Life is what makes a room.Let me tell you a story about one home’s update told to me by a man with strong ideas on what’s wrong with decorating and design today.
Good friends of his had updated their living room décor. The owners were very proud of their achievement and one night after dinner the lady of the house asked for his opinion of the new décor. Not one to mince words he stated that, though it looked very beautiful, he missed the old one.
He remembers sitting in the old living room having drinks after dinner and the long talks that followed. He pointed out that since the décor changed he had yet to sit in the room.
To his way of thinking, the new décor was to blame.
In the Barefoot Contessa at Home, Ina Garten says, “How many times have you seen a gorgeous house in a shelter magazine that looks absolutely soulless? Everything’s right but it’s really not. That’s because everything matches perfectly and the designer didn’t incorporate the client’s personal style—or any of those messy real things that people acquire.”
The kitchen is the hardest place to hide ‘those messy real things’, especially during a party and one reason why everyone ends up in it. But more importantly, there is comfort in knowing how to behave. Kitchens may vary in size and design but their use is always the same. Familiarity.
When a room is put together as Ina and my friend describe we may not be sure how to behave in it and what’s appropriate. So until we can see an example — the host seated having a drink with his or her guests, we gravitate to what feels safe, the kitchen.
The next time you find everyone in the kitchen, pour yourself a glass of wine, stride straight into the space in which you want your guests to enjoy and get comfy. Just sit down. By doing so, you invite others to do the same.
A beautiful room is useless if no one uses it. Life is for the living and so should your rooms be. Presentation only counts for a small portion; the enjoyment people derive from it is what really mattes. Have a personal style question or interior design conundrum? Have a great local style resource? Please send them to me . . . we want to hear from you! Send e-mail questions, comments, insults or complaints to email@example.com