THE THINGS THAT MATTER: NATE BERKUS STYLE

After much anticipation, Nate Berkus’ The Things that Matter is available today (you can grab your copy here!) and after reading an excerpt via Reader’s Digest, now with heart a little more constricted, I have every intention of picking up a copy for myself.

It’s amazing, the story our home can tell. I’ve been arranging and rearranging furniture and nick knacks for years – actually, since I was just old enough to walk and barely strong enough to drag my doll houses and stuffed animals across the room. I would create my child-size story by arranging and rearranging my dolls, by heaving my little kitchenette around until I found the perfect corner to set it in, and when I was finished with my room, I’d move on to my little sister’s room and start all over again.

Regardless of your age, or the size of your home, or the money you have (or don’t have) to fill it, your home becomes a fragment of you: who you were, who you are now, who you love and have loved, and the places you’ve been along the way. Your home is your own little corner of the world for you to make your mark on and your safe-haven in which you can surround yourself with all the little things that matter. When I was a wee one, the things that mattered were my two favorite Popples, my Strawberry Shortcake collection (particularly Strawberry Shortcake, Raspberry Tart, and Lemon Meringue), and my brother’s He-Man collection, which I would consistently steal for my own and arrange quite nicely around my room.

Now that I’m a little older and wiser….I’d like to think the things that matter have become a little more thoughtful. Here are just a few things that matter to me:

The Little Things - Books

A vintage poetry book collection given to me by a dear friend many years ago.

The Little Things - Wine Corks

Perhaps a little silly, but my collection of wine corks from bottles of wine that I drank with family and friends.

The Little Things - Griffin Drawing

The first drawing my nephew ever made for me (love the photo next to it as well, taken in Croatia).

The Little Things - Boston T

This little Boston Terrier statue, purchased at a flea market for my husband, because he desperately wants a Boston T as our second dog. I surprised him with this guy instead – it makes me giggle.

The Little Things - Trunk

This trunk was first owned by my grandfather to hold his military uniforms, then passed on to my own father to hold his own military uniforms – it has travelled throughout the US, to Japan, to Germany, and back again. It was painted this orange color by my dad when he was much younger, to give it a bit of personality, which makes me laugh because it’s hideous! For some reason, I’ve wanted this trunk since I was little, and it was finally given to me a couple of years ago. My husband and I have converted it into a filing cabinet, we now just need to find or build a base for it!

The Little Things - Chalkboard

This chalkboard was the first thing my husband and I built together, built out of old, weathered wood found behind the shed of our very first home. (Ha- and you can see paint samples on the back wall of our kitchen. Obviously we will be repainting soon.)

These – and a dozen more pieces that I don’t want to bore you with – hold so much meaning and so many memories and these are exactly the things I choose to build my story with. It isn’t the things that count, but the memories behind them. They are a reflection of who I am, who I love, and where I come from; they impart a feeling of love, laughter, and happiness. They are me and this is my story.

So tell me, what’s your story?

THE PROUST QUESTIONAIRE: WHAT’S YOUR FASHION STYLE?

I’ve never considered myself a fashionista – I’m a pretty down home kind of gal with a classic sense of style. Kind of like JCrew on a Kohl’s budget with a pinch of rocker chic. I love black, I love white, I love sequins, I love the occasional leopard print, and I love the just-skinny-enough jean that doesn’t make my ass look like it’s been run over by an 18-wheeler…

Ok, perhaps I’ve got a bit of a complex – but don’t we all? Of course, if I had a personal tailor and custom made clothes (and let’s not forget the hair stylist!), I think I’d be pretty awesome. In my head, I might actually have a decent sense of style…if I had a body like Blake Lively or Jessica Biel, I’d be golden (because how could I possibly NOT look good??). But somehow, what I have in my head doesn’t quite transform into reality.

You see, in my head I look like this:

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Simple, stylish, and totally rockin’ – and I’m loving that Frenchie! Via The Blonde Salad.

Trench + pop of color + nude pumps = pure perfection. Via Atlantic – Pacific.

Sequin love!

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Oh yes, have I mentioned that I love fedoras? And the boyfriend blazer is divine! Via Appleday.tumbler.com.

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Which leads me right back to this.

But in reality I look a little something like this…

Thanks for making me feel a little better about myself Man Repeller!

So tell me, what’s your fashion style? A little Rachel Bilson meets Ashley Olsen? Or Audrey Hepburn meets Katie Perry? Or perhaps strictly Olivia Palermo everything? Feel free to send pictures my way and I’ll share my favorites next week!

THE YEAR’S LAST, LOVELIEST SMILE…(AND THE PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE)

Somehow, right before the changing of the leaves, everything seems to look exceptionally green. Perhaps it’s the daunting amount of rain we received over the last week, or perhaps the crisper, cleaner, cooler air is infusing new life into the world – or perhaps it’s just me?

Backyard 8.27

Backyard Macro 8.27Mattie-Poo

(Nope. Pup – aka Ms. Mattie-Lu Poo – seems to be enjoying the oncoming Fall weather as much as I am!)

For me, the coming of Fall definitely pulls at the soul. I love summer, but so often it can feel stifling, sticky, hot. But Autumn, oh sweet Autumn! It brings with it a sense of freedom, a cleansing of the air that feels fresh and carefree. As William Cullen Bryant stated so well, Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile…

…and I couldn’t agree more.

The impending Autumn has not only infused life into the world around me, it also seems to have infused this life into me – a spark that I so desperately needed. Yeah, let’s just say that it’s been a rough month. I’m looking forward to smiling again!

Tell me, what is your favorite season and why?

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Speaking of smiling, I must share with you my favorite room from last Monday’s question: What is your go-to design style and why?

Jessica, over at Jess in Belgium, sent me a link of this Stockholm apartment and I simply can’t get enough of it! This is what Jess said…

I grow equally enamored and frustrated by what I would call a eclectic design style. I never seem to be able to make up my mind. At least a few things are constant: I am not afraid of color, I love comfort and seem to fall back on the fact that a little bit of simplicity goes a long way.  I saw this photo on Dustjacket Attic some time ago and keep coming back to it as a favorite. I love the few touches of both fancy (the chandelier, the chair, the green curtains in the second room) and character (the personal decorations in the bookshelves, the well-placed plants, the simple wood floors). I love the scattered touches of green and blue. But most of all, I love the windows. Once I eventually get the courage together to buy a house, windows will be a must.

Here’s more of the eye candy:

(Love the little fireplace!)

If I could create an apartment that exemplifies the current season; the end of summer brashness combined with the fresh, natural quality of fall – this would be it. It’s simple, crisp, yet eclectic and bold in all the right places. I love the natural light, the large windows, the vintage touches…

But there are two things that really get me:

1. The touches of green throughout – it brings the outdoors in and immediately puts a smile on my face.

2. The bay window area in the living room. It creates a clean, light, and airy feel to the space and then….

BAM! A dark, bold, in your face pattern. The juxtaposition is incredible.

Jess, thanks so much for sharing! The rest of you should head on over to her blog – she’s got such a fun and quirky perspective and I just love reading about her European adventures!

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).