Have you all noticed everyone is offering quizzes to help you define your design style? Have you clicked through some of them? What did you learn?
With time and experience as a decorator I got really clear on my aesthetic. Timeless and on the side of traditional with lots of COLOUR, and a healthy does of leopard prints!
What’s your design style?
And when I went looking for a house, boy was I picky! I wanted a style of home that would suit my decorating style. And I found it! It had a perfectly timeless kitchen, all it needed basically new paint on the walls and new, more timeless bathrooms!
And I’m grateful that I had the luxury of time to shop around. Because we did look at SO many houses that I knew wouldn’t work. They either weren’t my style or would need too much updating. As a result, we were in our last house probably about 4 years too long (below).
But you may not have the luxury of time! Either you’re in a house that’s not your ideal style, or you’re shopping in an area where the options are limited.
Or you might be building a new home and simply not-at-all-clear on what your style really is! I’m here to tell you that figuring out what your aesthetic is, can take some experimentation, so if you’re in doubt, sign up for my new Homeowner’s edition Colour Training, Create your Dream Home to help you figure it out!
All that said, if you’re renovating a home you’re already in, we’ll also be talking about that in Create your Dream Home. And I’ll share this with you now. Chances are, it’s more important to figure out what the style of your home is WAY before you do a quiz to learn about your personal style.
Because most of us live in homes that might not represent our ideal personal style. You can’t pretend your mid century bungalow is a modern farmhouse, or that your transitional home in the suburbs is a Brooklyn Brownstone.
Can home and design styles be mixed?
Yes they can! However, it’s a good rule of thumb that mixing in diverse styles works best in the decorating phase. NOT the renovation phase.
One thing we see all the time in my eDesign department is clients absolutely smitten with a look that in no way belongs in the style of the house they’re working with. And in many situations we are able to help save their home from becoming a mish mash of styles.
For example, no you can’t install traditional wainscotting and modern farmhouse rustic wood floors in a 70s modern brutalist home. Nor can you create a country cottage kitchen in a highly traditional home full of refined millwork details.
Remember just a few years back when everyone was slapping up shiplap in every home with abandon?. The only homes that should really have shiplap are cottage coastal historic rustic homes. And mostly, we’re over fake shiplap right?
Get the millwork right
Millwork details is where this mistake shows up the most.
Like installing too modern or too traditional a cabinet profile to work with the house. Or the wrong fireplace style.
Looking back on this amazing before and after from an eDesign client a few years back illustrates my point perfectly.
They moved into this lovely mid century home with a stone fireplace, warm wood panelling and pretty fretwork characteristic of the time.
The previous owners had “updated” the kitchen with a raised panel kitchen that in NO way related to the style of the house. In a trendy very red wood stain finish (above).
This traditional cabinet profile simply doesn’t belong in a modernist home. And if your wood goes up the wall? It doesn’t work to just stick in the current trendy stain that doesn’t match.
So while this kitchen may have felt more current and more like the previous owner’s “style” – which was really a trend at the time – it didn’t belong in this house.
This is the kind of slab front modern kitchen that should have gone into this house. Makes you wonder if something like this was torn out for the 80s “update”
The style of your home comes first
So the first order of business is to respect the design style of your home. Especially if it is a lovely example of a specific style like this one.
This client wasn’t ready to rip out the kitchen, so colour came to the rescue!
We had her paint her cabinets a pale green grey to relate to her floor tile and stone fireplace, and so that the wood stains no longer fought.
She continued the same colour on the beautiful fretwork detail as well (below).
And then she did just the most amazing job styling her kitchen so we could post it on the blog!
Sometimes colour can save your room
So sometimes colour can save you. Or make it much much better. However, it would have been better if a kitchen that looks like this below would have been installed in the first place.
So before you try to make the house into an image of your style, consider what the style of your house is first.
I cover all this and more about creating a timeless home you’ll love forever in my new Create your Dream Home course!
You’ll learn my colour system so that you know exactly how to coordinate all your finishes and colours for your project. Plus, you’ll get so much insight and direction into creating a timeless home where you won’t have to spin with stressful indecision. And you won’t regret any of your expensive choices.