Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Finding your home's STYLE

Oh I know....yes, I am painting my piano.
Seems like painting pianos can make the piano painting police 
come out of the woodwork.  But listen, there are plenty of pianos
in the world left that are in their dark stained condition, so its OK.
Here it is the day it arrived. 
 My walls were a sunny yellow and it is just so funny 
to look at how many things have changed in this room.
I certainly have been finding my style and editing things
which will tie into this blog post, so let me continue....
I finally got around to this project that I have been 
wanting to do since the day we got the piano.  Well maybe not that day,
but after it was in our home where most things are light and soft, the 
darkness of the piano swallowed up that side of the room.  I rarely 
photographed the piano side because it felt out of balance with the rest of 
the house.  I remember the only question I asked Annie Sloan when I 
met her for the first time was this: "What color would you paint a piano?"
Now I realize it was much like many of the shoppers that come in my 
store asking me what color they should paint their table or desk or chair.
Annie answered, "Oh I would guess Old White..." to which I responded,
"Wouldn't that be kind of Liberace-ish"...a white piano? How about a pale
green?"  Now I realize how was she to know what color my darn piano
 should be painted!  And in the end, after sitting with it for three years, 
I painted it Old White.  Just like Annie suggested.  After all, Rachel Ashwell
of Shabby Chic fame had a white piano and it didn't look Liberace-ish at all.
So the point of this story is to say that sometimes something in our
homes don't feel like us....they don't feel quite right.  Either the style is wrong,
or the shape, the proportion, or the color is off.  And it can throw the room 
off or the entire house.  So how does one know what color to paint things,
or what fabrics to use, or what furniture to buy?
Figure out what your style is.  
Hmmmmm...its a bit harder than it sounds.  Many of us don't
even know what style we are.  If someone asked you today, what style is
your home decorated in, could you answer?  If you thought about it
and figured it out, it would make all those decorating decisions so much easier.
Enter this wonderful idea of Annie's that she turned into a book:
 This is a great tool to help you figure out just what your style is.
I think it came from one of our seminars that Annie held for us two 
years ago.  It was my favorite seminar by far~one on determining style.
She was advising us to pin down our styles for our shops. 
My shop has a Frenchy old European vibe.  Whether its a display
to entice shoppers to our workshops or setting up a furniture vignette,
I keep it in the defined style of Old French.
My son's shop, Pioneer Goods Co.,  in Boston's South End
has a Vintage Rustic Americana style.
Justin is getting rave reviews on his shop from magazine editors 
and big time decorators when they step foot inside his shop.
Why?  Because he is ruthless about curating his vision for his shop.
Which is a good lesson for us all. 
 As stockists selling Annie's paint, 
that is the one thing we as stockists have in common.  But
it pretty much ends there, as all the independent shop owners have their
own take on presenting the things they sell.  And if there isn't a defined style
it can feel very much like a thrift shop experience, with a bit of this and a 
bit of that.  Nothing seems to flow and it all feels a bit of a mess.
 This applies to home interiors as well. Is your house like that? 
Do you want to figure out how to clean it up (style-wise)
 and have a stylish home?  Well this is one good way to start, 
 Annie and her son Felix wrote this book and worked together touring
Europe and photographing real homes that had defined styles.  There are 
tons of pictures, but more than that, there is a guide to help you find your style.
Annie tells us that most people are a fusion of styles.  You may be a mix
of Coastal and Rustic Country.  I am a mix myself for sure.  And that is 
a mix that needs editing and redefining constantly.  Styles evolve and things
will come and go and as they do, if you have a handle on your style fusion
you will know pretty much at a glance if some object or color will work.
I am finding all of this focus on style particularly important right now.
Opening a shop or two or three or four in the last three years has taken
my focus away from my own home's interior decor.  All of my energy
has been on curating my shop, leaving my home as a poor Cinderella who
didn't get an invite to the ball.  Well no more!  I am renewed with 
purpose to edit, curate, paint and polish my living space.
I am drawing up floor plans again for each of my spaces, 
which helps me decide what should go where.
All of the projects I have been putting on the back burner are 
going to get done or at least evaluated this year.  The reason why its back on 
the front burner is two fold~one it is January 2015 and that always makes
me feel like renewing and organizing and taking a hard look at making
our home work more efficiently while being as pretty as it can be.
But the main reason I am working on my interiors again is that 
I was asked by someone special to have my
 house photographed for a special magazine edition!!
I will be giving decorating tips and tricks that I have used in 
my home and I am super excited about that.
I will share more of the magazine details later~what 
its going to be about and just exactly who is 
behind this exciting project.  
That is all I needed to get jump started and get the ideas I have
had started and finished and let my creative energy flow while
keeping in mind my home's interior style.
It's definitely French, some Cottage, and a bit of Rustic Elegance.
Thats fusion for you! So figure out your style and go edit and 
curate and make a beautiful home that feels amazing every time you
walk through your doors! 
Find Annie's book right in my shop, both online or in Reading Mass.
Its on sale for a super reasonable price too~just trying to be
as competitive as a small business can be, and still make a living.
Or visit your local Annie Sloan Stockist to see if they have it.
Its a large hardcover coffee table book that is over 200 pages
long filled with decorating and style information, which is a bit
of a departure from Annie's normal books on painting.  I ate it up!
So get started already!! Its January 2015!! 
A whole New Year. 
A whole bunch of tools to help you find your style 
and create the home you will LOVE.


1 comment:

  1. I think it's great you painted your grand piano! We've painted 6 or 7 and they all looked fabulous...especially compared to how they started. As long as no paint gets into the parts that actually make it play (and there are LOTS!), I say go for it! :-) I'm thinking of painting our grand too....someday :-) (My husband is a Registered Piano Technician so we usually have the pianos completely taken apart for rebuilding, making the painting even easier. )


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