The Impact of Where You Live
Where you live impacts your style and your furniture selections. We all want to think we can create style and a pleasing decor in any apartment, condo, or home. But, there are limitations to decor mostly created by square footage.
I mention this only because of an experience I had when I was six years old and made my first trip to New York with my mother. Her younger sister had moved to New York and had “bought” her first apartment.
There are few things related to home and furniture that have impacted me more than that trip. I secretly continued to open the two doors in the apartment thinking, and perhaps hoping, I would find something different and more behind the doors. I soon discovered that The Chronicles of Narnia had no portal in the tiny apartment. One door led to a tiny bathroom, the other was the “front door” entrance and exit of the apartment.
The 600 square feet that were the total of allocated living space reminded me of my favorite hiding place — the closet in my bedroom. I even began to fantasize about having a bathroom inside my closet. I already had my tiny metal pretend oven. All I needed was a bathroom and my closet would be a New York apartment. Well, maybe that is an exaggeration now, but in the mind of a six year old….
Later in life, when I was a full-grown adult, one of the vice presidents of the company my husband worked for was so pleased with his Chicago home that he invited us for dinner when my husband and I were in the Windy City. He had talked mostly of the cost of the home — some $250,000, and that was back in the day.
My anticipation of dining in the “mansion” was rising to a peak only to slide back down the anticipation hill as we stopped in front of the home. The house was approximately 1,900 square feet in size. Not to sound arrogant by any means, but I have to say I was about as disappointed as I could have been at that time in my life.
The house was very nice and decorated professionally but smaller than my own house which was by no means considered a mansion. In fact, our house was average for the place we lived at the time.
I think back now to living in our rambling southern home when I was a child — some 4,500 square feet. And, I remember my first visit to see a friend in Colorado ski country who invited me to spend a weekend in her 8,900 square foot ski house. It took most of the weekend for me to to make the journey from my “guest suite” to the kitchen without taking a wrong turn but I was most amazed that any kitchen would or could have two dishwashers.
So, here is the point! I think it is the cost of living, region of the country, and available space that determines where we live within any environment. In New York City, while I have since learned the marvels of a brownstone or a penthouse, many city dwellers live in very limited space. In Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and other major world cities relatively few inhabitants can afford rambling apartments or even “detached” houses.
Where we live — the smallest of apartments to the largest of homes — helps determine our decor. But, that does not mean we cannot have style and a decoration scheme. We can!
Creating Your Style Wherever You Live
From the loft apartment to the sprawling country home, from city dwellers to rural ramblings, with a little thought and planning each of us can create the home of our dreams.
My attempt will be to not only discuss furniture styles and lots of “how to” ideas, but to provide ideas for making the most of where you live and the space within which you live. Actually, this became a passion for me as I moved to different parts of the country, eventually to U.K. and back home again.
I have lived in small apartments — some that now seem the same size as my childhood closet — I have lived in new houses and houses built in the 1800’s. In fact, I once lived in a house that had a thatched roof and was build in the 1600’s. Each has been an adventure that all led to one thing, a passion for design and decor.