Let’s talk about them decorating. That is, taking an idea or something you love and creating either a room or an entire house around it. Many children’s rooms can be found to be decorated in this way. A little boy may have a race car theme or sports theme. A little girl may have a castle mural on her wall, creating a lovely fantasy environment.
At it’s best, theme decorating is fun and can let a homeowner express his/her personality in a very visible, creative way. At it’s worst, it can become kitchy and predictable.
Let’s say you’re lucky enough to have a beach house. Admittedly, it’s fun to purchase items like lighthouse lamps and seashell themed items, especially if it is a second home and your primary residence is decorated differently, but, proceed with caution! Unless you’re the kind of person who changes their decor every couple of years, you will no doubt get tired of this look and long for something a little more classic. I am speaking from experience. Nearly seven years ago, we purchased a small log cabin home as a weekend getaway. Here are a couple of pictures of the living room:
There are so many mistakes I hardly know where to begin. Let’s start with the quilt above the fireplace. There’s no nice way to say this. It’s just ugly. The colors are way too dull and the overall look gives rustic a bad name. It was an impulse purchase at an Adirondeck Craft Fair. We desperately wanted something to fill that large space, and the size fit the bill. Can I now call your attention to the deer head on the right wall? He’s not real, thank goodness, and he has an unusual talent. He sings and tells bad jokes.
You read that correctly. His name is Buck and he sings cowboy songs while moving his head, mouth and ears. He also has a remote microphone so you can go in another room if you want and speak into it and it’s your voice coming out of his mouth saying whatever you want. Freaky. Funny, but freaky. Just ask our grandson. My only defense is he was given to us, we didn’t pay for him (Buck, not our grandson). My husband (aka ‘Fisherman’ or ‘Grandpa Fish’) is determined he stay right where he is. We’ll see. I see a vacation in Bali in my future as payback.
In the other picture, you’ll notice a wall with hats hanging from hooks. See that green thing to the left of the antlers? That’s a hat with a fish head in the front. It will be making an appearance at the upcoming Kentucky Derby. It’s about time I showed those ladies how it should be done. Then we have the obligatory moose bookends, the paddles on the wall and cocktail table legs, stagecoach valences and birch picture frames and you have, ladies and gentlemen, log cabin gone wild.
Themes aside, the armoire is too low for the height of the room, the conversation area is non existent and the overall look is just too dark. We’ve made some changes which I call ‘Phase 1″. I will take some pics next time we go up and post them.
When I told a couple of friends about my plans to redo the space, they said I was nuts. They think it’s cozy and the furnishings are appropriate for the space. True enough, BUT, in my opionion, this is a great example of theme overkill. My only excuse is I was excited to have a log cabin and wanted to decorate using items and furnishings very different from what I was used to. But rustic doesn’t have to be dark, rustic doesn’t have to be singing animals and rustic doesn’t have to be unsophisticated. Wish someone had told me years ago.
I know conventional wisdom says to live in a space for a while (as much as a year) before making any decorating decisions, but seriously, who does that? Not me. I just want to get right to it. And in case you’re wondering…yes, we have one of those mounted fish’ thingies that sing. Don’t even.
Update: If you would like to see what our cabin looks like after living in it full time for three years, go here.