The Inspired Room

Refining Your Home for Authentic Living™

Authentic Living September 30, 2007

Filed under: Authentic Living — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 4:04 pm
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More than any other time of the year, Fall is when I start craving a life filled with tradition and purpose. In the summer, life gets a bit more carefree. A great day is one in which you were happy not doing much at all, other than activities involving sunscreen or suitcases. But as October begins, I invariably start thinking about the kind of life I want in my home.

It is so easy to get swayed by all the distractions in life. Even as new wonderful things are invented to supposedly save us time and frustration, new challenges emerge as we try to use them. The internet is no exception. It can be a blessing and a curse. It is sort of a catch-22, we are adding to our knowledge, friends, and lifestyle, yet we must spend so much time in process of attaining that new insight or connection with people that we can miss out on the simple joys of everyday life.

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One of the things I crave most of all in my home is a cozy atmosphere for my family. A respite from the outside world where we can be together. I like comfy places to sit down with a book, places to light a fire or a flickering candle, inviting places to dine together and play games. Yet even if I find the time to create those surroundings, the reality is I need to set aside time to actually use them. That is the heart of authentic living for me. I need to create the spaces I want to use, and then I need to carve out the time to live in the moment. Otherwise the moment will pass on by in the blur of my to do list. Easier said than done, huh? Especially for those of us with growing careers and/or children, there is always one more thing to do.

My goal is to make a priority out of LIVING the life I want, not just creating the atmosphere for it. The busier I get, the harder that is becoming. That means I’m going to have to live on purpose. I have to be intentional and not get carried away with the superfluous. The life I want won’t happen on its own.

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So with that said, I am off to redecorate my dining room to be more inviting and user friendly. I’ve got new simple butter yellow curtains (speaking of curtains, you have got to look at Jackie Von Tobel’s gorgeous book!), I resized my table to be smaller and cozier for game playing and intimate dinners, I added soft gold and red patterned shades to my glass chandelier, and I am going to paint my wainscoting to warm up the room. I’ll add some cozy linens, stacks of my favorite books, and scatter some attractive wood games on the table.

Then I will say, “Let the games begin!” and I will really mean it this time. And I won’t take a picture of the end result to share with you until it includes photos of my family actually playing games, not just a game laying on the table for a prop. Are you with me? I hope so.

 

Two sources of endless inspiration for your homes:
Dining rooms from Traditional Home website
Centerpiece from Better Homes & Gardens website
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Sweet Escape — Bali September 27, 2007

Filed under: Sweet Escape — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 5:53 pm

Oh, Ok. I could go here. I think I’d like this place. After a long hard week.

An expansive and elegant private Balinese villa

Sounds nice enough.

The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay

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Choose Taupe, Live Your Best Life September 26, 2007

Filed under: Authentic Living,Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 6:50 pm
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You know, I was reading about my friend Terri’s harrowing experience on an airplane this past weekend. I am so grateful she is alive! And grateful for the opportunity to be reflective. Near death encounters will do that! She and I share many of the same thoughts on decorating our homes, and I so love her visits here and enjoy the inspiration she gives me through her posts. She has become a good friend. We agree on the need to be authentic, real, all that. In her post she talked about making the decision (of course, she has the right to change her mind, even though I am quoting her here!) to go with taupe for her living room walls because it will look beautiful, tie it all together and by making a decision, she can move on to more important things.

This is a message I am passionate about, it is really at the core of what I do. And she put it so well.

Sometimes taupe is really the answer.

Life should inspire our homes and our homes will inspire our lives (to quote myself, I know you’ve heard me say this before if it sounds like a deja vu!). I don’t believe in decorating for just for the sake of having a decorated home, one that says “Hey everyone, look at me (just don’t pay any attention to the person behind the curtain)!” I think the life behind the scenes is more important, the “whys” of what you are doing. Making sense of it all in light of the kind of person you want to be and life you want to lead.

The beauty of our surroundings can make us happy, more productive, inspired, and support the kind of life we want, but if decorating is all there is, if there is no purpose in what we are doing, then what sorry little lives we must lead. There is nothing wrong of course with loving our little corners or the way the light shines through our windows, you know I am in love with that sort of thing! Beauty is there for us to appreciate and find joy in! But there is SO much more to life, so much more. And sometimes I let good things get in the way of the best things.

If a paint decision, decorating project, blogging, popularity, career or any other pursuit is distracting you away from what you really want out of life, I think it is time to set it aside, simplify or reevaluate what you are doing. Go for taupe! Make a decision that makes sense, is reasonable, and move on! Be willing to let go of devoting time to things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of your life. Create beautiful things, enjoy your surroundings, be happy, but if your every thought is consumed with something ultimately not so important to you, let it go. Give up something good in favor of something more important. I am speaking to myself here.

So glad Terri is alive and well. And I cannot wait to see the beauty of taupe on her walls. I think the furnishings will seem all the more lovely, light will shine through her home more intently, colors will have more impact and her life will seem all the more precious when her walls are just the backdrop to a well-lived life.

 

My unmade bed photo always reminds me to consider what is truly important to me. It isn’t perfection, image, recognition, praise, or a perfectly well-dressed home. There are things more profound, grand, everlasting, simple, precious and treasured. Wonderful things I can miss so easily.

 

Authentic Coastal Style September 25, 2007

Filed under: Authentic Living,Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 10:58 pm
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I love Coastal Style. And I have mentioned that fact several times on the blog. But, as a sweet reader pointed out, I have neglected to talk about the fact that our family has a beach house on the coast! Yes, I did mention it in my “About page” and one other time, but that was it. I apologize, I just keep forgetting to talk about it. The house has been being remodeled for about nine months now, and still has probably another month or two to go until completion (yes, that sounds way overdue to me too!). I promise to show pictures as the countdown to completion begins! Here it was earlier in the process. See! It does exist!

This house has been a part of our family’s (including my folks and sister’s family) every summer, many weekends and holidays for over ten years (I can’t even remember how long now!). We are very blessed to have it. The house overlooks the Pacific Ocean, between two wonderful coastal towns, Cannon Beach and Manzanita. It is in a quiet, forested area high on a hill with a breathtaking view of the ocean. This is its second remodel since it has been in our family. Soon it will have new architectural features, more bathrooms, bedrooms, a new sunroom, decks, a heated garage to play games in and an outdoor hot tub overlooking the water. Don’t hate me, if you are really nice to me maybe I’ll invite you over sometime! A blog party!

As far as a style goes, I think coastal style sometimes gets typecast as being just one particular look. In reality, coastal style should be more of a way of life than a specific color scheme or choice in furnishings. And you know what I always say, there are no rules! For us in Oregon, being on the northwest coast, we don’t have the long warm season that folks in Florida or Southern California have. So in our particular case, we might choose a bit cozier beach style than what someone in Florida would choose. And yet, we have Coastal Style, it is just our own personal version of it. It wouldn’t be authentic if we copied a look that works well in Florida — the Northwest is a VERY different place.

I love authentic style, meaning I love being true to who you are, where you are in life, and what suits you. Not being a slave to what is popular, trendy or what some designers say is cool to do, or not do. Of course, what others think can be enlightening for me, but if I don’t apply it all or do it differently, I’m OK with that. I am just me, and if it works for me and I like it, that is great style in my opinion. I’m inspired by a lot of different things, but what I come up with for my home is entirely my own unique mix.

I think confidence in who you are, what is important to you, and what you love should be the epitome of a stylish person and home, not what someone else has labeled as fashionable. Who makes those rules anyways, who made THEM the home fashion police? There are fine ideas and better ideas, and some not so good ideas, but I don’t follow trends in what is currently chic or not. Being real is WAY more attractive than trying to be something you are not. IMHO! No offense to anyone who follows trends or is very chic. Really, if that is your authentic style, I am all for it. You have got to be yourself in your own home.

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One of my favorite styles is commonly referred to as British Colonial. I’ve mentioned it along with coastal style before, as it is one I gravitate towards in my own home. I love the mix of furnishings and casual nod to adventure and the sea that seem to go along with that style. I use elements of it because it works for both my husband and me, it isn’t too feminine for his taste and not too masculine for my taste. It works with what we have and who we are. It can go in so many directions, so it lends itself to different interpretations depending on what you have or love.

Here are two photos (above and below) showing some of the elements of this style as interpreted by the designer, from the October Traditional Home. I know this style doesn’t necessarily appeal to everyone, or even work for everyone, but if you are like me, you get inspired by being stretched in new directions! So, stretch away!

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Rooms by the incredibly talented Barclay Butera

To see more on my own beach house remodel, click here.

RELATED POSTS:
COASTAL COTTAGE KITCHEN INSPIRATION

 

A Situation

Filed under: Domesticity — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 7:07 am
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Hello everyone. I apologize for not having my post ready for your visit, we had an important “situation” in real life. If you have kids, you know there is always some sort of situation! Even if you don’t, life for everyone is often one big “situation” after another!

Anyways, our current situation is my sweet little seven year old son has been mildly affected by a cough that just wouldn’t go away. I talked about it way back here! Well, finally we took him back to the doctor for another check (the first time the doctor said it was a virus) because he had a whistling sound when he was breathing, and lo and behold he now has asthma. This was quite a shock to me, as my kids are very healthy and never have any health issues. The doctor says it is possible this will be his only episode, and it is entirely related to this cough. Only time will tell.

Thanks for your prayers and good wishes for my son to get over this. I am working on a couple of posts for you, including (maybe I will put this one out later today so check back!) an update on our BEACH HOUSE! Many of you have asked about this since I don’t mention it very much. So, stay tuned for a little coastal style update shortly!


 

Easy organic centerpieces September 23, 2007

Filed under: Creative Inspiration & Projects,Decorating Inspiration,Holidays & Entertaining — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 8:29 pm
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First of all, I want to thank everyone so much for participating in The Scented Home poll we did last week! I have to say you must have some pretty good smelling homes! You guys are so much like me, working around the house with candles going or good smells boiling on the stove! I love it. I really appreciate your comments, it makes it so fun to see everyone’s ideas. We will definitely do more in the future.

Speaking of good smelling homes, my daughter told me that at the last get together at our place with her friends a boy walked in our house and said “I want to baste in the smell of your house.” I had to laugh, I think that was his creative way of saying our house smelled good! Either that, or it smelled like cooking seasonings! I think judging by how many candles we have, he meant it smelled like vanilla, cloves and cinnamon. I love a delicious smelling home!

I am so excited about fall being here, I just want to break out my boots and sweaters! I spent a good chunk of the weekend toning down Christmas and bringing in more fall. I really am going to leave up a few of the Christmas things, but I didn’t want to rush the season. So down to the basement went some Christmas boxes and out came the pinecones!

Continuing on in our discussion of ways to incorporate natural elements to your seasonal decor, here is an idea for an organic centerpiece that is oh so easy. Just take any wreath (this one has sparkles and vines on it, but you could use something plain, or even better would be perhaps a bay leaf wreath) and lay it on your table. Fill the inside of it with fruits and vegetables! How easy is that? Here I used apples, artichokes and key limes. Artichokes make a great contribution to decorating. They are just festive all by themselves.

I’m telling you, I am just not interested in slaving away for hours creating holiday centerpieces. I’ve got other stuff to do! You can count on me for the easy, not-so-crafty and inexpensive ideas! Some of you create beautiful mosaics (yes, I’m talking about the super talented Penny), some of you create lovely things out of garage sale finds (too many of you to list), some of you stitch and sew up beautiful handmade things, some of you are so chic you always do something amazingly fashionable, I just throw some vegetables in a wreath and call it good.

The centerpiece in the first photo is super easy too, just take any clear glass jar and fill it with apples and key limes. You can even set the jar in a wreath like I did. But don’t leave the lid on unless it has vents. Otherwise you might be surprised to find out you are also making applesauce. And that might not be a bad thing! That is totally something Martha would do, great multi-tasking! You could really impress your dinner guests.

Anyways, there you go. Nothing fancy, nothing particularly innovative, but manageable seasonal decor that you can also eat!

 

Creative Projects: Holiday Decorating September 22, 2007

Filed under: Creative Inspiration & Projects,Holidays & Entertaining — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 9:21 am
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As you all may know by now, I am a big fan of using what you have to decorate your home. In fact, a big part of my interior design business (in the real world) is helping people to take the nice things they already own and arranging it in a way that is pleasing and beautiful. I am passionate about creating beautiful homes for living, not about spending money or having expensive designer stuff. Everyone has their own niche and style, and this has always been where my heart is.

I enjoy looking for beauty and creating it in unexpected ways. I’ll admit it isn’t always easy to do (sometimes spending oodles of money would solve lots of problems!), but there is fun in the challenge of discovering new ways to use what you already have, or adding just a few inexpensive things to make something extraordinary. With some ingenuity, inspiration and creativity, you can make something magical.

I think the same thing translates to our holiday decorating. Using things you already have, like plants, bottles, cookie cutters, fruits and vegetables, mirrors, jewelry, garden pots and decor — you name it, if it is beautiful in some way it can be used in holiday decorating. I especially like shells and organic things for decorating — God already created beautiful things that really are more stunning than anything I’ve ever tried to create on my own. In the photo above I used those same sea urchins you saw in my star dish in a previous post. This time they are sitting in a bubble glass dish, on top of epsom salts. Simple, but I think it is so beautiful!

Also notice the simplicity of cookie cutters hanging on pale blue ribbon. While I am generally not a big fan of staging decor or vignettes (that is just me, I am more intrigued with having things you really use, not just use to create a vignette), I think during the holidays you can and should add more drama and festivity in your decor. I like the cookie cutters because while they are really simple, they conjure up thoughts of holiday baking, and might just inspire it!

Stay tuned, I have tons more ideas and photos to share in upcoming posts. Including some organic centerpieces that would be lovely for fall as well as winter decorating.