Finding Your Home's Style
by Erin Napier
I wrote on instagram stories last night about the oversaturation of the word "farmhouse" and how it's being applied to home designs of all stripes and more often than not, it's inappropriate, inaccurate, or used as a marketing buzzword. Because of it, the thing that makes charming homes on farms all over the country inherently special is being watered down until it means nothing.
If everything is a farmhouse, nothing is. See what I'm saying?
I found my own bedroom featured on pinterest and repinned 7.3 k times with the caption someone applied to it: "Beautiful Rustic Farmhouse Master Bedroom Ideas."
Our home is a lot of things. It is a 1925 craftsman airplane bungalow with a carriage porch, in the middle of town. But it is neither rustic or on a farm.
After posting on instagram stories about this, I got so many comments from folks who ask "How can I find my own style? It's confusing if you're new to it!" In other words, if we don't label design with a buzzword like "farmhouse," how do we find it? And so, this is my secret magic formula I walk through on every single home we design on Home Town.
1. STYLE OF ARCHITECTURE
Be honest about what your house IS and is NOT. It is often something you can freshen up, augment, or update, but it is rarely totally changeable. Rather than try to change the DNA of something by trying to make your home into something it is not, how can you take design cues from it? How can it lead the way and inspire you? If it’s not an ideal design, is there a house that inspires you that is of the same era or style? In other words, dress it for the job it wants, not the job it has. What era was it built in? Our house is a craftsman bungalow built in 1925 and when I can’t think of how to fill a spot or choose a finish, I think: what would this house have had in 1925? I don't find a lot of inspiration in being completely committed to period style though. I think a home is much more interesting when the personality of the people who live there are just as important in the design.
2. YOUR PERSONAL STYLE
Think about the clothes you wear, the car you drive. The things that make your heart beat fast. How can that be applied to your home? For instance, I wear a lot of simple linen and cotton dresses, worn and comfortable jeans. Ben wears old leather boots and chambray button downs. Sometimes I wear a caftan from India, or my grandmother’s antique gold and aquamarine ring. He wears tweed suits on Sunday and has collections of things: vintage pocket knives, pocket notebooks, hankies made from old shirts. And so, our house feels much the same. We have tables he built from wood that reminds me of the color of his boots, linen sofas that feel like my favorite dresses. Jars of sand and stones from places we've traveled, labeled and displayed together on a shelf, portraits of ancestors or people we don't know who just felt like friendly faces. An oil painting that was used as a prop on The Sopranos. Chinese ginger jar lamps—global feeling, like those caftans, a bit unusual, unexpected. An old heavy butcher block for a side table that reminds me of Ben, too—sturdy, unrefined. It’s not all about me. He lives here too, and every room reflects that.
3. FIND THE ALCHEMY: What’s the common thread between the points above? For Ben and me, it’s comfort, nostalgia, curiosity, collected, traditional, unusual. If nothing else feels right, look to those threads to find your way.
Write down thoughts on these 3 points and see what you find! That is your home. All the things that ring true. That's YOU. And you don't need a buzzword to describe it.
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I’m Erin Napier, co-owner of Laurel Mercantile Co. and Scotsman Co. with my husband, Ben. I’m an artist and he’s a craftsman and we help people moving to our town find and restore old houses on HGTV’s Home Town. In an effort to count my blessings, this journal has documented only the good things that happen on each and every day of my life since January 1, 2010. I am a wife, a daughter, a homebody, a bubble bath lover, a book reader, a sentimental, stressed out, slightly obsessive southerner. Welcome!