“Pure Individual Style:” A Decorating Myth?

by hookedonhouses on July 1, 2010

old house 3

“There’s no such thing as pure individual style in a home.” -Alexandra Stoddard

I’ve been reading the book Daring to Be Yourself and this quote jumped out at me. I guess I always imagined that attaining a kind of “pure individual style” in your home was like the Holy Grail of decorating. Something we were all striving for.

But designer and author Alexandra Stoddard says that it’s not even possible.

For example, you may love country-farmhouse decor, but if your house looks like the one above, then it won’t really work. Maybe you’re craving spare, white-on-white rooms, but your husband likes the hunting lodge look. Or you dream about filling your home with fine antiques but can barely afford IKEA.

Even if you have determined what your individual style is (and a lot of us still struggle with that!), it’s not always easy to express it. Few of us live in magazine-worthy rooms or model homes.

bhg-cottage-makeoverStefanie, who writes a popular blog about renovating a Brooklyn Limestone, said something similar in a recent interview:

“I see a lot of advice about buying what you love and creating a home that is a perfect reflection of the inner you. Personally, I don’t think that’s entirely possible. Sometimes practicality has to win over the idealized version of perfection. And sometimes the imperfections are the very things you learn to love.”

Some houses I’ve seen in magazines and on blogs certainly seem to have achieved a sense of pure individual style. Rooms that–as far as I can tell–perfectly reflect the owner’s sensibilities and personality.

Pink room-Country LivingBut my home doesn’t come close. Some rooms are stuck with decor I haven’t liked since 2002. Others were done to please my husband or kids. I love beach cottage style, but my house is not a cottage, and it’s a long way from the beach, so that wouldn’t work here. Compromises are made every day. So I can definitely see their point.

Do you think it is possible to create a home that perfectly reflects your individual style? Or has decorating been a series of compromises and “making do” for you, too? (Photos from top: mine, BHG, & Country Living.)

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Vanessa@decor happy July 1, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I have been thinking about this a lot lately too. I think it’s possible but it does take time (you can’t go out and purchase everything in one day) and money. Yes, you can find inexpensive furniture and refurbish it but sometimes spending money on a beautiful fabric will make the room (think Sarah Richardson.) Oftentimes, people don’t know what their style is. They want to have a room done so they go out and purchase things they regret and then won’t part with it because of what they spent. I see this all the time. Julia, you can incorporate some beachy cottage elements in your home even if you don’t live near a beach. If that’s what you love, then why not?
.-= Vanessa@decor happy´s last blog ..Happy Canada Day =-.

hookedonhouses July 1, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Vanessa–
True. I definitely have incorporated some of the beach and cottage stuff I love here and there. But since we sit on a wooded lot and the house is fairly traditional in style, I could never transform it into the beach cottage I’ve always craved. I’m hoping to have that someday, though! -Julia :-)

Stacy@RedDoorHome July 1, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Great thoughts. I definitely think decorating is all about compromise. My house reflects where I currently am in my life and has changed as my family and tastes have changed. Some things that I thought were “me” are no longer things that I love. I find it fun to see how my house and style has evolved I have changed.
.-= Stacy@RedDoorHome´s last blog ..Why Wait to Celebrate and a Fantastic Giveaway- =-.

Donnell Allan July 1, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I’ve got my house pretty much as I want it now, but it took a long time and I’m not one to need everything picture perfect. I have to catch myself when I think in terms of “my house” and remember that I do not live alone. It’s my husbands house, too. Fortunately, he does the yard and leaves the inside up to me. I have learned to ignore his shoes left all over the place. What makes a house a home is that there are people living in it, after all.
.-= Donnell Allan´s last blog ..Grass Fed Beef =-.

sheri July 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm

actually, this sums up more than decorating doesn’t it – like…life? :)

(typing this as i sit at a table and chair i can’t stand, but do the job, working in a job that isn’t me, but pays great. ALL comprises LOL)
.-= sheri´s last blog ..The beach at night and odd happenings =-.

Kate at Centsational Girl July 1, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Big questions Julia ! I certainly know what style I like, and over time, have bought things here and there to add to the overall look, but you’re right, you really have to work with the ‘bones’ of the home you’re in. Budget is always a concern too, not all of us can afford to style our homes with the best of the best, so we look around for knock offs or similar versions at lower prices. Stefanie is right when she says practicality often has to rule over perfection – most of us are NOT destined to have our houses featured in magazines and that’s fine. The feeling of ‘home’ is more important, right ?

Kate
.-= Kate at Centsational Girl´s last blog ..Stars and Stripes Party- =-.

Julie B July 1, 2010 at 2:28 pm

I don’t have a personal style but I know what I like in the magazines and other peoples’ homes (which, as it turns out, tends to be more of an “atmosphere” rather than a certain decorating style). The thing is, I’m not good at putting it together myself and am not currently in a position to hire help. I’d settle for a reasonable way to configure our family room that makes it useful without having all the furnishing line up around the edges.

Nita @ ModVintageLife.com July 1, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Firstly, I love that house in the first photo. And secondly, can you have pure individual style in a home? Absolutely. I do. I agree totally that the inside of your home should reflect the architecture of the outside of your home. So buy a home that reflects your pure individual style. I lived in apartments for years like 20….but always loved 1920′s, 1930′s, 1940′s stuff. And that is what I bought. I have never bought a new piece of large furniture. (small things yes) All my furniture has been gathered over the years from Flea Markets, garage sales, antique stores and thrift stores. Then when it came time for me to get a home. I bought the sort of home I was attracted to….a 1930′s tudor. I moved all my stuff in and all was perfect. I didn’t have dining room furniture but found some for $200 at Salvation Army about two years after the move.

Do I have everything I want? no….Do I have everything I need? absolutely. Does my home reflect my pure individual style, yes.

Linda July 1, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I have found that my style evolves as I age. But I seem to do it backwards. As a younger women, I wanted traditional. Then I went into a Tuscany phase. Now that I am a blog stalker, I find that I like county, shabby chic, with a slight rustic look. I guess it is because it doesn’t have to be perfect and now that my husband has retired we don’t have the money to fix everything, so I am content in calling imperfections character.

hip hip gin gin July 1, 2010 at 2:47 pm

We assume that the homes featured in magazines are full of items the home owner loves because we don’t know the backstory. For all we know maybe those people also have items that they don’t care for but are there for the husband, or the kids, or the dog, or because they work well for the time being. I bet a lot of the items we think are so charming and vintage to the owner are just a hand me down from the days when they couldn’t afford to buy a new item. And maybe not, but the point is we don’t really know. I think we tend to assume that other people have it figured out and we are the only ones who don’t, not just in decorating but in life in general, I know I do this all the time. But we know that isn’t true, everyone is struggling with something, everyone is compromising in one way or another.
.-= hip hip gin gin´s last blog ..Stylish Patriot =-.

rebecca July 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm

AMEN sista! I’ve loved reading the “behind the scenes” posts on ladies that have had photo shoots of their homes….and how many props, stylists, clothes, etc etc were brought in to make everything look perfect. Not that these spaces aren’t fabulous before the crew arrives, but it truly takes a team to create a realistic reality. Go figure. It’s definitely made me view photos much differently and realize that even if the caption says “they just threw it all together and worked with what they had,” that’s still only half of the truth ;)
.-= rebecca´s last blog ..If Most Women Fake It- Why Cant I =-.

the domestic fringe July 1, 2010 at 2:51 pm

I always have to compromise on just about every purchase. Living within a budget doesn’t always leave room for ‘heart’s desire’, but I think true creativity is shown when you’re forced to make do or repurpose things. I think personal style is about finding things you love that can work within your budget and families’ needs.

-FringeGirl

Jessica at Lavender and Lilies July 1, 2010 at 3:00 pm

I think you can to some degree but not entirely. I think you can take pieces and use them your way which can result in a style that defines who you are.
.-= Jessica at Lavender and Lilies´s last blog ..In Desperate Need Of =-.

Tricia Rose July 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm

I think unlimited budget mediates against individuality – that said, I am going slowly crazy totting up that the exterior needs painting, garden could do with some input, want to strip out my bedroom ceiling (and on, and on…) I’d give up a bit of the ‘quirky creativity’ for a boring old cash injection!
.-= Tricia Rose´s last blog ..Lavender Festival =-.

Pat July 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm

What was the question?….Oh right….compromise.
YES its a compromise and I’m sick of it..LOL!
After being married 45 years it’s a lot of compromise..but also on my husbands part. Our tastes are worlds apart, but I’ve managed to combine both without causing to much annimosity! Truthfully it’s more him then me in here, although he would beg to diasgree. I would ‘girly’ it up quite a bit more, and he would “woodsy’ it up a lot more, so were some where in the middle. Sounds ugly…but it works for us.
.-= Pat´s last blog ..Just Resting =-.

Cheri @ I Heart Old Houses July 1, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I think you can create a particular style for a photo shoot, but not for a real, lived-in house. When I first moved out on my own I envisioned a home that looked like the ones I admired in magazines – sort of a blend of traditional and Craftsman style. But somehow I started accumulating stuff – a rustic log cabin-esque bed that my boyfriend’s dad crafted himself (so not my style!), framed art we got as gifts, hand-me-down furniture, etc. I kept thinking that one day I was going to replace it all with things that were more me until I realized that this stuff is my life – it couldn’t be more “me.” Totally corny, but true.
.-= Cheri @ I Heart Old Houses´s last blog ..Yard Work =-.

Jennevieve July 1, 2010 at 6:36 pm

This is exactly how I feel about my house. I look at is a work in progress. If a designer came in and did everything for me, I think I would get bored of it pretty quickly. I like to add and modify. Also, I learned the hard way when we remodeled the kitchen: If you make one room look too nice, the rest will look like garbage!

Also, I know a woman who is chasing her dream of making the perfect Metropolitan Home house or whatever and just ordered these $10,000 couches (I can’t imagine!) and discovered the cats’ claws hurt the fabric and now she is considering getting rid of the cats! Who wants to live in a museum?
.-= Jennevieve´s last blog ..If You Build It- They Will Come =-.

Janell Beals July 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm

No, probably not…but it can be a fun journey to get it close to what you envision! Janell
.-= Janell Beals´s last blog ..The Kitchen Island Gets A New Look =-.

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints July 1, 2010 at 4:33 pm

I agree with you. I love my house. It’s an eclectic mix of stuff I love and have gathered over the years, but it probably doesn’t reflect me totally. If I had an endless budget and really knew every option out there I’m sure lots of things would be different. Sometimes you just do the best with what you have, and that’s not so bad:)
.-= Becky @ Farmgirl Paints´s last blog ..Pierced =-.

Jocelyn Stott July 1, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Wow – you just gave me some peace. You really did. I know what I like, absolutely. But, I am also a 27 year old who is trying to save money for a house and still finding my career path and I simply do not have the money, or the space, for so many items I desire. Awesome post. I really loved it.
.-= Jocelyn Stott´s last blog ..Kitchen Storage For The Soul =-.

Julie July 1, 2010 at 5:14 pm

I am finally getting my house just the way I like, after many years of marriage and a divorce, so I guess it helps that I live alone with my daughter. So lots of shabby,new country. Very girly house. I suppose I compromise, as I have a partner with the total opposite style, lots of timber and darker furnishings, so we will keep our separate houses, has worked for 4 years, can’t see it changing. My independence and I get to live in the house I want.

Julie

Jennae @ Green Your Decor July 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm

I think there’s definitely a lot of truth to that statement. My husband and I tend to have very different ideas for what works in decorating. He generally lets me have free reign, but we butt heads in a lot of cases and I realize that it can’t be only what I like — it has to be a home for both of us. And Julia, you’re absolutely right in that practicality wins in a lot of situations. I would LOVE to get rid of our huge red sectional, but my husband loves it’s, it’s super comfortable, it seats all of us, and it is the best place in the world to lounge for family movie nights. I think individual decor is always evolving, and noone will ever achieve “perfection.” There’s this thing called real life that gets in the way, and if it weren’t for that life, none of our homes would be worth decorating anyway :)
.-= Jennae @ Green Your Decor´s last blog ..Green Steal of the Week- Mod Green Pod Organic Quilting Fabrics =-.

Jenny at Henrietta's House July 1, 2010 at 5:29 pm

I go through phases as well, but luckily can’t afford to go all the way with whatever phase I’m in. So over the years I’ve developed quite an eclectic collection of furniture and decor.

But all the things I’ve hung on to still make me happy. And that’s the most important thing about decorating your home. If your house looks like a magazine cover and everything is perfect but you don’t like it, it doesn’t matter how great it looks!
.-= Jenny at Henrietta’s House´s last blog ..Baggo Fun =-.

Mrs. Limestone July 1, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Thanks for the mention. You already know my view. I think its safe to say my house will never be perfect nor a perfect reflection of me.
.-= Mrs. Limestone´s last blog ..All those who wander freebie =-.

Amanda @ Serenity Now July 1, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Well, this, my friend, is good food for thought! The idea of not being able to attain pure , individual style never occurred to me, but it makes perfect sense. I currently fall into the “barely able to afford IKEA” category…and it’s hard when so many of my friends live in brand-new homes that they are decorating from scratch. :s It’s hard to not be envious!
.-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..Thrifty Thursday- Its Chic to Be Cheap Summertime Kid Activities =-.

LeAnn July 1, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Interesting post Julia. I know that I have decorated differently in each house we have lived in. When I lived in a new house, I was more traditional with a country flair but now that I am in a very old historic home, I tend to lean towards vintage/farmhouse.

I would love to have about five homes to decorate. Like you I love beach cottage but beings that I live in a 1911 farmhouse, I don’t think beach cottage will work here.

I do know however that ever since I started decorating with things that really caught my eye, I’ve been happier. It somehow just all seems to work together and my house truly does make me happy these days. It will never be in a magazine but that’s not my aim, my aim is to create comfort and cozy for my family.
.-= LeAnn´s last blog ..Girls just wanna have fun =-.

Lori-Anne July 1, 2010 at 6:14 pm

That’s such a good question! I don’t really know the answer either. But I do know that, whenever I think I land a look I like, a look that is really “me,” I find something – a colour, an accessory, a major piece of furniture – that I MUST have. So it never ends. Maybe that’s my style – ever evolving, growing, staying fresh. It just makes it hard (and expensive!) to make that tangible!
.-= Lori-Anne´s last blog ..Happy July 1- =-.

Carrie July 1, 2010 at 6:20 pm

i make a point to only buy things i absolutely love but my house definitely doesn’t have the finished decorating magazine look. i have rooms that are almost barren because i haven’t found stuff i love for them yet.
.-= Carrie´s last blog ..Easy Wireless Charging for your Wii Remotes =-.

Kim July 1, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Thanks for sharing this. For years I tried figuring out what my style was. I took so many different style quizzes, looked at so many different houses, and so forth. I could never find it. I finally realized, that there just isn’t one style out there for me. I love all sorts, and I can’t choose just one. Now, I buy things that I like and I make sure everything goes well together.

Arlene @At Home with the Grimms July 1, 2010 at 7:38 pm

I think we would all like to have those “magazine” homes but most of us have to be realistic. I tend to buy what I like instead of relying on a certain style.
.-= Arlene @At Home with the Grimms´s last blog ..Happy 30th Amelia- =-.

Lesley @ TheDesignFile July 1, 2010 at 8:18 pm

This post – like so many of your posts – makes me feel better about my own home. I too struggle with precisely what my style is … and that ideal often seems to change even as I’m renovating a room.

Plus, my home is small, many of my furnishings were handed down from family and other pieces were purchased to please my husband. And of course, there’s the problem of money!

I’d like to think of these issues less as restrictions and more as a framework for then doing what I love. This post inspires me to do that. Thanks as always.
.-= Lesley @ TheDesignFile´s last blog ..Design Star- Nina says shes a leader- not a bully =-.

Kim July 1, 2010 at 9:01 pm

As it often happens Julia you seem to hit on what I have thought about many times, perhaps even wondering more deeply am I living authentically? Because the saying put in your house only what you love it what I have been trying to do. But to replace something because you don’t like it and replace it with what you want is not always in the constrains of money limitations, one makes do and then has a wish list and then over time maybe taste have even changed. But I do know my style and it is without question, coastal with a laid back casual vibe with easy, living and organic elements. I live in the country in Northern Cal and have gone with a farmhouse style which I am enjoying but feel it’s kind of what is for now. But I know it’s difficult to get the coastal out of me since I’ve was raised on the coast in Monterey, I still find me slipping in a huge beautiful white shell on top of books or something. Or my fireplace mantle or color scheme will have all a look that would fit on the coast. I question should I love what is in me or my area? I’ve gone with the area for the moment, because farmhouse chic, which I like to call it, can be me, since I love farm life but I know and find if we live authentically we are at our most joyous. So if I would say, walk into someone’s completely southwesternish looking house and see that’s it’s coastal, I think I would smile and just think I understand. But there is nothing like that “Fit” when the area fits the house and all that is in it and it feels like an extension of organic elements and nature all the outside beauty brought in.

I struggle with this, having my dream house all planned out and the main thing it starts out with is location. I’ve thought many times to blog about it so if anything I have it written down if only for me to organize my thoughts and to know that if funds rained from the sky, I’m ready to go.
.-= Kim´s last blog ..Finding Beauty Friday- =-.

Glenda Childers July 1, 2010 at 9:11 pm

I am not exactly sure what Alexandra Stoddard means here. I have long read her books and she certainly knows how to create a home (her NY apartment and her , I think , Conneticut home) that matched the way she liked to live. Her home totally represents her style of living. And I like to live that way, as well.
.-= Glenda Childers´s last blog ..And the winner is LIME GREEN =-.

hookedonhouses July 1, 2010 at 9:44 pm

I know what you mean. That’s why it stopped me in my tracks. Didn’t expect her to say something like that! -Julia

Glenda Childers July 1, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Alexandra Stoddard also said keep what is beautiful AND useful.
.-= Glenda Childers´s last blog ..And the winner is LIME GREEN =-.

Lacy July 1, 2010 at 9:59 pm

I think maybe it’s possible to make A ROOM your very own style but not the whole house and I think it would be boring if all your rooms looked the same anyways!
Very interesting, this made me really think, which is scary. ha ha

melissa @ the inspired room July 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Oh my Julia, this was just fascinating to me! I’ve been thinking about this general topic all week. I love Alexandra, she has been one of my inspirations (though I’ve only met her on the phone I have read all of her books!) for 20 years. I think she is right, we really cannot achieve a PURE style (as in perfectly US?) if we are living with what we have, dealing with limitations and all that. Most of us have to live with imperfect and that is OK. Imperfect can still be beautiful to us because of what it means to us, not necessarily because of how picture perfect it looks. I wrote along these lines today as well, inspired by another blogger! Now you’ve got me thinking even more.

I think reflecting “who we are” means our style will be filled with imperfections (from a design sense) because if we are honest with ourselves, we cannot achieve perfection in design without compromising something else that is important to who we are. Money? Time? Family heirlooms? Our home’s natural style? Our jobs? We can’t all go buy the perfect little beach cottage by the sea and fill it with perfect furniture — unless we want to fork out lots of money to relocate, change jobs to live by the sea, spend every waking minute shopping and painting furniture to perfection, or spend our children’s college funds on it all…or say goodbye to relationships because we have “too much to do” to make our perfect home “just right.” Ya know? Some people seem to be able to create the perfect home for them and “who they are” but most of us are lucky to feed the kids and pay the bills :-) And isn’t that part of life “who we are too”?

Great post, Julia! As always.
.-= melissa @ the inspired room´s last blog ..Inspired By- Funky Junk -amp Other Beautiful Things =-.

Beck July 1, 2010 at 11:32 pm

I disagree. That is like saying we are not able to have our individual thoughts or ideas…..Mine ? Becklectic is the name of my style….

Vicki @ In The Sandbox Comic Strip July 1, 2010 at 11:59 pm

I find it hard to have an individual style for the whole house when my husband keeps voicing his opinion. ; )
.-= Vicki @ In The Sandbox Comic Strip´s last blog ..QUOTE OF THE WEEK =-.

Nita July 2, 2010 at 12:08 am

I watched my mom’s tastes change in decor from Danish modern to Early American to Spanish bungalow. I have gone from eclectic to Colonial to French country. But, I have pieces of furniture that I use no matter what.

I think you do have to try to decorate to go along with the house. Nothing feels so wrong in going into a house as going into a Spanish bungalow only to have another style inside. I think I will stay with French country but might one day go with a 40s moderne.

Victoria @ DesignTies July 2, 2010 at 2:03 am

I think that what Alexandra is also talking about is that we are so influenced by other’s styles and designs that, even though we THINK the style or design is ours, someone elses style has touched our design… in turn, the design/style of someone else was influenced by another someone’s. So with that in mind, we can never be truly individual in our design style because we can’t help but take a little of Sarah Richardson, a little of Jamie Drake, a little of Kelly Werstler, a little Ikea ;-) when pulling our rooms together… and these individuals were channeling THEIR influences.
Victoria
.-= Victoria @ DesignTies´s last blog ..Finding the Perfect Colour =-.

Courtney @ Nesting Instincts July 2, 2010 at 5:12 am

I guess I both agree and disagree. You’re right…my own home is full of compromises primarily due to one thing: budget constraints. I feel that even amongst my own peers I am limited more than some are, budget-wise. That being said, I still have a space that looks like no one else’s. I’ve got a mix of accessories that only I would choose to put together. My little tiny art collection is curated by me, and therefore reflects my own personal tastes and nobody else’s. It’s true that everything thing I have could be said to belong to a style that someone else thought up and developed – mid-century modern, or country, or even the all-encompassing “eclectic”…but it’s still put together in a way that only I can do. Just like my neighbors put their homes together in ways that only they can. Though I can’t really label it, I’m still proud of my personal style (whatever the heck it is!) and I think everyone has a style that resonates with them. Just like we all have different fingerprints, there are different elements of design that appeal to us all.

And at this point my answer got so long that I started wondering if I should just form my response as my own blog post?? Yikes!! (Thanks for reading, if you’re still with me!)
.-= Courtney @ Nesting Instincts´s last blog ..mini makeover =-.

alex July 2, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Hi courtney
Your answer/sxplanation is most like the comment that I had in mind as true.
I am wondering if Alexandra Stoddard had a typo, because, all she talks about is individual style.

Debbie Bailey July 2, 2010 at 5:21 am

There is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ house. My mother tried to have one when I was growing up, and it made us all miserable. I’ve been in houses that were ‘magazine perfect’ and I found them boring. I couldn’t see the characters of the people living there even though everything matched and coordinated. I like to see artwork in progress or stacks of books waiting to be read.

I think my house is pretty close to perfect, but what that means to me is that I’m perfectly happy being at home. We wanted an old farmhouse with a good bit of land. At the time we couldn’t find both together, but we did find a great piece of land with a mature pecan grove on it. So I collected old materials for a year and then built the house of my dreams in the middle of those pecan trees. People really can’t tell that it isn’t old. I’ve collected antiques and shabby chic pieces for years and will continue to do so until I can’t shop anymore (I’ll be dead).

A house that stays interesting will always be changing. Furniture will be rearranged, rooms will be painted different colors, new things will be brought in, old things will go out…a home is a work of art in progress; only it never gets done. At least I don’t want to ever be done!
.-= Debbie Bailey´s last blog ..Lessons For A Good Life =-.

rosie July 2, 2010 at 9:21 am

I love your description of your home and the process of creating it! Off to see more ion your blog!
.-= rosie´s last blog ..oreo truffles- chores and yuck- =-.

chris July 2, 2010 at 6:49 am

I think it is possible for me anyway , when I moved here I dreamed of a beachy nantucket style decor , but because of fear of others opinions I let it sway me to a more “safe” look at first, I am not near a beach although we do have one in our city I have taken great efforts to let myself “go” when decorating ,doing things no one around these parts would do , not holding back , when I stopped holding back and taming my efforts it all started to come together , I guess for my area I sure do have a completely individual style and I do it all for my own sastisfaction . Just to please me .
.-= chris´s last blog ..Happy Canada Day =-.

Cathy July 2, 2010 at 7:32 am

It is kinda like life, like others have said. You’ve gotta work with what you’ve got, throw in a bit of what you need and mix it up to make something you love. Not always easy, but totally possible is perfection isn’t your ultimate goal.
.-= Cathy´s last blog ..Before You Do- Ask Yourself Is It Worth the Calories =-.

Lauren July 2, 2010 at 7:48 am

I think it’s definitely possible but not in that ‘this is it” kind of way we often dream of. I think most of our styles evolve over time& our homes reflect that. But I think getting to know yourself and more importantly (if you live with other people) your family’s “style” really gets ppl to a good place.

Budget is always an issue for me and if I didn’t have one, my house would be filled with different things but I think the feeling/ style/ mood would still be the same.

thought-provoking post- loved it
xoxo,
lauren
.-= Lauren´s last blog ..Client Project- A Green Dining Room =-.

Beth July 2, 2010 at 9:11 am

I would almost guarantee that all magazine rooms were either completely done by a professional, or at least with some assistance. That right there says the things we envy are not that person’s perfect personal style, they’re what a professional INTERPRETED about their style. That said, it’s great to have something to aspire to, and the photos are absolutely fun to look at. The pursuit and the journey are half the fun!
Creating a home for your family is one of the noblest pursuits in this world, but the next time I find myself obsessing about things just a LITTLE too much, I’m going to go back and read this post:
http://memoriesoncloverlane.blogspot.com/2010/06/where-i-become-undone-at-estate-sale.html

rosie July 2, 2010 at 9:19 am

Well, considering we have what my dad always calls “champagne taste and beer money” I would say that I am a long way from having perfected my personal style. The true me is definitely filthy rich and can pretty much buy whatever, whenever… oh, wait, I just woke up and have three kids, a freelance income and a normal life!

I love the rooms in my home, some more than others and I think every day that my house should be in a magazine-even if it’s self published! Maybe it could be called-a thrift-store/Ikea/pier1 work in progress home with kids!
.-= rosie´s last blog ..oreo truffles- chores and yuck- =-.

shelly@familyblt July 2, 2010 at 10:24 am

Love this post! I think it’s so easy to get caught up in ‘keeping up with the blogses’ in decorating style. I love all the inspiration though :D
.-= shelly@familyblt´s last blog ..A challenge- 30 day Journal =-.

Black Eyed Susans Kitchen July 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm

If you live alone, and if you have money to burn, and if your style never evolves, then yes, you can have a pure individual style. I like my family and although I don’t always love accommodating their styles and needs, I am pretty good at compromising. They in turn have been very supportive in letting me decorate OUR house my way. This was a very interesting topic!
.-= Black Eyed Susans Kitchen´s last blog ..A WEEKENDS WORTH OF PARTY PICTURES =-.

Janet July 2, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I believe it is possible, if you have an endless bank account.

Otherwise, call it eclectic and love your home. ;)
.-= Janet´s last blog ..Happy Fourth of July Weekend- =-.

Kathryn Bechen July 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Loved your post about this topic, Julia. I think a home should be as close to possible a reflection of your/your family’s personal style, but I don’t think that means it will always be perfect, nor “done” because life evolves. I think what it basically means is to choose an overall style that can evolve over time for you so that even if you get rid of some things and replace them, your core look is still the same “you.” For instance, my personal look is basically “cottage” but I move things around, change accessories, colors, have moved 12 times in 30 years, etc. but overall, my core look is still some version of “cottage” whether I was living in my beach condo or my current highrise. It still works. I have some things I’ve had for thirty years, and some are newer. I call it “portable decorating” as in…tweak the furnishings and accessories you have to the existing space. If done right, it can look great, and still be the “current” expression of you! :)

P.S. Love Alexandra’s book Daring to be Yourself; I know her and she’s a fabulous person, author, and designer and her own home I visited in person is a charming reflection of her own life and style.

Struggler July 2, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Great post – this definitely needed saying aloud!
My comment was basically going to consist of what Black Eyed Susans Kitchen said; you’d have to be single, wealthy, and consistent to reach this ideal!
And where would the fun in that be???
.-= Struggler´s last blog ..Hooked on Hooks =-.

Karen Flanagan July 3, 2010 at 8:02 pm

I love your blog and read it everyday. Thank you for putting such time and thought in it. It shows.
Why can’t you do beach cottage style in your home? I grew up on the coast and love that look but now live in the midwest. I decorated my house beach cottage style anyway and have no regrets. After all, I’m the one living in it. :)

room service ~ decorating 101 July 4, 2010 at 8:07 am

great post, do I believe ….”yes”, but I think one has to be real with themselves and their home! If you don’t live in a mountain lodge, you don’t have a lodge style, no matter how much you might like it. I think every house will tell you what it needs if you will only listen. So the most important thing is to find a home that is your style and the decor will come…

Dana@ Adoption Journey July 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm

It might be possible . . . if you live alone. I was single for many years. On my own, I might come pretty darn close to developing my own personal style. As a wife and mom, there are lots of people to consider and usually other financial priorities trump decorating. A family home can still be beautiful, but probably not a perfect representation of the lady of the house’s personal “style.”
.-= Dana@ Adoption Journey´s last blog ..Why Does It Take So Long Why Does It Cost So Much =-.

julie hughes July 29, 2010 at 5:38 am

You are so right! Creative people seem to have the most struggle with “daydreams.” For instance, my husband is never sitting on the porch swing dreaming of living in a cottage by the sea. I wish I could have the luxury of everything in my home reflecting the inner me. I have tried to buy only things that I really and truly love, but I confess that I sometimes, no often, buy things because I need them and there is not really much choice as to style. I have changed over the years and have items that reflect the “past” me. Some of them I have tossed, but some of them are forever.
Thanks for your website. Love the inspiration!
Julie

Jahn Rae October 7, 2010 at 11:39 pm

I think individual style exists.

I do it every time. Sometimes, I want it messy. Sometimes, I clear it all. So there it goes…
.-= Jahn Rae´s last blog ..My Weirdo Cousin And Sam Milby =-.

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