Today, my (very talented) friend A gave me one of the highest compliments that I think you can ever give somebody: she said that she will be taking inspiration from my home in regards to considering her new space (she is moving into a new apartment, which is always very exciting).
I love sharing my ideas about nesting, but by no means am any expert, or even slightly trained in interior design (how I would give anything to go back to school for it). I just think when you combine being a graphic designer + having slight OCD tendencies + a fascination with collecting, finding, rehabbing and reusing old things, well, one can't help but get obsessed with directing their surroundings. I spend way too much time considering my space: always moving objects and furniture around the house to create little vignettes. I like to look at areas of my home as personal snapshots that have been lovingly and thoughtfully arranged. I also know that I'm probably the only one that sees them this way, so that's why when A said that to me, it couldn't have made me happier to know that my manic behavior was in some way both understood and appreciated.
I, myself, take a huge amount of inspiration from a book that I happened upon about a year ago: Found Style, by David Butler and his wife, Amy Butler. Oh yes, that Amy Butler again. Not only is she a fabulous designer/crafter/entrepreneur but she has this ridiculously talented designer husband who owns a design firm, aptly named, Art of the Midwest. Should we hate these folks for being so damn talented and lovely? I want to. (Not really. I would rather be them.)
In any case, the book is full of yummy ideas and photos that show you just how to combine those random antiques you've had for years with that modern-looking family heirloom you inherited and thought wouldn't/shouldn't work together. And that's just it: combining those two aspects is what I adore about design... that messy side with that structured side. I've never understood people who felt they had to follow preconceived notions of everything in the living room should have the same wood grain, or worse, everything in the dining room needs to be of the same period. Bah.
Just feast your eyes upon some of the tasties from this book:
Actually, I think the Butler's said it best...
"...With found style, it's not back to the department store to try and find bookshelves in the same finish as the rest of the furniture. Instead it's about finding a more creative (and usually less expensive) alternative... Found style combines organization, comfort, and personal voice. It will invite friends and family in to relax, and make them feel special, maybe even honored to be in the space. Your surroundings will tell a little bit about who your are - all you have to do is decide what you want that little bit to be."
Great, now I'm getting the urge to go rearrange the mantle. Again.