Sunday, January 13, 2013

Personalizing a Style


Rainy days make me appreciate Belgian and Swedish styles. The fundamental principle seems to be, Bring in the light.  I've been reading about it, and as best I can tell, this style is accomplished by using muted colors (grays, creams, whites), brighter accent colors (muddy blues and rosy-pink-reds), crystal chandeliers, mirrors, linen, candlelight, slipcovers, Gustavian antiques, lighter wood finishes. And so on.
Just as long as it brightens your inner world on a grim day.

Restoration Hardware has reinterpreted the style a bit, though I'm not sure what my husband would say if I brought home a deconstructed chair.

A tour of Houzz turned up a beautiful room. I like the blingy chandelier, gray walls, a muddy blue armoire.
Despite the muted tones, everything is light and hopeful.

Whites, creams, pale grays. A touch of gilt.

I'm not sure how to label this style. Do you know?
It features Belgian linen draperies.

A sunny white room with a hint  of gilt. This room really makes me want to leave my interior doors alone--just leave them white. 
But I'm still thinking.

Here, RH's showroom is very polished and chic, but I wouldn't be able to rest until I'd added a vase filled with peonies. Actually, I would add a lot more. Lots.

Love this kitchen by Walker Zanger. 
The clean lines and occasional curves. I'm happy to see a black Viking tucked into the creamy cabinetry.

Gilt, blossoms, painted furniture. A whispery soft wallpaper pattern.

Another RH room. 
What would you add?

The tallest headboard ever. Love the curvy dresser.

Muted paint colors from House Beautiful. 

The sparkle of a chandelier, the soft color and fragrance of flowers, and the rich patina of Gustavian antiques.

It's a good day to ponder style. How to make it my own.
Style is like a raindrop.
Imperfectly perfect.
Not quite round. 


When it comes to Swedish/Belgian style, I won't be able to tick off all of the boxes. My colors might be darker. My antiques might not be antique. Things might be skewed. But they'll be personal.

A room isn't a room until someone breathes the air, stacks books on a table, tosses a wool throw on a chair, adds tulips in a vase. It may not be perfect, but it will be alive.

 A Metamorphosis Monday contribution.

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  1. Michael, I just jumped on board during your paint trials so I am catching up. I am going to be honest here, I think the RH look is depressing but the true Swedish, Belgian look is uplifting and calming at the same time. I think a really good study in this is Tone On Tone blog, Loi has a beautiful way of displaying his elements and the colors are all very soft and soothing. If you have a chance take a peek at his blog.
    You are so very right about staying true to yourself. I wrote a post on this very subject and have a method of zeroing in on one's style, You can read it here if you like.....

    I know in the end you will do exactly what you will love, you are spending a good deal of time figuring this out and I commend you for that. Design is a process that takes time!
    Happy Sunday,

  2. Hi, Kathy Sue. I agree. I sure don't want stark. I'll check out Loi's blog and your post. Thanks!!

  3. Well, since I live with a kitchen with white upper cabinets and turquoise lower cabinets, a red Craftsman toolchest (minus the bottom wheels so it's stationary) holding tons of utensils, pots and pans, and silverplate, in it's 5 drawers...I'd obviously add color to everything!!
    I like how the rooms look in theory, but in practice, they'd put me to sleep. Not being judgmental here, just showing my preference for all things bright and sort of in your face! I find the older I get (I'm almost 62 now), the more bored I am with greige (sp? - gray/beige)... Whatever you do, it'll be stunning, I'm sure!

  4. Frankly, I haven't cared for the RH catalogues since they switched to the monotone look... every picture appears the same and there really isn't anything special to catch the eye.

    I do, however, love the other photos you found... a little gilt and glimmer goes a long way and your peonies sound lovely!

  5. Michael Lee, I like your style and where you are going with this decor. RH is very beautiful... the pieces are great, but like you I need more life in my rooms. More personal touches and color. I adore the kitchen... I have a white kitchen, not nearly as grand... and I love it! I can see you in a white kitchen!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. My home is Mexican rustic, so you might imagine color is vital to me. I really do appreciate the calmness of Swedish design, but what I want to do every time I see a photo of it, is to add greenery. A big Boston fern? A small open tree? I can even live without much color if I have "greeny growies"
    P.S. I am on the up and down around and around ride with you on making color choices:) Following along to see what "we" end up with.
    Enjoying your adventure.

  7. Beautiful post! Is there anything more wonderful than a rainy afternoon?
    I love the Swedish and Belgian look. I'm not sure RH has it yet, but I really like some of their pieces. I love their accessories and bedding more.
    Thank you for stopping by. I am happy to find your blog.
    Happy Sunday.

  8. I tend to agree with some of the others above. I don't think RH has mastered the look. I love the Swedish look and the soft, serene feel it provides. I'd have to add some color, but there are aspects of it that make my heart sing. Nothing like that here though, just dreaming of it. ;-)
    Thanks for letting us tag along on this journey. It's fun!

  9. I was so glad to read your last lines. As I looked at all the rooms I thought of the real Belgian and Swedish rooms I've seen and wondered how they had all of a sudden been translated into such cold and soul-less spaces. RH is missed the mark by a long shot.

  10. I adore RH love the colors the furniture the cutting edge lighting and the way they always put the oversized chandys over the coffee cool and restful for the eyes...Taking one of those rooms and adding your own personal aqua throw and some books and orange big pillows,,,,I guess thats what they say about great design, everyone should have a strong feeling, good or bad you have a definite opinion...I just love the way they do all the base work for you then you add your own pops...genius...thanks for showing many of my favorites...