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House Therapy: On Style - yours and your home's

Apr 19, 2017 07:44AM ● By Ren Campbell

Style is personal; you cannot purchase it.

Are you someone who notices your friend’s new shoes, or your neighbor’s new window treatment? Do you think “I love their style, it’s so ______ (fill in the blank …personal, cozy, sophisticated, timeless)? Do you look at the latest décor magazines and feel a little envy bubble up inside that says something along the lines of “ooh, if only…” If you do, then let’s chat about what style is and a bit about what it is not. Be forewarned: this article is not going to help you define a “design style”… there are loads of online quizzes that you can take if you are interested being BOHO Glam, Traditional, Rustic Modern etc. What I hope to do with this article is help you begin to get past all that once and for all.

Your personal style affects every aspect of your life, whether you want it to or not.

“Fashion changes, but style endures”
— Coco Chanel

“Fashions fade, only style is eternal.”
 — Yves Saint Laurent

Another fashion great, Bill Blass said, “Style is primarily a matter of instinct.” My experience has shown that Mr. Blass was right on the mark in regard to the basic premise that style cannot be taught; it is inherent in one’s personality. Aesthetics develop over time if we are looking for inspiration and fashion is generally dictated by marketing, but your style comes solely from yourself. Personally, my style and my aesthetics have become more and more aligned with my personality as I’ve experienced life more fully, i.e. aged. I came from a very traditional and conservative household where individuality was not necessarily rewarded, however, I prefer to define my own normality and “boring” is the last thing I ever want be described as. At the same time, I know that I do not enjoy looking foolish by following a new fashion in my attire or in my home. In fact, if you’ve been reading the House Therapy articles in FACE over the past year you will have a pretty good idea of a few of my choices in my current home.

Giorgio Armani is known for sophisticated, timeless elegance (which is not how I would be described.) In a 2009 Elle Décor article by Arlene Hirst he said: “…there is nothing to be gained by following transient trends, as this can lead you in all sorts of different directions and you can easily lose your own distinctive voice.” Sound familiar?

Remember, style is not taste, and your personal style is yours and yours alone. Look around you, look at yourself, and consider: Am I being true to myself and am I truly representing the me that is unique. What emotions am I experiencing when I enter my home – the public areas – the private areas. Let me know what you come up with! I’m always interested in how people express themselves through their home. Design is creating something that you find both beautiful and functional. Taste (good taste anyway) will never hide or transform you, your personality. Style is knowing who you are and expressing it, being true to yourself. There is no good or bad when it comes to style.

Ren Campbell has practiced the discipline of architectural interior design for over 30 years. He’s been a University studio instructor and currently consults with individuals on their issues concerning their homes and how they live in them. For House Therapy questions, email [email protected].

For more of Ren's House Therapy, click here.