On the surface, my interior and fashion style has changed a lot over the last 4 years. For someone who expresses a lot of their personality through their style, this has been a tad tricky at times. Many readers have commented on my style change and I've promised for years to write a blog post about it, and here if finally is.
When I first started to feel drawn to a different style, I first resisted it, then questioned everything. Choosing a pencil case would be the cause of an extended philosophical private essay about why it could represent my deepest core. Paint colours sent me into a spin and choosing a rug caused a mild aneurism. I mean, who am I if I no longer know what colour plant pot I like?! It may seem frivolous but ultimately the stuff we wear and the way we live in our homes says a lot about who we are, so it's important to think about it, to get it right, to feel happy with it. I'm also a stylist, so not only is this stuff important to my personal life, it affects my work too. So when you suddenly aren't quite sure what you like anymore it can be a little discombobulating, and can quickly spiral into not being sure who you even ARE. Especially if you're a little bit prone to be tad dramatic. Ahem. SO I have pulled together a two part blog post telling the story of my style change and some of the mistakes I made along the way. In the second post I have compiled my tips for navigating a style change yourself, utlising some of the lessons I learned along the way. Because change is no bad thing, my friends, when done right.
You ready for this?!
The story of my style change:
Our London House
In London my style was fairly set for nearly 10 years. It was weathered and colourful, cluttered and homely. (It was in Homes & Antiques, and Apartment Therapy- the pic above is from Apartment Therapy). It fit our pre baby, slightly chaotic life perfectly. We worked in the day and were out in the evenings and at the weekends. We balanced after work drinks with trying to keep a veg patch (called Reg- anyone remember my blog that far back?!) We spent our weekends rummaging around junk markets and exploring galleries and museums. We had people over a lot and hosted some memorable parties and dinners. This flat was where I finished my degree, had my first couple of jobs, conceived and brought home our first baby and lived as a family of 3 for 18 months. It was a happy, fun filled and chaotic time in our lives. Then we were priced out of London and wanted to live closer to family, so took the gut wrenching, but ultimately right decision to move to Kent. Our decluttering began at this point. It felt good! And right!
Faversham house #1
When we first moved, we tried to replicate our style in the new house, Except it was built in the 15th century and had more beams than you could shake a stick at which meant the bright colours never really worked. I realised then that a more neutral palette would suit the house better. I started to introduce a lot of plants and natural treasures from our walks around Kent, but the plan to neutralise stooped there because we were unexpectedly chucked out of our house. Eek! So we put everything in storage and took the opportunity to go travelling for 5 weeks (life changing- see below), then stayed with friends and were basically homeless for 4 months.
The big epiphany
During our 5 week European adventure in our bell tent, we drastically re thought much of the way we were living. We realised that you simply didn't need loads of stuff to make you happy. That a simple tent and few practical additions were all you needed. We realised that our little family unit was the most important thing in our lives, and the thing we wanted to protect and prioritise as much as possible. We realised we wanted to live in closer community with our wider family too, and create more of a 'village'.
Simplicity. Thoughtfulness. Family.
So we took up a rental agreement with the house next door to Dave's sister. It was much smaller and less impressive than the last one but it enabled us to live a better (much better, it turns out), communal life and helped us to save toward buying our first house.
Faversham house #2- our current home:
We spent the first month stripping floors and wallpaper and painting walls and floors. We fell in love with the empty house, then we moved what felt like a tidalwave of 'stuff' in from storage. It felt like we were drowning. Looking at all the stuff we'd put in storage with my new perspective was exhausting. I didn't want over half of it.
So out it went. We gave two thirds of our stuff away, sold tons more, and set up home with simple living in mind. My personal style by this point was in free fall. I knew I didn't want all the clutter and bright colours, and had stripped our possessions right back. I thought a good transition between our bright, colourful London house and the more minimal house I wanted, was to go for the monochrome look. It was still bold but more minimal. Great! So I took steps to incorporate it into my home. But it turns out it wasn't right for me, and was only a stepping stone to the style I ultimately have ended at. A mistake for me, but one I learned a lot from.
My style now?
Our style is still settling; I'm still experimenting with colour for example. You can still see elements of monochrome but the overall looks is much softer, more colourful and textured. But the desire for simplicity and need for de-cluttering have stayed firmly put, hopefully for always. We both feel so much calmer with less 'stuff' around the house. Clearer book shelves and surfaces. Neat, non bulging cupboards. Little on the walls. A light colour palette. What's left are objects and furnishings we really love and bring joy. I am innately a colour lover so an all white house isn't for me. Instead, the colour is more subtle now. It is found in the soft furnishings, the plant pots, the artwork. (I currently love rich, jewell colours; jade, brown, mustard, navy and green.) Texture and patina are still king, second hand and ethical shops are still a priority. I still love white walls as a neutral backdrop for changing tastes and styles, as I have in all of my houses over the last 10 years.
Are you still with me?! High fives if so! Keep an eye out on the blog tomorrow because I'm going to share part 2: my tips for navigating a style change in a soulful meaningful way.