For the first nineteen years of my life I lived in the same town in my parents home. Whatever home decor there was interested me little, it was just there. Then i went to Italy for a year and lived with an Italian Duke and his family. They lived in a villa in Rome. There I noticed the home decor. The rooms were huge. The Duchess had a Home Décor penchant for elaborate baroque wall mirrors. They were everywhere, with the rest of the home decor to match. Most days the gardener cut arms full of fresh flowers. I often helped to carry them because I liked to follow him around so that I could look at the classical art statue sculptures and fountains. They, and marble benches, strategically placed between the trees and flowers, were the garden decor. Since i liked to do it, it soon became my job to arrange the flowers in decorative vases. I had a free hand in placing them on tables, cabinets and plant stands. It wasn’t exactly decorating, but it gave me a satisfying feeling to contribute something to those marvelous rooms.
After one year I moved to Paris, France. Not much scope for home decorating there. I lived in a tiny furnished room, where the home decor consisted of a narrow bed, a pine wood chair, a wardrobe and a wood cabinet with a washbowl. A bare light bulb hung from the ceiling. All I added was a decorative mirror, a reading lamp and a crystal vase, which i kept filled with fresh flowers from the market.
After that it was exciting to move into a house near Los angeles, California, which i shared with my sister. Without much planning, we decided what we needed and went out to buy whatever appealed to us. As nice as the furniture had looked in the showroom, somehow, in that house it did not seem right. For one thing, it was much too massive and the colors clashed with the paint colors and window coverings. We did not have much time to stew over it since we both carried a full load of courses at the college and worked four hours after class and eight on Saturdays.
The day after i graduated, I got married and my wonderful husband and I moved into an apartment near his work. At first I had fun buying new furniture and making the place look nice, but soon I realized that apartment living was not for me. I missed wandering between the flowers and sitting on the garden bench under the open sky with that first cup of coffee,
As soon as our lease was up, we moved into a house on a steep hillside. We used the furniture we had, even though it looked out of place. Going around to flea markets and buying items without thinking whether they would fit in with what we had, did not help. At the same time my husband inherited his uncle’s collectible knives, swords and sabers. They presented a real challenge for me. What was I to do with home decor like that?
We rented a bungalow with a slanting roof, dark, exposed beams and lots of windows. We moved in with just a few borrowed necessities and stacks of home decor magazines and books. As i saw pictures of things that appealed to me, I would sit in different corners of the empty room I wanted to furnish and envisioned imaginary items in place. It was a great method to decide on my selection. Lime green and lemon yellow were very much in fashion then and probably would have looked ghastly in any of the other dwellings we had had. But in that house, with the dark beams, dark oak flooring and big windows framed by citrus trees, I could envision that it would look nice. And it did. It was a delightful home.
A year later my husband decided to go back to college for his Masters Degree. We loaded what we could into our Volkswagen Bus, sold the rest of our belongings and headed for Austin, Texas, accompanied by two babies and a cat. Money was tight and home decor took a back seat to all else. Like so many student accommodations, ours had a lot of make-do furnishings. The bricks and boards book shelves, the milk crate and plywood tables and second hand sofas and beds. Our newborn slept in what used to be a packing box for toilet paper, nicely lined with colorful fabric. It didn’t seem to matter. I devoted my time to my children. My husband devoted his time to his studies.
We found a lovely cottage style home. Once again I was absolutely thrilled to be able to start decorating from scratch, since we had brought nothing with us. I went through the routine of sitting in different corners of the empty rooms and envisioned what, of the things I had seen in magazines and home decor stores, would look good in that house. I settled on country cottage style home decor and in the end, of all the homes we had lived in, this one, still today, was the one we felt most comfortable and at home in.
Our bliss lasted for almost two years until my husband was transferred to Atlanta, Georgia. Fortunately the company let us fly there ahead of time to check the place out and I could see right away that in the colonial style homes we looked at, country cottage home decor would never do. My husband came to an agreement with his company, that instead of paying for the movers to transport our furniture, they would give him a lump sum.