What's love got to do with it?

How to design a home that tells your story


I hear you, Tina! What is love, but if only a second hand emotion? I can’t answer that, but I do know that the things we love the most in client’s homes are almost always second hand, vintage, found or passed down from a family member. Not necessarily things of grand value, but objects of unexpected beauty that turn a furnished house into a thoughtful, well designed home. 

If you’re working with a designer (and maybe even not), you may ask yourself,  "How can I make sure that my home is telling my story? Is it a unique expression of me - as opposed to someone else’s Pinterest board or one of the 50 catalogs arriving in the mail weekly?" 

In my last post (okay, first ever post), I mentioned that soft spaces/ soft goods should be a priority in your budget - and they should. But, you should budget more time on the accessorizing/finishing-touches part of the process. Working with a designer will certainly help speed things along, but it takes an editor’s eye to make sure your space looks intentional, dynamic, layered and the opposite of rushed! 

Once your home is furnished, the drapes have been hung and you've decided on all the big pieces, the rest of your story will be told via the accessories, objects and books you and your designer choose.

The books you fill your home with are like a résumé for your personality, and like any good résumé it should showcase what you’ve got, where you’ve been and what you’ve learned along the way. Your travels, your interests, the things that are important to you, should all be translated into your space. Big, beautiful books help you do that. More is more when it comes to books. 

For some clients, it’s as easy as us “shopping” the house, pulling pieces from closets, books off shelves, and forgotten boxes packed in the attic. For others, without treasure troves of items hidden throughout their house, it’s a matter of figuring out what their story is and developing a design plan with objects that tell that story effectively. 

Snapshots from your trip to Europe, an owner’s manual from a 1929 Cadillac, and that piece of coral you found at Sullivan’s Island - these are the most interesting elements of a room to us because they tell the story of who you are, who your family is and what you value. A heavy rotary phone your grandfather used to make sales calls in the 60’s, old cigar boxes, a carved wooden bowl you bought in Mexico, plates you inherited from a great aunt - these will do the heavy lifting!

What story are the objects and books that surround you in your home telling? And is that story authentic to who you are and how you see yourself? If not, it’s time to start focusing your design energy on re-writing that story one object at a time. 

  • Start with an inventory of what you have that you love, gather it all in one place
  • Assess the areas you want to tackle accessory-wise
  • Determine where existing items will go - change it up! 
  • Make a list of items you feel you’re lacking by size, color and vibe
  • Take pictures of the areas you’re working on so you can reference them when you’re out hunting 
  • Before buying anything, ask yourself: do I love it? If you love it, it will probably go. If you're not sure - that is what we are here for! 

Surround yourself with only the things you love - the things that matter - and watch how that transforms not just the lifestyle in your space, but your relationship with your own story, your own past.