Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Origins of Style
Part II

Most of us have a rather definite taste in furnishing our homes. Sometimes our preferences are quite clear cut, or perhaps we’re
attracted to a mix of various styles. In my last post, I began to look beyond the obvious sources such as decorating books, magazines, blogs, and television shows, at the elements of style that I am drawn to, and examine them in the context of my life to discover the reason for those preferences.
My reflections revealed that many of my preferences are rooted in visits to my grandmother in early childhood. From her, I gained an appreciation of

old linens and china. It is also from her that I developed a love of vintage clothing. My deep love of dogs also appears to be rooted in pleasant memories of visits to Grandma.

Through my contemplation, I also came to
realize that my attraction to architectural elements and the neo-classical style most likely stems from another childhood memory – the discovery of and subsequent fascination with Greek and Roman mythology.

But I also have an edgy, more Bohemian side. Where does this come from?

Further contemplation reveals that this element of my taste was developed during my teen years. As a school-age child I was rather large and awkward, and as a result, painfully unpopular. I wished in vain to be like the other kids. Then, finally, as if by magic, my body began to mature and the baby fat that had held me prisoner for so long disappeared! A rather attractive young woman emerged from that cocoon, and a new time of adventure and discovery was underway.

At the age of seventeen, while attending a rock concert, a roadie spotted me and gave me a backstage pass. This random event resulted in meeting the concert promoters, which in turn lead to

Collage of some of my rock 'n' roll memories

several lasting friendships as well as a long succession of backstage passes. Among rock stars and others
in the music business, I'd finally found a place to fit in. For the first time in my life, I felt pretty and popular! And of course I happily embraced the style of the rockers
whom I adored. It's easy to see where my love of leather, lace, and animal prints is rooted.
Another strong influence from this time period was my friend, Barbara. She and I met backstage and immediately hit it off. I loved her colorful Bohemian style which incorporated

Barbara and me camping it up before a concert in her Bohemian Style living room

elements of vintage finds and re-purposed junk with a rock ‘n’ roll flair!

Another defining moment for me was the discovery of dance! As a clumsy child, I admired the beauty and grace of the ballerina, and longed to learn to dance. I suppose they had their reasons, but my parents
never saw fit to enroll me in classes, so my visions of dance were only a far-away dream. The allure of dance, however remained strong, and as a teenager I slipped into a disco one night. A man asked me to dance, and though I had no idea how, I accepted and he introduced me to the Hustle.
To my great surprise and delight, I found myself following my partner and feeling somewhat graceful
for the first time. The feeling was intoxicating, and I had to go back for more. I carefully watched the dance floor, especially the “dance gods” and for better or worse, danced only with the more competent dancers. Finally one night one of the “dance
gods” asked me to dance, and as if by magic I was twirling and spinning as if in a dream! Imagine my ecstasy when he asked me to be his partner! I worked hard on my dancing and also in cultivating a look appropriate for a "disco diva".
When the disco era faded, I sought out other venues of partnership dancing which led to a career in ballroom dancing that spanned over 15 years. Add some chiffon, feathers, and a heavy dose of bling to my style mix!

So, there you have it. I believe we’ve uncovered the origins of the various style elements that I’m drawn to.

This was an eye-opening contemplation for me. While I knew what I liked, but really didn't know why until I started looking at my tastes in relation to my life's experiences. How about you? You've read my story; I'd love to hear yours.

In future blog posts, we'll be looking how to tie together all the diverse elements of our tastes to develop a unique personal style. I'm getting ready to embark on several decorating projects and will be incorporating touches of all the styles that I've discussed in this post (and part one). I'll be chronicling my adventures and misadventures along the way, along with projects to try and thrifty-chic decor tips. Hopefully you'll be inspired to seek out the things that make you happiest and express them in your home.

Until next time,


  1. Sheilla, your blog has inspired me to do some soul-searching to see what life experiences have inspried my traditional style with a touch of country.

  2. I'd love to hear what you uncover! It's really a lot of fun to do this, and quite revealing too!


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