As part of this month’s attempts to catalog all the old newsletter articles on the blog I am posting this favorite from October. The message has never seemed more relevant to what Furbish stands for than now. We can live casual lives and still have a bit of sparkle and glamor too. Enjoy!
Interiors in everyday homes have changed over the past few decades, drastically, and in many ways for the better. I just do not miss floral chintz in peach and seafoam green : ). But what about the whole trend towards less formality in decorating? I may risk colliding with some of you on this, but I just don’t think the trend towards casual is all good. Interiors have changed to accommodate the way we live, but we also have the task of shaping our interiors to represent our ideal lifestyles as well, and don’t we want just a little bit of glam?
Let’s speak for a moment about casual lifestyles so we know what we are dealing with here. A good place to start is with the open floor plans that proliferated through the 1960’s and into today. These open plans with “Great Rooms” allow for kitchen, living, and dining spaces to open into one another so that various members of the family or guests could all commune while doing different activities. The move to open floor plans epitomizes the shifts in the way we live. Television and media were centerpoints. Cooking now more of a social activity. Entertaining includes children. Another basic trend we have seen is the increased importance of home offices and media rooms over the past two decades. These changes do reflect real changes in how we live, but can you get a sense of how function has perhaps been overriding form?
There is another trend I’d like to throw into the mix, that I call the “barrel and barn-ing” of interiors, or mass produced, mid-end, fairly style-conscious furniture. Ok. Someone did need to do something about the floral chintz and simplify our forms on a mass scale, but hasn’t this come at the expense of unique personality and charm in many of the houses we see today? Sometimes when I do the whole Sunday open house thing, I feel like I’m witnessing the un-decorating of America. People hardly have any furniture because they are trying too hard to be uncluttered, or everything in the home has a generic, seen this before kind of feeling.
In the meantime quality has surely suffered. We are furnishing our homes in the most ecologically unsound ways imaginable. We buy furniture we know will only last a few years and then contribute it to the landfills. We opt for quick fixes instead of taking the time to really know and express ourselves in our homes.
And what does all this come to mean for our lifestyle? I think we really might be losing out here! Many of us are not giving ourselves the space to host great parties, or space to live with a little bit of luxury, or space to express ourselves, or space to be just a little bit glamorous. I am not the queen of practicality, but if you wanted that you probably would not be reading my newsletter! I like my interiors just a little bit glam. I believe every room should have something that might seem impractically beautiful in it. It is my invitation to myself to aspire and know a little bit of transcendence.
In the end, I think all this is about wanting things in life to be a bit special. People do not use dining rooms very much anymore, but hardly anyone I know wants to repurpose the dining room or buy a house that doesn’t have one. Why? Because dining rooms are about holidays, entertaining, enjoying family and friends, good food and wine, and pretty much all the best that life has to give.We don’t want to let go of what the dining room symbolizes. And that is really very glamorous in my book.
I have put together my own personal rules of decorating that I use for all my projects…”The Furbish Rules.” They represent a great step towards getting us just the right bit glam, while still leaving room for a more relaxed lifestyle. Keep an eye out for my email introducing them! In the meantime, check out my go GLAM tips below.
5 ways to GO GLAM at home
1. Add some wallpaper. I love my clients and I learn at least as much from them as they do from me. Several of them have asked for wallpaper in one or two of the rooms in their home. We’ve been doing gorgeous textured paper, like grasscloths and other weaves, and modern prints. Both totally glamorous. Wallpaper went on the decline because it felt dated and people wanted a cleaner look at home, but textural papers and the new designs out there keep things clean, fresh, and just a wee bit fancy.
2. Don’t skip out or skimp on window treatments. Many of you are afraid to adorn your windows, feeling like drapes are too dressy and valences too fussy. The reality is that nothing adds polish and finish to a room the way a window treatment will. Here’s the secret: do simple panels or roman shades in a simple fabric that has beautiful texture or color to it. Skip prints if you are not sure what feels current today. Another great option if you like really modern looks is solar shades or higher end roller shades. If you need help you can use our window treatment consultation.
3. Do something custom. It could be a sofa or a chair, your windows treatments, commissioned artwork, or some built-ins. Even custom ordered pillows. There is something SO luxurious about knowing you have ordered something that is unique and special just to your room. And it DOES make a difference. People will know and it will likely be the most talked about element in your room.
4. Dress up your casual spaces. I love rich velvety fabrics in family rooms. What better fabric to snuggle into? Beautiful little spot tables or stools in interesting shapes or materials are like jewelry for your room. Woodframe chairs to set off a comfy sofa will dress up a comfy space. And definitely do not skip accessories in your every day spaces. This is where you spend all your time. Great artwork, lovely lamps or mirrors, vases will all give you plenty to look at and enjoy while you live in your space.
5. Add some shine! This is one of my most valuable decorating tips. You need to break up wood and fabric surfaces with materials that are more shiny. A little crystal or porcelain in the lighting. Some mirrored surfaces, metal and glass. Even fabrics with a bit of sheen. You need to figure out where to get the shine from in each room in your house. This is the glimmer that keeps the eye entranced without it knowing why. True glamour.