As House+Home editor, I visit a lot of beautiful and interesting homes and live in a persistent state of house envy.
The houses I see comprise a range of architectural and design styles. Some are thoroughly modern inside and out. Some are high-end contemporary with carefully curated interiors. And some are an interesting, organic mix of design and decor that has been pulled together over time from a wide range of sources.
I feel most drawn to the organic and eclectic homes because they’re warm and have lots of personality. It’s also what I strive for in my own home.
I do so by mixing new stuff with handmade stuff bought during traveling (went to Mexico and Brazil this year) and secondhand stuff from eBay, Craigslist and vintage, thrift and antique stores.
I was recently thinking about all the secondhand items I bought in 2016 and decided to make a visual record of it for self-edification. I feel a compulsion to shop a lot, but to assuage my spending guilt, I often head to a thrift store.
If you look hard enough, you’ll find authentic versions of products sold at stores like Arhaus, Anthropologie or Joss & Main, only the used items are often better made, cost less and have been rendered truly unique by the passage of time. And if after a few weeks I decide I don’t like it, no harm done — I donate it back to the thrift store.
A few weeks ago, when my husband and I were walking our dogs, I picked up a small chair that had been discarded on the sidewalk. He admonished me because he was embarrassed that the neighbors might see me with their trash. But I have plans.
I’ve sanded the chair and spray-painted it gold. I’m going to black wash it to tone down the metallic shine and will reupholster the seat with turquoise fabric in hopes of making it look funky and regal. We can use it during cocktail hour at our dinner parties. Stay tuned for photos and a tutorial.
I encourage you all to think old in the new year.
And speaking of old stuff, it seems that quite a few readers have Christmas trees made from vintage costume jewelry. Pheobe Yencic of Overland Park saw the photo of one such tree in last Sunday’s House+Home and sent a picture of her own.
“My grandfather made 14 of these trees for our family when he was in his 80s,” she writes. “I was in my 30s. It has both grandmothers’ jewelry. I had it reframed but hang it every Christmas. One of my kids said she had dibs on it when I am gone. With four girls you never know who wants what. I am not sure how many of the 14 are still around.”
As for new stuff: Bob Lindeblad of Prairie Village was happy to hear that Pantone chose Greenery, a vibrant apple green, as its 2017 color of the year. He sent photos of hoop chairs he recently bought from Los Angeles-based Potted to surround his backyard fire pit. They’re reproductions of midcentury modern chairs and add a beautiful splash of color to their muted concrete surroundings.