Saturday, June 26, 2010

fickle pickle

Ever get confused about your decorating style?

I'm feeling a little confused about what makes me GASP! and that feeling is what always propels my decor style. Please buckle-up and scroll with me as I ramble and ask: Are all of the styles I'm combining working together? {Did I mention that I just drank a cup of coffee? Bear with me.}

First, I wanted my dining room to look like this Pottery Barn photo. With some new-house-gift money from my parents, I purchased much of what you see in this pic (except we went with a different table). Much was on sale, too!

Then I saw this photo in Romantic Country and decided to paint the walls a pale green and bring in florals and eyelet and hang pretty plates on the walls. {Read more}

Then last night while enjoying some blogging time, I saw this image over at fabric designer Tanya Whelan's blog and my heart skipped a beat! Aqua + cherry red + white!

And today I am crushing over this photo at Maria's Dreamy Whites blog and find myself quite smitten by the elegant simplicity of it all.

Look at Maria's living room. She's got me thinking: where can I fit a mantle in my little cottage?

Here's my own dining room.

I hope I am finding a happy medium or common ground between all of these styles that make me GASP. The shabby whites, the pale aquas, the beach-cottage feel, the faded prints of Cabbages & Roses, the cheery florals of Cath Kidston and Tanya Whelan, farmhouse chic, groovy Anthropologie, Swedish, Atlanta Bartlett. I could probably go on!

Look at this photo from Tracey at French Larkspur! My neighbor has a ladder behind her shed. I keep thinking: if she doesn't need it, wouldn't it be so cool to use in my living room? Or would my boys end up turning it into a fort or a weapon of destruction? I wonder if it's covered in spiders? {Remember: coffee-fueled post}

Thoughts, tips, advice welcome!


Please be sure to enter my giveaway over at Where Women Create.

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has visited my guest post at WWC so far and left the dearest comments for/about me. I can't even explain how much your warm and supportive thoughts and cheers are appreciated. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.



Katy Noelle said...

Oh, goodness, how funny! I shouldn't be at the computer at the moment but, being crushed with the very same conundrum, I came to the magic white box for some inspiration (and distraction). However.....

I've been in this dilemma for two years, now. Ever since we moved, in fact. The deal is that, in the old victorian cottage parsonage, I had the decor that my husband had industriously put up in the year before I had met him - his first year there. I've heard that it's a good thing that he did SOMETHING. It seemed that the good ladies of the church, 50 years before, had wanted to get the house ready for a new pastor. It looked like they had divvied the rooms up and said, "Agnes, you take the living room! Gertrude, you take the dining room and I'll take the bathroom," etc.(Names have not been altered to protect the identities of those involved!) THEN, they all went and got their leftover cans of horrid orange, bright blue, hot pink and slapped those colors on the wall - regardless of the fact that there are no doors - every room opens to another. Absolute blech! We have since had it confirmed that that is indeed what happened!

Anyway, I'm rambling and leaving a novel. The point is, the only thing that I could do was just lighten up the masculine wallpaper that my husband had agonizingly put on the walls - navy blue and khaki paisley. At least it all matched! I never had a chance to choose my style. THEN, I moved here. Who am I? What am I going to do with all the shtuff that I pulled together to make those rooms work? (Can't buy new - pastor's salary, remember? =])

I kept trying to be correct and do what the magazines told me. I tried to choose a style and stick to the rules. I tried to make my style appropriate to my house. I mean, I'm a girl who owns and reads from cover to cover, books on interior design. I finally decided that I couldn't decide but, Laura Ashley, french, belgium (Pottery Barn), cottage, the sets from JA novels set to the movies, swedish, cottage and grand - they're all my styles. Oops! Don't forget that I LOVE craftsmen style and colonial.

After several months of craziness, I decided that I would just go with what works in my individual room. i.e. What does this room need? warmth, simplifying, more character, knick knacks, brightening, depth, spacial help? Then, I let go of all the things that I want to be like. I just let them simmer. Then, I go shopping or looking or considering and try to listen very carefully to what *I* absolutely love and plug it in (considering the grand scheme of things, of course - i.e. does it "match" the couch - do I care?) My brain - the computer - does the calculation - and - ding - out comes the solution for that space. Then, friends come over and say, "cool! Your style is kinda like pottery barn meets Laura Ashley." OH! Is that my style - I couldn't figure it out? It really works!

Try letting the ol' subconscious in your conk make the decision. Well, anyway, that's what I've been doing and it's working.

You just happened to have hit on my very favorite subject of the last couple of years.....

Love, Kate

Katy Noelle said...

Elyse, am I crazy? I can't tell!

BTW, I LOVE all the photos - those wonderful rooms - including your own dear cottage - that you've shared with us!

Connie said...

WOW, Katy Noelle did write a novel, but I'm sure glad she did. I've had the same conundrum, sugar. What do I do because I absolutely love it ALL! My home would probably drive a serious interior designer right into counseling. But do I care? Nuuuuu, because I love what I do with my house. I think anyone but the "Hollywood" types have a limited budget. I know we do. But I'd rather have a house that Love Bunny, kids, grandkids and great-grandkids (Squeeeeeesllling with delight at the recent birth of Caroline Isabella - our first great grand!) love than all the money that "proper decorating" could buy for this humble little house. I combine a lot of so-called styles but it comes right down to what I love, what Love Bunny can live with, and not too far out for the Idaho contingent around here. I still am looked at perplexingly around here by the locals. Hey, I am from California, ya know.

Bottom line, do what you love and change every few years—gradually so as to not bust the budget, chick. We all need a bit of freshening up of our abodes every so often. BTW, your cottage is absolutely stunning and adorable, sugar!!!!


Cindy said... seem to have your own style..just go with it..what makes your heart race when you see it practical for your lifestyle...I think the aqua and red in small touches with what you have would be delicious.simplify!!

Can't wait to see the end results!

Cindy from Rick-Rack and Gingham

Jill said...

I have the same issue... so many styles that I love, and how to mesh them together so that they flow.
I love what Kim at Daisy Cottage says-- something like just go with what makes your heart sing. Don't worry about what it "should be"-- just go with what makes you happy. When I read her thoughts, it was comforting to me. Really, shouldn't we surround ourselves with what we love?
I love your sweet cottage-- it's authentic to YOU and that's what matters!
PS: I want to steal your kitchen chairs-- I love them!

The Polka Dot Closet said...

OK I am not a decorator, but I think if it is all in the same color hue it will all go together. I think it looks great. Now, I am heading over to WWC to enter your giveaway!


Scrap for Joy said...

I always blame the ADD in me for being so indecisive about certain things. It takes me 15-30 minutes to know if I love a house or a car or some other major item...but paint colors? Takes me upwards of a year to decide. I always think I want to go with color on the walls and then I end up with some shade of taupe or cream or putty! Of course I change out the accessories each season so for me a neutral palette works the best. You have a keen eye for what looks wonderful with what! I have loved every room in your home that I've seen on your blog. When you walk into one of your rooms do you say "I love to be in here because..."? Do what makes you smile's worked great for you so far!
(I could live in your made me smile as soon as I peeked in!)

stefanie said...

boy, do I feel your pain...I do the same, I like that, wait thats pretty, oooo now thats pretty...what are we to do! I like how you have used it all.

WinnibriggsHouse said...

Wow I think you must see into my mind. i love all the examples you have shown and am constantly torn between Shabby chic, Seaside, CK and swedish styles. I do think you are on the right lines though. Your kitchen and Lounge look great.

Claudia said...

Totally understand this - I get distracted by all the beauty out there. And truth be told, my house is a bit of a mix - that's why I call it eclectic/shabby/country because it is all of those things. I like the all white look - I think its pretty - but it is not practical in my little house with two big hairy dogs and a husband who spills food easily.

In the end, I just put things together that I like and hope it works.


{kara} said...

Hi I am popping over to your blog as a result of you commenting on my circus post! Yes I can TOTALLY relate and I LOVE Your blog and products! Now following you!

Melinda said...

Okay Ladies--that's everyone.
Let's take a step back and read Cindy's comment. She's right...
IF IT WORKS FOR YOU then it the way it's supposed to be!
There is no right or wrong in decorating except in Katy Noelle's case when the church ladies did the "decorating."
I see magazines as something to find ideas from. If you feel that your decorating must be exactly like.... your are going to drive yourself nuts! Now who's writing a
Bottom line--If YOU and your family like it and it works for
you then keep it that way.
The magazine people don't live at
your house you do.
I'm not trying to be a snot here but I have tooo many friends and that includes my blog friends that get themselves worked up over this type of stuff and I have learned--IT IS NOT WORTH IT!

Melinda :)

Karen said...

Oh Elyse! You are describing me every day of the week. I want to do so many different things. And every time I see something new that makes me GASP I change my mind! It's called TOO MUCH INFORMATION!
But I have the perfect solution!
We each buy a house in every state! Then we can design t our hearts content!
Doesn't that sound like a good idea? (hehehe)

I say we just do what we love and what is within our budget. I am soon going to begin on my master bedroom . . . nothing large, just changing the primary POP color from red to sea blue. :) All because of a pillow . . .

So let me know when we start looking at houses. . .

:) Hugs. Karen

myletterstoemily said...

your taste is so charmingly exquisite,
that i cannot imagine EVER giving you

but here it is: just keep doing what
you're doing!

Jackie said...

Oh my, everything is so beautiful...Now, I'm confused as well. LOL.

If the style you love feels right, just go for it. There is no right or wrong in decorating.

It's your 'nest' do it so it feels right to you and yours!

Lovely post!

Sharon said...

I have been a fan of yours for quite awhile and I have loved everything you do. I sure know how you feel though. I love so many things. It is had to fit them all in.
I love the aqua and red table cloth too.
Do what you Love!!!

I Love Pretty Little Things said...

I think that your dining room is Charming! It is so hard to decide about a room when there are so many great ideas out there!

If we each had five or six different houses to decorate and live in at different times, do you think we would all still feel this decorating tug-and-pull? Something to think about...

Have a wonderful weekend,

I missed you for Friday Pretties. Come back next week? :)

Kathy @ Sweet Up-North Mornings... said...

Hi sweetie!
I'm under the notion that if you "Gasp" everytime you bring something home...
it should all go together wonderfully!!!!
I love your happy style!
xoxo~kathy @
Sweet Up-North Mornings...

Terri Lee Takacs said...

Whew ~ (sign of relief) now I know I am normal.I have seem most of those photos and agree they are all crazy good!The one with the shelves around the room makes my heart sing the most....

Anonymous said...

I think everything in your home looks beautiful! I have read somewhere about how peeking into others homes -as blogging allows us to do- we can get discontent with our already lovely homes and things we have.
I also have another question/comment: As I have said your home is adorable and I love love your style... Although I am curious -if I am correct- aren't you the only female in your household? I am not trying to be rude- but simply curious- so my question is: How does your husband/sons feel about the overwhelmingly feminine style in which your home is decorated?

: ) Janae

Diane said...

I have the same problem....some days I feel insane! I like so many different styles that I just can't settle on just one style and I have been doing it for 5 years, since we moved into a long cabin......I really have a hard time with all of this wood! Anyways, you are not alone and I LOVE your dining room!

Unknown said...

You mean I am not the only one that likes 10 different things from 10 different styles???? That makes me feel better! Your style is just that....yours. And it is cozy and sweet and welcoming! I love your dinning room, it is what I call personalized.....I quit looking at some of those magazines and catalogs because I always felt "less than"...I love what I love and that is hvae a great "style"!!!!!

Rose Garden Romantic said...

I could have written this post! I call myself a "decorating schizophrenic" because I have the same problem! I like lots of styles, can't settle on one and try to mix them all. I think you are doing a great job of doing just that! Love your inspiration photos, too!

Elyse said...

note to janae:

yep, i'm in a house with my hubby and 2 young boys. i try to limit the over-the-top girliness to the girlie office although the kitchen/dining room is getting a little girlie, too. i'd say the living room is more beachy-comfy. the playroom is all boy! :)

i try to balance the look by keeping things practical -- everything has chips and dings -- and that's okay, and things are washable. even though things are pretty, they're not fussy.

it also helps that my boys have seen me tackle many of our home projects myself, like stripping wallpaper, sanding and painting, so they're proud of me.

now i'm writing a novel! hope this helps answer your question/comment!

thanks, everyone!


Lovely Day said...

I have this design confusion dilemma too. I think it happens to us creative people because we always have so many ideas circulating in our minds all the time. It's hard to commit to one look! :)

I love your dining room! Here's a few things I think would make it look even cuter and mix some of those styles in the photos:
1) Beadboard...or fake wainscotting (there are lots of tutorials on blogs I've seen). It always ups the cute factor instantly.
2) Also adding some type of rug, whether jute or something colorful and easy to clean. It will instantly warm up the space.

I can't wait to own my own home! Here in CA it's almost impossible for people my age...but I'm still dreaming and planning! :) Right now I just do what I can with my little rental.

Love your blog by the way!

Good luck!

debi said...

I totally understand what you're saying. I love so many different styles and looks that I have often thought it would be wonderful to have a home with about 50 rooms to decorate in all the looks I love, while somehow still maintaining that small, cozy, cottage feel.

Do you think that is possible?

As far as what your sweet cottage home looks like....I think you have managed to combine the looks you love, creating a pretty, cozy, cottage home.

Think about you think your home would have been chosen to be featured in a magazine if it didn't look and feel wonderful?


sandy said...

I can TOTALLY relate! I'm still trying to decide what "LOOK" I'M going for! I love so many things I see and then change my mind. I don't think it's the coffee.... : )

Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said... many wonderful choices...what's a girl to do?ana

GardenOfDaisies said...

I understand your confusion! I have no idea what on earth to do with my own house. I like too many things/styles. I need someone to come and figure it out for me.

And before I forget... I love your new blue chairs!!

Anonymous said...

I have the answer! We all build little cottages like Sandy from Shabby streamside studio did! Then each cottage can have a different theme! :)

Dreamy Whites said...

Dear Elyse,
Thank you so much for featuring my home on your beautiful blog. I am honored that you like my dining room and mantle!
I think your living room and dining room are beautiful!
I love that blue bistro chair!!
Have a great weekend!!!
Take Care,


Unknown said...

Hello Elyse! You are so very sweet to feature a picture from my home...I am honored!!! You seem to like mixing all of the same styles that I do...and I am all about mixing styles! I say go for it, mix away! Choose what you love and mix all of the different styles until you find just the right mix that works for you :) Your inspiration pictures are wonderful and the shots of your own home are just beautiful!!!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend ~

:) T

Cheryl ~ Casual Cottage Chic said...

I've recently read a book by Annette Tatum, creator of House, Inc., titled "The Well-Dressed Home". What you'll find is that your personal clothing style usually carries over into your home decorating style. I really encourage all of you that have posted to purchase this book. Very insightful and the photos are fabulous!

P.S. While I love the look of the slipcovered white sofas and chairs seen in all the magazines and on many blogs, in my house filled with a black Cocker Spaniel and five (yes, 5) kittens/cats, just NOT practical. But I love the look!

Anonymous said...

You call it 'fickle pickle'. I call it MPDD - Multiple Personality Decorator Disorder.

I started out w/ mostly Nordic-French white, now I'm painting accents mint green and bird's egg blue. Where or where am I going?

Maybe we should start a support group?

Theresa said...

Step away from the coffee:) before you start painting again! I love your table and decor, precious!

Have a blessed day and rest a little!


koralee said...

Oh I get so inspired by everyones different styles...I think you should just mix them all they would be favourite is the image from Romantic makes me so so happy. Your home is lovely!!!! You inspire ME! xoxoxo

Into Vintage said...

My strategy for working with my short-attention-span-ever-changing design style is to use inexpensive pieces that I can rotate out at a yard sale or on craigslist when my next 'big design idea' comes along.

I also move everything around from room to room - a table that was in my l.r. is now in my guest room, etc. Seems like I'm constantly switching things up/painting/slipcovering - good to know I'm not alone out there! :-)

Jessica Rodarte said...

Your kitchen and your style is gorgeous! I think you can take bits and pieces of what you like and bring it together to make something unique and personal.

Jessica Rodarte said...

*are gorgeous!* Excuse me!!!

Lori said...

been there...done that Elyse...i am constantly changing my mind about what i like...i like way too many least all of your different loves mix well together...i like frilly super girly things...and primitive...and folk art...and cottage...and...and...and...yes, nuts...i am still trying to figure out how to make it all "work"...

Kateyed said...

I understand it...totally. Luckily, I have a husband with consistent taste (that I like...isn't that pathetic?). I change my mind constantly and say to myself or outloud, "Someday I will have a house that looks like thus-and-such."

I think of you as so consistent, which is part of why I love looking at what you do. But mostly, I come to read you because create beauty and you are so honest and refreshing!


Bethany said...

I am laughing about your boys turning the ladder into a fort because thats exactly what my kids would do too. Just this morning my daughter made one in the back yard with my vintage changing screen, an 8 ft garden stake with a parisol tied to the top, draped with my pink chenille bedspread and some sheets. She is calling it her gypsy tent. Lol!

Twyla and Lindsey said...

Elyse, I Know Exactly what you mean! There are so many styles that I love, it makes it hard to combine them all. You are doing a wonderful job! Have a nice week! Twyla

Sandi said...

I can SO relate Elyse. I went from country (years ago...ugh!!!) to shabby chic to french cottage and everything in between. I love a the french look, but still love my shades of light pink too. What is a girl to do? I think if I would quit looking at all the beautiful magazines I wouldn't have this problem...but I can't do that either!!!! :)
A lovely dilema to be in I say.

Blessed Serendipity said...

I think you should be able to mix and match (a little this and a little that) any kind of style that makes you smile. Go have fun!

Anonymous said...

Elyse it is nice to see that you have the same problem I do. I just love so many styles and ideas that I get so wishy washy I don't know which way to go many times in my decorating!!

One thing that does help me is the historic home nature of my home.

I think you have done a fantastic job of incorporating your many loves in your home and others must think so too with your home being published!!!

bee blessed

LiLi M. said...

Oh I have been sooo busy! But I love this post and your story is mine! I like too many things too: I always tell people that I cannot choose! I'm a libra. But I always think that when you combine things that you really love they usually blend in well together and give a room that certain personal touch, so we are not looking at Shabby Chic or Cath Kidston, but to Elyse's personal beautiful style. I'm sorry I don't have the time to read your guest post now, but I try to be back later. I'm making no promises though, we are going for a 4 weeks journey on Friday and I have packed nothing, yep NOT a single thing! said...

That image from Tanya Whelan's blog is just adorable.

Unknown said...

These are all so lovely, and I love that one with the cherries by Tanya Whelan. It is hard to decide. I love everything cottage and shabby chic. Wish I could have a different room in a different style like they do in the Designer Showcase homes.


FrenchGardenHouse said...

I love your style. It's beautiful, and just YOU! I have this same dilemma. I love shabby soft colors. I love Reds, Aquas etc. Somehow, it all blends into a wonderful little hodge podge that spells home. xoxo Lidy


Hi. Yes, I can relate. I love French Country, Shabby Chic, and Queen Anne style. I have a red toile guest room,
a Shabby Chic guest room, and Queen Anne style living, dining room and master bedroom. I also love roses and am immediately attracted to anything with roses on it; especially fabrics.
Thanks for visiting my blog.
~ Julie

aimee said...

those are all wonderful styles! i love all of them. your parents are so sweet!

shabbyfufu said...

Same here Elyse. Although I have always decorated with tons of white, I have to mix in the pale aquas and pale pinks. Maybe because we live in Florida....those seem to be the go to colors here. I say use what you love and don't worry about will all come together. ~xo~Janet

Cottage In The Sun said...

I think your combination is wonderful! It looks sweet and it makes you happy - perfect!

Cindy@Cutepinkstuff said...

Oh darn, missed your give away contest! Glad to hear you received your beach cottage sign and can't wait to see it in your cottage. Speaking of cottage, Elyse, I hear you when you express your design dilemma even if it was caffeine fueled. I, too, do the same and vacillate between cottage, shabby and French. Then I see the all white decor of the Danish and want to buy another house. It all makes my heart pitter patter. I love your cottage decor and you must be doing something right if Fifi chose your home for a magazine feature! Solution: decaf.

fairiemoon said...

I have to admit, all of the styles are similar and have similarities between them, but some have that naked furniture look and some have that table cloth/dressed furniture look. I guess it would depend on which elements in each room you like. I think the aqua, white, cherry photo looks the most like the things I've seen in your house, but maybe this is just a reflection of what I like best. I also loved the other table-clothy photo AND the ladder, but those seem a little impractical in my life right now.

So Much fun!

Erin :)

Home and Heart said...

LOL!! I have this SAME problem! I love SO much stuff!!Your dining room is gorgeous as is, but all the styles you picked are gorgeous too! I am looking forward to your future posts!

Mercedes Spencer @ Liberty Biberty said...

YES, your boys would climb the ladder! Oh, the plans I have for our house when the kids leave home, lol!

I think I live out my decorating fantasies in my miniature world!