On the plane during recent flights, I alternated between reading “The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life,” by Francine Jay, and imagining what I want my next home to look like. I recommend the book; it’s all about achieving that excitement you feel when you first move into a new place and it’s still empty, when the open space is inspiring and exhilarating, before you fill it up with all your things. It’s really a call for a different life style: looking at your belongings with a new eye, being more aware of how stuff gets into your home, letting go of items you don’t absolutely need or love, defining yourself in ways other than by what you own, and creating–and maintaining–a peaceful (beautiful, functional) dwelling.

These rooms from the Haven in Paris vacation rentals are what I’m sort of longing for right now (and not only because they’re, you know, in Paris). I’d have a little more art and decor, but not too much more. And have I mentioned that I need* hardwood floors? Minimal decor seems to work so much better with pretty floors.

*I use the word “need” loosely and excessively in this entry. I do not actually need these things, other than to achieve the images in my head.

Haven in Paris

Haven in Paris

Haven in Paris

Haven in Paris

Haven in Paris

When moving back in with my parents last month, I ended up selling more furniture than I anticipated on a last minute whim, including my sofa and an armchair. Patrick and I also sold our dining set and a few other things, and he and I split up the remaining furniture, a process that was very smooth. The truth is, I didn’t want to keep much. I like the thought of a fresh start, and I want fewer things overall. Even the stuff I did keep, currently sitting in a storage unit, is more than I need, but I’m waiting to see what my next living situation is like to decide what stays and goes, depending on size, layout, whether or not I live with someone else, etc.

Basically, the furniture I have left is:

All the items in this very IKEA-fied little reading nook. I will most likely change the color of the chair cushion to something more neutral.
Clean house after a party

Chair and footstool- IKEA, oak bookshelf – 2ndhand IKEA via Craigslist, white shelf – IKEA as-is section

This chair–happily, I’ve chucked the old cushions and will definitely be having new ones made.

New chair

Chair – Craiglist

This dresser, which I’m on the fence about keeping. If I do, it’s getting cleaned up.


Dresser – Craigslist

This small Danish table/bench (I love it).

My Home

Table/bench – Ebay

This even smaller side table.


Side table – found on a curbside!

This little green [bedside] table (guess I’m okay on small tables, huh?).

Around the house

Bedside table – Pier 1

The desk and shelves in this picture, which I have no attachment to.

My Home

Desk and shelves – IKEA

Not pictured: An oak IKEA Expedit bookcase I never assembled.

So what I make of all of this is:

  • I have a lot of brown wooden stuff, and I want to balance it out with upholstered pieces, glass, metal, other colors, whatever
  • I want to change my chair cushions to more neutral colors
  • I will not need everything I have above, and could probably do without some of the small tables and one of the chairs
  • I will need a bed, sofa (white or very light), small dining table (probably white), and some rugs (I still have the white shaggy one in the reading nook)
  • I need to phase out the oak IKEA stuff
  • I don’t want to be too theme-y, including overly retro or vintage
  • Color-wise, I want to be much calmer this time around than I was in Gainesville (despite the fact that this completely contradicts recent entries I’ve posted). I want a lot of neutrals with green as my main accent color. I’ve been inspired by this image from Anthropologie since 2005!

Anthro spring 2005

and I still have these curtains, which I love:

New curtains

I cut down on my decorative items as well but still have plenty to spread throughout my next home. I think I’ll be pretty selective about that process too, though.

…And this concludes today’s over-analysis of how I will decorate my next hypothetical place.

Dreaming of Portugal

April 5, 2011

I’m about to either a) pull an all nighter or b) go to sleep and wake up in a few hours very stressed and very screwed.

So what do I do about it?

Post some pictures of Etsy decor, obviously.

This is the kind of stuff I’m thinking about lately, with the caveat that I would pair it–and not necessarily all of it–with the wood furniture and neutral textiles I already own. Sort of organic. Relaxed. Colorful. Happy. Less retro/glamorous/MCM/vintage/or even shabby chic than I’ve been drawn to in the past. I’m still enamored with the same styles I’ve posted previously in recent months (here, here and here–if you scroll down), and what I’ve decided about my taste is that if I keep coming back to something–despite the constant influx of images and styles and sounds and ideas I encounter daily–I must really, really like it. (That goes for a lot more in my life than just art and design.) The point is, this small Lisbon, Portugal apartment, which I’ve posted before, is exactly where I’d like to be right now. Maybe it’s because I’ve been so stressed out, but all I want is a home that feels peaceful, cheery, and organized. Preferably with open windows, balmy weather, curtains gently blowing in the breeze, and nothing to do but read a book for pleasure, or maybe nothing to do at all…

By the way, I must thank Etsy’s “Get the Look” feature for giving me a lot of great ideas lately. [Edited to add: some other inspiration has come from An Indian Summer, as I’ve previously mentioned, Rang Decor, and LA in Bloom, which I’ve also posted about before after falling in love with this Closet Visit (I was happy to find additional photos on Design*Sponge too).]

So, some of the items I bookmarked on Etsy this morning include:

Etsy inspiration
Follow Your Dreams — 5 X 7 ART PLAQUE — Ready To Hang
Steven James Keathley
I’d love a large painting by this artist, but a small print would be nice too.

Etsy inspiration
Mixed Media Stained Glass Mosaic Art Mirror Blue and Yellow
Low Bridge Artworks
I had a hard time picking a favorite mirror from this shop and I’m still not convinced I was able to.

Etsy inspiration
Compote pedestal fruit bowl… in azure.
Jeanette Zeis Ceramics

Etsy inspiration
Moroccan Bubbles- 30 Graphics- item 10027 (Removable wall decals!)
Byrdie Graphics

Etsy inspiration
Tuscany, Italy Travel Poster
Jhill Design

The next three items are from High Street Market:

Etsy inspiration
Vintage McCoy green greek key planter

Etsy inspiration
Custom made chinoiserie chintz silk throw pillow, 15″ x 18″

Etsy inspiration
Custom made GREEK KEY throw pillow 18 x 18 with down insert — in black, green, or tan

I’m happy to see I’m still loving blue and green after two years–I’ve got plenty of stuff in those colors.

Anyway, s’pose that’s all for now. It’s almost 1am and it’s time for me to, well, work.

PS – I had my Master’s project defense last week, it went well, I took no photos, and I haven’t had a chance to enjoy that accomplishment yet. All in due time.