Thursday, April 4, 2013

the way back machine: my dining room circa 2002

Princess got into the cardboard box that holds our film pictures from the last twelve years, and as I was cleaning up the mess I came across this picture, which was funny in light of my writing just a few days ago about how I painted our condo every color of the rainbow:

That red! (It took two coats of primer and five coats of paint. Never again will I paint a room red.) The sophisticated gold dupioni-looking polyester curtains with matching beaded valance! (Twenty eight years old and already an old lady with victorian taste.) The federal style china cabinet, actually displaying my china!  All the matching espresso furniture! The Purple Beast of a sofa!

Oy vey.

The other side of the room was even worse but I don't have a picture.

It has been a lot of trial and error to figure out what I actually like.  My taste has changed, but, honestly, not that much.  I still like the Klimt painting and still have it, although its currently hanging out in the "unused art" section in the back of the Mister's closet.  I still like federal style furniture, although today I'd probably pair it with a lacquered parsons table instead of a matchy-matchy dinette set. There is still a part of me that likes beaded, bedazzled things, although I'm no longer in the habit of using beaded valances.  And I still decorate with strong jewel tones like red and purple.  Reading design blogs for four years refined my ideas on what I really like, and how to use it. (I still make mistakes, but I like to pretend I've gotten better at this game.)

How about you?  Has your taste changed since you started reading design blogs, or have you always known what you wanted? 


  1. I didn't have any taste when I started reading design blogs. :-)

    What I mean is, I didn't have any idea of what I liked or didn't like. I'd just never thought about it much. Home design/decor was just not a topic/issue when I was growing up. My parents didn't have much, and what they did have we had for years and years. When I was young and just out of college I didn't have much either, and then I married someone who didn't want to spend money on furniture, etc. and it was easier to just go with his flow.

    It wasn't until I got divorced and had to make a home for my kids in a HORRIBLE house that I started reading design blogs. The house absolutely needed work, and I didn't have the first clue of what to do. I just wanted it to be "nice," but I didn't know what nice was.

    I don't think your dining room is horrible. (OK, maybe the fan was.)

    I think you were trying to make your home nice, too--in the ways that "nice" was defined then. I have a feeling that many of today's 28-year-olds will, in 10 or 11 years, look back at their walls painted with stripes and chevrons, and decorated with plates (or signs with cute sayings or frames filled with fabric), and their Pottery Barn couches, and white everything (from vases to ceramic animals to books all covered in the same paper that hides the titles), shake their heads and think, Oy vey.

  2. That picture is awesome! And eerily, red was named as one of the top dining room colors by decorators in a recent issue of House Beautiful - yes, you read that right - in 2013. Ha!

    I've always been a minimalist and I've liked a preppy, sort of Jonathan Adler/happy chic-esque look but it wasn't until I found him that I was able to put that name to it.

  3. The house is so creative, and I like the style!

  4. Oh, I hear you. I look at what I did 10 years ago and it was pretty awful - but some of the rooms I painted and designed I still like. So, I guess I was always a little talented, but had some bad ideas. Just a note, our red dining room was painted with one coat gray primer and two coats red paint, and actually one coat of the red covered really well. We used Sherwin Williams 'color accents' paint, it comes in a RED base so it is super saturated and covers so well. Just in case you want to try it again some day!

  5. Now that looks like a New Jersey dining room. I can't tell you how many homes I go into that have red and gold like that. It is a staple in the average NJ home.


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