I hope my letter finds you well. This is not fan mail, but a letter of appreciation for the inspiration I get from your work.
I bought your book “Absolutely Beautiful Things” a few days ago and cannot believe how much it resonated with me! I have just moved into a new house which is a total blank canvas as far as decorating it is concerned. My husband is such an amazing guy that he gave me full creative license to do whatever I want with the house (woohoo!!!). This is our fourth house and every time we move, I feel the need to make some changes with the style and aesthetics. Maybe it’s part of my growth as a person too.
Our first home was a rented villa when we first got married. As far as newlyweds go, there was not much to go by so it was a mishmash of hand-me-downs, stuff from our bedrooms when we were still living at home, and cheap purchases from Ikea and other chain stores. A year later, we bought our first home and started experimenting with paint and flooring, plants, wall art, yet maintaining a “minimalist” approach as this was the “in” thing to do back then. When our first baby was on her way, we upgraded to a bigger place (or so we thought!) and again continued our expression of ourselves through paint, furniture, cushions, picture frames, lamps, etc. But style-wise, it was SAFE. This was our home for 10 years (and three babies later) and not much changed other than the growing amount of children’s things that kept piling up and taking over every inch of space at home.
Life took us on a different path in the last couple of months and we made a decision to leave Sydney and move to the Central Coast. A lifestyle change, but a much needed change. So here we are with a new house and a breath of fresh air to start all over again with decorating. People have asked me about what my colour scheme is, that sort of thing. I realized that I actually don’t really have a colour scheme as such because I felt that it’s too constricting and predictable. I had a vision and a mood board in my head, coupled with piles and piles of magazines, Houzz app ideabooks, watch lists on Ebay + Gumtree, and my heart to guide me.
As I read your book, I could not help but feel that all your words echoed what was in my heart. It made me realize some very honest truths that we shouldn’t really care about what other people might say about our home or what the trend is and just make it our home. You spoke the things that were gnawing inside of me for years, but I didn’t let out for fear of making a mistake. What if I made a wrong choice? What if people think it’s ugly? What if it didn’t work?
“If you love it, you’ll make it work.” So on point, Anna.
I love colour and I love beautiful things. I love chairs and tables and putting things on them, I love picture frames and paintings on walls, etc. AND I have never had a leather sofa nor do I want one. I have a certain colour that I always go back to, a certain style that always makes my heart beat (but not necessarily followed), certain pieces that attract me when I’m in a store, that sort of thing. I love pieces that tell a story of where I’ve been and who I am. Yet, I never let this love guide me when I decorated my home. I stuck to being safe.
Your chapter about going back to your roots brought me back a lot of beautiful memories. My grandfather owned a furniture factory/business where they built all the furniture in-house and had a showroom at the same place. I remember going there as a child with my grandparents and my aunt (who is still an interior designer now) and just taking in all the wood and ceramics and fabric that surrounded me there. My mom loved collecting blue and white ceramic decorations, thrift shop finds, and combining objects around the home. Maybe in my subconscious mind, this is where it all began for me. As a child, the family homes were always evolving, new things being added and subtracted and layered. There were paintings and jars, blue and white decorations, old wood, just layers and layers of patterns and texture….. And then I grew up and had my own home, but I got sucked in by common things. Part of me wanted to break away, yet I got stuck.
I’m turning 40 next month. I decided to embrace what I really love. Your book is such an inspiration to me at this exact time. I’m learning a lot from you. Each page had me nodding my head, ooh-ing and ahh-ing, and just getting me totally excited about letting my real self go in terms of how I want to arrange my home. How I wish we were close to Brisbane so I can visit your store. Maybe one day.
For now, I just want to say thank you for your book. I have lots of interior design books that I’ve collected over the last 14 years, but yours is the only one that I have actually read from cover to cover. Amazing!
Congratulations for all your amazing work and I wish you continued success in your art and profession.