As I look back over the years, I realize my style has changed or transformed many times. I think that transformation is such an important part of the wonder of growing and developing into our true selves. There are so many external an internal influences that come into play and that impact your specific style. During uncertain times, such as these, it is so important to have your own style and beliefs to help you remain grounded. Your home should be your sanctuary and your refuge where you feel comfortable and content with everything that surrounds you.
I grew up in Connecticut with the strong influence of my Mom’s signature style, which was elegant and very British. My parents were well-traveled and lived in India for a number of years, so my Mom was drawn to florals on furniture and drapes blended with a more ethnic, Britsh-Raj aesthetic. I loved this style and emulated it in my own home for quite some time, during which my journey to developing my own unique style was budding.
Inspired by my parents’ international explorations, I began to travel as much as they would allow me to while in college. This passion continued once I began working. I traveled as much as I could afford and I collected objects and art on my journeys. There were significant pieces that spoke to me and they gave me a window into different cultures, their nuances, and how they evolved. All of this fascinated me and, to this day, I still have many of those pieces in my home.
I didn’t know then that design would become my passion and my career but I knew without doubt what colors, patterns, and styles resonated with me and that was the beginning of developing my own design style.
Finding your style is such an exciting adventure! There are many sources available to help guide you. Magazines are one of my favorite sources of inspiration and I get so excited when I have time to sit at home and explore new trends, materials, architecture, and images. I love researching other designers and finding new manufacturers I may not have known about before. Some of my favorite sources include Lonny online magazine, AD (Architectural Digest) home tours, and Pinterest. Fashion magazines are great too because often times your personal style will give you insight to the design style you prefer for your home and furnishings! Take a peek in your closet and see which colors and patterns are most prominent. Are you a risk-taker who loves fun bright accents? Do you like dreamy, cozy neutrals? Or are you a mix of those things?
I love to see how other designers have mixed and matched art, fabric, and furniture styles - specifically chair styles - in a room. A personal favorite is British designer and hotelier Kit Kemp who I known for her bold combinations of more traditional pieces with contemporary ones in such an effortless way.
It is totally normal for our tastes and preferences to change or adapt as we grow and experience new things in our lives. The constant evolution of personal style is what makes the journey so fun and rewarding! When a client asks me to design a home for them, I always consider their personal wardrobe, which gives me so much more insight into their style than words alone can. This exercise helps me define whether a client is more romantic, soft, and feminine or more tailored and modern. In my experience, contemporary interior design in Malibu differs from the luxe interiors in the Pacific Palisades. I love to work with clients that enjoy a bit of both worlds because my own style, these days, is definitely a blend of the two.
Many of my clients are on second marriages and marrying the styles of two individuals’ homes is often tricky but when executed with thoughtfulness and planning can result in both collections seamlessly becoming one. It becomes an art to blend styles and it gives me the fun challenge of creating spaces in clients’ homes that incorporate the subtle juxtaposition of different styles so they both feel happy and comfortable with everything in their home. I look at their art, the other pieces that they want to include in the design and work to blend it into a unique look.
During my travels I would see homes in Italy, France, and Japan that blended century-old exteriors and interiors with modern art and furniture, which was and is so exciting to me. I like to think that this is one of the most elevated forms of design. Here, in California, design is so free and arbitrary (in the best of ways!). The exterior of your house can be traditional Mediterranean or Spanish Colonial Revival and maybe even some of the furnishings inside have a more traditional feel, but pop in some bold color or contemporary furniture silhouettes and maybe a piece of art by one of our amazing artists for that “wow” factor.
I hope some of these thoughts have inspired you to ponder your own style and influences in your life. It is easy to emulate a look by ordering pieces from a catalog or looking at a designer online and copying their formula, but try to take it a step further! Home is such a personal and intimate place so make sure your personality and life is reflected there. Maybe take an older piece of furniture you love (maybe one of Mom or Dad’s antiques) and update it with paint or new hardware. See how that feels. Be flexible in your design and let your creativity guide you. Sometimes we don’t know what we want just yet but we do know what we don’t like. Trial and error is OK and don’t see that as failure but a necessary step in the journey. Keep looking for beauty and inspiration all around you and your style will manifest itself!
Enjoy the hunt,