Does anyone actually read my blog?

Your friends and family keep you on your toes and often unwittingly provide great fodder for blog posts!  They also cause a scattered examination of conscience.  Two recent questions about my blogging ( I have a painting blog and a home decorating blog) got me thinking about my purpose and audience, and the time I invest in this activity. This post is about Designing Home blog

Audience
  I am happy to report that people do indeed read Designing Home blog. Since I began it almost three years ago,  I've had over .25 million page views.  That surprised even me because I originally began to write this blog with a local audience in mind.  I couldn't be further from the mark.



  My readership is 6 times larger in the United States  than Canada.  Canada, Great Britian, Australia and Germany are almost tied in interest.  Only a small percentage of readers are actually from Newfoundland.  No doubt it is a global village.

Topics
I am glad that my original prediction about audience was correct. The average homeowner appears to welcome clear information about basic decorating issues.  You now, the kind of questions you have if you live in an  average size home and decorate with a modest budget.  Personally that means a very modest budget layered with a lot of DIY.  While I write about other topics that appeal to smaller audiences, I try to keep my focus "sensible". Here are the top five posts on Designing Home:

May 2, 2012, 38 comments



Houzz

Mar 17, 2011, 10 comments

 

Mar 4, 2012, 16 comments


Rosedale Living Room Drape Vignette modern living room

Jun 14, 2011, 9 comments





Aquamar Bathtub modern bathroom 
                                                     PSCBATH

It appears that many people have issues with small rooms and are looking for creative ways to use space.  Window treatments, accent walls and hanging light fixtures are topics that everyone thinks about.

Purpose 
Why  would I use a chunk of my valuable time to write?

 The biggest joke of all is I don't actually enjoy writing.  I find it labour intensive and a clumsy way to provide knowledge although I am an avid reader.  I am definitely a face to face communicator who needs the visual signals of my audience to be completely comfortable.  It comes from years of teaching both children and adults. I am also a huge synthesizer. I like to get things down to the bare bones quickly.  A colleague once told me I write like a machine gun.  I am obviously not a highly verbal person - I am a doer.

But.... I love to organize and share information. It just makes me happy.  The learner/ synthesizer function wins.  

Blogging also provides a forum to research questions or problems that arise as I work with clients.  It has expanded my horizons in so many ways when it comes to interior design. The design community is diverse and blogging keeps me in touch with trends from around the world.  That is a necessity when you live on an island where attitudes can tend toward the provincial and predictable.

Blogging  increases your credibility.  When you have a blog /website as I do, you have a showcase for your understanding of design issues and people can anonymously " check you out".  There are lots of lurkers out there from my stats.  2542 people checked out my portfolios , 798 read my design statement and 540 wanted to know more about me.

Yes, people are reading my blog.  It serves its purpose.

Signing  out from my not so decorative small computer space....

    
  As you can see, I live in a very average space and I am also a little sloppy at times. Why I have a pair of pliers on my desk is a mystery. This desk came  from a contractor friend  who  renovated a  university residence.  The walls are BM CC 460 inukshuk  and the desk is painted BM HC 69 whitall brown. The resident carpenter built the bookcase to fit the equipment. 

And more aqua

This must be aqua week! I am noticing it everywhere.  After writing a post yesterday about aqua, I opened one of the blogs I follow this morning to be greeted by a lovely room make -over by Kelly Porter of Color Sizzle and the walls are painted aqua. The accents are red.  I wanted to share this lively combination.  While it is too much colour for me, I know it will appeal to lots of my readers. 

Pillow and lamp love on my part! 



And another living room with the same colour scheme, but the colours are used in a very understated way. It is all about the intensity of the hues.

Which room would you be most comfortable in?

May I suggest aqua?

Although I am interested in the latest colour trends in home decor, I am not a slave to them.  I choose gray as the neutral in my house in 1986 and it wasn't a  growing trend until 2011!  It will still be my neutral ten years from now because I feel comfortable with gray as a backdrop.

 We should all choose colours for our homes that we like.  My first order of business in a colour consultation is to determine what kind of colours a client really likes.   Next I check the room's light  orientation and lastly I look at the furniture and art in a space.

I just went through all my pins on  my colour inspiration board on Pinterest to look for trends in my own pinning.  I have quite a few with aqua.  I do not have aqua in either of my homes, but I am obviously attracted to it  because I love blue greens.  How about you?

Aqua is a versatile, fresh colour as you can see from the interiors below.   You can use it for an accent wall, to paint furniture, in pillows, or even on  a ceiling....use a little or a lot....


 Aqua as an accent wall with lots of cream is stunning.

 A more intense aqua with citron green and a pop of magenta... perfect for a teen's room!


 Serene gray with aqua accessories.

The same scheme as above with black added. 

 Aqua and white with a hit of darker  blue.


 And who wouldn't want to have a chat in this sun room? Creamy white mixed with green and aqua is so  fresh and inviting.

 Just loving the hit of red with aqua in this boy's space. I think aqua is the perfect colour to paint a piece of furniture and look at those shutters!

 I've always loved this colour combination  with rattan or any mid toned wood. A liberal amount of white is needed to prevent over saturation.

 And here we have the merest hint of a dark aqua with magenta and off white.  This is a great way to have pops of colour without over committing.

  An interesting colour combination with great pattern choices too.


 If you're feeling a little vintage aqua makes a great accent.

  And just this one little pop of aqua glass makes a nice punctuation mark to end the post. 

All links on my Pinterest board indicated above



Is there beauty in imperfection?

I find beauty in imperfection and impermanence.  It's all over my art. 

 The petal that is captured as it starts to decay, 

the rusted objects found in debris, the peeling layers of wallpaper in old homes, 

  and objects no longer needed for their original function, the list is endless.

 Accepting  transience and  imperfection (flawed beauty) can also  relate directly to your living space.  The Japanese world view/aesthetic of wabi sabi   acknowledges three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.

Wabi Sabi  reveres authenticity. When you look for authentic furniture and objects for your home you will rarely find them  in big box stores.  Natural materials predominate in wabi sabi homes: paper, aged wood, linens, cottons, etc. Look for anything that celebrates the  marks of time , weather, and  the effects of loving use.
This graphic is a good summary of the characteristics of wabi sabi. 

 

Characteristics of wabi-sabi include: asymmetry, asperity (roughness, irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity,  and appreciation of the integrity of natural objects and processes.  Look for: natural flawed beauty, patina, handmade, irregularity, bareness. How refreshing!

 

 This aged cabinet maintains the marks of its history.  No effort could make it perfect.  The vignette on top is simple, asymmetrical  and references the beauty and temporality found in nature. While there is austerity in the products, there is also tranquility.



Many  examples of wabi sabi contain little or no colour, but I feel  colour is not exclusive of this aesthetic.  Here's a good example that has all the characteristics noted above. The marks of time are evident, even more so on colour.



The delicacy of pink blossoms against all the weathered wood pits naturalness against roughness. 


Not every space that has  wabi sabi characteristics looks exactly the same.  All of these spaces have some wabi sabi elements.  
 


 The wood console table is a hint of wabi sabi against the glass.  The space is simple and tranquil.

  I love the imprefection of this countertop against the modern, pristine cabinets.  Am I the only person who craves warmth in countertops?  Imagine the difference if this island were finished in granite.

 Lots of natural materials, simplicity and economy is line and adornment, and a focus on the handmade.

If you want a little wabi sabi in your home here are suggestions for a start: 


If you want to find out more about this aesthetic ....


And remember ...



And a lesson we can all learn from Wabi Sabi....you can also interpret it in a much looser fashion to accept what you have as beautiful and to live with only what you need.

All links to images and many more examples  on my Pinterest board Wabi Sabi 

Are you a seasonal decorator?

 All those pictures on Pinterest  over the last several weeks make me wonder to what degree the "average" person goes to celebrate changing seasons, holidays, etc.  I feel like I am letting my profession as an interior decorator down when it comes to special events decorating in my own home!

I  make some effort to decorate, but notice I said "some".  It will never wear me out or cost more than $20.00.   I usually choose several very simple changes to  give a gentle nod to any special event.  I am also a firm believer in using what you have in your house and garden.  If I can't figure out  something to do with what I have supported by a trip to  Dollarama, nothing happens.

 When I was younger I admit putting more effort and money  into seasonal decorating, but it all seems so over the top now, and surely I can find better things to do with the money I would have spent!  Simplifying has been my mantra for the last ten years. That goes for decorating too.

My current effort in the family room....

One gray tray; three gourds from  the supermarket; a ceramic paper bag vase purchased three years ago at Homesense for $ 9.99; a mercury stylized bird that is really a little too big, but I love it and it gets used everywhere; and daisies from the dollar store.  Sometimes I buy fresh, sometimes I use artificial. And best of all is the sun patterns on this glorious day.

It's colourful and simple. Here's more inspiration from Pinterest all with trays.


  One tiered tray; gourds; hydrangea, pinecones... so simple but would work well on a dining table because of  the height

 This one has a collection of objects from around the house (books and jars), pinecones and three clear jars with sedum.  The art work behind the vignette adds the autumn colour.


I can't say no to sunflowers and this vase just gives us more of that glorious yellow. Baskets of pinecone add texture and help play up the colour of the flowers.  Love the old woven basket.




Love the ceramic pumpkin on a cake tray surrounded by fall berries. Variety in heights and textures make this work well.  If you can have just one tray, a silver one shows up best on dark furniture.


This is as simple as you can get with candles in plain glasses, a distressed tray and some autumn foilage.



 And finally, good-bye from the table of my summer place.  No tray but lots of plants and shrubs from my garden.  White ceramic anything is a good purchase.  I love the shape of pears.


And I finish by asking again... are you a seasonal decorator?

What does your home say about you?

Is your home different from your friends or very similar?  Could someone match you to your home?  Are there things around that denote your interests,  pursuits etc.  or do you have a generic home?    I asked my husband if our home is like other homes we are familiar with or is ours different?  I found it interesting that he did not  readily identify the things in our home that make it different from other homes e.g., he made most of the furniture, stained glass, railings, etc.  It has the distinct marks of both of our interests. 

In an effort to describe the individual aspects of one person's home when compared to another, the design world often refers to a home's "personality".   I love to go into a home that "feels like" the people who live there.   In my book, designing a home with "personality" (the homeowners , not mine)  is one of the most difficult aspects of being a decorator.  I spend quite a bit of time getting a handle on the people I am working with and trying to  reflect that knowledge in the choices I make for their home.   I don't understand decorators who are known for a set "look" and anything they do is recognizable as their work  I loved the lady who told me she was looking for a Pottery Barn decorator!  Silly me had to ask what that meant. I'm much better dealing with an individual look.

 I am helping a friend solve several home dilemmas. We have agreed to work on this project over a long term basis.  She has little interest in  new trends for 2014 or what the most popular colours are this year.  Here house is totally wood except for ceramic  floors downstairs, and it has  personality galore, but it is not a house for everyone. We talk about function, natural materials, textures, warmth, minimal living, wabi sabi, zen spaces and  the "feel" she wants.  We talk about how her interests have changed and how this influences her living space.  It is not my usual decorating job, but I enjoy our chats and the progress we are making.  I am up to the task because I truly believe that my job is to listen well and lead the homeowner to a place where they make their own decisions. It takes longer, but it is more rewarding for everyone in the end.

These rooms all have very different personalities.  What do they say about the owners?  Look at your own space.  What does it say about you and the people who live there?



interested in what is currently in style and being in style, seems more comfortable in darker spaces that are soothing, likes luxury,  some personal touches in photos, likes symmetry and order. 



not concerned with current trends,likes the warmth of wood and can't get enough of it,    likes contained spaces,   hand made objects are important, likes a simple life 


     
current trends are important, likes luxury, entertains larger groups, likes comfort,  interested in the trappings of "the good life"


not interested in current trends, recycling is important, likes the marks of history on objects, not afraid to be an individual,  likes comfort and a functional space, likes nature, has an artistic eye



Insert  a room in your home here.  What does it say about you? 
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