Friday, January 9, 2015

Reinvention: Interior motives

So many options
As a reminder, all week long I've been
weighing my options for "next". Thus
far we've explored artistic, literary, and
hospitality pursuits. While all seemed
viable, upon further consideration none
were quite right. Therefore my search
continues and today leads me straight
to home. Many of you have followed
the transformation of our 1917 abode -
also known as the Passion Pit. While
a formidable project, it's truly been a
pleasure. In the process I figured out
that my passion is focused INDOORS.
Pre arranged
From the cradle on I've always been
consumed with environmental issues.
As a tot I played with blocks on the
lower shelf of Mother's coffee table.
In my imagination said space was a
penthouse apartment where chunks
of wood were transformed into walls
and furniture. I begged for a Barbie
Dream House but somehow I never
got one. I didn't want to play with
dolls... all I wanted was to decorate!
If that alone isn't proof of a genetic
predisposition then tell me, what is?
Boys will be...
My bedroom was an ever evolving
interior decoration test site. Within
those walls I would paint, paper,
fluff, and poof. Rather than desire
baseball cards, airplane models, or
matchbox cars - I preferred furniture,
antiques, and decorative accessories.
I remember playing "house" in my
buddy's basement. Within that cinder
block cocoon we would eat, sleep,
and cuddle. Rarely was I happier as
a child. Sadly it wasn't until thirty
years later that playtime became reality.
Objects of my affection
As a teenager I wasn't a fan of Mickey
Mantle or Joe Namath (well, except in
underwear ads.) My heroes were Mr.
Billy Baldwin (the decorator), Elsie de
Wolfe, and David Hicks. Every week
I returned from the library laden down
with over sized decorating books. For
years I voraciously devoured anything
related to all things decorative. Hence
the arrival of a new shelter magazine
in the mail made this boy's heart beat
quicker - not sports. Within my world
my home plate was antique Spode.
Perfect match
From my first apartment forward,
decorating has remained one of life's
simplest pleasures. My abodes have
followed every trend from poverty
to spare Bauhaus to florid English
country to crisp mid century modern.
Today I would define my style as
confident. Deep within I know what
is right for me. Fortunately Frank
and I are stylistically simpatico. The
first time in his apartment I knew we
were perfect for each other. Since
then, our home has been OUR home.
More for less
Throughout the years many friends
have asked me to help them. Some
poor souls lack confidence. So I did
whatever I could to set things right.
From paint colors to furniture to
purges to rearrangements, most were
thrilled with the outcome. Forced to
replicate grandeur on a shoestring -
I've learned that the ticket price is
not what matters, rather it's how the
item works within the context. My
favorite haunts are auctions, resale,
consignment, and of course e-bay!
Process of elimination
Recently I've been helping Frank's
sister-in-law redecorate her dining
room. Rather that dictate, all I've
done is listen then hunt. We've both
had a lovely time and the end result
is proof of time well spent. Working
with other people on their homes has
to be all about them -  a decorator's
job is to carefully guide, edit, and at
times refocus based on whatever the
homeowners aesthetic is. I don't
resent said constraints, but rather
enjoy, learn, and grow in the process.
Maybe this time
So, the obvious question is should
I become an Interior Decorator?
My answer is maybe. There is no
doubt that I enjoy the process of
making a house a home. I've been
blessed with "good taste." Rather
than be a snob - nothing gives me
greater pleasure than sharing said
skill set. My primary problem is
where we live. Are there enough
clients within the Montana? More
important, should I try to shift the
state from cowboy to chinoiserie?
Local talent
Jeana Noel moved to Moccasin
Montana from sunny Florida.
One of the Southeast's premier
kitchen and bath designers, she
now serves a local and national
clientele from an outbuilding
on her ranch. From the moment
we started working on our new
kitchen with Bella Cucina we
spoke in decorative shorthand.
Jeana immediately knew what
we wanted. The question is if
she can do it... what about me?
Another door open?
In real estate they say location, location,
location. Therefore I'm not certain that
I can build a viable Interior Decorating
business out in the middle of no where.
More important, part of me abhors the
structure of said industry - high markups
and commissions are not what I adore.
My talent is planning and picking. Few
love an affordable "discovery" more
than me! Could I design more for less
for others? If so, will Montanans pay a
fair fee for said services? I have to mull
this one over for awhile... stay tuned!