Ironically perhaps, it was embracing the idea that if I love it I should wear it that got me going down the wrong path. The wrong path for me, that is, since this is a personal journey. It is a very sound philosophy which works well for many women. It wasn't working for me. How I decorate my home is somewhat different from what I prefer to wear and the art I create is often very colourful. I think it is the the colour I do not wear that makes its way into my art.
Usually I write about my love of colour and am referring to purples and blues and greens, though truly I do love brown and grey. Although I have written several posts about my equal love for a very neutral and soft palette, I had not published any of them until I began to share my changed attitude towards my clothing. I have a strong attraction to a colourful bohemian sort of home but an equally strong one to a modern french country look with greige, beige, ivory and grey tones. The two don't seem like they mix well and I can only go in one direction at a time so my first instinct has been to gravitate towards colour, not neutrals but I frequently admire an all neutral palette where it is texture that takes over for colour. My inability to edit, as they say in the style world, has basically kept me from using more neutral palette in my home. I will fall for coloured things and bring them home. I 'ruin' a monochromatic neutral palette quickly.
How is it that I cannot stop staring at images like this one? It is definitely more formal than my style and yet there is also a low maintenance rusticity about it. I doubt I could keep it this sparse if I lived in it and yet I stare and sigh like Holly Golightly at the Tiffany's window.
But I fall for images like this too and my home has evolved more in this direction overall.
So why do I feel it isn't quite where I want it? I believe the answer lies in the same discovery I have made with my clothing. While I am attracted to a wide variety of colours and combinations, what I can live with best and what feels most like me are muted colours. Faded Persian rugs, aged pewter, faded velvet furnishings, what I aim to achieve is rather Miss Havisham inspired but without the bitterness; cobwebs and lace seem like appropriate decor to me.
The image of this highly styled child's play room attracts me, although I could do without a cherub on my walls and a red gas pump. There is so much texture on the walls which is not something my home has going for it but there must be things to learn from the overall feel of this room.
Modern French Country is a bit sparse and often an ornate version of minimalism. It is too sparse for me to live with despite my attraction to it and I also recognise that often it is great architectural details that appeal to me just as much or more than the decor. My home lacks any architectural details of merit.
So, how do I reconcile my deep and abiding attraction to modern French Country with my simultaneous attraction to a very bohemian, colourful and rather cluttered style? Like this, I would suggest.
There is a way to blend the two and the above bedroom may be a good inspiration. It is indeed soft and muted, just as the stony French Country Modern colours are and there is an ornate romance to it with the scrolled furniture and lace. There is colour here; it is not a monochromatic or tonal scheme but it is grounded by a lot of ivory and soft white colours and wood.
This is essentially a photo of a whole lot of textiles and some boxes but the faded colours and the distressed textures really appeal to me. There are warm and cool colours here which is quite like my own home. This is my idea of a French Country/Bohemian mix.
Shall we call this French Country Bohemian Light?
These images of the Paris home of Loulou de la Falaise have appealed to me for years. Surely in a previous life I lived in Paris part of the time and Provence during the summer. My own home already looks somewhat like the poor woman's version of this without the white walls and with less ornate versions of mirrors and chairs scattered about and less expensive textiles (tablecloths or shawls) draped over everything. Instead of a column in the corner I have tree branches. I am the rustic Loulou. Oh, the rustic, introverted, non-smoking Loulou. So basically my home and I are nothing like her. Mainly I am just dying to paint the walls and to sew some new cushion covers but as simple as that sounds those are large projects so for now I dream. Dream and write rambling blog posts.
And then I go back to gazing at images like this.
Some books and blogs to check out:
French Country Images are from Cote Sud magazine via My French Country Home blog
Paulina Arcklin has many gorgeous images on her photography and styling blog.
Bohemian style images are from various sources and collected from Moon to Moon on Pinterest
The original pictures of the home of Loulou de la Falaise are from the book Paris Interiors by Lisa Lovatt-Smith