MONDAY MUSING (AKA THE PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE): YOUR DESIGN STYLE

*As mentioned last week, I’ve decided to base my musings off of a certain Proust Questionnaire, Vanity Fair style.

What is your go-to design style?

Lately, I’ve been really trying to narrow down my design style. I think I now have so many contradicting thoughts and ideas in my head, my style is becoming a bit chaotic. When my husband and I moved into this house a year ago, I had a clear vision – I wanted the modern country farmhouse, the Pottery Barn look-alike…

Newberry Rectangular Coffee Table

(Yes, I actually have this coffee table!)

Of course, once I realized the hole Pottery Barn created in the wallet, my style shifted to a sort of rustic shabby chic – I was drawn to the chippy paint, the distressed woods, and the flea market (cheap!) finds.

Looking Up

(*Sigh*)

I even went so far as to fall head over heels for the full on shabby and dreamy whites…

…but quickly realized that with a dog, a cat, a husband, and the klutz that I am, myself, I would never be able to maintain the clean, crisp, whiteness of it all.

Obviously, I’m still drawn to all of these things, but recently, I also find myself taken in by the colorful, the bold, and the glamorous.

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Incorporating bits and pieces of all of these things, I’d like to define my style as “Modage Cottage” (for all you folks that may have been wondering about the title of my blog!) – a mix of modern vintage (“Modage”) with the light, breezy comfort of cottage living.

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Now if only I could get my own house to look like this!

So how about you? What is your design style – eclectic? Mid-century? Dark and dramatic? Pink and girly? Email me a picture of your favorite room that defines your style, give me a brief description why, and I will share my favorites next Monday (be sure to include a link to the source).

(A LATE) MONDAY MUSING: THE PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE

My week has gotten a bit discombobulated with in-laws in town for a long weekend. They left yesterday evening and I’m now in the process of playing catch-up. So, today I will be writing two posts today and still have quite a bit of homework to do for tomorrow’s post!

(That’s me thinking about my To-Do list…)

To begin: one of my favorite ways to get conversation flowing during cocktail and dinner parties is to pull out a book of questions. Sometimes I physically pull it from my bookshelf, open it to a random question, and let the fun begin. A few good book options….

The Book of Questions

Other times, I mentally pluck out a question: if you could have any career in the world, and money was of no concern, what would it be? Or, who is your favorite fictional character and why? Or, if you could change anything about the human body, what would it be? Or, to get a little more personal, what is your biggest regret?

Of course, this manner of parlor game entertainment goes far beyond modern day dinner parties. In fact, in the early 20th century, it was not uncommon for the host to create a list of questions for the guests to reveal their own tastes and aspirations; hence, The Proust Questionnaire came to life, named (posthumously) after the French novelist, essayist, and critic, Marcel Proust.

Now, you may recognize The Proust Questionnaire from a much more modern publication called Vanity Fair, and concurrently as a book also published by Vanity Fair called Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire: 101 Luminaries Ponder Love, Death, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life.

(A great coffee table book, and an excellent source of questions for your own dinner party!)

Needless to say, having your own Proust Questionnaire at the ready is highly recommended for your next hosted party, and even more so, it may particularly come in handy if seated next to a dud at the dinner table

As for myself, I am going to treat today’s Monday Musing and Musings going forward like one big dinner party! To get to know my guests/readers a little better, I will pose a Proust-like question for you each week, and of course, provide you with an answer to my own question. Let’s get started!

What is your greatest extravagance?

My response: Well, it depends on what you define as extravagance. I’m not terribly financially extravagant, and would much prefer to build and craft my lifestyle in a frugal manner – although it doesn’t always seem to work out that way and somehow, I still find myself with extravagant tastes (at least my credit card think so…)! I like to view extravagance much more emotionally and think my greatest extravagance is “Me” time. I often feel guilty for it, but I enjoy my privacy and very much like to be alone…

How about you? What is your greatest extravagance?

MONDAY MUSINGS: FURNISHING A HOME

I’ve lived in my home for about a year and a half now, and for the most part, it has all the necessities that make a home comfortable: a couch, curtains, dining table and chairs, bedroom furniture, a few pictures on the walls, books on the shelves, etc. However, the house is far, FAR from finished (although, a home is never really finished, is it?) and aside from the many furniture items and accessories that are still needed, I’d love to replace many of the items we already have…

Yes, I readily admit, I’m one of those crazy women that is constantly moving furniture around, adding new accessories, removing old ones, tossing some and painting others. And committing to a piece of furniture for more than a year? Forget it! (Sorry honey)

Unfortunately, I’m quickly realizing that furnishing a home is not cheap. A single rug can cost thousands of dollars, a few pieces of decent artwork: another thousand, custom curtains for a single window can be a couple hundred big ones, and curtain panels and rods for an entire room yet another few hundred…I think you catch my drift here.

This is exactly why I began getting a little more crafty – it’s so much easier on the wallet!

Dining Room Shelving 3

This shelving is simply a few Anthropologie brackets and board panels purchased from Lowes which I then stained in Minwax Ebony, painted in Annie Sloan’s Old White, hand distressed, and finished with Minwax wax in natural. I collected most of the ironstone from flea markets and junktique stores – the entire collection cost under $70.

Dining Room Chalk Board

This Pottery barn inspired chalkboard takes up a huge chunk of wall in my dining room and cost me no more than $25 (for the mitre box). The wood was free – left behind the shed in my backyard by the previous owners of the home.

Bar 2

This wall gallery above the bar in my dining room is a collection of frames mostly purchased from Michael’s at a 40% – 60% discount. (You can see that I still haven’t filled all of the frames! And a few of them are a wee bit crooked…)

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This bread board rack in my kitchen was quickly made with an old weathered piece of wood and a few hooks purchased from Lowes for about a $1 a piece. The letters for “EAT” were a $2 a piece purchase from Michael’s that I spray painted.

Unfortunately, for all the money that I save, I want to spend 5 times over! My living room is an excellent example….

Living Room Changes

1. Wall Art Gallery  2. Faux Bougainvillea Branch x5    3. Kensington Sofa   4. Sofia Chair    5. Caden Nailhead Stool x2   Grand Total = $3,712!

This doesn’t include the curtains and entertainment unit I desperately want to replace, and another piece of wall art I want to include on the wall opposite of the future wall gallery!

Yes, transforming a house into a home definitely takes its toll on the wallet, and lots and lots of patience…

What do you think are the priority big ticket items? And how have you otherwise managed to furnish your home on the cheap?

MONDAY MUSING: PAINTING THE WORLD WITH COLOR

Event design, interior design, and fashion are very similar creatures – which is exactly why I love them all! They are all a form of interactive art, a play on personality, a form of expression, and a means to add color and beauty into daily living.  These aspects are what make life bareable and what makes each individual so outwardly unique.

When you walk into a home, you are walking into a glimpse of another life; you are viewing someone else’s memories, dreams, and daily struggles. When you pass an individual on the street, you are getting a preview of who they are now and who they want to be; you are viewing someone else’s stature in society, their aspirations and their insecurities. When you step into an event, you are stepping into a personal and privileged celebration; you become a part of someone else’s vision and benefit to their mission.

These are just some of the ways we choose to paint the world:

1

Roksanda Ilincic dress, Kelly Wearstler interior

2

Carolina Herrara Dress, Katie Ridder interior

3

Stefano Pilati of Yves Saint Laurent dress (which he is now no longer a part of), Robert Stilin Interior

Lime Green

Versace dress, event via here, interior via Pinterest

Black and White

Christian Dior dress, cupcake via, interior via

So tell me, how do you add your own splash of color?

MONDAY MUSINGS: THE BIG BLACK BOX

TV

I have a love-hate relationship with my TV – I think most people do. I love it when I need it, otherwise, I’d be happy to throw the damn thing right out the window! Nevertheless, it remains in tact and in the same location, but it’s a heck of an eye sore.

Now, I pour over design and decorating blogs on a daily basis, looking for ideas and inspiration – for blog posts, definitely, but also for my own home, which is an ever-evolving headache project. I come across beautiful images, amazingly creative DIY endeavors, budget-friendly finds, and everything in between….EXCEPT when it comes to the dreaded television. Where is everyone hiding it?!

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Doesn’t seem to be a TV in here…

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…or in here.

Living room with glass accents

Definitely not in here (but I do love that chippy coffee table!).

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Perhaps in here?

Dear Lillie Living Room

Aha! Maybe….?

I do understand that most editorial shots are taken at angles specifically to omit this eye sore, but let’s face it, we all watch TV and have at least one or two floating around the house. It’s actually a breath of fresh air to see a TV in a room! I suppose it humanizes it a little.

(I’m actually looking for an entertainment unit / converted buffet or dresser very similar to this one!)

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living room

May/Jun 2011

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This is my recently painted, but not quite finished living room (still need to get pics back up on the wall!)  – hideous black boxes and all. That entertainment unit is such a nightmare!

What do you think? Would you rather see portions of a room with the television omitted, or would you prefer to see the layout of the whole room, eyesore and all? How is your own TV displayed?