Thursday, October 15, 2009

Changing Styles

In the twenty years that we've been married, we've called four different places home. I made some really bad, trendy choices in decorating along the way. I'll admit that I liked them at the time, but looking back now, I have to wonder why.

Our first place was a one bedroom apartment in the suburbs. Being that it was our first home together, we were anxious to bring in some of our own personal style (along with our hand me down furniture). This was 1989 and the trend in interior decorating, at that time, was country. Not just any country, but "cutesy" country. If you're too young to remember (or have blocked it out over the years), the look consisted mainly of dried flowers, tiny print fabrics, hearts and farm animals with bows around their necks. Geese were especially popular, and we had tons of them. We had a goose cookie jar, canister set, vegetable bin and kitchen towels, just to name a few. I still have my country geese measuring cup. I'm not sure if I keep it for sentimental reasons or to remind me not to follow decorating trends.

A few years later we moved into our second apartment. By that time, we felt we should buy some new furniture. Our hand me down living room set was still in good condition, but it didn't reflect the current style. We went to a half dozen stores before we found exactly what we were looking for. Believe it or not, these are the pieces we chose (the cats didn't come with the furniture).

It makes me cringe, now, but it was popular at the time. That couch and chair are long gone, but we still have Chester (the cat on the couch). He's twenty, now. Casey (the cat on the chair) died of liver disease shortly after this picture was taken.

We left apartment number two to move into a house. It had been my grandparents' house since the mid 1940's, but after my grandpa died and my grandma could no longer live alone, it sat vacant. We decided to fix it up and move in.

Now that we were in a house instead of an apartment, we had the opportunity to change paint colors and replace flooring, light fixtures and countertops. So we got right to work....

Stripping wood floors after removing carpet

Removing paint from the fireplace mantle (yes, that's my big rockin' 80's hair)

Removing 70's style carpet from the kitchen

It took us several months, but when we were done it was all worth it because we finally had a place for that rug I had always wanted.

Yep, more "country blue" with mauve accents. We had country wallpaper in the kitchen, too. I hate to admit it, but I really loved that wallpaper.

That's my son when he was a baby, I didn't want to crop him out to get a closer shot of the wallpaper.

Eventually, the neighborhood got really bad and we had to move (I know I've told you that story), so we found the house we live in now. It was in terrible shape, but we love a challenge so we bought it, anyway. The renovation/reconstruction stage took a long time and required us to move out temporarily, so it was pretty stressful. We had to make a lot of decisions in a short amount of time. I'd like to say that we didn't make any stupid decorating choices this time, but I'd be lying.

I chose most of the paint colors and did most of the painting, myself. For the majority of the first floor, I chose a color that I would have said was a deep beige. A friend of mine stopped by to see it and loved it. When she went to the paint store to get the same color for her house, she couldn't find the color chip. She later told me she described it to the paint clerk as mauve. Mauve? I don't want anything in my house to be country blue or mauve ever again! I immediately chose a new color and we repainted.

I can't explain why, but I decided wallpaper would be a good idea in the main bathroom. I spent hours and hours looking for just the right pattern on the internet. I found one I liked and ordered it. It was similar to something I saw in a decorating magazine. What on earth was I thinking? I'm making a list of projects to complete over the winter and number one on my list is removing this hideous wallpaper.

I have interior design training now, but I don't think it would have made a difference if I would have had it when I chose the country theme. It was trendy at the time and designers were using it, too. Well, maybe not the geese....

Please feel free to share your worst decorating and design decisions in my comments! If you're really bold, post pictures of them on your blog!



Kathy said...

I had a bunch of stuff with ducks too! I will attribute them to wedding gifts, though. The brick house was beautiful, it was a shame about the neighborhood, you worked so hard!

When we moved into our present house, there were 4 layers of wall paper in the dining room and 3 layers in the living room and hall. It was a major undertaking to take that stuff off, as well as a bunch of the sheetrock with it. Our bathroom had shag carpeting (covering the rotted floor) and our kitchen was also carpeted with the same one you pulled up. I cannot think what possess people to carpet a bathroom and kitchen, the smells that it holds is awful!

Cute son!

BashfulToast said...

Awww. He is such a cutie! And I love your house now! It's beautiful!!

Matty said...

You're too hard on your ole self. At each stage of your life, you had different tastes to fit your personality and lifestyle. Plus, the family is growing and changing, and the homes you moved to all had their own unique styles. Sure, looking back you think "what was I thinking", but at the time you were the "you" you were. Get it?

Joanna Jenkins said...

I was never very daring in my decorating so many of my former homes were all white walls with one color furniture. Now, thanks to the help of an interior designer my house is warm inviting and has pops of color everywhere. Phew!

5thsister said...

Very similar to the wallpaper in my kitchen on the remodel of our 1st house (early to mid 90's). I even made tiles to match to put on the backsplash. I wouldn't choose the same now but at the time it was "rocking"!

Purple Flowers said...

I was into that country phase in the mid-late eighties too. I not only had geese measuring spoons, I had a print over the sofa of geese walking along, and I loved it. After getting a head check, I realized that "look" was not for me anymore. I wish I had pictures of it, but I don't.

Chicago Mom said...

I have not had the opportunity to decorate from scratch as you have had; I moved right from my parents house to my husbands house - how 1950's of me! But my husbands house had lots of things to change like the bathroom peach and maroon plastic tile from the 40's - ugh! Way worse than some geese, my friend. LOL

Lissaloo said...

I can't wait to have the freedom to make some decorating choices. In the house we are renting now, one of the bedrooms has that lovely 70's orange fuzzy carpet it's pretty special :)

kyslp said...

Your son is adorable!

We all follow trends to a certain extent. Then we look back and cringe. It's the same with interior design, clothes, hairstyles, etc.

My house had mauve and dark green everywhere when we moved in!! (Carpet, paint, countertops, bathrooms, etc.)

Raoulysgirl said...

Ack! That carpet was wild! I remember being with my parents when they looked at this house once when I was younger. The second bathroom had yellow and orange chicken wallpaper. Yes, chickens. With "Eggs for Sale" signs. Guess what? We ended up living there for about a year (despite the chicken wallpaper) and I still cringe when I think about it. It was hideous.

abby jenkins said...

When I was around 20, I was engaged to be married. My future mother in law asked me what my 'style' How do I tell this snooty woman I like stuff from the thrift shop. I blurted out Art Deco (WHERE did that come from) SO i ended up getting some art deco pieces, no pictures.

Heidi said...

My mom had our whole house decorated with the mauve and country blue theme (with a kitchen FULL of geese!) Our house was even painted that sickening country blue!!! I have redone the rooms in my house many times in the 9 years I've been married... they looked so stylist at the time (but of course that didn't last long!)

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

OMG, you are brave! We haven't had any real regrettable decor choices yet, but I'm sure in 20 years I'll look back and say "What was I thinking?"

Holly said...

I didn't do it, but our current master bath which we have not gotten around to fixing up yet is/was AWFUL... saloon doors..enough said, perhaps?