Yesterday, I thumbed through this book in the bookstore. It speaks to me. It has moved to first place on my book wish list. I’ve never been a fan of rooms done by a professional decorator. I can spot them a mile away and they almost always bore me. As I look at them, all I can think is, ‘But what furniture did the homeowner choose? What shows the homeowner’s personality?” I could never have someone ‘do’ my home for me. Undecorate showcases the homes of wonderfully individual, quirky people who don’t decorate by the rules. A group of paintings might be hung crookedly. There are dogs. There are kids and kid messes. Loved finds are showcased in seemingly impromptu groupings.
I’d much rather see something real than too ‘staged.’ I like pretty photos as much as the next person, don’t get me wrong. I admire them. But I respond from the heart to real and honest. There’s nothing I like more than to walk into someone’s house for the first time and ooh and ah, not about a perfectly pretty space, but about the what that home tells me about the homeowner’s personality. I want to know the story behind the painting, the collection, the funky chair. How did all of these things come to be together in this space? That is what I find fascinating and compelling.
I get bored with an overabundance of one look, whether it be sleek and industrial or shabby and white. After a while, my eyes glaze over. My home has its imperfections, believe me, but if you walked in the door right now, you would sense immediately what Don and I love. You would ‘get’ us.
Here’s to quirky, electic and slightly off-beat.
That’s why this book by Christiane Lemieux is so wonderful. By the way, it is beautifully written. And no, this is not a book review. I simply wanted to share it with you.
On that note, let me close with the perfect quote from May Sarton (written in 1973):
“Standards of housekeeping and home decorating have become pretentious and competitive… I don’t blame people for fleeing those House Beautiful houses, nonshelters, dehumanized, ostentatious, rarely expressing an individual family’s way of life.
When I was writing a column for Family Circle, I had planned one in praise of shabbiness. A house that does nor have one worn, comfy chair is soulless. It all comes back to the fact that we are not asked to be perfect, just human. What a relief it is to walk into a human house!”