This is not a question I could have answered in my teenage years, but it was those early years that laid the foundation for what I would come to understand and appreciate about design in my adult life.
I believe our interior design aesthetic (aspects of interior environments we are attracted to) is developed from what we’ve been exposed to through our life experiences: the house we grew up in, homes of friends, your home town, reading, travel, and various forms of media, etc.
How did that happen?
I was exposed to very functional decor growing up in a small town in Newfoundland in the the 50’s and 60’s, but there were always handcrafted items in our home and I was encouraged to participate in their creation. There always seemed to be lots of scraps of wool, fabric and thread around. I appreciated what an individual could create with very modest materials, and I believed at an early age that I could create anything I wanted. That’s a pretty powerful beginning.
What came off it was varied: curtains, quilts, bedspreads, and even mini skirts and tent dresses. Fabric remnants came from family members in New York. That link assured I was current in textile designs! When not sewing I was busy with crocheting , knitting , and hooking rugs. All added warmth to our home.
There were books and magazines that took me well beyond the small town I grew up in. I devoured them, imagined, sketched, and rearranged our bedroom (with my sister’s help) numerous times. Mom took it all in stride.
TV programming added to my understanding of what was in style. I jet setted around the world with The Man (Men) from Uncle without ever leaving my living room.
What we now refer to as Mid Century Modern design was in its prime in my formative years. For the youngun’ reading this think Mad Men.
That was a pivotal time in my understanding of the broader world and the vast discrepancies among the homes I was used to and the homes of the “out of reach”. I began to read more and think about what elements and principles interested me in the designed interiors I was viewing on TV and reading about. My design aesthetic was forming.
In 1973 I got my first apartment and it had a lively colour scheme of white with red and navy accents. All very fresh and simple. All second hand and dressed up with lots of covers and paint. I moved from being a university student to a teacher – a different kind of designing! I continued to read about design and do lots of DIY projects.
It wasn’t until the mid 80’s that I decided to study interior decorating and it would be another twenty years before I officially advertized as a decorator. I would contend I was always one. During that time I also began to paint. It was this activity that honed my colour sense and gave me a firm understanding of the elements and principles of design.
My design interests today can be traced back to my roots as a mid century modern girl. I still love clean design without too much “fussy”. I like furniture with straight lines, geometric motifs especially circles, lots of texture, light colours, hand made items and abstract art. I describe my look as casual contemporary with a quiet edge.
What’s your design aesthetic?