Full House

Home is where the art is

Late last year, my husband and I moved from a tiny loft to a 1954 three-level split. I can only assume the former home-owners stripped the character out of the home to sell it quickly. Down came the Pepto-pink ceramic bathroom tile (I could cry!), and they painted the entire house a color I’ve been calling Aggressive Tan—it goes way past the We’re Gonna Sell It Beige. It’s a punch-you-in-the-face khaki that makes everyone look vaguely nauseated.

This means we have a lot of space to fill and walls to paint and adorn. (And prayers to pray: Dear Housing Gods, please keep the ceiling up where it’s supposed to be, so that we can do the Fun Stuff. Amen.) Personally, I’m thrilled to have a blank canvas on which to create my own little haven, but I know the process intimidates a lot of people.

When people visited our loft, many commented on our fuchsia wall or the electric-blue space-age sofa, then quickly followed up with, “But I could never do that!” Maybe they secretly hated it, but I think some of them were saying they were afraid to take a risk. Since when is some color or character risky? You should surround yourself with the things you love.

Thankfully, the “catalog style” that used to be the rage—Your living room should look exactly like this, with this simple couch, a matching loveseat, and one kooky lamp!—is out. The bad economy transformed the interiors world, in a way: now, earth-friendly and less trend-driven styles are emphasized, which means we’ve stopped buying rooms from the catalog and started buying pieces that actually excite us.

I go crazy for antiques, vintage, and thrift shops, not to mention local art and crafts, so my goal is to have a space that showcases those things best. For now, I’m hip-deep in interiors books and magazines, checking interiors blogs, pinning to my Pinterest boards, and shopping like mad. You could say I’m gathering inspiration for some Welcome Home, Katie paint—whatever color that ends up being.