My husband and I recently saw the movie "The Jones's."
I found this film to be an interesting sociological experiment that at first glance may seem far-fetched, but upon further thought maybe not so much. The premise is a "lifestyle" marketing family- persons who are not related by marriage or blood who live together to perform roles in their family "unit." This unit exists solely to sell a LIFESTYLE. From the tips of their perfectly styled hair to the manicured toes, all the latest and greatest gizmos, gadgets, furnishings, clothing, cars, and more, are not only displayed on a continual basis, but they are also unabashedly talked up in a way that appeals to something most everyone has too much of- pride. Using her savvy networking skills, Demi Moore portrays Mrs. Jones, the leader of the "unit," and an ambitious, marketing-driven business woman whose primary goal in life is to make "icon" status within the lifestyle selling company; with the goal of increasing the sales of each company represented (think Gucci, Audi, Fendi, etc) which is very closely tracked.
Persons who are lucky enough to be invited into this perfect home are treated to viewing (and successfully talked into lusting over) all the latest trends and most expensive items available for purchase, and I dare say that most who entered the Jones's domicile found themselves fearing their friends and neighbors' reactions if they did not purchase the same items. While this film is indeed a treat for the style visually parched, the things missing in this lifestyle-for-sale home are price tags and genuine familial love. All the newest, trendiest furnishings, accessories, jewelry, etc. are purposefully used and displayed in order to spur conversation, envy, and thus increase sales.
(Lauren Ralph Lauren Home cashmere throw)
(Temple St. Clair)
I don't know about you, but I enjoy seeing the things the truly wealthy have, and how there are people out there with loads of expendable income and means to buy just about anything they want and can do anything they want to do. It's not an envy thing for me, although at times I find myself being swept away with the dream of what it would be like to sleep in a perfectly comfortable bed that doesn't hurt my back (hubby loves our bed), waking up to a room that is perfectly beautiful (master bedroom redo is in the plans), and looking out my window at a perfectly manicured lawn complete with someone else who makes it so (uh yeah, that's not going to come anytime soon); in a nutshell, being surround by all that is beautiful.
Back in the real world, rather than spending an hour deciding which YSL dress we'll wear for our next social engagement, fretting over when the newest Vahan cuff will be available for purchase, or trying to find the Sigerson Morrison flats we just bought last week in our fantastically appointed room-size closet, we spend our time scrubbing Sharpie off the front of our white Frigidaire (non-Viking, non-commercial grade) refrigerator front because our four year old decided to be artsy. Instead of plumping the perfectly scaled and down-filled artisan-created pillows on our $10,000 sofa, we spend our time scraping boogers off the walls, digging partially eaten Cheerios, crayons, and unidentifiable objects from between the seat cushions of our 15 year old sofas that have seen much, much better days.
(abstract art created by Sarah Lawson)
I submit to you that although the things and people in my family, home, vehicle, and life in general are far from perfect, there IS beauty everywhere. There is beauty in the worn and history-laden dresser that I currently use as a bedside table; it belonged to my Grandma Lawson, who touched my life in countless and priceless ways, and every time I look at it I think of her. There is beauty in the dining set that I inherited from my mom's parents. It's not a set that I would have chosen for my house had I unlimited funds to purchase the perfect pieces for me; but every time I sit down at the table I think of Grandma and Grandpa Murray and the many warm memories of being around that table for holidays, playing Rummy, and the like. There is even beauty in the Sharpie-laden refrigerator front that belongs to my sister-in-law, because it was drawn by the hand of a precious little girl who is deeply loved. Sharpie (believe it or not) can be removed from the fridge front (thank you, Crystal for your brave foray into the realm of "let's see if it can really be done!"
My friends, there is indeed beauty everywhere- in the things that are imperfect, inexpensive, dinged, scratched, messy, and even the broken. I choose not to fear things that are imperfect because they really are not indicative of a personal failure; not to fear what people will think if they come to my house unexpectedly and there are toddler toys strewn about, stacks (gasp) of magazines and books on the shelf of my end table, dining room currently in the process of becoming an office (I think); not to fear putting things together in unusual ways because it might break a design "rule," and so on.
A couple years ago I found the bottom of an iron table in a trash pile and thought of several things it could be used for- a headboard, fireplace screen, a means of displaying photographs or artwork in an office, or with a new top made of a great piece of old wood it could be used as a table. I had the table "legs" for over a year before I finally decided to do something with it. Imagine if you can this piece right side up again and standing on the floor. It has the two smaller sides that fold backward, making the bottom of the table into a U shape like this |_____| and the open part would be against the wall. Here is what I did:
I turned it upside down, folded the sides out instead of back, and hung it on my living room wall. The iron scroll work echos the scrolls in the bar stools you can see just to the left of the wall behind the sofa, as well as the hammered iron details on the cocktail table and the scrolled leaves on the metal lampshade. The scale of it is just right for the wall. Here is my NO FEAR factor of this image: I have yet to add any photos or other objects to complete the vignette (haven't decided IF I will do that- thoughts?), you can see that I haven't completed the window treatments for my breakfast nook (in the distance, far left), the little pretties that used to sit so nicely on the cocktail table have been taken away to make room for the very mobile and agile climbing toddler that is now in our midst; AND you can see the stack of "stuff" on the end table to the right of the sofa, and the lamp is the wrong scale! It's a cozy look but it is incomplete and therefore, not perfect- BUT I am showing it to you anyway. NO FEAR!
Many of the objects in my home are handmade, re-purposed, or at the very least secondhand or hand-me-downs. I will let you into my imperfect home and share with you some design secrets that will have you looking at the things you already have in new and different ways, and as I work on projects in my home I will share them with you in the hopes that you will get some inspiration from them. You can decorate with interesting character and charm on a budget. And it doesn't have to be perfect to share with other people. Do NOT let fear of what someone will think keep you from experimenting with different design elements OR from inviting people into your home! Remember that their home isn't perfect, either.
Have no fear, my friends. There is beauty everywhere. I intend to live the rest of my life without fear of failure. So I step out in faith and without fear I move toward whatever lies ahead, embracing imperfections and all. And now, before I read, reread a hundred times, edit, fix, and make a million adjustments and analyses on every single sentence and picture, I am going to publish this post! NO FEAR!