Friday, June 30, 2017

Eclectic Style? or Hot Mess?

There are many styles that designers use when creating living spaces for their clients and that we use in our own homes.  We're all familiar with Traditional, Contemporary, Industrial, French Country, Mid-Century Modern, etc.  They each have identifiable features and are fairly easy to classify.  So, does that mean that any room which doesn't neatly fit into a specific style is eclectic?  Definitely not!

Let's take a looks at what the term "eclectic" actually means...

Definition of eclectic.  1:  selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles.  2:  composed of elements drawn from various sources; also: heterogeneous. (source: Merriam-Webster)

Eclecticism is a nineteenth and twentieth-century architectural style in which a single piece of work incorporates a mixture of elements from previous historical styles to create something that is new and original.  In architecture and interior design, these elements may include structural features, furniture, decorative motifs, distinct historical ornament, traditional cultural motifs or styles from other countries, with the mixture usually chosen based on its suitability to the project and overall aesthetic value. (source: Wikipedia)

An eclectic interior, then, is not a "catch-all" but rather a carefully curated collection of elements from various styles.  Established design principles such as balance, proportion, and scale still apply if we want to create a successful eclectic interior space. Take the following image, for example.

Several styles are incorporated here, including contemporary clean lines in the credenza, chaise longue, and side table; traditional elements of the tufted ottoman and rug; and a decidedly modern gold slat chair.  This room works so well because the designer kept a uniform "feel" with the use of subtle color, simple shapes and lines, and proper furniture scale.  The artwork, in a combination of framed portraiture and modern abstracts, adds visual interest without being confined to one style.

This gorgeous black and white space employs abstract art and a modern lucite chair to balance the visual weight and ornate carving of the desk. Minimal accessorizing with plants, simple vases, and draperies that blend into the walls keeps our eyes focused on the beauty and personality of the furnishings. Neutral colors help to eliminate busyness and serve to meld different design styles together; and a traditional oriental rug gives warmth to the scheme.  The room is purposely kept open and airy to balance its generous use of black decor.

This next room is just full of eclectic goodness, isn't it?  The furniture, lamps and chandelier lend an old-world charm, while bold pops of color keep things fresh and timely.  A black and white geometric rug grounds the furniture grouping and adds a playful quality to the room; while the crisp white mirror against a white wall brings in a contemporary twist.  Also, white-on-white trim mouldings provide interest without detracting from other furnishings.

How different would this space feel if the walls were dark, the rug was traditional, and the chairs were covered in tapestry?  

And, finally, traditional and Asian-inspired furnishings are punched up with a large piece of modern art and daring use of color.  The abstract painting adds a lot of interest, movement, and colorful energy.  Again, if we imagine a piece of landscape, portrait, or still-life art here, and wood-toned tables in place of the painted red ones, there would be a more predictable and conventional look to this space.  

One of the great benefits of using eclectic design is in achieving a one-of-a-kind result. For people who enjoy many interior design styles, this method of curating pieces from various time periods and regions is ideal.  As long as we remember to use a framework of good design principles, we can create unique, visually-stimulating spaces.  I, myself, have always leaned toward eclectic design, as I find it to be very adaptable, fluid, and exciting.  How do you feel about this design style?  

Monday, June 12, 2017


Hi Friends,
It's been a while. You probably thought I fell off the edge of the earth, right?  I've got to say that the One Room Challenge kind-of took it out of me - whew!  And then there's that ongoing thorn in my husband's and my side, the townhouse reno from H*## (after our former tenants completely trashed the place.)  We've basically had to gut it and start from the floors up...ugh!
It hasn't all been toil and trouble, though.  I did manage to fit in a fun Girlfriend Trip to San Antonio over Memorial Weekend.  Seven sorority sisters and I (many of whom hadn't seen each other in 34 years!) spent the long holiday weekend at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Texas Hill Country.  It was glorious!!  Here is a glimpse of the spa pool and and the amazing views.

There were long chats over coffee and wine, a full spa day, an evening on the RiverWalk, complete with a boat tour and dinner and, most importantly, the chance to reconnect with a few of the women who helped usher us into adulthood so many years ago.  And I noticed that everyone was exactly the same as when we were in college together.  I mean, of course we look older now and we've collectively endured a lot of life experience; but personalities hadn't changed at all.  The things we loved about each other were still there.  I came back home with such a full heart :)

So now summer has finally arrived, and I'm trying to slow down, regroup, "Relax," and enjoy it.  Those of you who follow me have seen our sun porch in past posts.  As a matter of fact, the décor out here really hasn't changed much at all.  Unfortunately, I've placed myself on a strict budget after all of that spending in the Master Bedroom, and during the Girlfriend Weekend...ahem.....  Creativity will have to be my middle name for a while! 

I moved a few accessories around and added some new succulents and plants.  Each year, the plants barely scrape by in the house during our long Nebraska winters; and then I move them out to the porch to rejuvenate over the summer months.  It's amazing how much growth happens while they are here in the sunshine and humidity.  You can see that the one under the wire cloche has had quite a bit of growth on top.

I would love to add some new pillows to this sofa. A couple of these have gotten a little tired and faded. Hopefully, I'll stumble onto some great deals this summer - fingers crossed.  The Buddha head was something I found last year at a yard sale for $1, and I think it is perfect for this space. 

You may remember seeing this wreath if you follow me on Instagram.  My intention was to hang it on our front door, but between birds trying to nest in it and our son complaining about bumping his head on it every time he came through the door, it had to be moved. We keep this antique dresser on the sun porch and store dog leashes and miscellaneous dog supplies in it.  I also store the summer accent pillows in it during the winter months.  I don't have a strong attachment to the dresser (obviously, since I allow it to endure harsh weather conditions out here.)  We originally purchased it to use in our kids' nursery, which was 28 years ago.  The wood on this poor thing has really dried out while it has sat on the porch, though.  At some point, it will be sold or given to someone who can lovingly restore it to its former beauty.

These finials had been inside our house on the fireplace mantel, but this spring I changed the look in there to topiaries and branches.  So, the finials found a new home here on the porch.  I often threaten to add more color in the décor out here, but all of the greens and natural elements really blend nicely into the outdoor landscape.  It feels very restful to me this way, I guess.

And restful is the whole idea for this space.  It is such a comfortable spot for settling in with a cool drink and a magazine or book, especially when there is a nice cross-breeze coming through the windows.  We have plenty of birds, butterflies, squirrels, and rabbits that come to visit, too.  This spring, another robin built a nest outside of our sun porch on the downspout.

Her babies hatched, grew, and flew away according to schedule.  However, a couple of weeks later, I noticed that a robin has been sitting on that nest again.  I don't know if it's the same one or if a second, opportunistic robin is taking advantage of a nicely-built home?  I was worried that our first robin was still "fussing over" an egg that hadn't hatched, so I drug the ladder out and climbed up there to inspect what was in the nest.  Sure enough, there are 2 eggs there, and she continues to nurture them now.  I hope this story has a happy ending with two new babies soon.

How about that for a perfect segway...haha!  I've displayed this metal bird sculpture both inside the house and out here at various times.  Obviously, it is quite fitting in this space.  I picked up the pepperomia plant at a tag sale for $2 last weekend, but I've already noticed that its leaves are turning brown/black in the centers.  There is so much conflicting information online.  I haven't figured out if it is suffering from improper watering, has been scorched from too much sun, or some other issue.  It looked fine when I brought it home, so apparently my brown thumb is working quickly on this poor plant :(  At least I didn't spend much on it, haha.

I hope your summer is starting out fun and relaxing.  Don't you just love the carefree feeling that summer invites?

Sharing with: Between Naps on the Porch, Everyday Living, DIY by Design
The Dedicated House, Vintage Charm, A Delightsome Life, French Country Cottage, Shabby Art Boutique