybe look for another fabric to redo the chairs and curtains to one that has a more neutral background like cream, "BUT ALSO" has lots of the other wonderful colors and patterns that you love and use so well already! Though I do have to say the fabric you have in there right now is perfect for this time of year! LOL! All and all you have beautiful style and it is always lovely to see, please don't go completely neutral!

Lizabeth said...

Seeing more of your pictures reinforces why I like you and your style so much! I'm glad you aren't making any quick changes! This room is all about classic and elegance! I adore your picture from last Christmas. I also got that humongous RH catalog and felt like I needed to put on some tinted glasses so I could find some color!

Donna in Potomac said...

After living the first part of my life in the Northeast, the second in the Southeast, and now Mid Atlantic, I can say that my developed over-time-style is (and has been) British Colonial. Elements of that style will always be in my decor...I guess that's what personal style is about.

My feeling is that if your walls good talk, they would tell a deeply rich and satisfying story.

Diane said...

Your blog was the first one found after I got my computer.I absolutely love everything you do and hope you do not change your decorating style.I look forward to your posts more than any I subscribe to.

sandrajonas.com said...

Your room is wonderful as it is!!! The current colourless decor I see on blogs today.... lack both warmth & imagination. Lets face it not everyone can work with colour...they are 'white from fright' or worse yet,take a big chance with Beige!
I love all the different changes to your dinning room... for my taste..I love it with the plaid curtains & red toile. (I'm not that partial to brown as I don't look good in that colour, but your red room..perfect!)Ah, vanity.

Lorie Merryman said...

First of all, I love your blog....I've spent hours reading your posts and have come away inspired by your designs again and again. So, I have been fascinated by the response to your dining room design quandary. First, it's wonderful to see how strongly your readers feel about your classic, traditional style and your use of color. Secondly, it's encouraging to know that not everyone is taken with the RH design trends. I threw my hulking RH catalog in the trash and didn't even bother looking at the whole thing. Boring and blah, blah, blah. On the contrary, your rooms make me happy just to see the wonderful combinations of color and texture and pattern and new items and old items. It just works! As an artist, I know how difficult it can be to choose and mix colors, but I also know how wonderfully the right colors can affect our spirits. You have such great color sense and such great style---I can't wait to see what you're doing next.

The Summer Porch said...

I believe we should always stay true to ourselves, what works best for us! I've always loved color it adds spark to a room. A home should reveal the personalities of its inhabitants. It is a portrait of who you are. The palette of autumn for example is a sophisticated one, golden yellows blend into fiery reds, with a mix of orange in between and crimson edges. Can you imagine Autumn all in white! Why do we love the fall? Color! Colors have depth...
Hugs Rosemary...xx

Dining Delight said...

This is a very interesting, thought-provoking post and I enjoyed reading it along with all the comments. I think, no matter whether its the "neutrals" of today or the "oak, burgundy, pink & green with brass" of days gone by, designers are always going to make us feel like our homes/decor are out of date. That is the way businesses/the economy need us to feel in order to move their new products. It is a never-ending cycle that I'll admit, I've fallen into. It means we are never satisfied as when you change one room, it leads to you feeling another room needs "doing". Rather, we should consider how do we feel when friends/family invite us into their home for a homecooked meal in a "non-neutral/latest trend" dining room....do we get up and leave, do we feel ill-at-ease, does the food taste different, do we laugh less? I think not! Your dining room is gorgeous and has a sense of your own style (I admire your ability to mix patterns, something I fear!)and looks so INVITING in all your pics - that's what it is all about! (sorry I've babbled on and on...) I'm going to go look around my own home and focus on what I like and not what's "in"! Maybe I'll call up some friends to come enjoy it with me!

DD

Shannon's Shanonigins said...

First let me say that I LOVE your dining room. It's warm, it's welcoming, it's beautiful! I would love to sit at your table and take in all the beautiful things. I've never like minimalism, or all neutrals. I'm not a neutral person with a neutral personality so that's not how I want my home to look. As someone who's been married 29 years, I like to be surrounded by things that make me genuinely happy. Things that I find beautiful and meaningful, after all it is MY home. People love being in my home because they sense my happiness and comfort there. Isn't that what style is all about? I love looking at magazines and catalogs for inspiration, but I still look for things that I love, not just because it's trendy, but because it's something that warms my heart.

Victoria said...

I am so happy you came to that conclusion, Delores. You room is layered with the objects and colors you love. And your furnishings go so well with you beautiful collection of china and flatware. It all makes sense together and it is all you...special and unique.
Best...Victoria

Karen said...

Delores,
I love your room and think your husband is a sweetheart for noticing and complimenting your dining room. I think it's difficult when you love decor, as most of your readers obviously do, to remain true to yourself. Your room is lovely and I love your style.
Karen

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Hi sweetie, I just finished reading your last 2 posts. Oh girl I know how it is to be our own worst critics~ jumping on the bandwagon of current trends can be so expensive and in the end not as rewarding as the chase of finding what truly fits our personalities. Your room is so warm and inviting..stay true to who you are darling.. as someone else said Don't mess with perfection. I hope you're having a great w/k.. I'm wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing what kind of camera you use, your photos are always so clean and pristine.. hugs ~lynne~

Slim Paley said...

Hi Delores
I hesitate to write this comment as I have so much to say about the topic that other readers might think "Dude, get back to your own blog!" but I know exactly how you feel. I'm in the same predicament with my dining room. I haven't updated it in almost 17 years! (True confessions) I have no problem helping (telling) other people what to do with their rooms and here I am completely stymied by my own. I think the dilemma stems from having such fond feelings for it, yet sensing it's just TIME for a change. Personally I love colour, and I also love the calm serenity of neutrals. I also like much of the new R.H. catalogue as I'm a huge fan of Axel Vervoordt, but I agree that the catalogue is very dark and too devoid of colour... and what's with the photo of the Chairman of R.H. on the inside cover?? It looks like an ad for "Axe" cologne...kind of an odd choice.
But where was I? I might suggest changing the drapes and keeping the slip covers. Of course this coming from the crazy lady who slipcovers her car seats :-)

xx Your friend in Dining Room Dilemmas

Meg said...

I am almost hesitant to write this comment as it seems to be a RH bashing party but, wanted to throw it out there anyway. I received my Restoration Hardware catalogue and loved the ideas I got from it. Can I afford many of their pieces?, no! but I enjoy it nonetheless. I love bits of color in my home and add them more in the spring and summer. Now that fall is upon us I seem to gravitate back to the neutrals. I feel more relaxed without the loud colours right now. I think it is easy to comment on how others are boring, following trends and washed out but, what is most important is how we live and feel in your own space. If you love your dining room despite the trends and blogland ideas, then listen to Mr.A and eat cake instead. It's beautiful!

Carolynne said...

I also agree with Mr A.He is remembering many happy times in this room...friends and family,laughter and celebrations, wine and candlelight, Fillet Mignon and Macaroni.
I live in Canada where the seasons often dictate changes in decor as well as clothing, so slip covers work well for me and afford me the luxury of being able to change whenever i want to...warm woolies for warmth and comfort in the winter and peel it all off and bring the outdoors in for the spring and summer.
I love what you have done but i understand the feeling of being weighed down...the way i feel when the last snow melts and the first crocus shows her pretty little head. I want to lighten things up, turn off the fireplace, put away the afghans and let in the sun. You just might be a northern gal in spirit... i know you'll figure it out and am excited to see it all when you do.

On Crooked Creek said...

Delores,
Design On Crooked Creek is all about the "Joy of Family"...we have been through a devasting tragedy...and survived. Moving here we found JOY in our lives, once again! I am a hopeless romantic...I have enormous passions...family, friends, community, food, music, art...I express my passions through color. Your living room is elegantly exquisite. Listen to Mr. A...the language of love flows through your home!
Fondly,
Pat

Marlis said...

My decorator friend p'shawed a piece of fabric that I was considering for a living room chair. Dated was the word he used. Yes indeed from a 2008 collection, but it was the right color, the hardiness I wanted. I agree it's not trendy or now.. but who wants to walk in their living room and have 2011 written all over it?
Motto: Stay with what you love. It will serve you well.

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

This is one of the best posts I've read in a long time. I think many of us have been blogmotized into thinking our rooms aren't good enough if they don't contain the latest trends! I personally think your dining room has a timeless quality. The layering makes it warm and inviting. I wish I had a time machine so I could see how much the room changes in the next 10 years.

~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ said...

Hello My Dear, I have to say that I agree with Mr. A. I love your dining room and the wallpaper is my cup of tea. Heck, I love your whole house! Your style is rich and textured and not at all boring. So many of the neutral homes I see on blogs leave me cold. I don't know if you have been by or not but my style is a little bohemian. I too am a color girl and patterns are popular here. For me the colors and patterns make for a cozy home. Friends remark about how cozy it is and I love to curl up with a book and a glass of wine at night to read. Always a book at the ready from the stack on the floor by the sofa.
You know "dated" is not a word I like to use. If I like it and am content, but maybe getting a little restless, I make small changes and again I am content. How about you? Just grab a glass of wine and enjoy your beautiful surroundings.
Enjoy the day!
~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

leslim0121 said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often..

rachelle madrigal
www.imarksweb.org

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