From time to time you’ll hear designers talk about listening to their home and letting it guide their future decorating decisions. It’s a great idea and something we should all strive to do, but how exactly does it work?
Here’s one way I’ve learned to listen to our house…
Pay attention to the existing bossy things about your home.
I find this comes really easy after living in fourteen homes. It’s more a practice of asking myself, “What does this home have that sets it apart?”
In our current home there were two defining things that really set the stage for how we would make decisions for our home.
Outside it was the steeply pitched green metal roof. Unless we were planning on changing the roof (we weren’t), then the specific, unusual color and cottage-style pitch had to be a guiding limitation to keep in mind.
Inside we had impressive twelve inch wide pine floors, hand chosen and milled here on the property by the original builder of our home. They were aged to an orangey, cognac perfection and worn to a soft leathery feel after serving a few families for over 30 years.
When we moved in I knew that unless we were going to change the roof or the floor, these two defining items got to be the boss of the colors and styles of items that would work in our home.
Not only do we have a bossy green roof, one of the things we noticed after moving from a subdivision was all the green trees, green grass and blue sky we saw everywhere we looked. We can’t see any other houses from our house so we are absolutely surrounded by green and blue. That also informed the colors that naturally worked with our house, especially outside.
As we made decisions and updates, the roof style and color led to other exterior decisions–like the color for the pool interior (which dictates the color of the water). We went with a French gray finish that gives the water just a hint of turquoise which gets along swimmingly (ha!) with the roof.
When it comes to plants, we even use lots of sweeter greens and less yellows and reds close to the house to nod to the sweet green of the roof. Blue greens, purples and pinks seem to look best right up against the house.
When we first had our new doors built, I had them stained similar our floors to see if we could bring a little of the inside out.
But to me, the doors fought with the roof color, taking the house back to 1992. So we ultimately painted the doors a light green (Silver Strand).
Outside, the roof was a bigger boss than the floors of course.
When we painted the doors, lots of people questioned how we could paint such beautiful “good wood” that I just paid for. The truth is, I didn’t have a choice, like it or not, the roof is the boss of the exterior, and if something doesn’t work with her, it simply doesn’t work.
I think the photos make it clear, the roof was right in wanting the doors to not be orange. And I got to choose the color I liked best to work with the roof. Basically, the roof and I made the decision together.
Those orange pine floors are obviously the boss of the inside. I admit, I had to learn to love them. When we moved here eight years ago, the dark brown floor trend was making way for the light oak floor trend that is currently still going strong. I had to adjust what colors would and wouldn’t work in our house. Pinks, yellows and reds really fight with the floors so we keep it mostly neutral adding in greens and blues for color.
This brings us to today, as I’m deciding on what paint colors to use on the first floor. I’m still doing white walls, but want to do a reverse trim with a little bit darker color.
Most likely I’ll use the same color we have on the trim upstairs (Gossamer Veil) seen below on the right door frame. But now I bet you can understand why I made myself test out a few greens including Silver Strand, our front door color.
It’s less about me choosing a color story, and more about me paying attention to the color story that our home is already telling.
Sometimes a home is bossy on color, sometimes it’s more about a specific style or time period, sometimes it’s more about the setting like rustic, metropolitan or beachy.
It’s our job to pay attention to the bossy parts of our home, and then from there, add our unique style in a way that it works with what already exists in the home.
The goal is to find your style within the bossy limits of your current home.
That’s the fun of it!
That’s why there can never be a one size fits all formula where all you have to do is find your favorite style and force it to work in your house.
There’s always hope with every style home to work together and balance with your unique look, it starts with paying attention and figuring out how your home and your style best work together.
I’m grateful for the limits because it narrows my choices, which ultimately makes decision making easier. And the best part is, it starts by simply paying attention to your home.