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Evolution Of An Aesthetic – Design Discontent or Design Enthusiasm? (And Also, Is A Room Ever Truly Done?)

Is a room ever truly done? Is there a point when you place that last piece of art, step back, and think “that’s it, I’m finished” and walk away never to touch it again? Or are rooms ever-evolving, design playgrounds that are meant to be constantly tweaked? More importantly – what do you do with those feelings of design discontent?

Maybe you know what I’m talking about – the experience of walking into a room in your home that is supposed to be “finished” . . . but doesn’t feel finished in your soul. You may look around the room and think “what does it need? Why aren’t you there yet?!” And the majority of the time you spend in that space you’re just trying to figure out what you could do to the room, what you could replace in the room, or what you could bring into the room that would just give your design brain satisfaction at long last – “THIS is the way this room is meant to be.”

looking back at this room now, from our first apartment, all i can think is how EMPTY it looks

And truly, what is the difference between design discontent (where you don’t feel satisfied by the design in a space and possibly frustrated that the room “isn’t there yet”) and design enthusiasm (where a room is never truly finished, because you as a human will never truly finish evolving your design aesthetic)? By the way, these aren’t official scientific terms. These are just the terms I’ve assigned to help myself grapple with my own mental tug-of-war on the topic. 

Personally, it can be hard for me to separate out feelings of design discontent, design enthusiasm, and just design restlessness and impatience because our house isn’t fully renovated yet. So even though we’ve “finished” certain spaces in our house (our living room and dining room & our TV room), they can’t truly be at peace because now we’re renovating our kitchen and office, and suddenly the dining room is just kitchen storage. And the primary bedroom and both bathrooms are still on the list.

do i need a floor to ceiling gallery wall where those two big pieces are? or linen curtains with french ticking over the big dining room window? bigger art over the bar cart? wallpaper on the ceiling???

Let’s dive a little deeper into my own issues, so maybe y’all can play design therapist in the comments and help me sort my life out. When Velinda designed our living room and dining room Mac and I were coming out from under an almost year-long renovation. And before that Mac and I had spent the last year and half living in non-permanent situations, surrounded by unpacked boxes, rolled up rugs, and suitcase closets. I was tired of clutter, mess, and just wanted our home to be clean and fresh. Both she and Mac wanted more colorful and bold art, and I said no. I really pushed the design in a muted and minimal direction – and she delivered! The living room and dining room are bright, open, clean, spaces with a neutral color palette. And I LOVED it.

But now I’ve been spending all of my time in these rooms, 24/7 (I’ve been extremely lucky to be able to work from home) and I’m feeling a lack of something. When I walk into these spaces I look around and feel at my core that it’s not done yet. That it needs more . . . something. But what that “something” is, I’m not sure yet. I love all the pieces Velinda picked, and the layout of the rooms she designed works so well. So is it the art I picked? The empty wall space or all white walls? Classic design discontent.

In contrast, when I walk into our TV room it feels DONE. My heart feels happy in that room. But that doesn’t mean my design eye is at rest. I’ve already come up with two elements I want to add to that space and one element I want to change (keeping these under wraps in case we actually get around to implementing them *wink*). Classic design enthusiasm – there’s no uncertainty or frustration, but there’s still this sense of “but it could get even better.

I think both of these design afflictions are the results of several key factors:

  • First, I am naturally a really decisive person. I make quick decisions, and am a big gut instinct, emotional reactionary. But I’m not necessarily a person of great conviction. If you present me with more options or information I’m just as quick to change my mind. In design terms, this means I’m also really quick to pivot directions. I can only imagine it gives Mac design whiplash, because by the time he’s come around to agreeing to my first or second design idea for a space, I’m already working on design idea 33.
  • Second, I’m surrounded by design trends all the time. It’s part of my job. My eyeballs are constantly being pulled in different directions and I’m falling in love with different styles and aesthetics over and over again. Figuring out what is just an infatuation versus what feels true to my identity and will be a long term appreciation can be really difficult.
  • Thirdly, a recent widening of my view of design has me craving design MAXIMALISM. It’s no secret that at the start of June many of design enthusiasts (myself included) were made explicitly aware of how narrow and white our view of design has been. And how much of the design content we consumed via editorial content and social media algorithms just further reinforced that narrow view of design. My feeds were the same versions of minimal, bright, light-colored, neutral design over and over. The issue of racial inequity in the design industry is obviously a much larger and important topic, but needless to say, my feed has drastically changed since June, because the diversity of designers and content creators I follow has begun to drastically change. I’m still seeing those bright, minimal spaces, but I’m also seeing spaces with deep colors, busy patterns, bright tiles, and just so many more design aesthetics.
peek that next door room, my moms true aesthetic

This last point hit an especially personal note for me. I was raised in homes decorated by my mom – a Latina woman from Guatemala, and renovated by my dad – a wonderfully talented self-taught craftsman whose appreciation for historic detail is second to none. So our homes were always filled with a mix of traditional details, and bright textiles and pattern. I loved it. My parents let me paint my walls mint green growing up. But after several years of working in the interior design field, my idea of what was “elegant and elevated” design had been so skewed that I had lost appreciation for my own parent’s design aesthetic. And when I designed their living room, I really pushed the design in a direction that eliminated a lot of the color and vibrancy that reflected them (my mom especially). She had wanted to paint the walls a color, and paint the ceiling blue – I pushed for all white (we compromised by going with white walls and a soft yellow ceiling). She wanted a brightly colored sofa – I pushed for leather. She wanted colored frames for the art with colored mats – I went traditional with wood, black, and white frames. She wanted a rug with lots of yellow and red – I found a white rug that had “pops” of yellow and orange. I told myself I was bringing in enough of her design with textiles and small moments of color.

I essentially designed her living room in a way that I felt would make it more acceptable to this narrow view of design I had formed. Unpacking even this one small instance of white-washed design has been difficult. But reflecting on it, along with a recent exposure to more varied design perspectives, feels like it’s cracked me open to appreciating, respecting, and craving more of the design I grew up with. This isn’t to say I’m ready to paint my living room orange (my parent’s family room is a bright orange, with yellow painted woodwork, and cobalt blue trim). I definitely know that my design aesthetic skews more quirky, traditional victorian. But I’m ready for bolder patterns, more deep color, and less minimal neutrals. I want wallpaper, contrasting trim colors, vintage rugs with deep colors, painted walls, and walls more filled with vintage and traditional art.

By the way, my mom has since painted the ceiling of that living room blue 🙂

SO, after all that reflection, let’s take a few looks at some rooms that have been making my heart and eyes feel happy lately.  

That photo on the left is just – WOW. The wallpapered ceiling, the blue walls, the deep carpet colors. All of it. The photo on the right speaks to my need for more floral wallpaper.

WALL MURALS – where have they gone, how do we get them back, and who can I hire to paint one in my home? And that photo on the right has so much fun happening with the wallpaper and rug, while still feeling neutral because of the color palette.

So into the idea of two-tone anything, and the painting at the back of that hutch is dreamy. And the bathroom on the right is just the perfect mix of traditional and updated.

The kitchen and dining room on the left still feels neutral but the dark paint in the hutch and the mix of furniture, plus the gallery wall all keep it feeling warm, organic, and interesting. And I loooooove the warmth and texture on the walls in the photo on the right.

So into moody painted cabinetry and warm wood floors right now. It’s a winning combo. AHHH and dark wainscotting! I need to do this somewhere in my home, I feel very passionately about this!

This little moment of countryside charm is so endearing, and I want to be there, sitting in those mismatched chairs. Both of them at the same time. On the right, my dream lobby. You know, if I ever have a home that has a LOBBY. The painted ceiling is everything.

More dark moody cabinetry, more tone on tone. All delicious, all lovely, all things I want more of in my home.

THIS CUTE OFFICE NOOK (you know, with some painted cabinetry). And a breezy space filled with charm, a vintage rug, and warm terra cotta tile.

The common uniting thread between all of these? Deep colors, little to no empty wall space, lots of pattern, and heavy vintage influences. I’m dubbing this phase of my design aesthetic – Vintage Traditional Maximalism.

In the end, I think I’m truly more of a design enthusiast that is just experiencing some design discontent. Working for Emily these past years has taught me that our homes are design playgrounds, ever evolving – just like our own styles. But that comes directly to a head with Mac. All he wants is for our home to be DONE. For me to stop pulling us back and forth, switching directions, and revisiting spaces that are already “finished” so we can just live in them. On the one hand, playing and designing is part of my job. And I really enjoy it. On the other, this house isn’t just mine, and Mac has his own design aesthetic which has been severely underrepresented thus far throughout the house (has anyone ever met me? I’m a steamroller). And to be honest, I’m not sure how to remedy those two different opinions. GRANTED – our house in been in flux for a long time. Once we “finish” one area, we move onto another, and subsequently that “finished” area becomes storage for whatever space we’re having to clear out to work on. And we haven’t really had any downtime to just live with what we have. So maybe I’m just being restless and impatient. I mean, honestly, that’s probably a big part of the problem, haha. It just took writing this whole post for me to get there. THANK YOU FOR SITTING IN ON THIS THERAPY SESSION.

I guess this post doesn’t really have a thesis. But like, who else needs a support group for design discontent? And who has any advice for remedying the design differences between Mac and I? Maybe this is why interior designers go into interior design – designing a space just once isn’t enough!

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3 years ago

Thank you for sharing Sara, and putting words to all this. I agree, i have intentionally changed my feed lately, and I am loving it (I’ve never been in love with white walls, and it has been so exciting to me to, duh, realize there are SO many creative people with great ideas out there.) And your parents’ house (the art and the colors! that tree window!!), and your tv room are two of my favorite EHD rooms ever. Best wishes as you have fun and move forward with your home.

3 years ago
Reply to  Pam

Agree with this (though I still love white walls…). My eyes are bored with the super minimal, neutral aesthetic and my feed has been vastly improved with the addition of different perspectives. I am just into home design for fun and I wondered how the pros handle this- when you get fatigued with a certain look but you’ve… decorated your whole house in that look! I don’t know how to get in touch with what my permanent style is and let that be my guiding light and mix in trends/things I’m into that may be shorter term. It’s much easier with clothes lol.

3 years ago
Reply to  Grace

Also I LOVE your parents’ living room. With how neutral I usually am, this is exactly the right amount of color for my new eyes 🙂 But understand your larger point as well.

3 years ago
Reply to  Grace

As a professional designer, I’d say I personally do things at home that most clients wouldn’t accept. Many people have reactions based in fear – “What will my family/friends/coworkers think if I do what I REALLY want?” or they are not confident in their taste and just go with whatever is “trending.” That insecurity can also lead to feeling like things are “dated” even if they really aren’t, just because the world of Instagram interiors has since moved on to something else, which happens quickly because they need people to keep liking photos and spending money. I am constantly readjusting my space, although I’m not doing so because it feels stale or dated. I also have far less money to spend than most clients do. Overall, I just choose things I love and use my eye for composition to arrange my space. I’m now realizing that most people (including designers) have just been looking at the same sources for years, and only seeing the same type of stuff, so no wonder they are bored or glomming onto trends. It’s also a bit odd to me that most of the “inspiration” photos on this blog are simply of other interiors. If… Read more »

3 years ago

One suggestion in the dining room: the back right corner (first dining room pic) seems really heavy with all the dark colors (at least from the photo) leaning on that spot – the dark color from the tv room, the black plant stand, even the pendant being pulled to the weight of the cabinet and nothing dark on the left side of the room to balance it out. Maybe moving the plant stand to the two painting wall would be enough, otherwise, adding heft with a gallery wall with some darker elements would work to balance it out. I’d say no to curtains, even though I love the French ticking idea, as that would just add more weight to that side of the room.

3 years ago
Reply to  Korina

Yes, that’s what I was thinking too! It felt like adjusting how the dark pieces are spread about the room could really help.

My two cents is that a gallery wall isn’t needed there. But I’m not craving maximalism as much as you are 😉

3 years ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

I think this is more a case of just how the photo looks, probably not the room itself since one would be seeing it from different angles where that would not be the case. I don’t think it concentrates too much dark.

3 years ago
Reply to  Korina

I, too, felt this imbalance. I wondered if the wall with the two art pieces needed more weight-reframing or different pieces.

Sara, I am curious about your choice of dark outlets vs. white. Were you planning to paint the dining room a dark color?

I appreciate this post. I am glad your mom painted the ceiling blue because no matter the trend, she is the one living with it. She can paint the interior white when it is time to sell.

3 years ago
Reply to  Mk

Same thought about the pictures on the left and the outlets. Even painting the frames black would help balance more. Since you are leaning toward darker, more pattern, maybe you could add drapes to the dining room to move more towards that direction.

3 years ago

What a lovely post. I would, respectfully and kindly, challenge you to work on a different title for this blog piece. “Design discontent or design enthusiasm” / “Is a room ever truly finished” does nothing to showcase the beautifully illuminating thoughts and realizations you are highlighting in this piece. “Changing my design perspective” or “opening myself up to new ideas.” Something like that? I feel like this piece started out as “is a room ever truly finished,” but it ended on a much more touching and honest perspective.

3 years ago

I love design maximalism! I was so over white walls even when I noticed the trend years ago.

3 years ago

Oh wow. I couldn’t love this post more, I am going to go back and read this a second time. Loved being taken on this journey- going through a similar thing over here.

I love that you didn’t tie it up into a neat bow- no big resolutions of easy answers- just all the questions. Great post.

Also Wit and Delights new home is such an example of the vibe your talking about. It just exudes warmth and life..

3 years ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

The best journeys are those on wildly creative laneways that turn, weave and change our perspectives along the way.
I really enjoyed seeing your *collected design thoughts* and feel quite inspired after pondering my way through.
Thank you! 😍

3 years ago

This is a great question to explore. I really think design evolves, your taste evolves as you are exposed to more, and you go in and out of phases. In every house I’ve owned, I’ve painted every room a color (rarely neutral). With the white trend going strong for so long, when I redid an extra room to be my sewing room, I painted it white, but the ceiling is sky blue, and the room is filled with sewing and craft stuff, so the white is a nice backdrop. I also think when we spend more time at home, we itch for change. And it might not have anything to do with not liking what we have or the room being unfinished. Our desire for change is like wanting to change our outfit. Sometimes we want to live in lounge clothes and others, we’re in fancy clothes and heels. I also think some of us are more prone to craving novelty in design. I’ve been so thankful for the highlighting of more maximalist design, because I’m craving white less. I fall somewhere in between. I like color, lots of color, but grounded with minimal, neutral accessories. And after having a… Read more »

Kristine C.
3 years ago

Design discontent / design enthusiam. Wow. You nailed this article! For those of us with these “afflictions”(?), the struggle is real. I re-did our living/dining room TWO years ago, and I still feel it’s not quite done! Sometimes I think, What is wrong with me? It looks lovely, it looks like “us/me”, our family fits in the rooms, it’s “just fine”. But I can’t shake the feeling. Thank you for putting into words what’s going on in my head! Certainly your rooms are all stunning and wonderful just the way they are. But if you asked 10 designers their opinions on what could change/enhance in the room, you’d get 10 different opinions (including yours). And probably none of them would be wrong, although some may not be “you and Mac”. Speaking of which, my husband pretty much gives me carte blanche on decorating our house, and for that I’m eternally grateful, except for the times I could really use his opinion. Not to mention that most people’s design aesthetic changes over time, usually amped and swayed by trends and the next big thing. In other words, if you want wallpaper, put it up now because that phase will be gone… Read more »

3 years ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

Yaaaay!!!! Give us a geezer (look)!

3 years ago

I haven’t commented in a long time, but I truly love this article. Probably one of the best and most authentic I have ever read on this site.

3 years ago

This is a great article, Sara! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I echo the sentiments about white walls – I thought I liked them bc it has been such a trend for so long, and then noticed I only pin pictures of homes with dark, moody walls, like your tv room. White walls makes me feel un-grounded, somewhat anxious, and they look cluttered instantly for me – and for some people it’s the opposite. Good luck with your ongoing reno!

3 years ago

OMG, so glad I’m not alone on this! Really great, insightful article…I’ve always felt that your design aesthetic is closest to mine. Sometimes design discontent/paralysis keeps me up at night. And a huge yes to moving away from white-washing, both literally and figuratively. White walls have bored me to tears for the past several years. Also, PLEASE wallpaper your ceiling!! I’m itching to do that in at least one of our rooms, but I’m scared at how hard it might be and need some insider input 😉

Loveley of
3 years ago

i love the reflection of how you designed your parents’ home. i can tell that i love your mom’s aesthetic. gimme all the colors! i remembered that post. i LOVED that makeover, but my favorite parts were the peeks of colors in the other rooms. especially that yellow entrance. swoon! but we’ve been seeing white so much everywhere that we all start to think that’s the way to go. interesting article 🙂

3 years ago

Loving your thought process, Sara and the design debate at your home. My husband would like me to stop buying more pillows and home decor. My hands still itch when I see gorgeous curtains. My Achilles heel. I can’t help it. I am a maxilalist at heart and have been actually trying to Marie condo myself so that I stop filling my house with paraphernalia. My solution is to buy a bigger house.
Architectural digest lately has a lot of maxillalism going on. Truly vivid rooms. Another recent source has been the movie Emma. The chinoiserie rooms very breathtaking.
I wish I could afford those wallpapers.

It may be an unpopular opinion but I do think that the blog has catered to white choices and audience as far as my memory serves and I am glad the time has come to consider other methods of design.

3 years ago

Sara you have been KILLING IT lately! I am loving your honesty. Sharing your personal experience with design white-washing was really instructive for me. Also, I see your reference to the “primary bedroom.” I am guessing this was a conscious decision because the term “master bedroom” is thought to originate from slave-holding roots. Anyway, thank you!

3 years ago

Thank you so much for this post Sara, your words deeply resonate with me. Not only do I never feel content with a single room in my house but I also discarded a lot of my husband’s design ideas ( ENTJ steamroller over here) and stayed away from bold patterns and colors for so long, fearing design fatigue. Like you, I also realized how white-washed my aesthetic was and it is with great joy that I now follow accounts that are not shying away from patterns and colors. I guess quarantine and the racial equity awakening made me question what I truly liked, not just what’s trendy. Very recently, after hours spent on Pinterest, I stumbled upon EHD’s Parisian Art Deco posts from years ago and I screamed at my screen: THIS IS IT! I’m French, so it probably makes sense that I’m drawn towards that aesthetic but after years living in the US it’s almost like I had forgotten why I loved this style so much and what my identity was. So thank you EHD, for helping me reconnecting with my style and always producing thought-provoking, insightful and beautifully written content!! and yay to vintage maximalism!!!

3 years ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

I’m an ENFJ/P 🤔

3 years ago

I have actually been thinking about this a lot lately and you totally nailed it! The one thing I can contribute is to remember that interior design is an artistic process. Painters have the luxury of finishing a painting and putting it away and starting completely fresh with great ease compared to moving and starting to renovate another home all over again. Interior designers live in their work and because furniture can be so costly, we are constantly moving pieces around, using what we have and adding different pieces to create different environments. As a painter and interior designer, I have been able to give myself grace with the process because I know that we are always growing as artists and trying new things out. That need to keep trying and experimenting with design will always be there. Yes there are times of greater discontent because many of us are so tired of being at home so much, but that is the beauty of the art form. For me it is about the discovery. It is a process and an incredibly fun one at that. The thing that hangs me up the most though, is that it costs so much… Read more »

3 years ago

I agree and look forward to a coming decade of (hopefully) more diverse maximalist aesthetics. This post reminds me of one of Emily’s reflecting on the gorgeous but stark mountain house design.

But I also salute the 2010’s and think that posterity will look upon this decade favorably as one that made near empty rooms and bright white comfortable and homey – instead of just “modern.”

3 years ago

I love this post. I had stopped following a lot of American accounts (I’m European) because they were all so samey. Which is bizarre when you think of what a cultural melting-pot America is. I think you have articulated so well the problem with “mainstream design” as it was up until so recently – it’s the antithesis of creative. And that it would suppress the design instincts that were formed in the home you grew up in, and cause you to think that your mother’s tastes were somehow less aesthetically evolved, is heartbreaking and a true loss. I’m so glad that this can now be fixed (and that your mother has already gotten started!)

I have diversified my feeds more and they have become more more interesting, more exciting and more inspirational. This blog has also become much more interesting to me as it has included other voices and expanded its aesthetic.

I also think it’s a perfect example of how diversity benefits everyone, from creators to consumers, in all areas of life.

Vicki Williams
3 years ago

Do you know this paper company? I’ve just discovered and Wow! is their stuff great! Take a look. I’m just a follower but love wallpaper. Enjoy!

3 years ago

“Unpacking even this one small instance of white-washed design has been difficult.” THANK YOU for being so vulnerable…it’s got me thinking about ways I’ve perhaps done the same in other aspects of my life.

3 years ago

Loved this Heart felt post!

Quickly- your home looks lovely- especially that TV room. I get why you feel that room’s DONE. It feels grounded.

That sense of “groundedness” feels elusive to me re: the dining room. I love the darker hutch and it makes me wish your dining room table were weightier in the space. To provide the balance or groundedness that to me is about missing with the lighter (color and weight-wise) dining room set.

This is a great and amusing post- great design fodder for us all.

3 years ago

I think you hit on an important point: because of your work you are constantly exposed to design possibilities. Seems like you have a choice to embrace that as a potential catalyst for never-ending tweaking or embrace the self-discipline to name it for what it is and choose to ignore applying it to your own environment. We have to be conscious of the power we have to choose to be content with what is versus always thinking about what could (should) be.

3 years ago

There is something pleasant about modern farmhouse design esthetic and coloring, but it’s leaning too traditional for me. And your dining room and living room are closely related to that style as well. I don’t know if it’s just in the photo but dining room could be better if you had contrast between your dining table and cabinet. It’s visually messy. If you paint your walls darker/add wallpaper you might get more harmony, less visual clutter because you’ll create a more uniform background. I feel discontent only when I am still missing some furniture or decorations, when I seem to accumulate clutter, or when I simply don’t like some of the pieces I own. In those cases it’s easier to figure out the problem, however it may be more difficult to buy a piece that is within my price range and has the right proportions to be included in the space.

3 years ago

I’m not quite sure how you manage to do such colorful rooms in such a classic way. They look timeless and yet current. There isn’t a room in your home that I wouldn’t want for my own. I love your style and your creativity is off the charts!

Megan Munday
3 years ago

You know that moment when you fall in love with a writer? Well, it’s happening IRL over here.

3 years ago

Sara, have you considered adding wainscotting to the dining room? You might paint it a rich dark color and add the wallpaper you crave above it. It might add the weight the room might be missing.
I loved this post. Even though my own style is more neutral and minimal I want to see more diversity and creativity in design. How sad if everyone’s home looked the same.

3 years ago

“Figuring out what is just an infatuation versus what feels true to my identity and will be a long term appreciation can be really difficult.”

I am actively trying to find an answer to this. I have followed bloggers and DIYers for the past decade, but now I am seeking out established designers who, in my opinion, are less driven by trends. I am finding more overall variety but also validation when my preferences don’t match up with what is mainstream.

3 years ago

This is a beautiful meditation (especially regarding your mom’s taste). But consider our spending culture that constantly says things (rooms, bodies, work output) aren’t “good enough.” The hunt for the “just right” accessory/chair/texture is cycle of purchase after purchase (OMG the Emily living room rug!). Might be worth sitting with the need for the house to “be better”. Your home is beautiful. Of course you can change it, but I think the bigger question is – will you ever be able “rest” with this project unless you confront feelings of false inadequacy? I’m struggling with this myself (especially during covid) and trying to take all my stir crazy out on paint touch ups and spring cleaning.

Michael Jackie
3 years ago

The room was beautifully decorated. I immediately decided to buy myself a few wall murals: decor /. Product price is not cheap but in return, the pictures are very nice and quite good.

3 years ago

Really thoughtful introspection on how your internal bias subconsciously affected the design of your parent’s home, steering it away from your mother’s ‘minority’ influence and cultural preferences. Thank you for sharing

3 years ago

I’ve spent a lot of time scraping wallpaper off ceilings and it sucks! Please do the next homeowner a favor and don’t wallpaper a ceiling.

3 years ago

Sara, such a great post! Indepth, vulnerably honest, exciting and inspired!!!
You have such a great humanity in your writing.

I wonder if you painted the wall with the two large artworks a 25% pigment of the colour of your TV room?! It’ll be more subtle, muted, but connect things together. The eye isdrawn into the otherendwhere your TV room is and it would give time to pause, take it in andthen move onto the tasty treats in the other rooms.

It’s really an amazing way to connect spaces, without repeating the exact same colour. Have a play with a sample pot of 25% pigment…I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprisedand maybe a little tempted?? 🤗

3 years ago

Our living room is still in need of major wall repair and fresh paint (bought 3 years ago). I hung up paintings before anything else and the deep sad grey made my work instantly better and I suddenly saw the grey as background. I change the wall around before and after every show. I painted most other spaces in the house immediately, but this one eludes me. Pick a similar grey tone, or a deep color, or lighten up? I’m just leaving it for now! Painting was challenging. My husband insisted we have color and he loves distressed wood) and I was leaning hard into white (and woods- very Scandinavian) I remembered Emily’s show and looked at how she worked with the differing ideas. I found her book and we quizzed: me (Scandi), him 70s (but my interpretation of that is the woodworking folks like from Shelter that were reusing random stuff: hippy carpenter) AND he’s spent many years in Mexico and likes Color. So all the walls (except my art studio) have pastel colors, but the furniture has smooth wood finishes, and we are both content (if not close to finished). Art makes such a difference. I love that… Read more »

3 years ago

I have lots of white walls and I love that they impart a wonderful light and airy feel. I also love color; on walls, on cabinets, in area rugs and upholstery. The only issue with throwing up a certain wallpaper or paint color or something is that inevitably, you will get sick of it and want to start over. Bleh. But if you do it mostly yourself, it’s not too much cost.

3 years ago

I’ve always loved the rooms that had the same pattern on the wallpaper and also on the bedding and the lampshades. The ultimate maximalism. I only ever see it in extremely wealthy homes featured in Architectural Digest or castles in England.

I love this discussion about embracing who we truly are, design-wise, instead of trying to conform to what is trendy. I’ve struggled with this myself (and wrote about it on other EHD posts), but I almost bought a new couch from CB2 instead of sticking with my beautiful 1930’s couch simply because Victorian is not really in at the moment. In the end, I decided it was ridiculous to buy something new and definitely of lesser quality than my second empire gem…Now I am hoping to buy a farmhouse in Maine and while I know I am going to have plenty of the Maine/New England aesthetic vibe, I am also really interested in mixing in some mid-century Italian design or Parisian Art Deco….I think truly exciting spaces reflect the personality of the owner (and respect basic color theory rules lol).

3 years ago

I absolutely love the dining room with its white rug! And the white brick fireplace in the living room makes me wish I could paint my rock fireplace white! Everything looks so open and airy!