I’m tired of looking at Pinterest. I never cared for Houzz, but my interest in Pinterest lasted a while. I stopped looking at it (except for my client’s boards) last year and whenever I go back into that world to take a look I feel bored. In order to understand your personal style and your home’s time and place in the world, I think you need to step away from what everyone else is doing. I think we are starting to turn into the Sneetches on Beaches.
I recently listened to an interview with John Cleese and, in addition to being very charming, he talked a little bit about his writing process. He takes a very long time to write a script. Months and months of time – Cleese believes in order to get past the cliche, you need time.
This struck me as true and I believe it’s true for design too. When you don’t afford yourself time to think about the layout, the finishes and the overall look it’s easy to go straight for the cliche. And in my world it’s the “Pinterest Cliche.” If you are struggling with your personal style and find yourself clinging to the comfort of online images – step away from the computer.
It’s important to think about time, place and your personal interior experiences.
Time and place: Consider the age and time period of your home and also the current era. How do you make your home functional for your lifestyle but still flow with the original architecture and intent of the home? It’s a fantastic challenge and one that is continually inspiring to me. I don’t think you need to try to recreate the 1912 Bungalow style (for instance), but whatever you do should complement the existing architecture.
Past Interior Experiences: Think about spaces that make you feel great or places where you feel most comfortable. I think our early interiors can have an imprint on us – if there was a place or space that meant something to you as a young person – think about it, write about it and you will start to develop your unique style. Maybe it’s your grandmother’s kitchen. You don’t need all that bric-a-brac (I’m projecting here) but maybe it’s something as simple as the lamp she had on the counter and the colorful bowls she used. Maybe you have a memory of visiting a hotel when you were young that felt “just right.” Dive into the details on this and write it down. Start collecting images, but images based on you and your home, not based on what everyone else seems to be doing.
I have other inspirations as well that were incredibly meaningful to me as a young designer, but they live inside my head and some memories just don’t look the same as you remember them. I think they are more impressions and feelings about spaces rather than literal mind snapshots.
Pinterest-ing isn’t interesting. Take a break from staring at other people’s homes and live inside your own inspiration for a while. You never know where it could take you and I bet it’s not a cliche.