This might sound kind of weird, but the other day I was writing an email to an old friend whom I admire when I realized that I have a girl crush on every single one of my friends, each for their own unique reasons. It made me happy to think about because aren't those exactly the kinds of people you want to surround yourself with? Well, in an attempt to share what makes them awesome, I'm starting a new series to feature all of my girl crushes. And I hope you'll like them as much as I do!
Kicking off the series is my friend Ali who just recently moved into our neighborhood (lucky us!) She lives in the cutest apartment with her husband Elijah and her cat Greg. Walking into her place feels like walking into an Anthropologie catalog — and who doesn't want to live in an Anthropologie catalog? It's vibrant and artsy but relaxed and homey at the same time. (Sometimes I joke that I want to live there too. And that I could just fit right under the kitchen table. And then everyone laughs. But really I'm being serious.)
Here's Ali's home tour and her wise words on home style. Thanks, Ali!
1) How would you describe your decor style?
It's eclectic and undone. Lots of colors and patterns, and lots of visibly stored things, like stacks of dishes in the kitchen, piles of books everywhere. These past few months I have LOVED pretending like I live on an old farm somewhere (the constant buzz of cars on the freeway tends to disappear into the background noise after awhile). Our old creaky floors and vintage kitchen really do add to the imagination!
2) How does your apartment reflect how you live?
When my husband, Elijah, and I moved in a month ago, I had the week off of work; talk about a decorator's dream! I spent the week putting things away, propping up photos, and organizing what I could. As the month progressed I saw our habits, like piling books and electronics and pretty much everything that fits within a 2'x4' space on our coffee table. I know this isn't going to change, and I don't really want to allow style to take priority over comfort, so I had to find a way to work with our habits. I neatly stacked the 22 books/magazines on our table in 5 piles, added a basket for remotes and mail, and voila!
3) What is your favorite room and why?
The kitchen, I tell you, THE KITCHEN!! It's my favorite room in our home for so many reasons. This is the room my imagination gets carried away in most, and I often need to remind myself it is NOT the 1950's, I am NOT a housewife, and we do NOT live on a quaint dairy farm in the middle of a beautiful field out yonder, as much as I do wish we did. I love to cook, and I bake professionally, so those are the practical reasons why I love the kitchen. But it's more than that. I love our collection of dishes and cloths, which makes setting the table, even if for just me and my lover, so fun and sweet. I love that what we use is what we see. I can cook an entire meal and never have to open a cupboard for any utensils or pots/pans. In the kitchen, these are the decorations: pots and pans hang on the wall, strainers on the side of the cupboard, utensils sit in buckets, and our everyday dishes look so crisp in stacks in our door-less cupboard. The kitchen is a place where I can serve my friends and family, and there isn't much that I know of that provides more comfort than the expectancy of a meal with those you love.
4) What inspires you?
I have a few things that always inspire me, such as the store Anthropologie, or my favorite Swedish organizer at chezlarsson.com. And then there are those special finds that unexpectedly send me on a surge of creativity or productivity. The most recent find occurred while watching one of my favorite movies (and book) The Help. Did you see it? Do you remember the scene where Skeeter is sitting in Aibileen's kitchen with her and Minny and they stay up all night recalling stories? Well, I went home that day, and I had all new hopes and dreams for our kitchen. This is where the 1950's farm house comes in. I loved that the kitchen was used, and comfortable, and easy. Things were where they are handy, and it didn't feel like Aibileen was hiding any fancy china behind closed doors. This makes me happy because I don't have any china. But thats beside the point. What inspires you?
My favorite places to find pieces are places that are cheap or free. For example, the side of the road, garage sales, thrift stores, even friends. At all hours too. My favorite dresser (which has been banned to the porch for lack of inside space and is now transformed into a makeshift planter) was found on the side of the road in Capitola one cold fall midnight. Our couch came from a church that was giving it away, and we are borrowing our desk from our friend's basement (she knows). I don't take things I won't like, BUT I do have to think creatively about furniture and home decor I see. Can it be painted or covered and be just what I was looking for? Sometimes I take free things just to experiment at home in hopes of liking it. After all, I can always give it away if I change my mind.
I can give decorating advice on how to create your own beautiful space, but only if your beautiful space has the same style as mine. What I mean is, I'm not an interior designer, but I know what I love, and what makes my home enjoyable to my husband and me. You must do the same. Think of those who spend time inside your home, including yourself, and make a list of what you want out of your home. A place to entertain? A place to take off your shoes and put your feet up? How about a place to display your crazy penguin collection? Once you decide how your space will be truly used, you know what you can be looking for to fill it with. A beautiful space will come out of enjoying your home.
As for advice on how do do some fantastic organizing and decoration? You really should check out: www.chezlarsson.com.