The Beauty of a New Perspective

A blind person could not live in my house. Memorizing where the furniture and accessories are in order to avoid bodily injury is useless. I rearrange them like other people rearrange Scrabble tiles. When I pick my daughter up from school, I ask her the highly unoriginal question, “How was your day today?” She answers equally unoriginally and monosyllabically with “fine,” or some such synonym…and then she asks me her habitual question, “Did you rearrange today?” The usual answer, I’m abashed to admit, is “just a little.” I love the idea of space and how objects best fit into it. Every time I am convinced I have thought of the new “best” and most aesthetically pleasing way to arrange a room, I have to immediately try it. I have been known to move huge pieces of furniture to other rooms, single-handedly, and then back again, in order to satisfy my itch to try a new configuration. Some changes are actually a revelation! Others…not so much. But, I am always amazed at how a table in one corner can make a room look smaller and then, when moved to another corner, or under a window, can suddenly open things up in such a way that the room seems bigger, or cozier, or more inviting. A lamp moved next to a chair can suddenly illuminate it so that all one wants to do is plop down there with a cup of tea and a book just to be able to hang there longer. A mirror moved to just the right wall at just the right height can make a room feel larger or brighter. This week, I was about to go on the hunt for a new end table needed next to a lounge chair in my bedroom, and possibly a new nightstand for one side of the bed. Before deciding what sizes and styles I wanted, I decided to rearrange…just a little…to make sure that what I bought was what I really needed. By the end of my frenzy, I had carted in an old silver leafed altar table stored in the garage and moved everything, and I mean everything, around. A bench moved downstairs, the altar table stayed and became the new nightstand I now didn’t need to buy. One of the other nightstands wound up next to the chair and has never looked better. One lamp moved to the garage and another lamp from downstairs switched places with a floor lamp from my bedroom. They are all happier with their new spots (well maybe not the poor lamp that wound up in the garage) and so am I. And, most importantly, the only new thing I needed to acquire to make this room perfect was a new perspective. Talk about a bargain! So, the moral is to take what you have that you still like, and try every possible configuration to see what makes a room most inviting before you invest in new things. Things, new or old, though they may be beautiful, will only look great if they are arranged in the best possible way. Who knows, you might already own exactly what you need to spruce up a room. Or, at the very least, the process will help you target just what is missing from the room you are trying to create. You know what? Next time my daughter asks me if I rearranged again, I am going to answer proudly that I did and can’t wait to show her.

If you need advice for your own space, please contact me via my website www.mystylereboot.com/.

The White Vase

The White Vase

My name is Lisa and I am an addict. I can hear all of you now greeting me in unison, very sympathetically as I type. My addiction does not have a support group. I am addicted to white vases. I am currently approaching owning 75 of them. There is not a room in my house that does not have a grouping of them. It wasn’t always that way. When I remodeled my first house in Los Angeles, I added a fireplace with a mantel and built in display shelves above it in the family room. The shelves were not deep and could only accommodate vases or picture frames because of the living room fireplace chimney on the other side of the wall. I started buying vases of all colors and materials and placing them there. Then, I would sit down in the room and look at them and immediately and obsessively get up to rearrange. I could never feel satisfied. They were pretty but they did not make a statement. One day, I bought a beautiful small but voluptuous, creamy white Jonathan Adler vase and decided to start over with my vase arrangement. I took everything off and put the Adler vase back on the shelf first. And suddenly, when it was the only vase on the shelf, I had a vision of all white vases on all the shelves against a deep taupe/gray. I quickly painted the built in shelves, and now you will understand the extent of my obsessive nature, I drew and cut out various shapes and heights of vases in white construction paper and taped them to my shelves to get an idea if my vision actually translated. Even with only one real vase and a lot of inexpertly drawn and cut out companions filling the shelves, my fireplace wall finally “popped!” I was on to something. Slowly, I filled the shelves with the real thing. A few were pricey but most were not…Ikea, West Elm, CB2, flea markets, local boutique stores. In my current home, there is no single wall against which to display them all together, but they are in groupings in every room and whenever anyone comes to my house for the first time, they get noticed. I am almost always asked when I began collecting white vases, and how I came up with the idea to unify the rooms with groups of them. They are a noticeable detail that speaks to people about decorating with intent and a vision. They say something about my personality (hopefully not that I am addictive, though you know the truth.) I am constantly amazed at the wide variety of looks in a single color. Shades of white, texture, height, round shapes, angular shapes, squat shapes, elongated shapes, handmade, wheel thrown, mold made, asymmetrical…there is nothing uniform about white vases. But, a word of caution, they come with no warning label and are extremely addictive.