Beyond Black Leather Recliners

Beyond Black Leather Recliners

“Men and women must contribute synergistically to the process of creating a beautiful life at home. This is something that should be thought through carefully if we are going to feel true satisfaction and pleasure of creating and living in a home together.” Alexandra Stoddard

I often hear from clients and friends that their husbands have poor taste, no interest in decorating, or leave the entire process of decorating up to the wife. If you live in a home with a man, I hope that you consider his tastes, even if you think he has questionable taste! I know that can be scary if you live with a man who is all about black leather furniture, but hang with me here! Homes will simply not be authentically beautiful, in my opinion, if a husband and wife live there and the husband’s tastes are not taken in to consideration.

Find subtle ways to include him in the process if he appears disinterested! Consider his hobbies, what colors he seems drawn to, where he likes to nap, his size, his interests in and out of the home.

You’ll find out more about his taste as you include him in small ways. If you see a beautiful painting, you can comment on it and ask him how he feels about it. Does he like the frame? What about the texture or intensity of color? Show him pictures of rooms in a magazine and ask him what he likes about them, or dislikes. Over time, you will begin to discover styles and colors you can both agree on, or ways you can incorporate things he is drawn to with things you like.

I know many men appear disinterested, or you are afraid of the results of including him. I completely understand! You’d prefer to just do it yourself because you trust yourself to come up with something you will love! But trust me, if you want a home that has depth, meaning, authenticity and is truly a home, it is the combination of your taste and his that make it a beautiful place to be for both of you.

It may not be 100% YOU, but living as a couple is not about being 100% YOU. It is blending your taste with his taste and coming up with something more beautifully layered and complex than you alone. And it doesn’t have to include black leather recliners any more than it has to include all frilly pink things in every nook and cranny. Find ways to compromise and include the best of both of your taste!

This is important: you want to compromise on matters of opinion and personal taste, not on matters of good taste or good design. If something is tasteful, just not exactly YOUR favorite, you can compromise and it will work in the grand scheme of things. And honestly, I think the house will actually look better for it. More real, more layers, more interest, less perfectly staged. That is just my opinion.

I know some of you may throw rotten tomatoes at me, but I am just putting it out there. What you do with it is up to you!

Photo: Pieter Estersohn, designer John Bottitt, from Cottage Living online

Sweet Escape — Solitude

Sweet Escape -- Solitude

In keeping with our theme the past couple of days of being authentic, being real, and all needing times of solitude, today my sweet escape is simple. Solitude. Time to reflect. To be quiet. To disconnect from the chaos of life.

So, does it seem ironic that yesterday I talked about solitude as being silent and today I am saying you must participate in a discussion? Just like to keep you all on your toes!

Read this short but fascinating excerpt from Psychology Today (or read the whole article here):

What’s really blocking our joy in relationships, our creativity, and our peace of mind? One surprising answer, in this age of alienation, is a lack of solitude.

Meaningful alone time, it turns out, is a powerful need and a necessary tonic in today’s rapid-fire world. Indeed, solitude actually allows us to connect to others in a far richer way.

Life’s creative solutions require alone time. Solitude is required for the unconscious to process and unravel problems. Others inspire us, information feeds us, practice improves our performance, but we need quiet time to figure things out, to emerge with new discoveries, to unearth original answers…The natural creativity in all of us—the sudden and slow insights, bursts and gentle bubbles of imagination—is found as a result of alone time.

So, dear ones, tell me ways you find solitude in your daily life at home! Yes, comments ARE OPEN!

We can’t always pack our bags and head to The Inn at Solitude. Do you turn off your computer? Your TV or ipod? Your phones? Do you take a walk in the forest or on a nearby beach? Do you have a special corner of your house (see my sweet escape for solitude here) where you can think and be alone in silence? Do you ever just SIT and be quiet, or do you feel compelled to always be doing something, like reading blogs, doing crafts or cleaning? Or, do you never have any solitude at all?

Share your insights, readers, one and all! And tell us if you feel better for your times of solitude! Or if you never have solitude, do you think you need it or do you think it could be a missing ingredient in your life?

I can’t wait to see what you all think about this aspect of life and how it impacts us personally and in how we create our homes.

Does our home allow us solitude, or is it always screaming at us?

Sweet Escape -- Solitude

Here are some thoughts from others on solitude:

I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion. ~Henry David Thoreau

It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. The more solitary I am the more affection I have for them…. Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say. ~Thomas Merton

I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is commonly more than that – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements. ~Henry David Thoreau

True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment. ~William Penn

We live in a very tense society. We are pulled apart… and we all need to learn how to pull ourselves together…. I think that at least part of the answer lies in solitude. ~Helen Hayes

It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts. ~K.T. Jong

note: photos shown are from my tour of The Street Of Dreams 2007