One of the first thing we ask prospective clients is “how would you define your style?” Sometimes it’s a quick and assertive response, but more often than not, it takes a few vacation references, a house they drove by and liked, and a Pinterest link for them to show us what they appreciate. It’s really overwhelming and we usually never get to the root of the question. We are so bombarded by internet images and Instagram accounts screaming out what we SHOULD like that it’s getting progressively harder to decided on our own. We were having a meeting with a very wise client a few months ago and ended up discussing this very topic. (We got a little sidetracked, as we sometimes do).  She explained to us that there is a huge difference between style and trends. Style is unique to each individual person, it’s timeless, and it’s thought provoking.  Trends are cyclical, and while some of them are gorgeous in their own right, they never spark conversation at a dinner party.  They usually just serve as an unbiased backdrop.

If you’re still thinking on what makes your home uniquely yours, or what to tell your architect and designer when you go to build your dream house, we highly encourage you to go through the list below and really think on your responses. Take pictures of your stuff, pull some reference images, and really think on it.

  1. When you drive through a well established neighborhood, what homes catch your eye? The mediterranean with aged terra cotta on the roof? The warm mid century modern? Or the stark contemporary with ultra defined patterns in the landscape?
  2. Take this home and jot down how you envision yourself living there.  If you have formal dinner parties, take note of that.  If you love that your current house tells a story through the scuff marks and time-worn tile, write that down too. People often forget that who you are so often influences how you live your everyday life.  Your home always needs to reflect that.
  3. What are you drawn to when you go to a museum? Do you like art that forces you to think, or art that allows your mind to relax? Hate museums? No problem! As an alternative, envision your favorite garden or park.  Why do you like it? Is it organized and well manicured, or has time allowed it to mature organically? Sketch it out.
  4. Now think about your dream vacation.  Where do you go? What do you bring back to your hypothetical space? Does the piece spark conversation or simply make you smile when you walk by?
  5. Maybe the easiest question of all: What does your closet look like? What outfit do you own that makes you feel the best? Do you wear all the jewels or the same simple bracelet you’ve worn for 30 years?

While it might seem like a bizarre exercise, all of the above questions in some way tap into your personality and your preferences some way.  Even if you don’t think it will, we bet a lot more of your style and personality comes out than you think.

In our opinion your style is defined by your experiences, your stories, and your history.  Your style isn’t going to be the same at 25 as it is at 55, and that’s ok. Because if it’s well defined, there is probably a very strong continual thread throughout all of those decades that make it uniquely yours.  Even if the architecture of your dwelling changes, there’s probably still a strong tie between your first home and the one you live in now.  It might take awhile to put your finger on it, but that comfort level and homey feeling you got when you saw the house, or spent hours pouring over the plans wasn’t a fluke.  There was some kind of continual stylistic note that made it feel right. And if after reading all of this, you’re still struggling to figure it out, hire someone to help you.  Because a good designer won’t tell you what you like, they’ll just help you make it tangible.

We would love to hear your feedback, comments, and questions.  If there’s a blog topic you would like to see explored, let us know! Shoot us an email at info@erinsanderdesign.com