Some people are said to have a “jealous bone”. Well, I have a decorating bone. It all started when I was in grammar school… My bestie, Madame L., and I would rearrange all the furniture in our rooms at least a couple of times a year, you know, just to freshen things up. My mom never said anything about it. I mean, we would switch around everything – two seven-year-olds moving beds, dressers, desks, and re-hanging pictures. My mom was always my greatest champion. I hope she thought what we were doing was cool. Once in a while, I would remove everything from my closet, and pretend it was another room. I loved it because it was the only place in our house where hardwood floor was showing – very special and pretty to me. When I asked Mom if I could leave it that way, she said no – really one of the only times she didn’t support my décor choice. Even back then I understood that one, but I had to take a shot!
When I was in middle school, I asked my mom for new bedding. I was aching to swap out my old, pink chiffon for happy, new yellow daffodils and marimeko green striped cotton! But my re-do plan didn’t stop there… I also had found some plastic stacking bins that I eventually put on the shelf in my closet. I was then inspired to hang the little, yellow fish/bird thing with the wiggly fins/wings on a long spring from the ceiling in there. I added some of my favorite books and voilà, my closet obtained a vignette! I also took advantage of all that blank space on my mirror by taking yellow crayon and drawing daffodils in a border just like the ones on my new bedspread. I took my time and did a really good job. It looked great and I left it that way for years. Accent pillows turned up in the green stripe and there it was, my gorgeous re-done room.
In high school, I broke our household taboo against poking “too many” holes in the walls. Somehow, my dad never wanted anyone to hang pictures in our house. My bedroom’s next iteration, during college, had an entire wall hung with photos, paintings, drawings, framed scarves and an antique Chinese silk covered pin. I arranged them into a loose wave – sort-of salon style, but shaped. It looked totally cool. I gave away all my furniture to my cousin Nancy, got new smoke-grey carpet, painted one wall the palest, barely-there pink, put the bed on the floor, hung a white swinging chair and crocheted a fuzzy, grey flecked, mohair net-like throw to be artfully tossed across my cloud grey duvet cover. I took some beautiful post cards and taped them back-to-back on a long piece of fishing line, then hung them from the ceiling in one corner. My collection of Vogue magazines were stacked 18″ high then swirled into a spiral topped in glass – my night table. I found the tiniest white alarm clock… Oh, it was all so great to me.
Every place I’ve lived has been a really fun design challenge for me – never any money, always someone else’s rules. I learned a lot along the way. I have great memories. I’ll never stop decorating.