Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Decoration Final Exam


The apartment is an utter disaster area... I think I have pulled out every decorating magazine I own...and that's a lot of magazines! They are everywhere! Next to the bed, next to the couch, the dining room table, the bathroom, the office... I must figure out some way to organize it all...but nothing has come to me yet.

Today at lunch as I was sketching out the layout of the first floor of the house I realized there were way too many things I wanted and not enough money to go around. I started thinking about when Alex moved to L.A. and how she decided to spend her money only on the things she thought were most important to her. Is this something I can do?

For as long as I've dreamed about being an interior designer I've also dreaded the moral guilt I've created that goes along with it. The more I want to decorate the more I get down on myself for being materialistic and shallow. It is a completely self constructed problem I've created. I know in my heart that good design does not have to cost a lot of money and that there are millions of great designers out there who create beauty with the simplest of objects. Then again I read so many magazines and in these magazines I see so many beautiful objects that can only be aquired at a cost. I try to convince myself that interior design isn't about acquiring objects, especially expensive objects. It is about the visual imagery and emotional response that is created by the combination of interior elements. For some it is truly an art form. The room is the canvas and the fabrics, wallpaper, paint, pillows, rugs, pictures, vases, candles, floors, windows, etc are all just the paints put onto the canvas.

Then again, as someone who loves good design and someone who has coveted good design for so long there are some things I want to say visually that I can't do inexpensively....and that is frustrating. Sometimes having good taste is a curse! I do think my impatience also plays a large part in all of this internal drama, along with worrying about money. My favorite aesthetic by far is using vintage, antique and found pieces but finding those pieces takes time.... and it is never quite quick enough to satisfy me.

Thinking about decorating this house is causing all sorts of stress and excitment in me. I've been dreaming for YEARS about having a space that I could do anything I wanted. No more boring white walls!! I can paint any color I want! So many ideas are fighting their way out of my brain it just feels like chaos. And more guilt... worrying about re-sale value is another thing that has me thinking about censoring my creative urges.

Part of me feels like this is a long awaited exam.... that if I can't decorate my own home I shouldn't go back to school to be a designer. This is an incredible amount of pressure my ego is putting on me, no wonder I feel stressed to the max!!

Andrew leaves for NY tomorrow... it's not great timing because he will miss the inspection and we are still trying to work out things with the lender and insurance. However, part of me is looking forward to a little alone time.... After 3 intense weeks of house shopping and negotiations together I can have some time to myself to clean up the apartment, organize my internal decoration final exam, and organize my thoughts...


shaili said...

Congrats on finding a house. Looking forward to seeing your new place. Of course the magazines have expensive stuff in them. Part of the whole point of magazines is to create desires for things that others are selling. I think the funniest magazine I saw was one that was a $5 voluntary simiplicity magazine with a cover article about how to spend less money. Seems the real place to start there was not buy the magazine.

I think the tension you talk about of wanting beautiful design and worrying about that desire being shallow is really honest. How do you follow a pursuit you love while still being true to your environmental ethics? So many people ignore the tensions with in themselves and give up either the passion for something or rationalize away the ethical dilema.

I say don't worry about the resale value of your house. That to me is a bogus worry that society creates that turns everything into "wise financial planning" and ignores the other values of living in your own home...Worry about what you want to live with. There is cookie cutter strip mall everywhere. Enjoy the fact that you can have a house that is unique to your tastes and doesn't have to conform to universal bland taste that's univerally saleable!

funkyjunkie said...

i agree w/ shaili ... don't worry about resale value. you will live there & need to enjoy it ... it'll be your home! i can guess that you'll be taking care of your new home & making it very much yours, and that alone is the best thing for said *resale value* ... :)

oh, and another thing, one step at at time ... it is overwhelming. we've realized that we'll be in our house for some time, so all the projects we want to do (and there is always a list!) will happen as the money does. just enjoy it. :)

Lucy Tartan said...

Magazines are a little like junk food aren't they? Not very satisfying however enticing they look.

Is there a good library nearby to you Sara? We don't have anything like enough money to buy things like art and design books so I borrow a lot from the library. True, you don't get to keep cuttings, but there are ways around that (digital cameras etc)

Anyway, I really really hope you enjoy having your own place to decorate, and I think I understand that it must sometimes feel like a heavy responsibility. We have lived in rented places for so long that i've never had to think about it.

Anonymous said...

Dam - sounds like a great experience - enjoy the journey! Hell, the worst thing that happens is that you fail. Based on everything I've read - all of the great people have failed at quite a few things - but, they just look at it as a learning experience and they go on and do great things! You are about to do some great things! You go girl (you too Andrew).