Sometimes on gray, gloomy days all you need are your favorite bundle of flowers to instantly brighten the mood. I’m currently training myself to refrain from buying any more items for the home aside from the occasional bouquet of fresh florals. At the moment, I’m all about downsizing and decluttering. Simplify, simplify, simplify is what I keep reminding myself these days, holding on only to what’s most important and essential. And after many, MANY mindless retail therapy excursions to HomeGoods, IKEA, Target, H&M Home, you name it, I’ve begun to realize that I’ve purchased way too much sh*t over the years. Just like my wardrobe, I go through phases with decor. And if you were to peruse all the items I’ve accumulated through time you’ll notice that each piece tells a story or explains the “phase” I was going through in life.
When I moved out of my mom’s house and into our first apartment in New York City (a modern high-rise building) I was all about black and white, with hints of grey. I also had this obsession with collecting abstract artwork with pops of hot pink and neon hues hanging against stark white walls. Our furniture comprised of a stiff modular sofa, lucite ‘ghost’ chairs, an origami glass/cast iron coffee table, side tables that resembled a pair of mirrored cubes and everything else basically just…WHITE. God forbid you sat away from the dining table with a plate of pasta bolognese on your lap. I would adorn surfaces with massive books about fashion + art + travel (okay to be fair I still do hehe), sharp sea urchin figurines that could easily pierce through skin (I really don’t know what I was thinking), large hurricane vases and pretty much any NON-baby-friendly item that comes to mind. Our floors were covered in thin marbled cowhide rugs (no hint of plush or cozy whatsoever). It was just the two of us at the time and my aim was to create a space that closely mimicked the offices of some cool downtown fashion magazine. Looking back I think I was subconsciously striving to create a space that reflected my idealized perception of a Manhattan lifestyle. I was a twenty-something who worked in fashion – for me, this phase was inevitable. My husband Lucas (always the voice of reason) however, would advise against certain decor choices but I wouldn’t always be quick to follow – his style leans towards the more classic and timeless. I would soon learn that he was usually right about these things. Whatever was on trend at the moment would somehow find its way into our apartment unexpectedly. Like, “oops, what is another gigantic box from Amazon doing in the middle of the corridor? And why are there more Zara bags lining up in our bedroom?” Lucas is more patient when it comes to purchases, allowing it to “marinate” in his mind for a bit. I, on the other hand, take the retail plunge all too quickly like my life depended on it. Then, within a year or less I feel the tremendous urge to get rid of it somehow. I’m assuming by now you can tell who’s the more financially savvy one in this relationship? But before you judge…just wait…the story gets better, I promise!
(King Theo James Alexander, always presiding as head of the table)
Our second apartment was in a historic brownstone on a quaint tree-lined block. Rather than seeing the rush of New Yorkers scurrying to catch the 3 train while looking down at their phones, we encountered families with strollers, kids riding by on scooters and lots of friendly neighbors walking happily with their cuddly dogs on their way to brunch. I swear, there were Labradoodles and French bulldogs living in almost every home around us. I loved every bit of it. Naturally within the first few days of getting settled I was compelled to make our new space as warm and cozy as ever – this included sheepskin on seating, knitted blankets, pillows, candles, more books, wooden furniture and a new traditional sofa coined the ‘Bluebell’ (loveliness overload). The idea of coming home after a long day took on a new meaning. There you can leave all the stresses behind you and just unwind with a glass of wine, a home-cooked dinner (my love for cooking reached new heights) and some Netflix binging before curling up with a book in bed. Coming home from work almost felt like coming home from school in a way. Although our first home in NYC was an exciting rush of last minute get-togethers at bars, trying out the latest amuse-bouche, rooftop parties, late night take-outs and frequent fro-yo trips around the corner, our second home surely helped me to prioritize and prepare us for a WHOLE new chapter that was approaching in our lives – parenthood.
Now into our third apartment (we needed that extra bedroom for a special little someone), I’ve taken my love for that everyday cozy feeling and strive to make it part of our daily lives in even the simplest ways. Whether it’s the three of us snuggling up on the sofa with blankets and watching Home Alone for the 1,245th time, reading our son a bedtime story, building legos in a teepee with a flashlight, sitting around the table for dinner or even moments as simple as adding some nature to a room, like fresh flowers – the idea that I’ve come away with is that what makes a house a home is not so much the latest material things you buy for it, but the moments you create in it. Nothing is ordinary.